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Sundermier v. Chapdelaine

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 2, 2016

ROBERT H. SUNDERMIER, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN CHAPDELAINE, ET AL., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.

         The plaintiff, Robert H. Sundermier, is incarcerated at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut (“MacDougall-Walker”). He filed a complaint against Warden Carol Chapdelaine, Dr. S. Naqvi, Dr. Wu, Nursing Supervisor Heidi Green and Associate Director of Patient Care Mary Ellen Castro. Although the complaint does not specify a legal theory, the Court construes it to assert violations of the Eighth Amendment. On March 9, 2016, the plaintiff moved for leave to file an amended complaint. On April 29, 2016, the court granted the motion to amend and directed the plaintiff to file his amended complaint within twenty days of the date of the order. To date, the plaintiff has not filed an amended complaint. Accordingly, the court reviews the allegations in the original complaint.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss ... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,” or that “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).

         Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions,’ ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action’ or ‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further factual enhancement,’” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Although courts still have an obligation to interpret “a pro se complaint liberally,” the complaint must include sufficient factual allegations to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).

         The plaintiff claims that on August 28, 2015, at his sentencing hearing in state court, he injured his left hip and ankle. Upon his return to MacDougall-Walker, officers transported him in a wheelchair to the medical department to be examined.

         On August 31, 2015, Dr. Naqvi referred him for x-rays of his left ankle and hip and provided him with crutches. On September 3, 2015, the plaintiff began taking pain medication. On September 4, 2015, a nurse sent the plaintiff to the hospital because she could not detect a pulse in his ankle. The plaintiff contends that the nurse mistakenly checked for a pulse on the wrong side of his ankle. An ultrasound revealed no blood-clot in his left leg or ankle.

         On September 9, 2015, Dr. Naqvi prescribed a muscle relaxant and referred the plaintiff for a CT scan and a consultation with an orthopedist. Dr. Naqvi did not issue the plaintiff a pass to shower in the handicapped shower room or wrap the plaintiff’s ankle. The plaintiff washed himself using water from the sink in his cell.

         On September 22, 2015, Dr. Naqvi prescribed a stronger pain medication to be taken in the evening. On September 26, 2015, Dr. Naqvi prescribed pain medication to be taken during the day. On October 7, 2015, Dr. Naqvi informed the plaintiff that the requests for a consultation had been approved. He also prescribed a stronger pain medication to be taken by the plaintiff during the day.

         On November 4, 2015, a vascular surgeon examined the plaintiff. On November 5, 2015, the plaintiff underwent a CT scan which revealed two bulging discs, degenerated disc disease and a pinched sciatic nerve.

         On November 8, 2015, the plaintiff wrote to Captain Hall asking to be permitted to use the handicapped shower room. Captain Hall contacted Nurse Heidi Green regarding the plaintiff’s medical status. On November 15, 2015, the plaintiff asked Dr. Naqvi why he still had not been examined by an orthopedist. He also requested a wheelchair and stronger pain medication.

         On November 16, 2015, Dr. Naqvi prescribed a pain medication patch. The plaintiff developed an allergic reaction to the patch. The plaintiff’s left ankle was still painful and swollen.

         On November 25, 2015, the plaintiff was approved for a shower in the handicapped shower room and was moved to a handicapped cell.

         The plaintiff filed a grievance about the failure of Dr. Naqvi to refer him to be seen by an orthopedist. On December 2, 2015, a follow-up visit with the vascular surgeon indicated there was no evidence of vascular problems.

         On December 3, 2015, Dr. Naqvi ordered a wheelchair for the plaintiff and referred the plaintiff for x-rays of his left foot. On December 20, 2015, Dr. Naqvi informed the plaintiff that the x-rays revealed no broken bones in his left foot. On December 24, 2015, after using crutches for seventeen weeks, medical staff approved the plaintiff to use a wheelchair. On ...


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