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Horisons Unlimited v. Santa Cruz-Monterey-Merced Managed Medical Care Commission

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 29, 2014

HORISONS UNLIMITED, et. al., Plaintiffs,


LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, District Judge.


Judges in the Eastern District of California carry a voluminous caseload, the heaviest in the nation, and this Court is unable to devote inordinate time and resources to individual cases and matters. This Court cannot address all arguments, evidence and matters presented by parties and addresses only the arguments, evidence and matters necessary to reach the decision in this order given the shortage of district judges and staff. The parties and counsel are encouraged to contact United States Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to address this Court's inability to accommodate the parties and this action.


Plaintiffs Horisons Unlimited ("HU") and Horisons Unlimited Health Care (collectively "plaintiffs") own and operate healthcare clinics in Merced County. Defendant Santa Cruz-Monterey-Merced Managed Medical Care Commission dba Central California Alliance for Health ("Alliance"), pursuant to agreements with the California Department of Health Care Services, arranges health care for Merced County Medi-Cal patients. To that end, Alliance and HU entered into a Primary Care Physician Services Agreement ("services agreement") by which HU became an Alliance member to provide healthcare services to Merced County Medi-Cal patients. The services agreement requires HU's healthcare providers to meet Alliance's credentialing standards.

On January 28, 2014, plaintiffs filed this action and papers seeking injunctive relief. This Court construes plaintiffs' disjointed, verbose papers to: (1) complain that Alliance's delays to credential plaintiffs' healthcare providers result in denial of enrollment of new member patients for plaintiffs; and (2) seek injunctive relief to in effect compel Alliance to no less than temporarily credential plaintiffs' healthcare providers so that they can treat Medi-Cal patients.


Injunctive Relief Standards

Plaintiffs fail to meet their burden for injunctive relief.

F.R.Civ.P. 65(b)(1)(A) permits a TRO "only if" "specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition." As such, the Court may only grant such relief "upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such relief." Winter v. Nat'l Res. Def. Council, Inc., 129 S.Ct. 365, 375 (2008). To prevail, the moving party must show: (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a likelihood that the moving party will suffer irreparable harm absent preliminary injunctive relief; (3) that the balance of equities tips in the moving party's favor; and (4) that preliminary injunctive relief is in the public interest. Winter, 129 U.S. at 374. In considering the four factors, the Court "must balance the competing claims of injury and must consider the effect on each party of the granting or withholding of the requested relief." Winter, 129 S.Ct. at 376 (quoting Amoco Co. v. Vill. of Gambell, Alaska, 480 U.S. 531, 542 (1987)); Indep. Living Ctr. of S. Cal., Inc. v. Maxwell-Jolly, 572 F.3d 644, 651 (9th Cir. 2009). Preliminary injunctive relief "is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion." Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972, 117 S.Ct. 1865 (1997) (citation omitted).

With these standards in mind this Court turns to impediments to plaintiffs' requested injunctive relief.

Likelihood Of Success On Merits

Pursuant to Winter, plaintiffs must make a "clear showing" that they are "likely to succeed on the merits." Winter, 129 S.Ct. at 375-376; Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 571 F.3d 960, 978 (9th Cir. 2009).

As to likelihood of success on the merits, plaintiffs champion their antitrust and civil rights claims. Plaintiffs fail to demonstrate likelihood of success on the merits on such claims to support injunctive relief. Plaintiffs' injunctive relief papers, in large part, simply repeat their complaint, nearly verbatim at points. Plaintiffs fail to identify elements of their claims and to demonstrate how they are likely to satisfy such elements. Plaintiffs largely rely on impertinent legal conclusions and fail to summarize ...

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