United States District Court, D. Connecticut
CHADWICK ST. LOUIS, Plaintiff,
DR. JOHNNY WU, ET AL., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff, Chadwick St. Louis (“St. Louis”), is
incarcerated at the Garner Correctional Institution
(“Garner”). He initiated this action by filing a
civil rights complaint against Commissioner Scott Semple,
Medical Director of the Department of Correction Kathleen
Maurer (“DOC Medical Director Maurer”), Medical
Director of Correctional Managed Health Care Mary Ellen
Castro (“CMHC Medical Director Castro”),
Correctional Managed Health Care Medical Director Dr. Johnny
Wu (“CMHC Medical Director Dr. Wu”), Dr.
Valletta, Dr. Syed Johar Naqvi, Dr. Omprakash Pillai, Warden
William Mulligan, Warden Anthony Corcella, Deputy Warden
Danielle Borges, Physician Assistant Kevin McChrystal
(“PA McChrystal”) and Medical Staff Members
Tawanna Furtick (“Staff Member Furtick”) and
Cheryl Spano-Lonis (“Staff Member Spano-Lonis”).
He claims that the defendants were deliberately indifferent
to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth
Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
21, 2019, St. Louis filed a motion for temporary restraining
order and for a preliminary injunction seeking orders that
the defendants arrange for a specialist to examine him and
for the defendants to provide him with a firm mattress and an
egg crate mattress topper. The court denied the motion for
temporary restraining order because St. Louis did not comply
with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
65(b) and took the motion for preliminary injunction under
advisement. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint
will be dismissed in part and the court will order the
defendants to respond to the motion for preliminary
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the court must review prisoner
civil complaints against governmental actors and
“dismiss ... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is
frivolous, malicious, or 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. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. 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). A
complaint that includes only “‘labels and
conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement, '” does not meet the facial
plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)).
Although courts still have an obligation to interpret
“a pro se complaint liberally, ” the
complaint must include sufficient factual allegations to meet
the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v.
Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations
Louis suffers from back problems including
“degenerative ventral spurring involving all of the
ventral bodies . . . [and] degenerative changes of facet
joints at ¶ 4-L5 and L5-S1 vertebrae.” Compl., ECF
No. 1, at 4 ¶ 16. These degenerative changes cause St.
Louis extreme pain and discomfort in his hips and lower back.
See Id. ¶ 17. The intensity of the pain is
“debiliating and at times limit[s] the complete
movement and enjoyment of life by St. Louis.” See
Id. ¶ 18.
the time of St. Louis's incarceration, medical staff
sometimes prescribed double mattresses, egg crate foam
mattress toppers and firm, therapeutic mattresses to inmates
who suffered from hip, back, neck or shoulder problems.
See Id. at 7 ¶ 42. In January 2016, St. Louis
informed the defendants that he “was experiencing a
severe degradation of his medical condition and that on most
mornings he struggled to get out of bed.” See
Id. ¶ 44. As a result, St. Louis submitted requests
for treatment and for health services reviews and filed a
state habeas action seeking “relief from the defective
mattresses.” See Id. ¶ 46. He also spoke
to Staff Members Furtick and Spano-Lonis about his need for a
double mattress or for an egg crate mattress topper. See
Id. ¶ 47. They promised to put him on a list to see
a physician “to receive  prescribed treatment,
” but he was not seen by a physician “in a timely
manner.” See id.
April 19, 2016, St. Louis met with PA McChrystal at a chronic
care clinic. See Id. at 8 ¶ 48. St. Louis
sought relief from his “continually degrading back
problems.” See Id. At that time, a policy was
in place that prohibited medical staff from prescribing
double mattresses or egg crate mattress toppers. See
Id. ¶ 49. CMHC Medical Director Dr. Wu had
implemented the policy at “the behest of Semple,
Mulligan, Borges, Corcella, Maurer, Castro and other unknown
D.O.C. staff.” See Id. PA McChrystal told St.
Louis that he could not prescribe a double mattress or
mattress topper due to Dr. Wu's policy, but indicated
that if the policy were not in place, he would prescribe a
double mattress or mattress bed topper for St. Louis. See
Id. ¶ 54.
McChrystal refused to submit a request for a double mattress
or an egg crate mattress topper to the Utilization Review
Committee (“URC”). See Id. ¶ 49. On
May 1, 2016, St. Louis filed a medical grievance seeking
additional pain medication and a mattress bed topper. See
Id. ¶ 55 & at 13, Ex. A. On May 25, 2016, PA
McChrystal stated that he could not override CMHC policies
and that he would take no further action in response to St.
Louis's requests. See id.
multiple occasions, St. Louis spoke directly with Drs. Naqvi
and Pillai in the MacDougall medical unit or hallway. See
Id. at 9 ¶ 57. They instructed him to submit
additional written requests for treatment. See Id.
On July 25, 2017, he submitted written requests for treatment
to Drs. Naqvi and Pillai. See Id. ¶ 58. Neither
physician “did anything to address his “degrading
medical condition.” See id.
February 13, 2018, St. Louis filed a grievance claiming that
his mattress had compressed down to a thickness of only one
inch. See Id. ¶ 59 & at 15, Ex. B. He
sought a new mattress and an additional mattress or a
mattress topper. See Id. On March 8, 2018, Warden
Mulligan denied the request because St. Louis was not due for
a replacement mattress until September 2018. See Id.
He instructed St. Louis to contact the medical department if
he needed a double mattress or a mattress topper due to his
medical condition. See Id. St. Louis appealed the
denial of his grievance, which appeal was denied. See
Id. ¶ 60 & at 17, Ex. C.
2018, the Department of Correction took over management of
inmate medical care from Correctional Managed Health Care.
See Id. at 6 ¶ 38. At some point before October
16, 2018, St. Louis was transferred to Garner. See
Id. at 9 ¶ 61.
October 16, 2018, St. Louis explained to Dr. Valletta that he
was experiencing extreme back pain and that it was difficult
for him to get out of bed or move and that the mattress that
he slept on was the cause of his back pain. See Id.
at 19, Ex. D. Dr. Valletta prescribed Naproxen for pain.
See Id. On November 21, 2018, St. Louis filed a
grievance seeking an MRI of his back, a firm mattress and an
egg crate mattress topper. See Id. On November 30,
2018, Dr. Valletta responded to the grievance indicating that
x-rays of St. Louis's spine reflected that he suffered
from mild facet joint arthritis, he exhibited no neurologic
symptoms and his physical exam was normal. See Id.
He noted that he had prescribed weight loss and range of
motion exercises. Dr. Valetta concluded that no change in St.
Louis's treatment was necessary. See Id. at 9
November 29, 2018, St. Louis “reported his condition to
[Deputy Warden] Borges.” See Id. ¶ 63.
She “failed or refused to do anything for” St.
Louis. See id.
Louis alleges that the defendants have denied him medical
care in violation of the Eighth Amendment and in violation of
Article First § 9 of the Connecticut Constitution. He
also claims that the defendants have discriminated against
him in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment and Article First §§ 1, 20 of
the Connecticut Constitution.
Louis sues all defendants in their individual capacities and
Warden Mulligan and Commissioner Semple in their individual
and official capacities. For relief, he
seeks compensatory ...