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Bomprezzi v. Hoffman

United States District Court, D. Colorado

October 28, 2014



BOYD N. BOLAND, Magistrate Judge.

This matter arises on the plaintiff's Preliminary Injunction Request [Doc. #28] (the "Motion"). I respectfully RECOMMEND that the Motion be DENIED.

The plaintiff is proceeding pro se, and I must liberally construe his pleadings. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). I cannot act as advocate for a pro se litigant, however, who must comply with the fundamental requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).

The plaintiff is incarcerated by the Colorado Department of Corrections ("DOC") at the San Carlos Correctional Facility. He filed his Prisoner Complaint on August 14, 2013 [Doc. #4] (the "Complaint"). At that time, he was housed at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, Colorado ("CMHIP"). The Complaint asserts three claims for relief. Claim Two and defendants Judge Alexander and Dr. Kaprivnikar have been dismissed. The remaining claims have been construed to allege violations of the plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights [Doc. #9]. The Complaint contains the following pertinent allegations:

1. On June 10, 2013, defendant Dr. Hoffman "of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo" obtained a court order to involuntarily medicate the plaintiff for six months. Defendants Drs. Pounds, DeQuardo[1], Meeker, and Toepp have also involuntarily medicated the plaintiff "in the past." Complaint, p. 4.[2]

2. "Being forced to take drugs against my will makes me very angry. It also makes me depressed. It places me in an adversarial relationship with state doctors. It makes me frustrated with America. I absolutely do not want to take antipsychotic medications against my will." Id.

The plaintiff seeks a preliminary injunction. He does not specify the relief sought. Construing the Motion liberally, as I must, I find that the plaintiff is seeking an order preventing the defendants from administering psychotropic medications against his will.

Injunctive relief is a drastic remedy to be granted only in cases where the right to relief is clearly established. Goldammer v. Fay, 326 F.2d 268, 270 (10th Cir. 1964). The burden is on the movant to establish his right to the relief requested. Penn v. San Juan Hospital, Inc., 528 F.2d 1181, 1185 (10th Cir. 1975). To obtain a preliminary injunction under Rule 65(a), the plaintiff must show that (1) he will suffer irreparable injury unless the injunction issues; (2) the threatened injury to the moving party outweighs whatever damage the proposed injunction may cause the opposing party; (3) the injunction, if issued, would not be adverse to the public interest; and (4) there is a substantial likelihood that the moving party will eventually prevail on the merits. Lundgrin v. Claytor, 619 F.2d 61, 63 (10th Cir.1980). The plaintiff's right to relief must be clear and unequivocal. Penn, 528 F.2d at 1185.

The following kinds of preliminary injunctions are disfavored: (1) those that disturb the status quo; (2) those that are mandatory as opposed to prohibitory; and (3) those that afford the movant substantially all the relief he may recover at the conclusion of a full trial on the merits.[3] SCFC ILC, Inc. v. Visa USA, Inc., 936 F.2d 1096, 1098-99 (10th Cir. 1991). "[A]ny preliminary injunction fitting within one of the disfavored categories must be more closely scrutinized to assure that the exigencies of the case support the granting of a remedy that is extraordinary even in the normal course." O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal v. Ashcroft, 389 F.3d 973, 975 (10th Cir. 2004). The plaintiff seeks all three types of injunctive relief. Therefore, he "must make a strong showing both with regard to the likelihood of success on the merits and with regard to the balance of the harms." Id. at 976.

Substantial Likelihood of Success on the Merits

The plaintiff's remaining claim is "a § 1983 claim against the Defendants for deprivation of his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights based on the administration of involuntary psychotropic medications." Order to Dismiss in Part and to Draw Case to a District Judge and to a Magistrate Judge [Doc. #9], p. 3. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees due process when a person may be deprived of life, liberty, or property. U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1. The Due Process Clause "shields from arbitrary or capricious deprivation those facets of a convicted criminal's existence that qualify as liberty interests.'" Harper v. Young, 64 F.3d 563, 564 (10th Cir. 1995), aff'd, 520 U.S. 143 (1997). Thus, before determining whether a plaintiff's due process rights have been violated, the court must determine whether the plaintiff has a liberty interest.

An individual "possesses a significant liberty interest in avoiding the unwanted administration of antipsychotic drugs under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221-22 (1990). However, "[t]he extent of a prisoner's right under the Clause to avoid the unwanted administration of antipsychotic drugs must be defined in the context of the inmate's confinement." Id. at 222. When an individual is confined in a state institution, individual liberties must be balanced against the interests of the institution in preventing the individual from harming himself or others. Id. at 222-225. The involuntary administration of antipsychotic drugs that are prescribed, reviewed, and ordered by a psychiatrist in the offender's medical interests, given the legitimate needs of the offender's institutional confinement, will meet the demands of the Due Process Clause. Id. at 222.

The Motion is prolix and rambling. The plaintiff does not provide any meaningful discussion regarding the Due Process Clause or his likelihood of success on the merits of his claim. Indeed, it is impossible to discern the plaintiff's diagnosis from the 16-page Motion. The plaintiff states that he has received the following diagnoses from psychiatrists: "erotomanic delusional"; narcissistic personality disorder; schizophrenia-disorganized type; and schizophrenia-delusional type. Motion, pp. 2-3. The plaintiff disagrees with these asserted diagnoses, however, stating:

I personally diagnose myself with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have diagnosed myself this based upon World War One Veterans who suffered noises sensitivity. From Thanksgiving 1997 until 2000, I suffered extreme periods of sleep deprivation. The first sleep deprivation started with low flying police helicopters in Los Angeles. This first bout of sleep deprivation lasted for five to seven days straight where I got not one wink of sleep. This ended with a masturbation. Long periods of sleep ...

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