United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER OF AMENDED COMPLAINT
Vanessa L. Bryant, United States District Judge.
Norman Gaines, currently confined at MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, filed the
original complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging that he was denied adequate medical care. On
September 15, 2017, the Court dismissed the complaint without
prejudice for failure to state a plausible claim. Plaintiff
sought, and was granted, an extension of time to file a
motion for reconsideration. Instead of doing so, he has filed
a proposed amended complaint. Plaintiff states that the
proposed amended complaint is intended to cure the
deficiencies identified in the order dismissing the
complaint. The Court considers the allegations in the
proposed amended complaint and will determine whether the
case should be reopened as to the claims against any of the
original complaint, plaintiff named eight defendants: Doctors
Wright, Ruiz, Freston, Farinella, John Doe and Naqvi and
Nurses Hollie and Jane Doe. Plaintiff list all of these
defendants except Nurse Jane Doe in the body of the proposed
28 U.S.C. § 1915A (2000), the court 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.
Id. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the
court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret
them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they]
suggest.” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639
(2d Cir. 2007). 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 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 “pro 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 se litigants).
December 8, 2014, while confined at Northern Correctional
Institution, Plaintiff injured his right knee. He was taken
to the medical unit where Nurse Doe noted the swelling and
diagnosed a sprained knee. She gave Plaintiff an ace bandage
and ibuprofen. Doc. #11, ¶¶ 12-14. Between December
20, 2014, and January 20, 2015, Plaintiff submitted several
requests to the medical unit complaining of swelling and loss
of motion in his knee and an inability to support his body
weight on the knee. The requests were not answered.
Id., ¶ 15.
February 18, 2015, at Osborn Correctional Institution,
Plaintiff's knee gave out, causing him to fall. Dr.
Wright examined Plaintiff's knee. Although Plaintiff
stated that his knee seemed to be moving in and out of place,
Dr. Wright concluded that Plaintiff had a sprain. Dr. Wright
recommended strengthening the muscles around the knee but did
not prescribe any specific exercises to be performed after
the swelling resolved. Plaintiff requested pain medication
but Dr. Wright told him that the medical unit did not
prescribe medications, such as ibuprofen, that could be
purchased in the commissary. Id., ¶¶
began doing stretching and strengthening exercises. On March
1, 2015, Plaintiff's knee again failed causing him to
experience severe pain. Id., ¶¶ 20-21.
Plaintiff asked a custodial officer to call the medical unit,
but the officer told Plaintiff to submit a sick call request.
Id., ¶¶ 22-23.
wrote to Dr. Wright that day, asking for an immediate
examination because his knee was getting worse. Plaintiff
stated that it felt as if he had torn something and was in
severe pain. By March 20, 2015, Plaintiff had received no
response from Dr. Wright or any medical staff member.
Plaintiff's knee was swollen and his leg was stiff. His
pain prevented him from walking to the dining hall,
approximately two or three city blocks from the housing unit.
Id., ¶¶ 24-25. Plaintiff remained in his
cell eating only items he purchased at the commissary. As he
was assigned to the top bunk in a cell on the top tier,
Plaintiff left his cell only for showers and phone calls.
Id., ¶¶ 26-27. Plaintiff asked custodial
staff to be moved to the lower tier and a bottom bunk. He was
told that there were no empty cells and he did not have a
bottom bunk pass. Id., ¶ 28.
March and April 2015, Plaintiff's cellmate helped him get
into and out of the top bunk and to the showers. His cellmate
also assisted Plaintiff on the stairs and picked up
Plaintiff's commissary bags. Id., ¶ 29.
April 1, 2015, Plaintiff's knee gave out as he was coming
down from the bunk, causing severe pain. Plaintiff asked a
correctional officer to contact the medical unit. The officer
told Plaintiff that the medical unit would call him down
later in the day, and that he should elevate the knee and
stay off his leg. Plaintiff was not called to the medical
unit. Id., ¶¶ 30-32.
following day, the officer again called the medical unit, but
Plaintiff was not called down. On April 3, 2015, Plaintiff
submitted an administrative remedy complaining that he was
left in extreme pain and his complaints were ignored.
Plaintiff asked to be permitted to eat in his cell as he
could not walk to the dining hall, for an examination and
pain medication. He did not receive a response. Id.,
2015, Plaintiff saw Dr. Wright, who stated that he could not
prescribe pain medication that was available from the
commissary. Dr. Wright told Plaintiff that he could issue him
an “ace bandage like brace” but would not submit
a request to the Utilization Review Committee
(“URC”) for an orthopedic consult because, as
Plaintiff had only been suffering for a few months, any
request would be denied. Dr. Wright also stated that the URC
would not approve an MRI as the procedure was too costly.
Plaintiff requested an order that he be housed on the bottom
tier in a bottom bunk and be permitted to eat in his cell.
Dr. Wright refused to issue such an order. Id.,
time after the examination by Dr. Wright, Plaintiff went to
the University of Connecticut Health Center for treatment of
a ruptured bicep. His arm was in a cast and sling. While
there, Plaintiff was examined by an orthopedist, Dr. Doe, and
underwent an x-ray of his right knee. Dr. Doe diagnosed a
sprained knee. Id., ¶¶ 41-44.
1, 2016, Plaintiff's knee was swollen and he was in
severe pain. Plaintiff wrote to the medical unit complaining
that he was experiencing difficulty walking up and down the
stairs because his arm was in a sling from the bicep surgery
and the knee pain caused him to have to hop up and down the
stairs. Plaintiff requested movement to the lower tier,
permission to eat in his cell, braces to support his knee, an
MRI and pain medication. The request was not answered.
Plaintiff alleges that he submitted medical requests at least
once per month since he injured his knee and only received
two responses. Id., ¶¶ 45-47.
September 23, 2016, Plaintiff again went to the University of
Connecticut Health Center for his bicep injury. While there,
he saw Dr. Doe for a follow-up consultation on his knee.
Id., ¶ 48. Dr. Doe asked Plaintiff whether he
had ever undergone a knee exam. Plaintiff said no. Dr. Doe
asked about the last time Plaintiff's knee gave out.
Plaintiff stated that it was a few weeks earlier while he was
on the basketball court attempting to rehabilitate his bicep
injury. Dr. Doe examined Plaintiff's knee, ...