United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Charles S. Haight, Jr. Senior United States District Judge
Plaintiff, Christopher Baines, is currently incarcerated at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
("MacDougall-Walker"). He filed a civil rights
complaint in forma pauperis pursuant 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Dr. M. Pillai and Nurse James Shortridge.
The Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, must undertake
an initial review when a plaintiff requests to proceed in
forma pauperis to determine whether the Complaint sets
forth any claims upon which relief may be granted. This Order
serves as the Court's review under §1915A.
Plaintiff suffers from type 1 diabetes. Complaint, ¶ 2.
He arrived at MacDougall-Walker from Corrigan-Radgowski
Correctional Institution on April 1, 2016. Complaint, ¶
1. Upon his arrival, the Plaintiff asked the processing
officer for a diabetic snack and was given cereal without
milk. Complaint, ¶ 2. Plaintiff was then processed
through medical by a male nurse. Complaint, ¶ 3. He
informed medical intake personnel of his condition and
sensitivity to regular insulin. Complaint, ¶ 3.
Plaintiff also informed the medical intake personnel that
before his incarceration, he was prescribed Novolog Humulin
insulin by the West Haven V.A. Hospital to reduce the
occurrences of low blood sugar seizures. Complaint,
¶¶ 4, 11. The nurse informed Plaintiff that the
Department of Corrections ("D.O.C.") would not
honor that prescription. Complaint, ¶ 4.
April 2, 2016, at approximately 5:15 a.m., Plaintiff was
given a morning dose of insulin. Complaint, ¶ 5.
Plaintiff asked if 5:15 a.m. was the usual time that insulin
was dispensed, and the nurse replied that it was and that
this time was protocol. Complaint, ¶ 5. Plaintiff then
asked when breakfast was served, and the nurse replied that
breakfast was at 7:00 a.m. Complaint, ¶ 6. He then
explained to the nurse that this would leave him susceptible
to diabetic low blood sugar seizures. Complaint, ¶ 6. He
also explained to the nurse that Type 1 dependent diabetics
are advised by doctors to eat fifteen to twenty minutes after
insulin injections. Complaint, ¶ 7. The nurse informed
Plaintiff that eating at 7:00 a.m. was protocol. Plaintiff
asked for a diabetic snack to hold him over until breakfast,
but the nurse refused and told him to submit a written
request to medical. Complaint, ¶ 8.
thereafter, Plaintiff suffered a low blood sugar seizure
attack and a "Code White" was called. Complaint,
¶ 9. Plaintiff was taken out of his unit by stretcher.
Complaint, ¶ 9. Once the Plaintiff was stabilized, he
was informed that his blood sugar registered as
"lo" on the glucometer, which means his blood sugar
was below "20." Complaint, ¶ 10. Plaintiff
asserts that because of the staff's adherence to
protocol, their negligence, and their indifference to his
medical needs, he could have died. Complaint, ¶ 10.
Plaintiff, after the first seizure, informed the staff that
he has been an insulin dependent Type 1 diabetic since
September 1983, and that his suffers from hypoglycemia
unawareness, meaning he no longer receives low blood sugar
warning signs and is often unaware that his glucose levels
are dangerously low. Complaint, ¶ 12.
Plaintiff suffered three further severe low blood sugar
seizures before Dr. Pillai evaluated him on May 17, 2016.
Complaint, ¶ 13. The Plaintiff, prior to his visit with
Dr. Pillai, had made several written requests to see a
physician, and submitted one Urgent Emergency Order, which
was ignored for over seventy-two hours, breaking protocol.
Complaint, ¶ 13. Dr. Pillai stated that the chart did
not reflect the morning low blood sugar readings that
Plaintiff experienced. Complaint, ¶ 14. Plaintiff told
Dr. Pillai that he thought that the nurses may have only
documented his glucose levels after he was given glucagon
shots, glucose gel sticks, and orange juice, which were
resulting in high glucose levels. Complaint, ¶ 14.
18, 21, and 23, 2016, the plaintiff suffered severe further
low blood sugar seizures and his blood sugar registered as
"lo." Complaint, ¶¶ 15-19. Plaintiff also
alleges that the medical staff is indifferent to his need to
not use regular insulin, which for him produces variations in
his glucose levels which can result in seizures. Complaint,
31, 2016, Nurse James Shortridge pricked the plaintiff's
finger to draw blood to test for his insulin level.
Complaint, ¶ 20. Before the results were ready the
Plaintiff became incoherent and was in and out of
consciousness. Complaint, ¶ 21. Plaintiff recalled
people yelling "get in the wheelchair" however, he
could not respond because he was in and out of consciousness.
Id. Officers handcuffed the Plaintiff and
transported him in a wheelchair to the restrictive housing
unit. Complaint, ¶ 24. A nurse tested the
plaintiff's glucose level and it was low. Id.
after being given a glucose gel stick, asked what had
happened. Complaint, ¶ 25. He was told by a corrections
officer that he had caused a disturbance. Complaint, ¶
25. Plaintiff apologized for anything he might have said or
done while having low blood sugar. Complaint, ¶ 25. The
Correction Officer told him he would speak to the medical
personnel and act accordingly. Complaint, ¶ 25.
Plaintiff spent ten days in the Restrictive Housing Unit
("RHU") due to this incident. Complaint, ¶ 26.
In the disciplinary report, Nurse Shortridge stated that he
gave the Plaintiff several orders to return to the M1 Unit,
that Plaintiff refused medication, ignored staff orders, and
that Plaintiff became agitated and aggressive. Complaint
¶¶ 27-29. Plaintiff alleges that this reaction is a
common result of low blood sugar. Complaint, ¶ 31.
also alleges that on June 23, 2016, he suffered a further
diabetic blood sugar seizure. Complaint, ¶ 32. Medical
was called, and his blood sugar level was "22, "
which is low. He was given four glucose gel sticks and one
glucogon shot. Id. Thereafter, his blood sugar level
stabilized at "99" and he was able to return to his
Standard of Review
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. A complaint is "frivolous" under
§ 1915 if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law
or in fact." See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989); see also Nance v. Kelly, 912 F.2d
605, 606 (2d Cir. 1990) (an action is considered
"frivolous" when either: (1) "the 'factual
contentions are clearly baseless, ' such as when
allegations are the product of delusion or fantasy;" or
(2) "the claim is 'based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory'") (quoting Neitzke,
490 U.S. at 327)). In particular, "[a] finding of
factual frivolousness is appropriate when the facts alleged
rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly
incredible." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32-33 (1992). A claim is thus factually frivolous "if
the facts alleged are clearly baseless, a category
encompassing allegations that are fanciful, fantastic, and
delusional." Id. (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted).
a claim is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory
when either the claim lacks an arguable basis in law,
Benitez v. Wolff, 907 F.2d 1293, 1295 (2d Cir. 1990)
(per curiam), or a dispositive defense clearly
exists on the face of the complaint, Pino v. Ryan,
49 F.3d 51, 53 (2d Cir. 1995). In reviewing a complaint to
determine whether it states a viable claim, the court
"accept[s] as true all factual allegations in the
complaint" and draws inferences from these allegations
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Cruz v.
Gomez,202 F.3d 593, 596 (2d Cir. 2000). Dismissal
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is then only
appropriate when "it appears beyond doubt that the
plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim
which would ...