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Adams v. State

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 18, 2019

DA-QUANE ADAMS, Plaintiff,
STATE OF CONNECTICUT, et al. Defendants.



         On February 26, 2019, the Plaintiff, Da-Quane Adams, a prisoner 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 the State of Connecticut[1] and three Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”) medical officials: Dr. Omprakash Pillai, Dr. Syed Naqvi, and Nurse Shanya G. Compl. (DE#1). The Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief against the Defendants for violating his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Id. at p.16. On March 6, 2019, Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel granted the Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. See Order No. 6. For the following reasons, his complaint is dismissed without prejudice.

         Standard of Review

         Under 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. Notwithstanding, “[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).


         On February 25, 2014, the Plaintiff was suffering from extreme knee pain. Compl. ¶ 3. He alerted the correction officers in his unit, one of whom called the medical unit for assistance. Id. The official in the medical unit informed the Plaintiff that he had to submit a written request to be evaluated by medical personnel. Id. Because the Plaintiff was suffering from extreme pain, he asked two other inmates to transport him via wheelchair to the unit phone so that he could make an emergency call to his family. Id. After speaking to his family, one of his relatives called the facility to request emergency medical attention for the Plaintiff. Id. Medical staff then evaluated the Plaintiff, determined that the pain and swelling in his knee was severe, and transported him to the UConn Health Center for treatment. Id. at ¶ 4.

         While at the UConn Health Center, doctors diagnosed the Plaintiff with a swollen left knee and noted a prior diagnosis of septic arthritis as shown by a previous x-ray conducted at MWCI. Compl. ¶ 5. The Plaintiff informed the doctor at UConn that his pain was unbearable and requested an MRI of his knee because an x-ray does not show the nature of the problem. Id. at ¶¶ 5-6. The doctors at UConn gave the Plaintiff wooden crutches, an ace wrap for his knee, and Motrin for his pain. Id. at ¶ 6.

         The next day, the Utilization Review Committee (“URC”) reviewed a request submitted by Dr. Naqvi regarding the Plaintiff's condition. Compl. ¶ 7. Dr. Naqvi had diagnosed the Plaintiff with arthritis. Id. A second review on March 7, 2014 determined that the Plaintiff should continue to see an orthopedist for the “musculoskeletal issue” in his knee. Id. at ¶ 9. The URC's report indicated that the Plaintiff was suffering from medial joint-line pain in his knee, but there was no orthopedist follow-up scheduled. Id. at ¶¶ 9-10. The x-rays referenced in the report showed no significant bone or soft tissue abnormalities. Id. at ¶ 10. The URC did not comment on whether an MRI was needed. Id. at ¶¶ 9-10.

         On June 13, 2014, the Plaintiff was again evaluated by UConn medical personnel. Compl. ¶ 11. The report generated from that appointment explained that the Plaintiff had medial-sided left knee pain caused by a motor vehicle accident in 2012 and a basketball injury in October 2013. Id. The Plaintiff had informed the medical unit that the motor vehicle accident in 2012 was the source of his knee injury. Id. at ¶ 12. The report also referenced x-rays which showed no fractures or dislocations in the Plaintiff's knee. Id. at ¶ 11. Medical officials continually referred the Plaintiff for x-rays even though the Plaintiff insisted that he needed an MRI. Id. at ¶ 12. That same day, plans were made for an MRI to be conducted on the Plaintiff's left knee. Id. at ¶ 13.

         On July 10, 2014, a patient information form was completed in preparation for the plaintiff's MRI. Compl. ¶ 14. Before the MRI, the Plaintiff's medical records showed inter-medial joint line pain in his left knee and intermittent symptoms of swelling, pain, and fever. Id. at ¶ 15.

         The Plaintiff received his MRI on July 28, 2014. Compl. ¶ 16. The results showed posterior scarring on a joint ligament near the Plaintiff's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Id. A final report on the results was generated the next day indicating a concern for a possible meniscal tear. Id. The Plaintiff continues to experience swelling and chronic pain in his knee to this day. Id.

         The Plaintiff was not provided with any medication on July 28, 2014, despite his complaint of severe pain. Compl. ¶ 17. He discussed the medical reports with Nurse Shayna G. at MWCI and informed her that he had severe pain in his knee. Id. at ¶ 18. However, Nurse Shayna stated in her clinical report that the Plaintiff had no acute distress and did not complain of any pain. Id. Approximately one week later, the Plaintiff discussed his MRI results and his referral to an orthopedist for surgery[2] with Barbara LaFrances, another medical official. Id. at ¶ 19.

         On June 27, 2016, after several back-and-forth with MWCI staff, the Plaintiff filed a grievance because he had not been scheduled for surgery for his knee condition. Compl. ¶ 20. The official who responded to his grievance stated that he was scheduled for an appointment with a physician. Id. at ¶ 21. The Plaintiff appealed the response on July 14, 2016. Id. at ¶ 22. The same official told him that he “had nothing to gain” by filing a grievance. Id. at ¶ 23.

         On July 25, 2016, the Plaintiff sent a written request to medical asking why he had not been by a physician and stating that he was still experiencing pain and swelling in his knee. Compl. ¶ 24. Nurse Gina Burns ...

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