United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ANDRES J. ACEVEDO, Plaintiff,
DEBBIE WILSON, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Jeffrey Alker Meyer, United States District Judge.
Andres Acevedo is a prisoner in the custody of the
Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC). Plaintiff has
suffered significant eye ailments that have required
extensive treatment. He alleges that DOC Nurse Debra Wilson
failed to comply with prescribed treatment by destroying
plaintiff's prescription for special glasses, failing to
fulfill prescriptions for Prilosec and artificial tears, and
purposefully delaying his laser surgery. Plaintiff commenced
this pro se action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs
in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Defendant Wilson is the
only remaining defendant in this case; the Court has
previously dismissed plaintiff's claims against
co-defendant Dr. Ruiz. Doc. #7. For the reasons that follow,
I will grant defendant's unopposed motion for summary
following facts are based on the parties' submissions and
are viewed in the light most favorable to
plaintiff. Plaintiff has suffered from eye pain and
blurred vision with flashes of light for several years. Doc.
#1 at 3. In August of 2015, plaintiff had an optometry
consultation at Cheshire Correctional Institution (CCI),
which revealed a cataract that was causing significant loss
of vision. Doc. #38 at 112. On November 6, 2015,
plaintiff had an ophthalmology consultation with Dr. William
Ehlers at the University of Connecticut to address the
cataract. Id. at 97. Dr. Ehlers recommended surgery,
which was approved by the prison's Utilization Review
Committee (URC) on November 19. Id. at 99. The URC
is a panel that determines whether an individual inmate's
medical condition warrants treatment beyond what is provided
at a correctional facility. After an initial delay due to
equipment failures, Dr. Ehlers performed the surgery on
February 8, 2016. Id. at 83. At a follow-up
appointment on February 9, Dr. Ehlers prescribed three types
of eye drops, Prilosec, and ibuprofen. Id. at 78.
Medical personnel at CCI scanned and submitted these
prescriptions to the pharmacy the same day. Id. at
17-18. Although plaintiff complains that he never received
the prescribed Prilosec, his medical records show that he
received a comparable medication, Protonix. Id. at
continued to experience significant pain and had a series of
follow-up medical visits at CCI and at the University of
Connecticut with Dr. Ehlers. At a follow-up visit on March
24, 2016, Dr. Ehlers prescribed glasses for plaintiff.
Plaintiff alleges that when he returned to CCI, he reported
to the medical unit and met with defendant Wilson. Doc. #1 at
5. At this meeting, Wilson allegedly tore up and destroyed
the prescription for special glasses and told plaintiff he
would not receive the glasses. She did not provide a reason.
part, Wilson maintains that this meeting did not occur and
that she did not rip up the prescription or deny plaintiff
his glasses. Doc. #37-3 at 5. Wilson serves as the URC case
manager who prepares inmates for medical treatments approved
by the URC. Doc. #37-3 at 3. She is not responsible for
executing prescriptions and does not directly interact with
the pharmacy. Id. at 6. Additionally, the March 24
prescription from Dr. Ehlers is recorded intact in
plaintiff's medical record. Doc. #38 at 73. It appears
that this prescription was never filled and that plaintiff
did not receive his glasses at the time this suit was
continued to experience headaches and sensitivity to light,
as well as hazy vision. On July 12, 2016, he filed a request
to the medical unit seeking the special glasses that he had
not received and requesting surgery to correct his hazy
vision. Doc. #1 at 6, 20-21. On August 4, plaintiff had an
optometry consultation. Doc. #38 at 67. The consulting doctor
recommended glasses and a further appointment at the
University of Connecticut for YAG laser surgery.
Ibid. The consulting doctor submitted a request to
the URC for laser surgery, which was approved on August 12.
Id. at 65, 68. Three days earlier, on August 9,
2016, plaintiff submitted another grievance seeking a health
service review and requesting the special glasses. Doc. #1 at
6-7 (¶ 33), 23-24.
September 14, 2016, plaintiff returned for another
appointment with Dr. Ehlers. Id. at 64. Dr. Ehlers
prescribed artificial tears and recommended scheduling the
laser surgery. Ibid. Upon returning to the
correctional facility, plaintiff submitted his paperwork and
the prescription for artificial tears to the medical unit.
Plaintiff alleges he never received the artificial tears.
Id. at 7 (¶ 37). However, the medical record
shows that the prescription for artificial tears was scanned
and submitted to the pharmacy on September 14. Doc. #38 at
10. Additionally, the intake nurse noted in the medical
record that plaintiff was “given artifices tears and
instructions” upon returning from his appointment.
Id. at 134. Furthermore, plaintiff's medication
administration record indicates that plaintiff started using
artificial tears on September 14. Id. at 211.
following the September 14 appointment, a doctor at CCI
submitted a request to the URC to schedule the laser surgery;
the request was approved on September 21. Id. at 57.
On November 2, plaintiff was informed by medical staff that
he would have a follow-up visit with ophthalmology later that
month. Id. at 132. On November 15, plaintiff had
blood drawn at the medical unit in preparation for surgery.
Doc. #1. at 7-8 (¶¶ 38-40); Doc. #38 at
44- 46 (laboratory results).
met with Wilson shortly thereafter, although the parties
provide differing accounts of the meeting. Plaintiff alleges
that Wilson informed him that she had cancelled the surgery
and told him that before any surgery could be performed, he
had to have someone at the University of Connecticut
determine whether the surgery was medically necessary. Doc.
#1 at 8 (¶¶ 41-42). However, according to Wilson,
she met with plaintiff on November 15 to discuss the
appointment with Dr. Ehlers at which the laser surgery would
be performed, as approved by the URC. Doc. #38 at 61. The
surgery took place on November 22, 2016. Doc. #38 at 59.
time this lawsuit was filed, plaintiff alleged that he still
had not received his special glasses and continued to suffer
as a result. The Court previously entered an injunction to
require that plaintiff be provided with glasses and other eye
care. Doc. #17.
principles governing the Court's review of a motion for
summary judgment are well established. Summary judgment may
be granted only if “the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). I must view the facts in the light most
favorable to the party who opposes the motion for summary
judgment and then decide if those facts would be enough-if
eventually proved at trial-to allow a reasonable jury to
decide the case in favor of the opposing party. A court's
role at summary judgment is not to judge the credibility of
witnesses or to resolve close contested issues but solely to
decide if there are enough facts that remain in dispute to
warrant a trial. See generally Tolan v. Cotton, 134
S.Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014) (per curiam); Pollard v.
New York Methodist Hosp., 861 F.3d 374, 378 (2d Cir.
has not filed any objection or opposition to defendant's
motion for summary judgment. In Jackson v. Federal
Express, 766 F.3d 189 (2d Cir. 2014), the Second Circuit
instructed that “when a party, whether pro se
or counseled, fails to respond to an opponent's motion
for summary judgment, a district court may not enter a
default judgment, ” but “must examine the
movant's statement of undisputed facts and the proffered
record support and determine whether the movant is entitled
to summary judgment.” Id. at 197. Here,
because plaintiff has filed a verified complaint, the Court
will consider the allegations ...