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Rose v. State

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 30, 2017

DAVON ROSE, Plaintiff,


          CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. Senior United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Davon Rose, incarcerated and pro se, has filed a Complaint [Doc. 1] under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of Connecticut and the Department of Correction Osborn Medical Department (collectively "Defendants") for alleged indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.[1] Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that a doctor at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain "diagnosed [him] with sleep apnea, " a disorder which causes him to stop breathing in his sleep. Doc. 1, at 2. As a result, a medical doctor "prescribed a (C- PAP) machine" to assist with his sleep disorder - to avoid the "risk [of] high blood pressure, " a "possible stroke, " or death.[2] Id. Plaintiff alleges that the "D.O.C." (Department of Correction) informed him that due to budgetary problems ("budget and financial reasons"), he would not be provided with such a machine. Id. He therefore continues to suffer with his health and life at risk. Id. As compensation for such suffering, Plaintiff prays for $50, 000. Id., at 5.


         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review a prisoner's civil complaint and dismiss any portion that "(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2). Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The alleged facts must be sufficient to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon which the claims are based. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56. The complaint must provide "more than the unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         Furthermore, "[a] document filed pro se is to be liberally construed and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Boykin v. Key Corp., 521 F.3d 202, 214 (2d Cir. 2008) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). See also Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed Defendant, 537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008) (When the plaintiff proceeds pro se, a court is "obliged to construe his pleadings liberally.") (quoting McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004)). A pro se complaint is adequately pled if its allegations, liberally construed, could "conceivably give rise to a viable claim." Phillips v. Girdich, 408 F.3d 124, 130 (2d Cir. 2005).

         In reviewing a pro se complaint, the court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally 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 Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007) (same); Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants). Despite being subject to liberal interpretation, a pro se plaintiff's complaint must still "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Mancuso v. Hynes, 379 F.App'x 60, 61 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).


         Reading the allegations in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the facts contained in the Complaint include the following. In 2009, Plaintiff was diagnosed with sleep apnea at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain. Doc. 1, at 2. The condition of sleep apnea causes Plaintiff "to stop breathing in [his] sleep, " to wake up "gasping for air, " and to experience "bad headaches." Due to the severity of this sleep disorder, a medical doctor prescribed a C-PAP machine, instructing Plaintiff that he must use it to avoid the risk of high blood pressure, possible stroke, or death. Id.

         The Hospital's medical records regarding Plaintiff's sleep apnea, including his need for a C-PAP machine, were made available to the medical records unit of the Osborn Correctional Institution. Id. A "D.O.C." official at the correctional facility informed Plaintiff that due to "budget and financial reasons, " no C-PAP machine would be provided. Id. Plaintiff thus continues to suffer from the symptoms and risks of sleep apnea. Id., at 5.


         A. Section 1983 Claim

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff seeks damages for Defendants' alleged violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, which includes the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain." See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 345-46 (1981). "In order to state a cognizable claim, a prisoner must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). "Although Plaintiff mentions no specific statute, if the Court construes his complaint liberally, it finds that Plaintiff's claim arises under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the federal civil rights statute which protects prisoners from prison officials' failure to provide adequate medical care for their serious medical needs.[3]

         B. Claims against the State of Connecticut and Department of Correction Osborn Medical Department

         To state a claim under section 1983, the plaintiff must allege facts showing that the defendant, a person acting under color of state law, deprived him of a federally protected right. See Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 930 (1982). In the case at bar, the two named defendants are the ...

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