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Garcia v. Doe

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 21, 2018

RAMON A. GARCIA, Plaintiff,
JOHN DOE, et al. Defendants.


          Kari A. Dooley United States District Judge

         Preliminary Statement

          On November 27, 2017, the plaintiff, Ramon A. Garcia (“Garcia”), a former inmate with the Connecticut Department of Corrections (“DOC”), filed a complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against six DOC and Correctional Managed Health Care employees for acting with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, in violation of his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment, and for retaliating against him for filing a grievance, in violation of his First Amendment rights. After reviewing the complaint, the court permitted the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim to proceed against Nurse Joy Burns and Nurse Hollie Good and the First Amendment claim to proceed against Counselor Supervisor Deloris Blanchard.

         On September 25, 2018, the defendants each moved for summary judgment averring that there is no genuine issue of material fact with respect to any of the claims brought by the plaintiff and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The plaintiff's opposition to the defendants' motion was due by October 16, 2018. He has not filed any opposition or response to the defendants' motion.[1] For the following reasons, the defendants' motion is GRANTED in its entirety.

         Standard of Review

          When seeking summary judgment, the moving party bears the burden to establish that there are no genuine issues of material fact in dispute and that it is “entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law” and is “genuine” if “a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party” based upon it. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The moving party may satisfy this burden “by showing - that is pointing out to the district court - that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” PepsiCo, Inc. v. Coca-Cola Co., 315 F.3d 101, 105 (2d Cir. 2002) (per curium) (internal quotations omitted; citations omitted).

         When a motion for summary judgment is supported by documentary evidence and sworn affidavits and “demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, ” the nonmoving party must do more than vaguely assert the existence of some unspecified disputed material facts or “rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation.” Robinson v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 781 F.3d 42, 44 (2d Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). The nonmoving party “must come forward with specific evidence demonstrating the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact.” Id.

         In reviewing the parties' submissions, the Court must “construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and to draw all reasonable inferences in its favor.” Gary Friedrich Enters., L.L.C. v. Marvel Characters, Inc., 716 F.3d 302, 312 (2d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). If there is any evidence from which a reasonable factual inference could be drawn in favor of the non-moving party for the issue on which summary judgment is sought, then summary judgment is improper. See, Security Ins. Co. of Hartford v. Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., 391 F.3d 77, 83 (2d Cir. 2004).

         Where one party is proceeding pro se, the Court must read his papers liberally and interpret them “to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.” Willey v. Kirkpatrick, 801 F.3d 51, 62 (2d Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Despite this liberal interpretation, however, “[u]nsupported allegations do not create a material issue of fact” and cannot overcome a properly supported motion for summary judgment. See, Weinstock v. Columbia Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 811 (2003).

         Undisputed Material Facts [2]

         In December 2015, the plaintiff was confined at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MWCI”) in Suffield, Connecticut. On December 21, 2015, he was transported from MWCI to the UConn Medical Center for oral surgery. Following surgery, the dentist, Dr. A Stiles, prescribed for the plaintiff five milligrams of Percocet to be taken every six hours to alleviate his pain. Later that day, at 5:50 p.m., the plaintiff received a five milligram dose of oxycodone and a 325 milligram dose of acetaminophen. Shortly thereafter, at 6:00 p.m., he was transported back to MWCI. Per Dr. Stiles' order, the plaintiff was not due another dose of pain medication until 11:50 p.m., six hours after his 5:50 p.m. dosage. At approximately 12:05 p.m. on December 22, the plaintiff received another dose of oxycodone from MWCI medical staff. Records at MWCI show that medication was also withdrawn for the plaintiff at 11:35 p.m. on December 22 and at 5:37 p.m. on December 23.

         In December 2015, there were several nurses employed at MWCI each having different assignments and responsibilities. One nurse, the designated medication nurse, was assigned the responsibility of processing prescriptions and dispensing medications for inmates. Defendant Nurse Good, who is alleged to have withheld medication from the plaintiff, was never assigned as the medication nurse at MWCI. Generally, her responsibilities entailed examining inmates and handling paperwork for out-of-facility medical treatment. Defendant Good does not recall speaking with the plaintiff on December 22, 2015.

         On December 28, 2015, at 6:50 p.m., the plaintiff's cell mate was complaining of flu-like symptoms. As a result, the plaintiff and his cellmate were placed in a medical quarantine by MWCI medical staff. Pursuant to the order, neither the plaintiff nor his cellmate were permitted to exit their cell except for showers and telephone calls. Of import, defendant Blanchard had no role in the decision to place the plaintiff and his cellmate on quarantine status. Further, she does not recall any interaction with the plaintiff in the days that followed. On December 29, 2015, Blanchard ...

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