United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND/OR
MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS (DOC. NO. 39)
C. Hall United States District Judge.
plaintiff, Eugene Lionel Walker (“Walker”),
currently incarcerated at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional
Center in Uncasville, Connecticut, has filed an Amended
Complaint pro se under section 1983 of title 42 of
the United States Code. The defendants are Dr. Carson Wright
and Nurses Barbara Savoie, Shannon Lawrence, Wanda Verville,
Darnella Burke, and Debra Wilson. The defendants now move to
dismiss all claims. See Motion to Dismiss and/or
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (“Mot. to
Dismiss”) (Doc. No. 39). They ask the court to consider
their Motion as a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to
Dr. Wright, the only defendant to have filed an Answer, and a
Motion to Dismiss as to all other defendants.
reasons that follow, the defendants' Motion is granted in
STANDARD OF REVIEW
withstand a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). “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.” Id. The
plausibility standard is not a probability requirement; the
pleading must show, not merely allege, that the pleader is
entitled to relief. Id. When reviewing a motion to
dismiss, the court must accept the complaint's factual
allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the
non-movant's favor. Graziano v. Pataki, 689 F.3d
110, 114 (2d Cir. 2012). However, legal conclusions and
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” are
not entitled to a presumption of truth. Ashcroft,
556 U.S. at 678.
standard for granting a motion for judgment on the pleadings
is identical to that of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.
Willey v. Kirkpatrick, 801 F.3d 51, 61-62 (2d Cir.
2015) (noting that court employs same standard on motions for
judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) and motions to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), namely whether “the
complaint contains sufficient factual matter that, if
accepted as true, states a plausible claim for
February 8, 2014, Walker was housed at Northern Correctional
Institution (“Northern”) as a pretrial detainee.
He informed Nurse Savoie, while she was doing rounds, that he
was unable to move from his bunk because of severe back pain.
Walker also reported that the right side of his nose was
clogged, and he was experiencing pain behind his right eye.
He asked to see a doctor. See Amended Complaint
(“Am. Compl.”) (Doc. No. 29) at ¶ 1. Savoie
told Walker that the doctor was at Northern only on certain
days, but said that she would call the doctor and explain his
symptoms. See id. at ¶ 2. Nurse Savoie did so
and told Walker that Dr. Wright had prescribed Motrin and
Flexeril for ten days. See id. at ¶ 3.
February 11, 2014, Walker explained to Dr. Wright that the
medication was helping his back, but he still could not
breathe through the right side of his nose and had a heavy,
painful feeling in his eyes and, now, also experienced a bad
tasting fluid going down the back of his throat. Dr. Wright
told him to continue taking the Motion and Flexeril for the
prescribed period. See id. at ¶ 4. On February
19, 2014, Walker submitted a written request to see the
doctor because the painful pressure behind his right eye was
worsening, and he was having difficulty opening his eye. The
other symptoms had not changed. See id. at ¶ 5.
Nurse Lawrence saw Walker on February 21, 2014. See
id. at ¶ 6. After speaking with Dr. Wright, Nurse
Lawrence told Walker that his Motrin prescription had been
renewed for three months. See id. at ¶ 7.
March 2, 2014, Nurse Verville saw Walker for complaints of a
swollen and painful right eye and inability to sleep due to
headaches and pain. Nurse Verville diagnosed a stye in his
eye and recommended warm compresses and Motrin. See
Id. at ¶ 8. By March 5, 2014, Walker was
experiencing drainage from his eye, an inability to open his
eye, recurring headaches, a clogged nose, a heavy feeling in
his face, and an inability to sleep. Nurse Lawrence
questioned the diagnosis of a stye, but recommended that
Walker continue the compresses and Motrin. Nurse Lawrence
spoke with Dr. Wright who prescribed erythromycin ointment
for Walker's eye. See Id. at ¶ 9.
the next two weeks, Walker's symptoms worsened. His
cellmate reported to custodial staff that Walker was
stumbling and displaying unusual behavior. See id.
at ¶ 10. Walker was taken by ambulance to the University
of Connecticut Health Center for evaluation. See id.
at ¶ 11. On March 19, 2014, Walker underwent emergency
surgery for an intracranial cerebral abscess. See
id. at ¶ 12. Doctors told Walker that his condition
had been life-threatening and was caused by an untreated
sinus infection. See id. at ¶¶ 13-14.
August 9, 2016, Walker was a sentenced prisoner confined at
Cheshire Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”).
He submitted a request to see Dr. Ruiz for complaints of a
severe headache and “funny feeling” in his face.
See id. at ¶ 15. He received no response. A few
days later, Walker experienced multiple seizures. He went
into a coma after being rushed to the hospital. See
id. at ¶ 16.
morning of February 23, 2017, Nurse Burke did not give Walker
his anti-seizure medication. See id. at ¶ 17.
During morning recreation, Walker asked Correctional Officer
Reid (“Reid”) to contact the medical unit and
tell them that he had not received his medication. The
medical unit stated that the log indicated that Walker had
received his medication. See id. at ¶ 18.
began feeling dizzy and asked for his
“PRN.” Reid called the medical unit. Walker told
Reid that he was not going to lock up in his cell because the
medical staff said he could wait for the medication. See
id. at ¶ 19. The unit manager contacted the medical
unit and was told to send Walker to the unit. See
id. at ¶ 20.
noon, Walker saw Dr. Ruiz and explained that he had not
received his morning medication. Nurse Wilson told Dr. Ruiz
that Walker had received his medication and was lying. Walker
asked Dr. Ruiz to have someone check the surveillance
footage. Dr. Ruiz asked Nurse Wilson to do so. See
id. at ¶ 21.
thereafter, Nurse Wilson gave Walker his PRN medication and
told him to return to the housing unit even though Dr. Ruiz
had told Walker to wait so they could “figure out the
problem.” Id. at ¶ 22. That same day,
Walker wrote to the nursing supervisor and submitted a
grievance. He also requested that Deputy Warden Viger
preserve the surveillance footage. See id. at ¶
23. On February 24, 2014, Walker was transferred to
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center. See id. at
the three years since his emergency surgery, Walker has
experienced several hospital stays, including time in the
intensive care unit, several weeks in the prison infirmary,
seizures, a coma, and countless doctor's appointments and
medical procedures as well as retaliatory treatment by
medical staff. See id. at ¶ 25. He has a
prominent scar several inches long from his hairline into his
forehead. See id. at ¶ 26. He experiences
constant headaches and must take seizure medication, which
also causes headaches. He needs continuing medical care and
is left with some permanent impairment as a result of the
untreated sinus infection. See id. at ¶ 27.
Walker alleges that all defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of his
rights under the Eighth and Sixth Amendments. See
id. at 10-11. Second, he reasserts state law claims for
negligence and medical malpractice. See id. at 11.
These claims were dismissed in the Initial Review Order and
are not revived by inclusion in the Amended
Complaint. See Initial Review Order (Doc.
No. 9) at 10-11. Third, Walker alleges that his right to
equal protection was violated because sentenced inmates are
housed in correctional facilities staffed by doctors every
day, while he, as a pretrial detainee, was housed in a
facility with a doctor only on some days. See Am.
Compl. at 12.
defendants Move to Dismiss the Amended Complaint on the
ground that Walker fails to state a cognizable claim against
any defendant and the defendants are protected by qualified
immunity. The defendants direct their arguments only to
Walker's claim of deliberate ...