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Durand v. Santini

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 15, 2016

TAMIRA DURAND, Plaintiff,
v.
LIDIA SANTINI, ET AL., Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER

          VANESSA L. BRYANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Tamira Durand, is currently confined at Carswell Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas (“FMC Carswell”). She has filed a complaint pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) (“Bivens”). She names Physician Assistants Lidia Santini and Cesar Villa, Clinical Director Irizarry (“Dr. Irizarry”) and Counselor Mancuso as defendants.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), a district 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 asserts that on or about June 28, 2013, she injured her left knee playing basketball at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut (“FCI Danbury”). A nurse diagnosed the plaintiff as suffering from temporary knee and joint pain and issued her crutches. At the time, the plaintiff was housed on the top tier and was assigned a top bunk in her cell.

         On July 1, 2013, the plaintiff's knee was swollen and she could not put any weight on it. Physician Assistant Santini did not examine the plaintiff, but referred her for x-rays of her left knee. On July 26, 2013, the plaintiff complained that her knee was very painful and that it was difficult to climb the stairs to reach her bunk. Physician Assistant Santini noted that the x-rays showed no abnormalities. At the plaintiff's request, Physician Assistant Santini referred her to an orthopedist.

         On August 1, 2013, the plaintiff's knee buckled during her shift in the food services department. A nurse gave her medication for the pain in her knee. On August 27, 2013, a nurse issued the plaintiff a knee brace.

         On September 10, 2013, Physician Assistant Villa treated the plaintiff for diarrhea, but did not treat the plaintiff's knee pain. On September 24, 2013, Physician Assistant Villa treated the plaintiff for diarrhea and informed the plaintiff that she was on the waiting list to see an orthopedist.

         On September 26, 2013, a nurse issued the plaintiff a temporary bottom bunk pass. On September 30, 2013, the plaintiff complained that her knee was still swollen and was locking up. Physician Assistant Villa extended the plaintiff's bottom bunk pass.

         On November 14, 2013, the plaintiff sought treatment for back pain. A nurse noted that the plaintiff had undergone an MRI in 2012 which showed bulging discs in her lower spine. The nurse prescribed pain medication and gave the plaintiff a pass so that she did not have to return to work. Later that day, Physician Assistant Villa determined that the plaintiff did not meet the criteria for a bottom bunk pass.

         The following day, the plaintiff complained of low back pain that shot down her left leg and also numbness in her left foot. Physician Assistant Villa administered an injection of medication to the plaintiff's back, but refused to issue her a bottom bunk pass. He directed the plaintiff to speak to someone on “Mainline” regarding a bottom bunk pass.” Compl., Doc. No. 1 at 13.

         On November 18, 2013, Dr. Irizarry examined the plaintiff. The plaintiff complained of knee and back pain. Based on the results of the x-rays of her knee, Dr. Irizarry ruled out an injury to her knee ligaments. He did not believe the plaintiff's complaints of back pain, did not notice the notation regarding her prior history of bulging discs in her lower spine and refused to issue her a bottom bunk pass.

         On November 25, 2013, Dr. Irizarry examined the plaintiff. When he reviewed the plaintiff's medical chart, he noticed the 2012 MRI of the plaintiff's lower back that reflected bulging discs. Based on the MRI results, he issued the plaintiff a bottom bunk pass for thirty days.

         On December 20, 2013, Physician Assistant Villa extended the plaintiff's lower bunk pass and referred her to a neurologist. On December 29, 2013, the plaintiff experienced severe pain in her back and down one of her legs as well as weakness and an inability to walk. A physician examined the plaintiff and administered an injection of medication to relieve her symptoms.

         On December 31, 2013, the plaintiff's symptoms had not subsided. Medical officials transferred the plaintiff to Danbury Hospital for treatment. An MRI of the plaintiff's lumbar spine revealed disc herniation and stenosis. The plaintiff remained in the hospital for five days and received various medications and injections to relieve the pain in her back.

         Hospital officials released the plaintiff back to FCI Danbury on January 4, 2014 with a prescription for medication and a walker. On January 9, 2014, Dr. Izarry ...


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