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Acevedo v. Ruiz

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 27, 2018

RICARDO RUIZ, et al., Defendants.


          Vanessa L. Bryant, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff, Andres Y. Acevedo, currently confined at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville, Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. The named defendants are Dr. Ricardo Ruiz and RN Jane Ventrella. The defendants are named in individual and official capacities.

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (2000), 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). 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. Nevertheless, it is well-established that “pro se complaints ‘must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 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).

         I. Allegations

         The events underlying this action occurred while plaintiff was confined at Cheshire Correctional Institution. In May 2016, plaintiff discovered a lump on his testicle and began experiencing testicular pain. On August 30, 2016, he submitted an inmate request asking to have a doctor examine the lump. RN Ventrella saw plaintiff the following day and placed him on the list to see the doctor.

         On November 3, 2016, after waiting 65 days to see the doctor, plaintiff submitted a second inmate request stating that he had not yet been seen by the doctor and was still experiencing pain. He requested a medical visit and confirmation that he was on the list to see the doctor. On November 9, 2016, RN Ventrella called plaintiff to the medical unit and informed him that he was on the list. Although plaintiff complained of pain, she did not prescribe medication.

         On December 4, 2016, plaintiff submitted a Health Services Review Grievance seeking an examination and treatment for pain. On December 24, 2016, Dr. Ruiz examined plaintiff. Dr. Ruiz ordered lab tests and told plaintiff that he would be seen for a follow-up examination. Dr. Ruiz did not prescribe pain medication.

         On January 23, 2017, plaintiff submitted an inmate request seeking the results of the lab tests and complaining about pain. On January 26, 2017, he submitted a second request asking if he was on the list for a follow-up visit and again complaining about pain. On January 29, 2017, RN Ventrella called plaintiff to the medical unit and discussed the test results. She disregarded his complaints of pain.

         II. Discussion

         Plaintiff lists four legal claims in his complaint: (1) deliberate indifference, (2) medical malpractice, (3) intentional infliction of severe pain, and (4) cruel and unusual punishment. For each of these claims, plaintiff states that the defendants violated his rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments. In addition, within the section of the complaint titled “Jurisdiction and Venue, ” plaintiff references the First and Eighth Amendments and generally refers to state tort law. Plaintiff has named the defendants in individual and official capacities and seeks damages as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.

         A. Official Capacity Claims

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages but does not indicate the capacity in which he seeks these damages. The Eleventh Amendment bars claims for damages against state officials in their official capacity unless the state waives this immunity or Congress abrogates it; exceptions are not applicable here. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 169 (1995). Accordingly, all official capacity claims for damages against the defendants are dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).

         Plaintiff also seeks declaratory relief in the form of a declaration that the actions described in the complaint violated his constitutional rights. Declaratory relief operates prospectively. It is intended to enable parties to adjudicate claims before either party suffers significant damages. Orr v. Waterbury Police Dep't., No. 3:17-cv-788(VAB), 2018 WL 780218, at *7 (D. Conn. Feb. 8, 2018) (citations omitted). In Orr, the court dismissed the request for declaratory relief because the request related only to past actions; the plaintiff had not identified any legal issues that could be resolved by declaratory relief. Id. Similarly, plaintiff seeks a declaration regarding past actions. Thus, the request for declaratory relief is inappropriate and is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).

         Finally, plaintiff seeks injunctive relief “for any medical issues that may arise from the lack of medical attention.” Doc. #1 at 8, ¶ 32. To state a claim for permanent injunctive relief, plaintiff must allege facts showing the absence of an adequate remedy at law and irreparable harm should relief be denied. Martin v. Shell Oil Co., 180 F.Supp.2d 313, 323 (D. Conn. 2002) (citing New York State Nat'l Org. for Women v. Terry, 886 F.2d 1339, 1362 (2d Cir. 1989)). Irreparable harm cannot be remote or speculative. Fair Haven Development Corp. v. DeStefano, No. Civ. A. ...

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