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Jones v. Doe

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 1, 2018

DASHANTE SCOTT JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
JANE DOE et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Dashante Scott Jones (“Plaintiff”), currently incarcerated at the Garner Correctional Institution (“Garner”) in Newtown, Connecticut, and proceeding pro se, has sued Captain Watson, Dr. Johnny Wu, Dr. Ruiz, and four other unidentified correctional officials (collectively “Defendants”) in their individual and official capacities for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Mr. Jones claims that Defendants violated his rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by denying him access to necessary medical equipment. He also asserts a claim under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”).

         For the reasons that follow, the Complaint is dismissed, in part.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         As best as the Court can determine, Mr. Jones makes the following allegations.

         A. Factual Allegations

         Mr. Jones claims to suffer from chronic asthma and sleep apnea. Compl. at 5, ECF No. 1. On November 20, 2017, while allegedly housed in the segregation unit at Garner, Mr. Jones filed a grievance against a number of prison officials because medical personnel were allegedly preventing him from having an asthma pump inside of his cell. Id. Correctional staff allegedly informed Mr. Jones that inmates at Garner are not permitted to have asthma pumps in their cells, but they are permitted in cells at other prison facilities. Id. Nevertheless, Captain Watson allegedly instructed medical personnel not to permit Mr. Jones to have the pump. Id. The denial of the pump, Mr. Jones claims, caused Mr. Jones to struggle breathing in his sleep and wake up constantly with shortness of breath. Id.

         Mr. Jones allegedly continued to submit complaints to correctional staff at Garner about the denial of the pump and the problems it was causing him. Compl. at 6. Captain Watson and John/Jane Does 1, 2, and 3 allegedly rejected his complaints. Id. at 5-6. On the morning of January 19, 2018, Mr. Jones alleges that Nurse Doe 1 forgot to bring Mr. Jones his two asthma pumps, which contained his asthma medication. Id. When Mr. Jones complained to a correction officer about Doe 1's mistake, the officer allegedly told him to wait until after lunch to receive the medication. Id. Shortly thereafter, however, Mr. Jones felt his chest tighten, and he allegedly passed out in his cell. Id. Correction officials allegedly called an emergency code, and several medical personnel, including Nurse Jane Doe 2, allegedly brought Mr. Jones to the medical unit. Id.

         While in the medical unit, medical staff allegedly monitored Mr. Jones by repeatedly checking his vital signs. Compl. at 7. Mr. Jones claims that, however, under the direction of Dr. Ruiz, the staff initially deprived Mr. Jones of his proper breathing medication. Id. Finally, after several complaints and with Mr. Jones “fighting for [his] life, ” the staff provided him with breathing treatment. Id. Mr. Jones believes Dr. Ruiz and his staff deprived Mr. Jones of approrpiate treatment out of retaliation for lawsuits Mr. Jones has filed in state and federal court and because they wanted Mr. Jones to die. Id.

         B. Procedural Background

         Mr. Jones filed his Complaint on April 12, 2018. Compl. On April 16, 2018, Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel granted Mr. Jones' motion to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF No. 7.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Complaints by incarcerated persons must be reviewed and 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, must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Although detailed allegations are not required, a complaint must include sufficient facts to afford a defendants fair notice of the claims and grounds upon which the claims 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). A plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 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)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 6 ...


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