United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, Norman Gaines (“Gaines”), an
incarcerated person, in this civil rights action, claims that
the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical needs in violation of his 8th Amendment
rights. The extensive and protracted procedural history of
the plaintiff's claims need not be recited here. It shall
suffice to note that following court review of the Third
Amended Complaint, two claims remain: that Dr. Johnny Wright
(Dr. Wright) was deliberately indifferent to Gaines'
complaints of pain, and that Dr. Naqvi and Nurse Good failed
to provide a prescribed knee brace, also a deliberate
indifference claim. ECF 90. Each of these defendants has
filed a motion for summary judgment to which the plaintiff
has objected. For the reasons that follow, the motion is
GRANTED as to defendants Dr. Naqvi and Nurse Good and DENIED
as to defendant Dr. Wright.
motion for summary judgment may be granted only where there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56(a),
Fed. R. Civ. P.; see also Redd v. New York Div. of
Parole, 678 F.3d 166, 173-74 (2d Cir. 2012). “When
the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial,
the moving party can satisfy its burden at summary judgment
by ‘pointing out to the district court' the absence
of a genuine dispute with respect to any essential element of
its opponent's case: ‘a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts
immaterial.'” Cohane v. National Collegiate
Athletic Ass'n, 612 Fed.Appx. 41, 43 (2d Cir. 2015)
(quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
the moving party meets this burden, the nonmoving party must
set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial. Wright v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266
(2d Cir. 2009). He cannot “‘rely on conclusory
allegations or unsubstantiated speculation' but
‘must come forward with specific evidence demonstrating
the existence of a genuine dispute of material
fact.'” Robinson v. Concentra Health
Servs., 781 F.3d 42, 34 (2d Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). He must present such evidence as would allow a jury
to find in his favor in order to defeat the motion for
summary judgment. Graham v. Long Island R.R., 230
F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000). Although the court is required to
read a self-represented “party's papers liberally
and interpret them to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest, ” Willey v. Kirkpatrick, 801 F.3d 51,
62 (2d Cir. 2015), “unsupported allegations do not
create a material issue of fact” and do not overcome a
properly supported motion for summary judgment. Weinstock
v. Columbia Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000).
undisputed that Gaines first complained about right knee pain
in November 2014 when he was incarcerated at Northern
Correctional. Nor is there a dispute as to the dates and
times on which the plaintiff received medications. Dr.
Clements prescribed 600mg of Motrin, a pain reliever, for the
period from December 2014, through March 2015. On February
13, 2015, Gaines was transferred to Osborn Correctional
Institution where he was treated by defendant Dr. Wright. On
April 17, 2015, Dr. Breton renewed Gaines' Motrin
prescription for six months. Gaines was issued twenty pills
on that date.
Wright submitted an affidavit in which he states that Gaines
first complained to him of knee pain on August 4, 2015.
However, Gaines' affidavit indicates that he saw Dr.
Wright in March 2015 and submitted many requests for
treatment of knee pain prior to the August 2015 visit. He
further states that Dr. Wright failed to respond to his many
requests for pain medication. For this reason alone, Dr.
Wright's motion for summary judgment must be denied.
However, further examination of the submissions is
his August 4, 2015 appointment with Dr. Wright, Gaines
received twenty Motrin tablets on August 5, 2015. Dr. Wright
saw Gaines on September 10, 2015, for a follow-up
appointment. Dr. Wright reviewed Gaines' knee x-ray and
renewed the Motrin order for six months. The medication order
is reflected in the medication records submitted by the
defendants. However, those records show that Gaines was
actually given medication on September 19, 2015 only.
Wright saw Gaines again on April 20, 2016, for an unrelated
injury to his left biceps. Dr. Wright prescribed Flexeril, a
muscle relaxer, for seven days and Motrin for thirty days. He
also sent Gaines to the emergency room. Gaines acknowledges
that he received the Motrin but asserts that it was
prescribed for his biceps injury not his knee injury.
Wright saw Gaines on June 20, 2016. Dr. Wright ordered a
“right knee support with donut buttress, which is a
type of knee brace with a neoprene sleeve designed to
stabilize and control the patella and support the knee
joint.” Gaines received the brace the same day. Again,
Gaines acknowledges these events but avers that this was not
a scheduled appointment but rather a chance meeting in the
hallway. He further states that Dr. Wright failed to provide
any pain medication on June 20, 2016. This is one of several
ways in which the plaintiff disagrees with the medical
records. While he acknowledges that he was treated on the
days indicated, he generally avers that they are incomplete,
misleading, and inaccurate in terms of what he reported at
the appointments with medical personnel. He avers that he was
regularly and consistently complaining of knee pain at just
about every medical appointment.
surgery on his biceps, Dr. Wright saw Gaines in the infirmary
on August 11, 2016. Gaines was prescribed two pain relievers,
325 mg aspirin and Tylenol with codeine. Dr. Wright also
issued Gaines a bottom bunk pass for three months. Gaines
does not dispute receiving the medications but again argues
that they were prescribed for issues relating to his biceps
injury, not his knee.
September 23, 2016, Gaines had a follow-up visit at the
University of Connecticut Health Center regarding his
surgery. During the visit, Gaines complained about his knee
injury. The doctor noted in the record that he would order an
MRI of the right knee and recommended a hinged knee brace for
stability. On September 27, 2016, Dr. Wright submitted a
request to the Utilization Review Committee for an MRI of
Gaines' right knee. The request was initially denied. Dr.
Wright appealed the ...