United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge
Michael Davis is a prisoner in the custody of the Connecticut
Department of Correction. He has filed a complaint pro
se and in forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging deliberate indifference to his medical needs.
After an initial review, the Court will dismiss
plaintiff's claims against Connecticut Correctional
Managed Health Care and against the individual “John
Doe” defendants in their official capacities.
plaintiff's individual-capacity claims for deliberate
indifference under the Eighth Amendment and for retaliation
under the First Amendment shall proceed. Plaintiff, however,
shall file an amended complaint by February 3, 2017, that
identifies the names of the “John Doe” defendants
or a motion for extension of time to do so.
has filed suit against the following five defendants:
Connecticut Correctional Managed Health Care and four
“John Doe” defendants who work in nursing and
medical care at Osborn Correctional
Institution. The following facts are alleged in the
complaint and accepted as true only for purposes of this
28, 2016, plaintiff submitted a request for medical services
because he was experiencing pain in his right heel that
spread up the lower part of his leg, limiting his activity
and mobility. He also suffered from a painful and blistering
rash on the upper half of his body. The sick call nurse,
defendant John Doe #3, called plaintiff to the medical unit,
but did not provide him any treatment, instead referring him
to a doctor, defendant John Doe #4. Plaintiff waited to see
the doctor and, after a while, he submitted another request
for medical services, and eventually a grievance.
his requests for medical care went unanswered, plaintiff
asked a nursing supervisor, defendant John Doe #2, why he was
being denied medical services, to which he received no
response. Plaintiff also asked the administrative remedies
nurse, defendant John Doe #5, why his grievances relating to
denial of medical care went unanswered, to which she replied
that she threw his grievances away, along with all other
grievances from inmates who complain too much. Plaintiff
received no medical treatment for three months, and in
retaliation for his complaints had medication for his skin
discontinued by defendant John Doe #4 without consultation.
Plaintiff seeks $90, 000 in damages and an administrative
transfer to another facility or assignment of another agency
for medical services.
Pursuant 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. The allegations of a pro
se plaintiff's complaint must be read liberally to
raise the strongest arguments that they suggest. See
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010)
(discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se
recent years, the Supreme Court has set forth a threshold
“plausibility” pleading standard for courts to
evaluate the adequacy of federal court complaints. A
complaint must allege enough facts-as distinct from legal
conclusions-that give rise to plausible grounds for relief.
See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). Notwithstanding the rule of liberal
interpretation of a pro se complaint, a pro
se complaint may not survive dismissal if its factual
allegations do not meet the basic plausibility standard.
See, e.g., Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local 40,
790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015).
initial matter, I will dismiss plaintiff's claim against
Connecticut Correctional Managed Health Care, because it is a
division of the University of Connecticut Health Center,
which is a state agency that is not subject to suit for money
damages as “person” under § 1983. See
Will v. Michigan Dep't of Police, 491 U.S. 58, 70
(1989); Ferla v. Correctional Managed Health Care,
2015 WL 5826812, at *12 (D. Conn. 2015). To the extent that
plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in the form of a transfer,
it is clear that the Connecticut Correctional Managed Health
Care-as distinct from the Department of Correction-cannot
afford him such relief.
the individual “John Doe” defendants, plaintiff
has filed suit against them in their official and individual
capacities. To the extent that plaintiff sues these
defendants in their official capacities, I will dismiss
plaintiff's claims, because official-capacity claims for
money damages against state officials are barred by the
Eleventh Amendment. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S.
159 (1985). Although there is a well-established exception
for official-capacity suits that seek prospective injunctive
relief against a state official, see Virginia Office for
Prot. & Advocacy v. Stewart, 131 S.Ct.
1632, 1639 (2011), plaintiff's prayer for injunctive
relief (a transfer to another facility or agency for medical
health services) is not within the scope of authority of any
of the individual medical defendants to grant.
extent that plaintiff sues the “John Doe”
defendants in their individual capacities, I will allow these
claims to proceed. It is well established that “[a]
prison official's ‘deliberate indifference' to
a substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate violates the
Eighth Amendment.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 828 (1994). A deliberate indifference claim has two
component requirements. The first requirement is objective:
the alleged deprivation must be serious. The second
requirement is subjective: the charged officials must act
with a subjectively reckless state of mind in their denial of
medical care. See Spavone v. New York State Dept. of
Correctional Servs., 719 F.3d 127, 138 (2d Cir. 2013);
Hilton v. Wright, 673 F.3d 120, 127 (2d Cir. 2012).
plaintiff has alleged that he suffered from
“serious” foot pain that has limited his activity
and mobility, as well as a “severe” rash on the
upper half of his body, which is painful and blistered. For
purposes of this ruling, the Court will assume that
plaintiff's medical need was serious, and that the delay
in care-that lasted over three months-is sufficient to
establish that plaintiff's deprivation was objectively
serious. See Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698,
702-703 (2d Cir. 1998).
has also alleged that his deprivation of care occurred with a
sufficiently culpable state of mind. The Second Circuit has
allowed claims for deliberate indifference “where there
is an underlying dispute as to whether legitimate medical
claims were deliberately disregarded as punishment for past
breaches of the disciplinary code, or for other invalid
reasons.” Archer v. Dutcher, 733 F.2d 14, 17
(2d Cir. 1984). Plaintiff has alleged that he suffers from
legitimate claims of foot pain and skin rash, and that those
claims were deliberately ...