United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. Grimm United States District Judge.
matter is before me on self-represented plaintiff Ndokey
Enow's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order
(“TRO”), ECF No. 3. He claims that he is blind in
his right eye and the vision in his left eye is blurry due to
a cataract. Pl.'s Mem. 2-3, ECF No. 3-1. He seeks
“a medically appropriate course of eye examination and
treatment . . . to restore and maintain the full
functioning” of his vision in both eyes, including and
an examination “by a qualified eye specialist.”
Pl.'s Mot. 1-2. Because Enow has not shown a likelihood of
irreparable harm, I will deny his Motion.
incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover,
Maryland. He claims that he “was physically assaulted
by a fellow inmate” on January 13, 2015, and “the
inmate injured [his] right eye and rendered [him] partially
blind.” Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 1. He asserts that on
January 15, 2015, Sandra Cremers, M.D., an ophthalmologist,
diagnosed him with “traumatic iritis” and
“conjunctival hemorrhage” of the right eyes and
cataracts in both eyes and recommended that he remain under
medical supervision. Pl.'s Mem. 1-2; see
Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 2. He also claims that he was referred
for an eye examination on March 5, 2015 because his vision
was blurry in his left eye, and he was blind in his right
eye. Pl.'s Mem. 2. On March 12, 2015, he requested an eye
examination for the “traumatic irititis [he] suffered
on that eye since 01/13/2015, ” as well as the pain and
he experienced and the conjunctival hemorrhage. Sick Call
Request, ECF No. 28-2, at 3. According to Enow, he was seen
on March 18, 2015 by optometrist Dr. Alesha Spellman-Smith,
who agreed with Dr. Cremers and prescribed eyeglasses for
him. Pl.'s Reply ¶ 3.
March 31, 2015, he again sought an eye examination for his
blurry vision. Sick Call Request, ECF No. 28-2, at 4. Dr.
Spellman-Smith examined his right eye again on April 8, 2015,
id., and “diagnosed the plaintiff as legally
blind in his right eye with a MAC scar.” Pl.'s
Reply ¶ 4. Then, on April 20, 2015, Dr. Spellman-Smith,
“made [a] procedure/test request based on trauma”
he experienced in January 2015. Pl.'s Reply ¶ 5.
But, he claims, he has not received “any course of
further eye examination despite his repeated requests.”
Id.; see Pl.'s Mem. 2; Pl.'s Decl.
¶ 4. The medical records Plaintiff submitted show that
he received a routine eye examination on-site on October 29,
2015. Med. Rec., ECF No. 29-2, at 10.
claims to suffer recurrent pain from his eye injury, macular
degeneration, cataracts, blurry distance vision, eye fatigue,
light sensitivity, cluster migraine headaches and watery,
burning, and itching eyes. Pl.'s Mem. 2; Pl.'s Reply
¶ 5. Further, he alleges that he is in danger of
permanent loss of vision in both eyes unless his Motion is
granted. Pl.'s Mem. 4; Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 6.
Oteyza, M.D., who is a physician licensed by the State of
Maryland's Board of Physicians, is employed by Wexford
Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”), to provide
physician services to inmates in the DPSCS system. Oteyza
Decl. ¶ 1. In his Declaration,  Oteyza states that Enow
“has a history of blurry distance vision in his left
eye for which he has prescription eyeglasses.”
Id. ¶ 4. Enow did not complain about headaches
or vision problems during his December 18, 2015 physical
examination or afterwards. Id. ¶¶ 8, 10.
Indeed, Enow had submitted a sick call request for a
“normal headache” on July 6, 2015, but after
that, Enow did not submit any sick call requests for
headaches, dizziness or blackouts until December 27, 2016.
Id. ¶ 9.
notes that, in May 2016, Plaintiff did ask to see an
ophthalmologist regarding his allegedly worsening vision due
to cataracts, but he did not complain about “any other
eye problems or headaches.” Id. ¶ 11.
“Plaintiff was seen by optometry on December 8, 2016,
but there is no indication Plaintiff reported any complaints
of headaches, dizziness, or blackouts.” Id.
asserts that, while Enow submitted a sick call request on
December 27, 2016, complaining that he “was involved in
an altercation” the day before, “[t]here is no
medical documentation that Enow was assaulted on December 26,
2016.” Id. ¶ 9. When Enow “was
evaluated by a nurse at sick call for complaints of
headaches, nose bleeding, body pain and dizziness on December
28, 2016, ” his “sclera was red, but Plaintiff
was otherwise alert and oriented, with no signs of nasal
bleeding.” After his December 28, 2016, examination,
Enow did not submit any additional sick call slips for
headaches, dizziness, or blackouts. Id. ¶ 10.
Oteyza states that Plaintiff's one complaint about
“vision problems” since November 19, 2015 was in
January 2017, when he asked for “new prescription
eyeglasses because his cellmate allegedly broke them.”
states that on May 3, 2016, he consulted with Nicole Frey, RN
regarding his vision problems. Pl.'s Reply ¶ 6.
Specifically, he stated that he had “medical records
stating [his] diagnosis of blindness and need[ed] to see
opthomology [sic].” Med. Rec., ECF No. 29-2, at 15. He
claims that, on May 31, 2016, he consulted Deborah Tabulov,
NP in the chronic care clinic and she “placed a
specialty service request to optometry for a general eye
exam, ” but it was ignored. Id. ¶ 7.
According to Enow, he had had an eye examination on April 8,
2015, but did not receive another one until his May 8, 2017
“optometry eye examination for prescription eyeglasses
at the on-site clinic.” Id. ¶ 8.
for a Preliminary Injunction
preliminary injunction is distinguished from a TRO only by
the difference in notice to the nonmoving party and by the
duration of the injunction. U.S. Dep't of Labor v.
Wolf Run Mining Co., 452 F.3d 275, 281 n.1 (4th
Cir. 2006) (comparing Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a) with Fed.R.Civ.P.
65(b)). Defendants have received notice and I will treat the
Motion as one for a preliminary injunction.
purpose of a preliminary injunction is to “protect the
status quo and to prevent irreparable harm during the
pendency of a lawsuit, ultimately to preserve the court's
ability to render a meaningful judgment on the merits.”
In re Microsoft Corp. Antitrust Litig., 333 F.3d
517, 525 (4th Cir. 2003). As a preliminary injunction is
“an extraordinary remedy, ” it “may only be
awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled
to such relief.” Winter v. Nat. Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). To obtain a
preliminary injunction, Enow must “establish that (1)
he is likely to succeed on the merits, (2) he is likely to
suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,
(3) the balance of equities tips in his favor, and (4) an
injunction is in the public interest.” Id. at
20; see also Dewhurst v. Century Aluminum Co., 649
F.3d 287, 290 (4th Cir. 2011). In the prison context, courts
should grant preliminary injunctive relief only under
exceptional and compelling circumstances. See Taylor v.
Freeman, 34 F.3d 266, 269 (4th Cir. 1994).
not take Enow's medical concerns lightly. Yet, Enow
acknowledges that he recently was seen in the optometry
clinic for his vision concerns. And, he has not submitted any
proof of irreparable harm to substantiate his claims of
medical urgency. Without such proof, I cannot conclude that
Enow will be irreparably harmed. Under these circumstances,
Enow does not meet his burden to show that he is likely to
succeed on the merits or that he faces irreparable harm; nor
has he presented exceptional and compelling circumstances to
tip the balance of equities in his favor or met his burden to
show that granting an injunction ...