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Small v. Clements

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 31, 2018

JAMAL SMALL, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL CLEMENTS, et al., Defendants.



         Preliminary Statement

         Plaintiff, Jamal Small (“Small”), currently confined at Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield, Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging his medical care. The named defendants are Dr. Michael Clements, Nurse Shannon T. Duncan, Health Services Administrator Margo Griffin, Dr. Cary Freston, and medical staff member Jane Doe. Small seeks damages from the defendants in their individual and official capacities. The complaint was received on October 18, 2018, and Small's motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on October 26, 2018.

         Standard of Review

         Under section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, the Court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss 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. Id. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest[].” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants). Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon which they 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). The plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.


         On June 8, 2018, Small injured his left hand while playing basketball with other inmates in the outdoor recreation yard at Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution. Small felt a bone snap and experienced severe pain. He informed custody staff and was permitted to go to the medical unit. Small's left hand was swollen, and a severe deformity was visible on top of his hand. The deformity indicated a closed fracture within the hand.

         At the medical unit, Nurse Duncan looked at Small's hand and gave him ice and an ace bandage. She did not have Small transferred to another correctional facility or outside hospital for emergency care. Nurse Duncan ordered Small to return to his housing unit and to take Motrin for pain. Nurse Duncan told him that his hand would be x-rayed on June 11, 2018.

         Small's hand was x-rayed on June 15, 2018. Small experienced pain for one week with no medical intervention. During the week, Small submitted several requests to the medical unit complaining of pain and lack of treatment. Dr. Freston did not order that Small be taken for emergency treatment on June 8, 2018, or provide any medical care between June 8, 2018, and June 15, 2018.

         The x-ray showed “a nondisplaced oblique fracture through the proximal diaphysis of the third metacarpal.” After reviewing the x-ray on June 15, 2018, Dr. Clements ordered a “flimsy brace.” Small considered the brace inappropriate. Dr. Clements ordered a follow-up x-ray to be taken in thirty days. Small never received the follow-up x-ray. The break healed improperly. As a result, Small's hand is permanently disfigured and causes him pain on a regular basis.

         Margo Griffin is the Health Services Administrator at Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution. Her responsibilities include the administrative overview of the medical department and responding to administrative remedies filed by inmates at the facility. Small filed a Health Services Administrative Remedy on June 21, 2018. His complaint was ignored. He did not meet with a doctor as required under Department of Correction Administrative Directive 8.9. In fact, he received no response to his grievance until October 2, 2018.


         Small alleges that Dr. Clements, Dr. Freston, and Nurse Duncan were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need. He also alleges that Health Services Administrator Griffin did not ensure that his administrative remedy was properly addressed. Small alleges that the remedy was denied by “an unnamed staff Administrative Remedy Coordinator.” ECF No. 1 at 3, ¶ 4. As there is no other reference to Jane Doe in the allegations, the Court assumes that this unnamed person is defendant Jane Doe.

         Official ...

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