United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AS TO ALL DEFENDANTS EXCEPT ALXANDER AND AS TO WHOM
DEFAULT IS ENTERED FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR IN HIS INDIVIDUAL
CAPACITY [DKT. 82]
Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge
Andrew Siminausky, currently incarcerated at the Garner
Correctional Institution in Newtown, Connecticut, has filed
this action pro se. The named Defendants in the
amended complaint are Connecticut Managed Health Care
Providers (“CMHC”) Supervisor Sean, Dr. Cary R.
Freston, Dr. Sayeed Naqvi, Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”) Coordinator Captain McCormick, Deputy
Warden Gary Wright, Property Officer Melendez, CMHC, the
Department of Correction (“DOC”) and Correctional
Officer Alxander. Plaintiff initially characterized his
amended complaint as asserting Eighth Amendment and Due
Process claims based on his transfer from a level 3 facility
to a level 4 facility solely because of his disability. In
the section of the amended complaint listing claims for
relief, Plaintiff lists three claims: (1) Defendants Naqvi,
Freston and McCormick denied Plaintiff his due process right
to refuse medical care; (2) Defendant Melendez denied
Plaintiff medically-approved items; and (3) Defendant
Alxander used excessive force against him. Defendants move
for summary judgment and Plaintiff has filed a memorandum in
opposition. For the reasons that follow, Defendants'
motion is granted.
motion for summary judgment may be granted only where there
are no issues of material fact in dispute and the moving
party is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 56(a); 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 rational 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).
suffers from Raynaud's Disease. Dr. Freston evaluated
Plaintiff on August 16, 2013, and discussed the management
and treatment of his condition. During that visit, Plaintiff
told Dr. Freston that his insulated socks had been stolen, he
had been prescribed special cotton gloves, and he was taking
Nifedipine which was helping his condition. Dr. Freston noted
no skin disruptions caused by Raynaud's Disease. There
was scant swelling and no signs of other diseases. Dr.
Freston noted that Plaintiff was not wearing his prescribed
gloves on the day of the exam. Plaintiff counters that it was
a warm day in August. Dr. Freston also indicated that
Plaintiff was intermittently noncompliant with his
Freston recommended that Plaintiff be housed in a
climate-controlled facility because temperature fluctuation
is a trigger for Raynaud's disease. Dr. Freston examined
Plaintiff's gloves and concluded that the gloves could be
used as needed to keep Plaintiff's hands warm. Dr.
Freston opined that insulated socks would help. Although
Plaintiff previously had been approved for soft restraints,
Dr. Freston noted no need for special restraints or special
transportation. These opinions, intended to help Plaintiff
manage his Raynaud's Disease, were based upon Dr.
Freston's professional medical judgment.
Dr. Freston recommended that the Plaintiff be transferred to
a climate-controlled facility, he was powerless to transfer
the Plaintiff because inmate transfer decisions are not made
by doctors. To obtain an award of damages, the plaintiff must
demonstrate that each Defendant was personally involved in
the alleged constitutional deprivation. Farid v.
Ellen, 593 F.3d 233, 249 (2d Cir. 2010). Inmate transfer
decisions are made exclusively by the Offender Classification
and Population Management unit.
alleges that he submitted requests to Supervisor Sean, ADA
Coordinator McCormick, and Deputy Warden Wright to prevent
his transfer to a climate-controlled facility. Defendant Sean
stated that he would have deferred to Dr. Freston's
judgment in making any recommendation for transfer.
Defendants move for summary judgment on four grounds. First
they argue that Plaintiff has not shown that Defendants
Freston, Sean, McCormack and Wright were deliberately
indifferent to a serious medical need in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. Second, Plaintiff has not established the
personal involvement of Defendants Sean, McCormack and Wright
in any alleged deprivation. Third, all Defendants are
protected by qualified immunity. Fourth, all claims against
the Defendants in official capacity and any claims against
DOC and CMHC are barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
Deliberate Indifference to a Serious Medical Need
first argue that Plaintiff fails to allege facts to support a
claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need
because Raynaud's Disease is not a serious medical need
and, even if it were, the Defendants were not deliberately
indifferent to that need.
state a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious
medical need, Plaintiff must show both that his medical need
was serious and that Defendant acted with a sufficiently
culpable state of mind. See Smith v. Carpenter, 316
F.3d 178, 183-84 (2d Cir. 2003) (citing Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). There are both
objective and subjective components to the deliberate
indifference standard. See Id. Objectively, the
alleged deprivation must be “sufficiently
serious.” Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698,
702 (1998); see Hathaway v. Coughlin, 99 F.3d 550,
553 (2d Cir. 1996) (citing with approval dissent from
Nance v. Kelly, 912 F.2d 605, 607 (2d Cir. 1990),
which states a “serious medical need” is
“one that may produce death, degeneration, or extreme
pain”)). Subjectively, the defendant must have been
actually aware of a substantial risk that the inmate would
suffer serious harm as a result of his actions or inactions.
See Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 281 (2d Cir.
2006). Negligence that would support a claim for medical
malpractice does not rise to the level of deliberate