United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RAMON A. GARCIA Plaintiff,
JOHN DOE, et al. Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
C. Hall United States District Judge
November 27, 2017, the plaintiff, Ramon A. Garcia
(“Garcia”), an inmate currently housed at
Cheshire Correctional Institution in Cheshire, Connecticut,
filed his Complaint pro se pursuant to title 42,
section 1983 of the United States Code against (1) Dr. John
Doe, an orthodontist with Correctional Managed Health Care,
(2) Dr. Cuevas, a dentist at MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution (“MWCI”), (3) “Nurse Joy,
” a registered nurse at MWCI, (4) “Nurse Holly,
” a registered nurse at MWCI, (5) Counselor Supervisor
Blanchard, the unit manager at MWCI, and (6) Health
Administrator Lightner at MWCI. Garcia is suing Doe in his
individual and official capacities and all other defendants
in their individual capacities for deliberate indifference to
his serious dental needs. He seeks monetary damages. On
December 19, 2017, this court granted Garcia's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis. See Order (Doc.
No. 6). For the following reasons, Garcia's Complaint is
dismissed in part.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to title 28, section 1915A of the United States Code, this
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. Although detailed allegations are not
required, a complaint must include sufficient facts to afford
the defendant 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.” Bell
Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 570. Nevertheless, it is
well-established that “[p]ro 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)).
December 21, 2015, correctional staff transported Garcia from
MWCI to the UConn Medical Center for oral surgery. Compl.
¶ 1. Garcia had been suffering from an ongoing dental
problem for months. Id. During the surgery, Dr. John
Doe continuously injected Garcia with anesthetics and
violently “yanked” on his teeth. Id. at
¶ 2. Afterward, Doe told him that Dr. Cuevas, who had
previously performed dental work on Garcia, had incorrectly
placed a filling on his adjoining tooth and that it had
fallen off during the surgery. Id. at ¶ 3. Doe
instructed Garcia to tell Cuevas to replace the filling.
Id. He then prescribed Garcia 5 mg of Percocet to
take every six hours for two days and Paradox, a special
mouthwash to use to prevent infection. Id. at ¶
after the surgery, the anesthetics that Doe had applied began
to wear off and Garcia felt excruciating pain in his mouth,
head, and face. Compl. ¶ 5. A nurse gave him some pain
medication, but it did not help much with the pain.
Id. At approximately 6:00 p.m., Garcia was
transported back to MWCI. Id. at ¶ 6.
hours later, Garcia complained to correctional staff of pain
and excessive swelling, and an officer sent him to the
medical unit at MWCI. Compl. ¶ 7. There, Garcia spoke
with Nurse Joy, who refused to give him any pain medication,
“in total disregard [of] the doctor's
orders.” Id. He then returned to his cell
where he struggled to sleep due to the intensity of the pain.
Id. at ¶ 8.
next morning, Garcia went to work in the prison laundry
facility with nothing to alleviate the pain he was
experiencing. Compl. ¶ 9. He pleaded with correctional
staff to get him medical attention. Id. at ¶
10. A correctional officer later told him that he had spoken
with medical staff and that Nurse Holly would be coming to
see him. Id. Later, Nurse Holly arrived at
Garcia's unit. Id. at ¶ 11. Garcia
explained to her that the stitches in his mouth were coming
apart, that he was experiencing excruciating pain, and that
he had not been given any of his prescribed, post-surgical
medication, but she refused to help him. Id.
approximately 2:00 p.m., another nurse came into Garcia's
unit and gave him some pain medication. Compl. at ¶ 12.
At that point, Garcia could barely speak due to the excessive
swelling in his jaw and the loose stitches that had come
apart in his mouth. Id. He had not eaten much
because the medical staff had refused to order him a
“soft diet.” Id. at ¶ 13. He did
not receive all of the pain medication prescribed by Dr. Doe,
nor had he received the Paradox mouthwash. Id.
complained about the inadequate medical treatment he was
receiving at MWCI by submitting a written inmate request to
Health Administrator Lightner on December 22, 2015, but
Lightner did not respond until two months later. Compl. at
¶ 15. Starting on December 28, medical staff locked
Garcia in his cell for a week, in what Garcia perceived as an
act of retaliation for raising his concerns about the
inadequate medical treatment he was receiving. Id.
at ¶ 16. Initially, medical staff explained to Garcia
that the lockdown order was issued because his cellmate was
complaining of flu-like symptoms, but Garcia knew that such
quarantine orders are typically carried out in medical unit
rooms with special ventilation, not in housing units, and
that his cellmate had only complained of a tooth infection.
Id. at ¶¶ 17-19. When he explained this to
medical staff and to his unit manager, Counselor Supervisor
Blanchard, the staff changed their position in an attempt to
“cover up their tracks” and argued that he and
his cellmate were on “sick-cell” status.
Id. at ¶ 19.
January 20, 2016, Garcia saw Dr. Cuevas. Compl. at ¶ 14.
He informed Dr. Cuevas about the filling that had fallen off
during the surgery on December 21. Id. Cuevas told
him that that was Dr. Doe's fault, and he refused to
replace the filling. Id. Cuevas offered to extract
the tooth instead, but Garcia refused out of fear of being
injured again. Id.
day, Garcia continues to experience complications from the
surgery and the lack of proper treatment he received. Compl.
at ¶ 21. On September 9, 2016, he was evaluated by
another dentist at MWCI. Id. The dentist informed
him that he had an unidentified object protruding from the
area around his gum line on which Dr. Doe operated and that
it needed to be removed. Id.