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Honigman Attorneys Obtain Rare Mandatory Injunction In Pro Bono Case, Securing Medical Treatment for Illinois Inmate

December 11, 2019

John Johnson spent years seeking basic medical treatment within the Illinois state prison system for a large, growing, and painful intra-muscular lipoma in his right shoulder, all to no avail.  That changed last month.

After Johnson filed suit in 2018 in the Northern District of Illinois, Judge Matthew Kennelly appointed Honigman in early 2019 to serve as lead trial counsel.  Litigation attorneys Dennis Abdelnour and Anthony Acciaioli took up the case on Johnson’s behalf.  After a review of the medical records indicated that Johnson should have received treatment for his lipoma from an outside specialist years ago, the Honigman team moved for a preliminary injunction, asking the Court to order the very medical treatment that Johnson should have been given, but had been denied.

Following briefing and an evidentiary hearing in which Johnson and the Medical Director of the prison testified, the Court issued a mandatory preliminary injunction, finding “Johnson has established a significant likelihood of success on the merits” and “irreparable harm given his chronic pain.” 

In its opinion, the Court explained that it found it “difficult to understand why defendants have so strenuously opposed granting the limited relief that Johnson is seeking at this point…Because [defendant] already approved the outside referral, it is somewhat hard to understand why it now opposes it.  The result has been the expenditure of [defendant]’s, Johnson’s appointed counsel’s, and the Court’s resources simply to get back to the very spot where [defendant] itself expected to be in May 2017 when it approved the outside referral.” 

The order “requires [defendant] to cause Johnson” to be taken for “assessment of his lipoma” by “an appropriately qualified specialist physician.”

The case is Johnson v. Obaisi et al., case no. 18-CV-1204, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.