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Davis v. Maldonado

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 12, 2018

EDWARD MALDONADO, et al., Defendants.


          Jeffrey Alker Meyer, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Michael Davis is a prisoner in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction. He has filed this lawsuit against prison officials claiming that they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. After an initial review, the Court concludes that the complaint should be served only on defendants Furey and Breton but dismissed as to all other defendants.


         The complaint names five defendants: Warden Edward Maldonado, Warden Kimberly Weir, Warden William Faneuff, Health Services Administrator Richard Furey, and Dr. Breton.[1]The following factual allegations are accepted as true solely for purposes of this initial review order and without prejudice to the rights of any defendant to challenge the adequacy of the pleadings or otherwise to seek dismissal once served.

         On July 28, 2016, plaintiff submitted a medical request for treatment of “a painful and blistering rash on the upper half of [his] body.” Doc. #1 at 5 (¶ 1). An unnamed medical staff member called plaintiff to the medical unit, did not provide any treatment, and referred plaintiff to Dr. Breton. Id. Plaintiff was not called to see the doctor.

         After a time, he submitted another medical request and a grievance, but received no response. Furey told plaintiff that he had thrown out the documents. Id. (¶ 2). At some time during the past eighteen months, plaintiff wrote to the three wardens seeking medical treatment from Dr. Breton, but nothing was done. Id. (¶ 3).

         Plaintiff has experienced constant pain for months. The pain has limited his physical activities and prevented sleep. The affected areas include plaintiff's eyes, neck, underarms, inner arms, and inner thighs. Id. (¶ 4).

         Dr. Breton saw plaintiff on December 6, 2017, to provide temporary relief. Dr. Breton told plaintiff that, due to budget cuts, there were not enough doctors to treat all inmates and he would not see plaintiff again. Id. at 6 (¶ 8).

         Although plaintiff alleges that he was provided no treatment from July 2016 until December 2017, the documents he attaches to the complaint show that in November and December 2016, and again in May 2017, he was provided hydrocortisone cream by an unnamed APRN which relieved the rash. Id. at 44, 42, 40. When he stopped using the cream, however, the rash returned. Id. at 28, 30 (November 2017); 32, 34 (August 2017). In addition, a September 2016 grievance was returned without disposition with a notation that he had been seen multiple times by the doctor and admitted to the hospital unit for his complaints. Id. at 25-26

         Plaintiff also attached inmate requests addressed generally to Warden/Unit Administrator dated December 1, 2017, November 7, 2017, and October 17, 2017. Faneuff responded to each request, stating each time that plaintiff had been scheduled to see Dr. Breton soon. Id. at 11-13. He also informed plaintiff that his inquiries should be directed to Furey. Id. at 13. A request form submitted to Furey on October 17, 2017, also resulted in a statement that plaintiff would be seen by Dr. Breton within a few days, but it does not appear that plaintiff was seen until December 6 or 8, 2017. Id. at 9, 10, 15.


         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a prisoner's civil complaint against a governmental entity or governmental actors and “identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” If the prisoner is proceeding pro se, the allegations of the complaint must be read liberally to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest. See Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010).

         In recent years, the Supreme Court has set forth a threshold “plausibility” pleading standard for courts to evaluate the adequacy of allegations in federal court complaints. A complaint must allege enough facts-as distinct from legal conclusions-that give rise to plausible grounds for relief. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Notwithstanding the rule of liberal interpretation of a pro se complaint, a pro se complaint may not survive dismissal if its factual allegations do not meet the basic plausibility standard. See, e.g., Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local 40, 790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015).

         Plaintiff has brought his claims against each of the five defendants in both their personal and official capacities. Because each of the defendants is an employee of the State of Connecticut, plaintiff's official-capacity claims against them for money damages are plainly barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See, e.g., Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 169 (1985). In addition, because it appears from plaintiff's complaint and the attached medical records that he did receive treatment on December 6 or 8, 2017, and because plaintiff does not allege that this treatment was deficient or that his rash continues to plague ...

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