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Taylor v. Naqvi

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

June 20, 2017

SYED JOHAR NAQVI, et al., Defendants.


          Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge

         Mr. Marquis Taylor brings this action for monetary and declaratory relief against Dr. Syed Johar Naqvi, Dr. Sohrab Zahedi, Health Service Administrator Raquel Lightner, Dr. Maxine Cartwright, and Dr. Raymond Castro (collectively, “Defendants”). Mr. Taylor believes he contracted acquired immune deficiency syndrome (“AIDS”) from a past sexual partner who notified him that she had AIDS on November 12, 2009. See [Dkt. 1 (Compl.) ¶ 1]. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Taylor requested a diagnostic test, which he received on December 2, 2009. See Id. ¶¶ 2-5. The results were negative. Id. ¶ 6. Since that date, he claims to have deteriorating health that Defendants refuse to address despite the fact that his conditions are symptomatic of human immunodeficiency visur (“HIV”) or AIDS. See Id. ¶ 29.

         The Complaint seeks an injunction for (1) a renewed test for HIV/AIDS by an outside doctor, and (2) a requirement that staff give him adequate medical treatment. Id. (stating Prayer for Relief). The Complaint also contains the language that “[t]his chronic degenerative condition is causing irreparable damage and this is a[n] ongoing issue that needs to be dealt with immediately.” Id. ¶ 29. Along with the Complaint, Mr. Taylor filed a Proposed Order to Show Cause for a Preliminary Injunction and a Temporary Restraining Order accompanied by a Memorandum of Law. See [Dkt. 4]. The Proposed Order includes the injunctive relief sought in the Complaint, but also contains two additional requests that the Court restrain the Defendants from harassing Mr.

         Taylor because he filed a § 1983 claim and from transferring Mr. Taylor to another facility.[1] See Id. at 2. The Court ordered a hearing for June 14, 2017, to address Mr. Taylor's request for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction in light of the information stated in Mr. Taylor's Complaint.

         Legal Standard

         A temporary restraining order is an “extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.” Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Reidy, 477 F.Supp.2d 472, 474 (D. Conn. 2007) (quoting Moore v. Consol. Edison Co. of N.Y., Inc., 409 F.3d 506, 510 (2d Cir. 2005)). “The purpose of a temporary restraining order is to preserve an existing situation in status quo until the court has an opportunity to pass upon the merits of the demand for a preliminary injunction.” Garcia v. Yonkers Sch. Dist., 561 F.3d 97, 107 (2d Cir. 2009). The factors considered in assessing whether to grant a request for a temporary restraining order are similar to those used to determine the merits of a motion for a preliminary injunction. See Control Sys., Inc. v. Realized Sols., Inc., No. 3:11CV1423 PCD, 2011 WL 4433750, at *2 (D. Conn. Sept. 22, 2011) (citing Local 1814, Int'l Longshoremen's Ass'n, AFL-CIO v. New York Shipping Ass'n, Inc., 965 F.2d 1224, 1228 (2d Cir. 1992)).

         Generally, a party seeking a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction “must show (a) irreparable harm and (b) either (1) likelihood of success on the merits or (2) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly toward the party requesting the preliminary relief.” Cacchillo v. Insmed, Inc., 638 F.3d 401, 405-06 (2d Cir.2011) (internal quotation marks omitted); Waldman Pub. Corp. v. Landoll, Inc., 43 F.3d 775, 779-80 (2d Cir. 1994) (applying same standard to motion for temporary restraining order and motion for order to show cause why a preliminary injunction should not be granted). However, where a plaintiff seeks a mandatory injunction, i.e., “one that alter[s] the status quo by commanding some positive act, ” a higher standard applies. Rush v. Fischer, No. 09 Civ. 9918(JGK), 2011 WL 6747392, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 2011) (alteration in original) (quoting Tom Doherty Assocs., Inc. v. Saban Entm't, Inc., 60 F.3d 27, 34 (2d Cir. 1995); accord Cacchillo, 638 F.3d at 405-06. The party seeking the injunction must show a “‘clear' or ‘substantial' likelihood of success.” Griffin v. Alexander, 466 F. App'x 26, 28 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting Jolly v. Coughlin, 76 F.3d 468, 473 (2d Cir.1996)).


         Mr. Taylor alleges deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. [Dkt. 1 ¶ 31]. To establish his claim, Mr. Taylor must show both that his medical need is serious and that the defendants acted with sufficiently culpable states of mind. See Smith v. Carpenter, 316 F.3d 178, 184 (2d Cir. 2003) (discussing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976)). There are both subjective and objective components to the deliberate indifference standard. See Hathaway v. Coughlin, 37 F.3d 63, 66 (2d Cir. 1994). Objectively, the alleged deprivation must be “sufficiently serious” in that it is a condition of “urgency” and may “produce death, degeneration or extreme pain. . . .” Johnson v. Wright, 412 F.3d 398, 403 (2d Cir. 2005). Subjectively, the defendants must have “act[ed] or fail[ed] to act while actually aware of a substantial risk that serious inmate harm will result.” Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 279-80 (2d Cir. 2006). A prison official does not act in a deliberately indifferent manner unless that official “knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety”; the official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a “substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 835 (1994).

         HIV/AIDS is a “sufficiently serious” medical condition as it can produce death, degeneration, and extreme pain. See Smith, 316 F.3d at 186-87 (recognizing HIV as a “sufficiently serious” medical condition). As such, the failure to diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS would be a violation of the objective component of the test. The question then becomes whether Defendants acted with sufficiently culpable states of mind to warrant a finding of deliberate indifference.

         The Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment is violated where medical treatment is withheld without justification. See Dolson v. Fischer, 613 F. App'x 35, 38 (2d Cir. 2015). Allegations of unjustifiably delayed medical care may support a finding of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. See Id. at 38-39 (finding allegations of delayed medical care can support a deliberate indifference claim). By contrast, negligence that would support a claim for medical malpractice does not rise to the level of deliberate indifference and is not cognizable under § 1983. See Salahuddin, 467 F.3d at 280. Nor does a difference of opinion regarding what constitutes an appropriate response and treatment constitute deliberate indifference. See Ventura v. Sinha, 379 F. App'x 1, 2-3 (2d Cir. 2010) (finding insufficient evidence that medical staff acted with culpable state of mind where plaintiff's medical limitations were inconsistent with program requirements); Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 703 (2d Cir. 1998) (“Whether a course of treatment was the product of sound medical judgment, negligence, or deliberate indifference depends on the facts of the case.”).

         In HIV testing there exists a “window period”: “the time between when a person gets HIV and when a test can accurately detect it. . . .” Center for Disease Control (“CDC”), HIV/AIDS: Testing, (last updated May 30, 2017). This window period varies for each person and depends on the type of HIV test. Id. Mr. Taylor was admitted to the custody of the Department of Correction on October 28, 2009.[2] Only a few weeks later on November 12, 2009, Mr. Taylor was informed by his prior sexual partner that he should get tested for HIV/AIDS due to her recent diagnosis. [Dkt. 1 ¶ 1]. Mr. Taylor received his first HIV test on December 2, 2009. Id. ¶ 5. The CDC recommends getting a second HIV test three months after the first test if that first test is performed within three months of exposure. CDC, HIV/AIDS: Testing, (last updated May 30, 2017).

         Were Mr. Taylor to have been given only one HIV test in December 2009 as the Complaint indicates, it would be possible for the HIV test result to be a false-negative. This could mean that Mr. Taylor could have been living with HIV or AIDS for approximately 7.5 years. See World Health Organization, HIV/AIDS Online Q&A, (last updated November 2016) (“Left without treatment, the majority of people infected with HIV will develop signs of HIV-related illness within 5-10 years, although this can be shorter. The time between acquiring HIV and an AIDS diagnosis is usually between 10-15 years, but sometimes longer.”).

         Evidence indicates, however, that Mr. Taylor has received ____ which indicate he does not have HIV. As aforementioned, medical staff ordered an HIV test promptly after Mr. Taylor requested the test as he received the test less than three weeks after learning of his possible exposure to the virus. See [Dkt. 1 ΒΆΒΆ 1, 5]. Mr. Taylor acknowledges ...

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