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Vines v. McCrystal

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 19, 2018



          Michael P. Shea United States District Judge.

         The plaintiff, Curtis Johnell Vines, is currently confined at Cheshire Correctional Institution. He initiated this action by filing a complaint against Physician Assistant (“PA”) Kevin McCrystal, Correctional Officer Olivio, and Correctional Officer Barrows. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint will be dismissed in part.

         I. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss ... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or 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. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when a plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement, '” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Although courts still have an obligation to interpret “a pro se complaint liberally, ” the complaint must include sufficient factual allegations to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).

         II. Facts

         On April 4, 2017, at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MacDougall-Walker”), the plaintiff injured his knee playing basketball. See Compl. at 6 ¶ 1 & at 7 ¶ 6. The plaintiff could not move his leg or foot or “stand without falling down.” See Id. at 6 ¶ 1. An officer called a “medical code” and medical staff members transferred the plaintiff to the medical unit. See Id. PA McCrystal examined the plaintiff's knee, prescribed ibuprofen for the pain, and directed a nurse to wrap the plaintiff's knee and provide him with crutches. See Id. ¶ 2. The plaintiff informed PA McCrystal and the nurse that he believed that the injury to his knee could not be “fix[ed]” with ibuprofen, but they would not listen to his opinion. See id.

         That evening, at the dinner meal, the plaintiff asked Correctional Officers Olivio and Barrows to contact the medical department because the pain in his injured knee was severe. See Id. ¶¶ 3-4. In response to the plaintiff's request, Officer Olivio “made a very smart remark about pain and not being able to talk” and Officer Barrows stated that she did not “want nothing to do with it.” See Id. ¶¶ 3-4. The plaintiff was unable to sleep during the night of April 4, 2017, and early morning hours of April 5, 2017, because his knee was so painful. See Id. ¶ 3.

         During the morning of April 5, 2017, after convincing correctional staff that he was experiencing the worst pain that he had ever experienced in his life, a lieutenant arranged for him to undergo an x-ray. See Id. at 7 ¶ 5. During a visit to the medical unit after the x-ray, a nurse explained to the plaintiff that he had “broke[n]” his knee “in half.” See Id. Medical officials at Cheshire transferred the plaintiff to the University of Connecticut Medical Center (“UCONN”) for surgery. See Id. ¶ 6. A surgeon “put two screws in [the plaintiff's] left knee.” See Id. Three days after the procedure, hospital officials transferred the plaintiff back to MacDougall-Walker. See id.

         During the next three weeks, medical staff members neglected to clean the incisions from the surgical procedure. See Id. ¶ 7. As a result, pus began to ooze from the incisions and the plaintiff experienced throbbing and burning sensations in his left knee. See Id. A nurse examined the plaintiff's knee and indicated “that is going to happen.” See Id. During the three-week period following his knee surgery, the plaintiff saw Dr. Pillai and PA McCrystal. See Id. ¶ 8.

         On May 5, 2017, Dr. Syed Naqvi examined the plaintiff's knee and concluded that the incisions had become infected. See Id. Dr. Naqvi prescribed a 7-day course of antibiotics to treat the infection. See id.

         On May 16, 2017, the plaintiff filed a “medical grievance” regarding PA McCrystal's treatment of his knee injury. See Id. ¶ 9. PA McCrystal denied the grievance. See id.

         III. Discussion

         The plaintiff contends that the defendants violated the Eighth Amendment, failed to comply with the procedures set forth in State of Connecticut Department of Correction Administrative Directive 9.6, and engaged in negligent conduct. For relief, the plaintiff seeks punitive ...

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