United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Dominic J. Squatrito United States District Judge
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.
Standard of Review
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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