United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 37) AND MOTION
FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT (DOC. NO. 41)
A. DOOLEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Statement of the Case
24, 2017, the plaintiff, John Ingram, a prisoner currently
confined at the Cheshire Correctional Center
(“Cheshire”) in Connecticut, filed a complaint
pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several
state correctional dental care professionals for violating
his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the
United States Constitution. Compl. (Doc. No. 1). Therein, he
claims that the defendants acted with deliberate indifference
to his dental needs by needlessly extracting several of his
teeth and ignoring his requests for pain medication. Upon
initial review of the complaint, the court determined that
these constitutional claims were facially plausible as pled
against the following defendants in their individual
capacities: Dr. David Sochacki, Dr. John F. Dupont, Dr. Peter
O'Shea, and Dr. Victor Shivy. Initial Review Order (Doc.
No. 5). The court also permitted the plaintiff's claims
against Dr. Richard Benoit, the Director of Dental Services
for Correctional Managed Health Care (“CMHC”), in
his official capacity for declaratory and injunctive
service of the initial complaint, the plaintiff filed two
amended complaints on May 2, 2018 and May 31, 2018. (Doc.
Nos. 30, 36). The court granted his first motion to amend the
complaint; Order No. 35; but before it could rule on the
second amended complaint (Doc. No. 36), the defendants filed
the instant motion to dismiss that complaint under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Doc. No. 37). On August 10, 2018, the
plaintiff filed both an opposition to the defendants'
motion to dismiss the second amended complaint and a motion
for leave to file a third amended complaint. (Doc. Nos. 42
and 41). The defendants thereafter filed an objection to the
plaintiff's motion for leave to file the third amended
complaint, contending that they did not give consent to the
amendment and that the attempt to amend is futile because the
claims stated in the third amended complaint nevertheless
fail to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
(Doc. No. 43).
keeping with the principle of construing pro se
filings liberally, and for purposes of clarity, the court
considers the amended factual allegations in the
plaintiff's third amended complaint (Doc. No. 41-1) along
with his written opposition in ruling on the motion to
dismiss. See Armand v. Osborne, No. 11-CV-4182
(NGG), 2014 WL 723381, *6 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2014) (court
considers motion to amend in conjunction with additional
factual allegations in opposition to motion to dismiss);
Lumaj v. Williams, No. 03-CIV-1849 (PKC), 2004 WL
1207894, *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jun. 2, 2004) (court considered whether
allegations stated in amended pleading, if true, would
withstand motion to dismiss). Thus, the motion for leave to
amend the complaint is GRANTED. The clerk is directed to
docket the third amended complaint (Doc. No. 41-1) as a
separate entry. The plaintiff is hereby notified that the
third amended complaint constitutes the operative complaint.
No further amendments to his complaint will be permitted
absent a showing of good cause.
purposes of the motion to dismiss, the third amended
complaint shall be considered the operative pleading. For the
following reasons, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED in part
and DENIED in part.
withstand scrutiny under Rule 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 . . . plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant[s] [are] liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. The plausibility standard is not a probability
requirement; the complaint must show, not merely allege, that
the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See id.
all allegations contained in the complaint are assumed to be
true, this tenet is ‘inapplicable to legal
conclusions.'” LaMagna v. Brown, 474
Fed.Appx. 788, 789 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting Ashcroft,
556 U.S. at 678). See also Amaker v. New York State Dept.
of Corr. Servs., 435 Fed.Appx. 52, 54 (2d Cir. 2011)
(same). Accordingly, the court is not “bound to accept
conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as
factual conclusions.” Faber v. Metro. Life Ins.
Co., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting Rolon
v. Henneman, 517 F.3d 140, 149 (2d Cir. 2008) (internal
quotation marks omitted)). Consequently, “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555).
. . . the complaint was filed pro se, it must be
construed liberally with ‘special solicitude' and
interpreted to raise the strongest claims that it
suggests.” Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 515
(2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Hill v. Curcione, 657 F.3d
116, 122 (2d Cir. 2011)). Nevertheless, a pro se
plaintiff's complaint still must “state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Mancuso v.
Hynes, 379 Fed.Appx. 60, 61 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678). Therefore, even in a
pro se case, “threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Chavis v.
Chappius, 618 F.3d 162, 170 (2d Cir. 2010) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted).
plaintiff alleges the following facts in his third amended
complaint. (Doc. No. 41-1). In July 2012, the plaintiff wrote
a request to the dental department at Cheshire complaining of
severe pain in his lower front teeth. 3d Am. Compl. ¶
15. The plaintiff had been taking ibuprofen for his pain for
two to three weeks, but it was ineffective in alleviating the
pain. Id. In his written complaint, the plaintiff
requested a root canal for his teeth. Id. at ¶
16. He waited three weeks before he was able to see a
August 2012, the plaintiff was examined by Dr. Shivy
“and/or” Dr. Sochacki. Id. at ¶ 17.
Sochacki took x-rays of the plaintiff's lower front
teeth. Id. at ¶ 18. Then, he
“and/or” Shivy informed the plaintiff that his
number 23 and 24 teeth needed to be extracted because the
CMHC does not allow for root canals. Id. at ¶
19. The doctors gave the plaintiff pain medication and
scheduled him for the teeth extraction procedure.
Id. at ¶ 20.
the next several weeks, the plaintiff continued to experience
severe pain in his lower front teeth. Id. at ¶
21. The pain medication that Shivy and Sochacki provided was
ineffective in alleviating his pain. Id. The
plaintiff wrote another inmate request and an administrative
grievance regarding his pain and the inadequacy of the pain
medication, but both documents went unanswered. Id.
at ¶¶ 22-24.
September 2012, the plaintiff underwent the teeth extraction
“after being told once again by [Dr.] Dupont or again
by [Dr.] Sochacki” that the CMHC does not perform root
canals. Id. at ¶ 26. After the procedure, the
plaintiff was denied pain medication. Id. at ¶
27. One or two days later, he once again began experiencing
severe pain in the area of his lower front teeth.
Id. at ¶ 28.
September 12, 2012, the plaintiff wrote a request to the
dental unit for pain medication, but the request went
unanswered. Id. at ¶¶ 29-30. Sochacki
“should have called [him] down” for an
appointment because he managed the dental unit at Cheshire
but did not do so. Id. at ¶ 29. Days later, the