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Sundermeir v. Chapdelaine

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 10, 2017

ROBERT H. SUNDERMEIR, Plaintiff,
v.
CHAPDELAINE, Defendants.

          RULINGS ON MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT, MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME AND MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY

          Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.

         The plaintiff, Robert H. Sundermeir, has filed a fourth motion to amend his complaint [Doc.#22] and a second amended complaint [Doc.#26] against Nursing Supervisor Heidi Green, Dr. S. Naqvi, and Dr. Jonny Wu. He has also filed a motion for extension of time to submit discovery [Doc.#25] and a motion to compel the defendants to comply with his discovery requests [Doc.#27]. For the following reasons, the Court will GRANT the plaintiff's motion and dismiss the second amended complaint in part. The Court will GRANT the plaintiff's motion for extension of time but DENY without prejudice his motion to compel discovery subject to refiling at a later stage of litigation.

         I. Background

         On January 6, 2016, the plaintiff, Robert H. Sundermeir, an inmate incarcerated at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MacDougall-Walker”) in Suffield, Connecticut, filed a complaint pro se against Warden Carol Chapdelaine, Dr. S. Naqvi, Dr. Jonny Wu, Nursing Supervisor Heidi Green, and Associate Director of Patient Care Mary Ellen Castro. As stated in its Initial Review Order, the plaintiff alleged the following facts:

[O]n August 28, 2015, at his sentencing hearing in state court, [the plaintiff] injured his left hip and ankle. Upon his return to MacDougall-Walker, officers transported him in a wheelchair to the medical department to be examined.
On August 31, 2015, Dr. Naqvi referred him for x-rays of his left ankle and hip and provided him with crutches. On September 3, 2015, the plaintiff began taking pain medication. On September 4, 2015, a nurse sent the plaintiff to the hospital because she could not detect a pulse in his ankle. The plaintiff contends that the nurse mistakenly checked for a pulse on the wrong side of his ankle. An ultrasound revealed no blood-clot in his left leg or ankle.
On September 9, 2015, Dr. Naqvi prescribed a muscle relaxant and referred the plaintiff for a CT scan and a consultation with an orthopedist. Dr. Naqvi did not issue the plaintiff a pass to shower in the handicapped shower room or wrap the plaintiff's ankle. The plaintiff washed himself using water from the sink in his cell.
On September 22, 2015, Dr. Naqvi prescribed a stronger pain medication to be taken in the evening. On September 26, 2015, Dr. Naqvi prescribed pain medication to be taken during the day. On October 7, 2015, Dr. Naqvi informed the plaintiff that the requests for a consultation had been approved. He also prescribed a stronger pain medication to be taken by the plaintiff during the day.
On November 4, 2015, a vascular surgeon examined the plaintiff. On November 5, 2015, the plaintiff underwent a CT scan which revealed two bulging discs, degenerated disc disease, and a pinched sciatic nerve.
On November 8, 2015, the plaintiff wrote to Captain Hall asking to be permitted to use the handicapped shower room. Captain Hall contacted Nurse Heidi Green regarding the plaintiff's medical status. On November 15, 2015, the plaintiff asked Dr. Naqvi why he still had not been examined by an orthopedist. He also requested a wheelchair and stronger pain medication.
On November 16, 2015, Dr. Naqvi prescribed a pain medication patch. The plaintiff developed an allergic reaction to the patch. The plaintiff's left ankle was still painful and swollen.
On November 25, 2015, the plaintiff was approved for a shower in the handicapped shower room and was moved to a handicapped cell.
The plaintiff filed a grievance about the failure of Dr. Naqvi to refer him to be seen by an orthopedist. On December 2, 2015, a follow-up visit with the vascular surgeon indicated there was no evidence of vascular problems.
On December 3, 2015, Dr. Naqvi ordered a wheelchair for the plaintiff and referred the plaintiff for x-rays of his left foot. On December 20, 2015, Dr. Naqvi informed the plaintiff that the x-rays revealed no broken bones in his left foot. On December 24, 2015, after using crutches for seventeen weeks, medical staff approved the plaintiff to use a wheelchair. On December 30, 2015, the plaintiff wrote the medical department complaining of a loss of sensation in his left foot.

         Initial Review Order [Doc.#14] at 2-4.

         On March 9, 2016, the plaintiff moved to amend his complaint. Mot. to Amend Compl. [Doc.#9]. The Court granted his motion and directed him to file his amended complaint within twenty days of its order; see Order #12; but the plaintiff did not amend his complaint within that time frame. Consequently, the Court reviewed the plaintiff's allegations as stated in the original complaint.

         On August 2, 2016, the Court dismissed the plaintiff's claims against all defendants except Dr. Naqvi. Initial Review Order [Doc.#14] at 6. The Court permitted the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to medical needs to proceed against Dr. Naqvi in his individual capacity. Id.

         Following the Initial Review Order, the plaintiff filed two more motions to amend his complaint [Doc.#s 16, 17]. In the second motion, the plaintiff sought leave to add a claim that Dr. Naqvi acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs by denying him an increased supply of hormone medication to help transition him from male to female. The Court found no basis on which to grant the plaintiff leave to add this new claim and, therefore, denied his motion. Ruling on Mot. to Amend [Doc.#19] at 4-5. In the third motion to amend, the plaintiff made additional allegations against Dr. Wu and Nursing Supervisor Green regarding the lack of treatment for his ankle and back injuries. The Court denied the motion to amend without prejudice because the attached amended complaint was deficient, [1] but permitted the plaintiff leave to file a new motion to amend and an amended complaint. Specifically, the Court ruled that the plaintiff may:

file a new motion to amend and proposed amended complaint to assert claims against Dr. Naqvi, Dr. Wu, and Nursing Supervisor Green with regard to the treatment or lack of treatment of swelling and pain in the plaintiff's left ankle and foot and pain in his back. To the extent that the plaintiff seeks to elaborate on or add to his claim that Dr. Naqvi refused to schedule or arrange for him to undergo an examination or evaluation of his swollen and painful left ankle and knee by an orthopedist during the months of April through August 2016, he may include those allegations in the proposed amended complaint.

         Ruling on Mot. to Amend [Doc.#19] at 8. The Court advised the plaintiff that his new amended complaint “should only include claims against Dr. Naqvi, Dr. Wu, and Nursing Supervisor Green with regard to treatment or lack of treatment for the pain and swelling in his left ankle and foot and pain in his pack during the months of September 2015 to September 2016" and any additional allegations regarding Dr. ...


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