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Phillips v. Tangilag

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah

July 13, 2018

DONALD PHILLIPS, PLAINTIFF
v.
SHASTINE TANGILAG, et al., DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court upon two motions. First, Plaintiff Donald Phillips, (“Phillips”), has filed a motion for reconsideration of this Court's previous denial of his motion for preliminary injunction. [DN 61.] Second, Phillips has filed a motion for extension of time to complete discovery. [DN 63.] These matters are ripe for adjudication and are discussed below.

         A. Factual & Procedural Background

         Phillips, an inmate currently housed at the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville, Kentucky, initiated the instant lawsuit against Shastine Tangilag, Lester Lewis, Ted Jefferson, Cookie Crews, Denise Burkett, and Correct Care Solutions, (collectively, “Defendants”), alleging violations of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section Seventeen of the Kentucky Constitution, as well as medical malpractice. [DN 1.]

         The following excerpt is taken from this Court's previous Opinion, Docket No. 60, wherein this Court denied Phillips's motion for preliminary injunction:

In 2014, Phillips was assaulted by another inmate and suffered an injury to his left leg. [DN 1, at 4.] Later, his injury was diagnosed as a “probable plantaris rupture in the left lower leg.” [Id.] Phillips filled out a Healthcare Request form on November 26, 2014, [DN 57-1], and was seen by Tangilag on November 29. [DN 57-2.] In her notes, Tangilag stated that Phillips had “a mass on the posterior leg. Has been increasing in size for the past month. Pain is minimal.” [Id.] Phillips received an ultrasound on the affected area on February 3, 2015, the results of which were as follows: “Examination of the medial calf. There is a soft tissue mass in the area of concern with good blood flow. However no definite clearcut margins are seen…CT scan is recommended to better evaluate this region.” [DN 57-3.] Post-ultrasound notes from Tangilag three weeks later indicate that, at that time, the mass was growing and was more painful than it had been before. [DN 57-4.]
On March 13, 2015, Phillips received an off-site CT scan at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah, Kentucky. [DN 57-5.] The findings were as follows: “A palpable marker was placed on the skin at the region of the abnormality. Between the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, there is a heterogeneous fluid collection. This is in the normal course of the plantaris muscle and likely represents a plantaris rupture. There is no evidence of fracture or worrisome osseous lesion. No soft tissue lesions are identified. The visualized tendons and ligaments appear intact.” [Id.] The impression was a “[p]robable plantaris rupture in the left lower leg.” [Id.] Tangilag met with Phillips again after the CT scan results were obtained and informed him that the results would be forwarded to Jefferson, an outside orthopedic surgeon, “to see if this is something surgical that needs to be fixed. Other than the pain and the lump, he [Phillips] has full use of his leg (able to plantar flex) which is consistent with the CT scan finding.” [DN 56-7.]
Jefferson saw Phillips in his office on July 3, 2015 for an examination of Phillips' left leg. [DN 57-7.] Jefferson indicated that the lump on Phillips' left leg was a hematoma. [DN 56-5, at 11-12.] In his own words, a hematoma is “bleeding that happens in the nonvascular space, like under the skin or deep to the fascia in a muscle belly. It's just basically a large collection of hemorrhagic blood.” [Id. at 12.] In Jefferson's estimation, Phillips ruptured his plantaris and the hematoma was likely the resultant effect of that injury. [Id.] During his examination of Phillips, Jefferson attempted to aspirate the mass, a technique wherein the treating physician inserts a syringe into the affected area to remove any fluid that has built up there. [DN 57-7.] Jefferson noted that “[n]o appreciable fluid was identified consistent with the diagnosis of chronic hematoma posterior aspect of the left leg.” [Id.] Jefferson recommended that Phillips be given an MRI to determine what his options were. [Id.] The MRI was given on August 11, 2015. [DN 57-9.] The MRI indicated that the amount of fluid in Phillips' left calf had “slightly decreased since his previous CT” scan. [Id.] No mass was identified. [Id.]
Tangilag's meeting notes from August 19, 2015, wherein she talked with Phillips, state the following: “Dr. Ted Jefferson (Orthopedics) called last week stating that he does not need further treatment from a surgical standpoint. The hematoma is resolving.” [DN 57-10.] Surgical debridement of the hematoma had been one of the possible courses of treatment Jefferson had discussed with Phillips. Tangilag indicated that Phillips should put moist heat on the affected area twice daily. [Id.] Finally, Tangilag noted that Phillips told her he had “contacted an orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion because he still ‘wants to be treated, ” and that Phillips “was advised that he has the right to seek a second opinion at his own expense per policy.” [Id.] Phillips did not see another member of the prison medical staff or CCS until late 2017 or early 2018. [DN 56-4, at 140.] This was after he filed the instant lawsuit on June 16, 2016. [DN 1.]

[DN 60, at 1-3.] On May 1, 2018, this Court denied Phillips's motion for preliminary injunction. [Id.] Now, Phillips has filed a motion for reconsideration of that denial, [DN 61], the merits of which are discussed in the following section.

         B. Motion for Reconsideration

         1. Legal Standard

         “[T]he Sixth Circuit has recognized “that a district court may reconsider its decision to deny a preliminary injunction pursuant to Rule 59” of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 600 Marshall Enter. Concepts, LLC v. City of Memphis, No. 05-02865, 2006 WL 8434667, at *1 (W.D. Tenn. Feb. 27, 2006) (citing Wong-Opasi v. Haynes, 8 Fed.Appx. 340, 342 (6th Cir. 2001)). “Thus, the Court finds that [Phillips's] motion for reconsideration is properly treated as a Rule 59 motion to alter or amend this Court's judgment denying a preliminary injunction.” Id. Importantly though, “[a] motion under Rule 59[] is not an opportunity to re-argue a case, ” or to otherwise relitigate previously decided issues. See Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir. 1998) (citing FDIC v. World Univ. Inc., 978 F.2d 10, 16 (1st Cir 1992)) Instead, courts will grant a motion under Rule 59 only in four specific instances: (1) “if there is a clear error of law;” (2) “newly discovered evidence;” (3) “an intervening change in controlling law;” and (4) “to prevent manifest injustice.” GenCorp, Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir. 1999) (citations omitted).

         2. ...


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