United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
MICHAEL P. SHEA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Clarence Patterson incarcerated at the Cheshire Correctional
Institution in Cheshire, Connecticut, filed this case under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. He contends that the defendant, Dr.
Bruce Lichtenstein, was deliberately indifferent to his
serious dental needs and retaliated against him. Patterson
seeks damages from the defendant in his individual capacity.
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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This requirement
applies to all prisoner filings regardless whether the
prisoner pays the filing fee. Nicholson v.
Lenczewski, 356 F.Supp.2d 157, 159 (D. Conn. 2005)
(citing Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115 (2d Cir. 1999)
(per curiam)). Here, the plaintiff has paid the filing fee.
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 plausible 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. “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). The Court must construe pro se pleadings
liberally, Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir.
2009), and interpret them to raise the “strongest
arguments that they suggest.” Triestman v. Fed.
Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 472 (2d Cir. 2006). To
plead a cognizable legal claim, however, a pro se
plaintiff must meet the standard of facial plausibility.
See Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 515 (2d Cir.
2013) (“[A] pro se complaint must state a
plausible claim for relief.”) (citing Harris v.
Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 73 (2d Cir. 2009)).
and 2010, the plaintiff was confined at Garner Correctional
Institution. ECF No. 1, ¶ 12. During that time, Dr.
Lichtenstein began a root canal procedure on one of the
plaintiff's molars. Id., ¶¶ 13, 134.
The University of Connecticut Correctional Managed Health
Care Dental Manual prohibited root canals on molars.
Id., ¶ 14 & Ex. 1A-Z. When Dr. Lichtenstein
had completed half of the procedure, the plaintiff confronted
Dr. Lichtenstein about the unauthorized procedure and accused
Dr. Lichtenstein of using the plaintiff as a “test
dummy.” Id., ¶¶ 15, 135. The
accusation caused Dr. Lichtenstein to become angry.
Id., ¶ 16.
after this incident, the plaintiff was transferred to
Cheshire Correctional Institution without the root canal
procedure being finished. Id., ¶¶ 17, 138.
The plaintiff believes that Dr. Lichtenstein was responsible
for the transfer. Id., ¶ 136. Dr. Lichtenstein
included no information in the transfer summary to notify
staff about the partially completed procedure. Id.,
¶¶ 20, 139.
plaintiff was transferred to MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution. No dentist there would complete the root canal
procedure because the procedure should not have been
performed. Id., ¶ 22. The plaintiff was in pain
and filed a lawsuit against Dr. Lichtenstein. Id.,
¶¶ 23, 142.
year later, with the root canal procedure still not
completed, the plaintiff was transferred to
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution, and then to Carl
Robinson Correctional Institution. Id., ¶¶
24-25. Correctional Managed Health Care Dental Director
Benoit and Assistant Attorney General DeAnn Varunes agreed to
have the plaintiff transferred to UConn to have the root
canal completed. Id., ¶ 26. The plaintiff
settled his lawsuit against Dr. Lichtenstein in 2013 or 2014.
Id., ¶¶ 28, 143.
21, 2018, the plaintiff had a dental appointment at Osborn
Correctional Institution. Id., ¶ 33. He
intended to have a clamp on his denture fixed. Id.,
¶ 34. The dentist told the plaintiff that, because he
had had the denture since 2008 or 2010, he was eligible for a
new denture. Id., ¶ 37. She submitted requests
to the Utilization Review Committee for repair of the clamp
and for a new set of dentures but told the plaintiff that he
could not receive both. Id., ¶¶ 38-39,
144. The plaintiff opted to wait to have his current denture
replaced until the Utilization Review Committee decided the
request for new dentures. Id., ¶ 40. The
following day, the plaintiff was transferred to Cheshire
Correctional Institution. Id., ¶¶ 41, 145.
August 8, 2018, the plaintiff's denture broke while he
was eating a sandwich. Id., ¶¶ 42, 148.
The front four teeth snapped off. Id., ¶ 43.
The following day, the plaintiff submitted a request to the
dental unit to have the denture repaired. Id. He
received a response that his name had been added to the
dental list and he would be called down in turn.
Id., ¶¶ 48-49, 151. The plaintiff
submitted a second request on August 12, 2018, stating that
his dental need was urgent because he was having difficulty
eating without the denture. Id., ¶¶ 44-46.
He also explained that, because he did not have the denture,
food was getting into his soft gums causing infection.
Id., ¶ 47. On August 19, 2018, the plaintiff
submitted a third request. Id., ¶ 149.
plaintiff was unaware that the dentist at the facility was
Dr. Lichtenstein until September 2018. Id.,
¶¶ 51, 158-59. At the time he filed this action,
the plaintiff had not yet been seen in the dental unit. He
experiences pain from swollen gums and canker sores caused by
periodontal disease. Id., ¶¶ 53-56, 150.
Dr. Lichtenstein had previously warned the ...