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Lue v. Princess

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 10, 2016

BRANDON LUE, Plaintiff,
v.
PRINCESS, ET AL., Defendants.

          RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Dominic J. Squatrito United States District Judge

         The plaintiff, Brandon Lue, commenced this civil rights action against various medical staff members and correctional officers at Garner Correctional Institution ("Garner") in their individual and official capacities. He asserted claims for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. The defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the defendants' motion is granted.

         I. Standard of Review

         A motion for summary judgment may be granted only where there are no issues of material fact in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56(a), Fed. R Civ. P.; In re Dana Corp., 574 F.3d 129, 151 (2d Cir. 2009). The moving party may satisfy his burden "by showing-that is pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." PepsiCo, Inc. v. Coca-Cola Co., 315 F.3d 101, 105 (2d Cir. 2002) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Once the moving party meets this burden, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Wright v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266 (2d Cir. 2009). He must present such evidence as would allow a jury to find in his favor in order to defeat the motion for summary judgment. Graham v. Long Island R.R., 230 F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000). The nonmoving party "must offer some hard evidence showing that its version is not wholly fanciful." D'Amico v. City of New York, 132 F.3d 145, 149 (2d Cir. 1998).

         II. Facts[1]

         On February 2, 2012, prior to his incarceration, the plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure on his right knee (osteochondritis dissecans repair). At a follow-up visit in August 2012 the plaintiff reported that he had no complaints. He stated that he had been jogging and running sprints with no pain. The plaintiff was incarcerated on August 15, 2013.

         Plaintiffs medical records from Garner show visits on January 20, 2015, February 24, 2015, February 27, 2015, and March 10, 2015. None of those records refers to a fall by the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleges that he slipped and fell while getting down from the top bunk on January 16, 2015, injuring his back and right knee. The plaintiffs medical records do not indicate that he was seen on that date. During a regularly scheduled meeting with a social worker on January 20, 2015, the plaintiff stated that he was sleeping better and feeling all right.

         On March 10, 2015, the plaintiff met with the defendant Nurse Law. The plaintiff reported that his left knee gave him trouble when he played basketball and walked around. When Nurse Law recommended that he not play basketball, the plaintiff stated that he had to play to keep his weight down. The plaintiff told Nurse Law that he hit a car while riding a motorcycle when he was younger and underwent surgery on his right knee. Nurse Law requested the name of the surgeon so medical records could be obtained and reviewed. Nurse Law noted that the plaintiff had been prescribed Motrin 600 mg for back pain and indicated that the Motrin also could help the knee discomfort.

         A clinical note dated March 17, 2015, indicates that the plaintiff presented in good spirits and stated that he was doing well. The plaintiff was seen for a scheduled medical evaluation on March 30, 2015. At that time, he indicated he was upset that he had not yet been seen by a doctor in response to requests he submitted due to knee pain. On April 14, 2015, the plaintiff complained that he had been trying to see the doctor since January for knee pain.

         A May 5, 2015 medical note from the defendant Dr. Valletta indicates that the plaintiff complained of chronic knee pain as a result of the accident prior to his incarceration. The plaintiff stated that he experienced knee pain only when bearing weight. There is no reference in the medical note to a fall from his bunk. Dr. Valletta referred the plaintiff for an x-ray of his right knee, and an x-ray of his right knee was taken on May 7, 2015.

         In an Inmate Administrative Remedy Form signed by the plaintiff on May 6, 2015, the plaintiff requested a Health Services Review relating to a fall from his bunk on January 16, 2015 that injured his back and re-injured his right knee. The plaintiff stated further that he had repeatedly filed requests about his back and knee but had not yet seen a doctor.

         The disposition of the plaintiffs request, as noted by Dr. Valletta on May 14, 2015, was "no change in treatment." (Doc. # 40-3, at 3). Dr. Valletta explained the reasons for this disposition as follows: "IM [inmate] erroneously submitted the day after his office visit to address this condition. He agrees to continue Naproxen, [do] ROM [range of motion] exercises [and wear a] knee sleeve." (Id.). Valletta further noted that he would follow-up with the plaintiff in six weeks and also had reviewed x-ray results with him. The x-ray results Dr. Valletta reviewed with the plaintiff on May 14, 2015 showed no visible foreign body in the plaintiffs right knee.

         On January 16, 2015, the plaintiff already was on medication for back pain, prescribed by Dr. Valletta. Nurse Law told him that this medication also could address his knee pain.

         In his Complaint, the plaintiff alleges only one interaction each with Nurse Princess Chandler ("Nurse Chandler") and Nurse Law. He alleges that on January 16, 2015, Nurse Chandler advised him to complete a sick call request, and that Nurse Law subsequently placed his name on the list to see the doctor. Defendants Warden Falcone and Captain Bona ...


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