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Gonzalez v. Maurer

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 12, 2018

ANGEL GONZALEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
KATHLEEN MAURER, ET AL., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          MICHAEL P. SHEA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, Angel Gonzalez, is currently incarcerated at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MacDougall-Walker”). He initiated this action by filing a civil rights complaint against Department of Correctional medical staff members. He has filed a motion to amend, motion for default, and motion to expedite.

         I. Motion to Amend [ECF No. 15]

         The plaintiff seeks to file an amended complaint to add ten new defendants and eliminate seven defendants named in the original complaint. Because the defendants have not filed an answer or motion in response to the complaint, plaintiff may amend his complaint once as a matter of right without seeking the court's permission to file an amended complaint. See Rule 15(a)(B), Fed.R.Civ.P. (permitting a party to “amend its pleading once as a matter of course . . . “if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, [either] 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion” to dismiss, for more definite statement or to strike, “whichever is earlier.”). Accordingly, the motion to amend is granted. The Clerk shall docket the amended complaint attached to the motion to amend.

         II. Motion for Default [ECF No. 16]

         The plaintiff seeks to default the defendants for failure to plead to the amended complaint. Because the amended complaint has not been served on the defendants, they are not in default for failure to plead. The motion for default is denied.

         III. Amended Complaint

         A. Legal Standards

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss ... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or 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. This requirement applies both where the inmate has paid the filing fee and where he is proceeding in forma pauperis. See Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115 (2d Cir. 1999) (per curiam).

         Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions, ' ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement, '” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Although courts have an obligation to interpret “a pro se complaint liberally, ” the complaint must still include sufficient factual allegations to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).

         B. Legal Claims and Defendants

         The amended complaint is filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. and the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”), 29 U.S.C. § 794. The listed defendants are: Correctional Managed Health Care (“CMHC”), University of Connecticut Health Center (“UCONN”), the Department of Correction, Dr. Shafer, Dr. David M., Dr. Monica Farinella, Dr. Ricardo Ruiz, Dr. Carson Wright, Dr. Seramandis, Dr. Kathleen Maurer, Nurse Barbara Savoie, Nurse Vicki Scruggs, Nurse Ellen Durko, Health Services Administrator Brian Liebel, Nurse Tim Bombard, Nurse Mary Ellen Castro, and Health Services Administrator Rikel Lightner.

         C. Factual Allegations

         In August 2009 at Corrigan Correctional Institution, the plaintiff sustained an injury to his face while playing basketball in the recreation yard. See Am. Compl. ¶ 17 & Exs. 1-8 at 2. X-ray scans taken of the plaintiff's face revealed a fracture of his left superior orbital rim and the left frontal sinus and several fracture fragments pressing on his left superior rectus muscle. See Id. ¶ 18 & Exs. 1-8 at 2.

         Prison officials transferred the plaintiff to UCONN for surgery. See Id. ¶ 18 & Exs. 1-8 at 4. The plaintiff underwent surgery on August 15, 2009. See Id. ¶ 19 & Exs. 1-8 at 4, 9. On August 17, 2009, hospital officials discharged the plaintiff to a Department of Correction facility. See Id. ¶ 21 & Exs. 1-8 at 6.

         Approximately one year after his surgery, the plaintiff began to experience itching and burning sensations on his head, face, neck, ears and chest. See Id. ¶ 22. The plaintiff sought treatment from health care officials within the Department of Correction for these painful symptoms. See Id. ¶ 23.

         In March 2011, prison officials transferred the plaintiff to Cheshire Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”). See Id. ΒΆ 24. At Cheshire, Dr. Ruiz was the plaintiff's treating physician. See id. He ...


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