United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge.
Kenya Brown, currently confined at Cheshire Correctional
Institution in Cheshire, Connecticut, filed this case pro
se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the
defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his dental
needs and challenging the constitutionality of Administrative
Directive 8.4 which governs dental services. Brown names as
defendants Dentists Richard P. Benoit and Bruce Lichtenstein.
The complaint was filed on January 12, 2017. Brown's
motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on
January 17, 2017.
section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, I 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Although detailed allegations
are not required, the complaint must include sufficient facts
to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the
grounds upon which they are based and to demonstrate a
plausible right to relief. Bell Atlantic v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory allegations are not
sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). The plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Nevertheless, it is
well-established that “[p]ro 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. 2013) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau
of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see
also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir.
2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro
Lichtenstein has been providing dental care for Brown since
August 2008. At that time, Dr. Lichtenstein became aware that
tooth #19 needed repair. Dr. Lichtenstein did not provide
corrective measures to halt further decay of the tooth. In
April 2010, it was again documented that tooth #19 had deep
decay and had fractured. At that time, Dr. Deflorio put Brown
on a list for a filing, but did not follow up to ensure that
treatment was provided. In July 2010, Dr. Cuevas attempted a
restoration of tooth #19. He was unsuccessful because the
fracture required more time than had been allotted.
September 2010, Brown notified the dental department of pain
in tooth #20. He told Dr. Cuevas that he experienced extreme
discomfort with hot or cold temperatures. Brown alleges that
his mistreatment was result of informal policies in effect
between 2010 and 2013 in the dental departments at Northern
Correctional Institution, Garner Correctional Institution,
and MacDougal Correctional Institution that prioritized
extraction over prevention or restoration services. As a
result of these policies, at an unspecified time, Dr.
McGeoghan broke a tooth that did not require removal.
September 2012, Brown was subjected to inadequate dental
procedures by Dr. Reichler. Brown suffers from a dental
complication, known to defendants Benoit and Lichtenstien,
whereby he has difficulty achieving pain relief from local
anesthesia. While attempting to extract tooth #22, Dr.
Reichler spent over an hour repeatedly breaking off pieces of
the tooth to the gum line. Dr. Reichler then left Brown with
the nerve exposed for over seven days.
2013, Dr. Tuttle agreed to try to restore a tooth. She gave
Brown multiple injections to try to numb the area. The
injections were unsuccessful. Dr. Tuttle drilled a hole
directly through Brown's tooth leaving the nerve exposed.
When Brown refused any further treatment, Dr. Tuttle
allegedly made false sexual allegations against him. That
incident is the subject of another lawsuit, Brown v.
Tuttle, 3:13cv1444 (VAB). Dr. Benoit did not discipline
Dr. Tuttle for making the false charges. Brown experienced
severe dental pain until the tooth was finally extracted in
alleges that Dr. Benoit was aware of his difficulty achieving
pain relief from local anesthesia but did not arrange for
alternatives such as cleanings to prevent decay. Dr. Benoit
permitted Dr. Tessler to treat Brown, requiring him to wait
unreasonable times for treatment and denying him pain
medication. As a result of Dr. Tessler's actions, Brown
lost three back teeth, ##30, 31, and 32, as a result of
October 23, 2015, Dr. Lichtenstein attempted to restore teeth
## 19 and 20. He did so only after the Attorney General's
Office intervened. He had great difficulty restoring tooth
#19 because seven years had passed since the decay was first
noted. The filling became dislodged and fell out. Dr.
Lichtenstein filled the tooth a second time on October 29,
2015. Tooth #20 required a second restoration procedure on
December 18, 2015.
January 15, 2016, Dr. Lichtenstein noted further decay in
tooth #19 but did not restore the tooth or order cleaning.
Dr. Lichtenstein faxed his report to Dr. Benoit the same day.
Dr. Benoit did not recommend restoration or cleaning.
February 24, 2016, and April 22, 2016, Brown was fitted for
partial dentures and the dentures were manufactured. Brown
received one set of partial dentures on April 22, 2016. On
May 19, 2016, Brown committed an act of self-harm and was
admitted to the infirmary at Corrigan Correctional
Institution. Correctional Officer Murphy packed Brown's
property. Brown believed that that his partial dentures were
destroyed or thrown away and informed the AAG Varunes, who
had been involved in obtaining the partial dentures, of his
31, 2016, Brown was transferred. During intake, Brown told
the nurse that his partial dentures were missing and that he
needed to see the dental department. He also wrote to the
dental department. Dr. Lichtenstein should have known that
Brown would suffer pain and discomfort and experience
difficulty eating without the partial dentures, but did not
respond to Brown's complaint. After waiting for a
response from Dr. Lichtenstein for three months,
Brown filed a grievance. On July 1, 2016, Brown wrote to the
dental unit and stated that his filling had fallen out and
that he had been writing to the dental unit since June 26,
2016. On July 5, 2016, Dr. Lichtenstein indicated that Brown
was on the list for dental services. On August 5, 2016, Brown
submitted a grievance addressing his dental needs. On August
11, 2016, Dr. Lichtenstein responded and stated that he
served 1400 inmates by himself, had not had an assistant for
three months, and that there was a 4-5 month delay in dental
appeal was denied by Dr. Lichtenstein on August 23, 2016.
Pursuant to Administrative Directive 8.9, the doctor who was
the subject of the grievance is permitted to rule on the
grievance. Brown views this rule as discriminatory and a
denial of due process. Brown alleges that Dr. Benoit has