United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Michael P. Shea, United States District Judge.
14, 2018, the plaintiff, Rodney Martin Kyles, an inmate
currently confined at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution (“MWCI”) in Suffield, Connecticut,
brought a civil action pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Dr. Omprakash Pillai and Nursing Supervisor
Tawanna Furtick for violating his Eighth Amendment protection
against cruel and unusual punishment. Compl. (ECF No. 1). He
seeks damages, preliminary injunctive relief, and declaratory
relief. Id. ¶¶ 18-20. On October 5, 2018,
Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel granted the
plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis
(ECF No. 6). For the following reasons, the complaint may
proceed against the defendants.
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, 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. 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.” Bell Atlantic, 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
America, 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,
623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules
of solicitude for pro se litigants).
2009, the plaintiff was diagnosed with a neurological
disorder. Compl. ¶ 1. In 2010, he underwent L3-4 and
L4-5 bilateral laminectomies, which alleviated many of his
painful symptoms. Id. However, in March of 2017,
many of his painful symptoms resurfaced, and the medication
regimen he was on became ineffective in treating the pain.
Id. In October 2017, the plaintiff received an
epidural steroid injection (“ESI”), which only
relieved his pain for five days. Id.
9, 2017, the plaintiff went to UConn Medical Center and
underwent a second MRI. Compl. ¶ 2. Afterward, he was
diagnosed with discopathy. Id. A third MRI on July
17, 2017 revealed severe multi-level spinal stenosis.
several occasions from May to October of 2017, the plaintiff
wrote Inmate Requests to Dr. Pillai regarding his chronic
pain and the inadequacy of his treatment regimen. Compl.
¶ 2; Pl.'s Exs. I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P (ECF No. 1 at
24-31). He wrote a grievance against the medical unit at MWCI
on October 24, 2017, which went unanswered. Compl. ¶ 2;
Pl.'s Ex. Q (ECF No. 1 at 32).
November 28, 2017, the plaintiff met with an orthopedics
specialist, Dr. Shantay Wells. Compl. ¶ 2. Dr. Wells
advised the plaintiff that he had two options: (a) obtain
another ESI, or (b) surgery. Id. at ¶ 3. Dr.
Wells recommended that surgery remain as the plaintiff's
last option, and the plaintiff opted to receive another ESI.
February 7, 2018, the plaintiff received another ESI, which
alleviated much of his chronic pain. Compl. ¶ 4.
However, on March 3, 2018, the plaintiff was readmitted to
UConn Medical Center for a period of three weeks.
Id. at ¶ 5. While in the hospital, the
plaintiff mostly remained lying on his back and “never
once . . . experience[d] any pain or numbness . . . .”
plaintiff returned to MWCI on two occasions and was sent to
the infirmary. Compl. ¶ 6. There, he remained lying on
his back without experiencing any numbness or pain.
Id. Upon discharge from the infirmary, the plaintiff
returned to his housing unit. Id. at ¶ 7. He
was given a new mattress on March 30, 2018. Id. By
the end of May 2018, however, he began experiencing numbness
and pain while lying down, regardless of his position.
Id. He experienced numbness and pain on both sides
of his body, including his shoulders, hips, legs, and feet.
24, 2018, the plaintiff submitted an Inmate Request to
Captain Patton requesting a second mattress to alleviate his
pain, but Patton would not authorize a second mattress.
Compl. ¶ 8; Pl.'s Ex. Y (ECF No. 1 at 40). He sent
another request to the medical department on July 19
complaining about his pain and the lack of sleep he was
receiving. Compl. ¶ 9; Pl.'s Ex. Z (ECF No. 1 at
41). The responding staff member stated that she would
schedule the plaintiff to meet with his provider. Pl.'s
plaintiff submitted an Inmate Request and a Request for
Reasonable Accommodations (“RRA”) to his unit
manager seeking a hospital mattress for his condition,
similar to the one he had while at UConn Medical Center and
in the infirmary at MWCI that alleviated his pain. Compl.
¶ 10; Pl.'s Exs. 2, 3 (ECF No. 1 at 43, 44). The
unit manager wrote in response that the plaintiff would have
to wait one year to receive a new mattress unless the medical
department orders otherwise. Pl.'s Ex. 3.
August 16, 2018, Dr. Pillai sent Nurse Vivian Martell to
speak with Nursing Supervisor Furtick and explain the
plaintiff's medical condition in an attempt to obtain a
second mattress for him. Compl. ¶ 11. Furtick refused to
provide the second mattress. Id. The plaintiff sent
her an Inmate Request the next day asking why she had refused
to provide a second mattress when it appeared that Dr. Pillai
had approved it. Id. at ¶ 14; Pl.'s Ex. 5
(ECF No. 1 at 46). Another official named C. Boilard
responded to the request stating that “[n]o one is
approved for a double mattress.” Pl.'s Ex. 5. The