United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
MICHAEL P. SHEA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff, Agustin Morales-Rojas, is currently incarcerated
at Cheshire Correctional Institution
(“Cheshire”). He has filed a civil rights
complaint against Dr. Ricardo Ruiz and Dr. Samuel Berkowitz.
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).
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 still 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)
to his incarceration, the plaintiff was involved in a
shooting. See Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 8. He
sustained gunshot wounds to his left foot and knee and the
left side of his back and neck. These injuries required
multiple surgeries. See Id. ¶¶ 8-9. One
surgical procedure involved the placement of a metal rod in
the plaintiff's left leg and another surgery involved the
amputation of the fourth and fifth toes on his left foot.
See Id. ¶ 9. There are pellets from the bullets
still lodged in the plaintiff's left foot and leg.
See Id. Because of the amputation of the toes on his
left foot, his personal physician arranged to have customized
shoes made to fit his feet. See Id. ¶ 10.
point prior to May 2009, the State of Connecticut Department
of Correction took custody of the plaintiff. See Id.
¶¶ 11-13. Upon his admission to the Department of
Correction, the plaintiff complained of pain and discomfort
in his left foot, leg, and back. See Id. ¶ 12.
The plaintiff believed that the pain was due to lack of
adequate footwear. See id.
11, 2009, at Garner Correctional Institution, Podiatrist
Berkowitz provided the plaintiff with a size 10 orthopedic
shoe. See Id. ¶ 13 & Ex. A. The
plaintiff's medical records reflect that the plaintiff
felt the shoes fit him well. See Id. & Ex. B.
later point in 2009, the plaintiff underwent surgery on the
third toe on his left foot. See Id. ¶ 14.
Despite the plaintiff's initial opinion regarding the fit
of the orthopedic shoes, he claims that the shoes provided
him with little to no relief of his pain during the two years
after he received the shoes. See Id. ¶ 15.
2012, prison officials transferred the plaintiff to Corrigan
Correctional Institution. See Id. ¶ 16. During
his transfer, prison officials confiscated his orthopedic
shoes. See Id. On July 9, 2012, the plaintiff met
with Podiatrist Fedus in an effort to facilitate the return
of his orthopedic shoes. See Id. ¶ 17 & Ex.
C. The record from this visit reflects that Dr. Fedus noted
calluses on the plaintiff's feet. See Id. Dr.
Fedus did not think that it was medically necessary to
provide the plaintiff with special sneakers and informed the
plaintiff that the quality and comfort of a sneaker did not
constitute a medical need. See id.
point in 2016, prison officials transferred the plaintiff to
Cheshire. See Id. ¶ 18. The plaintiff
complained about pain in his left foot due to calluses that
had formed because his shoe did not fit properly. See
Id. ¶ 19. On July 1, 2016, the plaintiff met with
Dr. Ruiz. See Id. ¶ 20. He discussed his
severely painful and disfigured foot and what he believed to
be the source of his pain, inadequate footwear. See
Id. He asked Dr. Ruiz to formulate a treatment plan for
his condition. See Id. ¶ 22. The plaintiff
requested to be sent to a foot specialist and that he be
provided with shoes that fit his disfigured foot. See
Id. ¶ 23. Dr. Ruiz failed to provide any relief for
the plaintiff's foot pain. See Id. ¶ 24.
The plaintiff subsequently submitted several inmate requests
seeking treatment for his foot pain. See Id. ¶
November 3, 2016, Dr. Ruiz submitted a request to the
Utilization Review Committee (“URC”) seeking
approval for the plaintiff to be seen by a podiatrist.
See Id. ¶ 26 & Ex. D.
approved the request and Dr. Berkowitz examined the plaintiff
on December 5, 2016. See Id. ¶ 27. The
plaintiff claims that Dr. Berkowitz failed to diagnose or
treat the underlying cause of his foot pain. See Id.
¶ 30. Dr. Berkowitz opined that the plaintiff's
present shoes were too small and that if he sized the
plaintiff's feet correctly they would be a size 12.
See Id. ¶¶ 31, 33 & Ex. E. The
plaintiff informed Dr. Berkowitz that he had always worn ...