United States District Court, D. Connecticut
SHAWN A. COLES, Plaintiff,
DR. RUIZ, et al. Defendants.
RULING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
W. Thompson United States District Judge
October 23, 2017, the plaintiff, Shawn A. Coles, an inmate
currently confined at the Willard-Cybulski Correctional
Institution in Enfield, Connecticut, filed a complaint
pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking
damages and injunctive relief against five Department of
Correction (“DOC”) officials: Dr. Ricardo Ruiz,
Nurse Stephanie, Nurse Shonte Haley,  Nurse Jane Ventrella, and
Dr. Monica Farinella. Compl. [Doc.#1]. The plaintiff claimed
that the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right not
to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by acting
with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.
The court permitted his Eighth Amendment claim to proceed
against all five defendants. Initial Review Order [Doc.#7]
the court issued the Initial Review Order, the plaintiff has
filed two amended complaints. Am. Compl. [Doc.#21]; Second
Am. Compl. [Doc.#41]. The defendants answered the first
amended complaint. Answer [Doc.#30].
December 14, 2018, the defendants filed the instant motion
for summary judgment arguing that the evidence fails to
create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether they
acted with deliberate indifference to the plaintiff's
medical needs. For the following reasons, the court is
granting the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
motion for summary judgment, the burden is on the moving
party 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 on it.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986); see also Dister v. Continental Group, Inc.,
859 F.2d 1108, 1114 (2d Cir. 1988) (mere existence of alleged
factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment motion). 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).
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.; see also First Nat.
Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Service Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289
(1968) (nonmoving party must submit sufficient evidence
supporting factual dispute that will require factfinder to
resolve differing versions of truth at trial).
reviewing the record, 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).
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).
court draws the following facts from the defendants'
Local Rule 56(a)(1) Statement (“Defs.'
Stmt.”) [Doc.#48-4], the plaintiff's Local Rule
56(a)(2) Statement (“Pl.'s Stmt.”) [Doc.#55],
and the exhibits submitted by both parties.
March 13, 2017, the plaintiff sustained an injury to his foot
while playing basketball at the Cheshire Correctional
Institution. Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 1; Pl.'s Stmt.
¶ 1; Pl.'s Ex. G [Doc.#41 at 31]. Later that day, he
was taken to the medical unit where he was evaluated by Nurse
Haley. Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 4; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 4.
Nurse Haley gave the plaintiff ice and Motrin for his pain
and ordered x-rays for his foot. Defs.' Stmt.
¶¶ 5-6; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 5-6. She
entered an order for 200 milligrams of Ibuprofen. Defs.'
Stmt. ¶ 7; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 7.
days later, the plaintiff was evaluated by Dr. Ruiz.
Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 8; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 8. Ruiz
ordered crutches and a bottom bunk pass for the plaintiff;
Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 8; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 8; Aff. of
Ricardo Ruiz, MD (“Ruiz Aff.”) [Doc.#48-3] ¶
4; the plaintiff contends that he only had crutches for
twelve days. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 8. Ruiz also ordered a
five-day Motrin regimen for the plaintiff, but the plaintiff
claims that he never received the medication. Defs.'
Stmt. ¶ 9; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 9.
March 27, 2017, multiple x-rays were taken of the
plaintiff's foot. Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 10; Pl.'s
Stmt. ¶ 10; Medical Records, Defs.' Attach. A.
[Doc.#49 at 12]. The x-rays showed a slightly distracted
rotated fracture of the base of the plaintiff's fifth