United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge.
Ezra Benjamin is confined at the MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution in Connecticut. He has filed a
complaint pro se and in forma pauperis
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he has been
unconstitutionally denied medical treatment and threatened
with retaliation for complaining. After an initial review,
the Court concludes that the complaint should be served on
names four defendants, Dr. Omprakash Pillai, Rikel Lightner,
Nurse Heidi, and Health Services Administrative Remedies
Coordinator Lydia, all of whom work at MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution (“MacDougall”). All
defendants are named in individual capacities only.
following allegations from plaintiff's complaint are
accepted as true for purposes of the Court's initial
review. During his current term of incarceration, plaintiff
began experiencing lower back pain that radiated down the
back of his right leg. Doc. #1 at 4 (¶ 12). He first
sought treatment in 2015 while confined at Corrigan
Correctional Institution. Id. at 4 (¶ 13). On
June 2, 2016, plaintiff was transferred to MacDougall along
with his medical records. Id. at 4 (¶¶ 14-
15). During the medical intake screening, plaintiff informed
the medical staff of his severe back pain. He was told that
Dr. Pillai would review his medical record within one month.
Id. at 4-5 (¶ 16).
13, 2016, plaintiff wrote to the medical department asking to
be seen for his severe back pain. Plaintiff stated that the
Motrin 600 mg he had been given did not cure his pain and
requested an MRI. Id. at 5 (¶ 17). Plaintiff
stated that the pain had begun in his left lower back and at
first affected only his left leg but now affected both legs.
He had limited mobility, walking with a severe limp. The pain
and discomfort affected his sleep. Plaintiff requested an
MRI, a cane, a back brace, and also a high-protein diet to
address weight gain from limited mobility. Id. at 5
(¶¶ 18-19). On June 17, 2016, plaintiff submitted
an additional request seeking medical treatment for pain.
Id. at 6 (¶ 20).
7, 2016, plaintiff submitted a health services administrative
remedy seeking a health services review for denial of medical
care. Plaintiff restated his medical complaints and asked for
a cane, back brace, and proper pain medication. Id.
at 6 (¶ 21). Dr. Pillai saw plaintiff on July 15, 2016.
Plaintiff requested an MRI during that visit. Id. at
6 (¶ 22). Dr. Pillai ordered blood and urine tests and
an x-ray, but he refused to order an MRI. Id. at 6
(¶ 23). When plaintiff requested a cane, Dr. Pillai
called him a “pain in the ass” and told plaintiff
that he would get no treatment if he continued writing
grievances. Id. at 7 (¶¶ 25-26).
28, 2016, plaintiff wrote to the medical unit to inform
medical staff that, although he had provided blood and urine
samples, he had not received the x-ray or naproxen that had
been ordered by Dr. Pillai. Id. at 7 (¶¶
27-28). On August 10, 2016, plaintiff was informed that the
pharmacy does not fill naproxen prescriptions in the manner
ordered and that Dr. Pillai would have to resubmit the order
in the proper manner. No reference was made to the x-ray.
Id. at 7-8 (¶ 29).
August 22, 2016, plaintiff submitted a second health services
administrative remedy seeking a health services review in
accordance with Administrative Directive 8.9. Plaintiff cited
extreme back and leg pain, loss of sleep, and lack of
diagnostic testing to determine the cause of his condition.
Id. at 8 (¶ 30). Plaintiff also complained that
he never received the x-ray and was being denied prescribed
medication. Id. at 8 (¶ 31). Defendant Lydia
failed to respond. Id. at 8 (¶ 32).
August 30, 2016, plaintiff was unable to stand to lift
himself from the toilet. He was brought to the medical unit
in a wheelchair. Id. at 8 (¶ 33). The nurse
wrote a note for Dr. Pillai informing him that he needed to
order naproxen to be given twice per day rather than as
needed. She also requested a cane for plaintiff and gave him
a box of Motrin 200 mg. Id. at 9 (¶¶ 34-
September 7, 2016, plaintiff still had not received the
naproxen, x-ray, back brace, or cane. Id. at 9
(¶ 36). Plaintiff wrote several requests addressed to
Nurse Heidi (the first shift supervisor) seeking medical
treatment, a back brace and a cane. Id. at 9 (¶
37). Plaintiff also wrote to Health Services Director
Lightner. Id. at 9 (¶ 38).
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court must review prisoner
civil complaints and dismiss any portion of the complaint
that is frivolous or malicious, that 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. The
Court must accept as true all factual matters alleged in a
complaint, although a complaint may not survive unless its
factual recitations state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face. See, e.g., Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Mastafa v. Chevron
Corp., 770 F.3d 170, 177 (2d Cir. 2014). Nevertheless,
it is well-established that “pro se complaints
‘must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise
the strongest arguments that they suggest.'”
Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir.
includes, nominally, six counts in his complaint: (1) Dr.
Pillai violated the Eighth Amendment by ignoring
plaintiff's repeated complaints of pain, not performing
essential tests, refusing to consult a specialist, denying
plaintiff a cane and back brace, and not providing naproxen;
(2) Dr. Pillai was deliberately indifferent to
plaintiff's medical needs by considering him a nuisance,
threatening a denial of treatment, and failing to investigate
his complaints to properly diagnose plaintiff's
condition; (3) Dr. Pillai retaliated against plaintiff by
refusing to provide plaintiff a cane, back brace, and
medication because plaintiff complained about his medical
care; (4) Dr. Pillai delayed plaintiff's medical
treatment by disregarding repeated requests for treatment;
(5) defendant Lydia violated plaintiff's Eighth Amendment
rights by failing to respond to his grievances; and (6)
defendants Lydia, Heidi, and Lightner were deliberately
indifferent to plaintiff by failing to provide adequate
medical care and treatment and failing to report misconduct
by medical staff, including Dr. Pillai's failure to
provide medication and staff ...