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Licari v. Semple

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 19, 2019

RANDAL LICARI, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT SEMPLE, ET AL., Defendants.

          RULING ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Alvin W. Thompson United States District Judge.

         The plaintiff, Randal Licari, is currently incarcerated at Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution, in Enfield, Connecticut. He initiated this action by filing a complaint pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief against Commissioner Scott Semple, Drs. Syed Naqvi, Giles, Wu and Coleman, Physician Assistant Kevin McCrystal, Nurses Heidi Green, Barbara LaFrance, Dionne Botas and Shannon Beckford and Rikel Lightner.[1] The plaintiff alleged inter alia that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his hernia condition both before and after he underwent hernia repair surgery in April 2015 and that he requires a supplemental surgical procedure to address a complication of the initial surgery that has caused him continued groin pain.

         On May 9, 2017, the court dismissed the First Amendment retaliatory transfer claim against all defendants and the Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical and mental health needs claims against defendants Semple, Giles and Coleman. The court concluded that the Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claim would proceed against defendants Naqvi, Wu, McCrystal, Green, LaFrance, Botas, Beckford and Lightner in their individual and official capacities. See IRO, ECF No. 7. On August 20, 2018, the court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the request for declaratory relief. See Ruling, ECF No. 32.

         Both the plaintiff and the defendants have moved for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment will be denied and the defendants' motion for summary judgment will be granted.

         I. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 35]

         In support of his motion, the plaintiff reiterates the allegations in the complaint and claims that each defendant was aware of but deliberately indifferent to the pain that he experienced after he underwent hernia surgery in April 2015. The defendants oppose the plaintiff's motion on the ground that it does not comply with Rule 56(a)1, D. Conn. L. Civ. R.

         In the District of Connecticut, a motion for summary judgment must be accompanied by a Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement. See D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 56(a)1 (“A party moving for summary judgment shall file and serve with the motion and supporting memorandum a document entitled ‘Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement of Undisputed Material Facts,' which sets forth, in separately numbered paragraphs meeting the requirements of Local Rule 56(a)3, a concise statement of each material fact as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue to be tried.”) Local Rule 56(a)3 further requires that each statement in the Rule 56(a)1 Statement “be followed by a specific citation to (1) the affidavit of a witness competent to testify as to the facts at trial, or (2) evidence that would be admissible at trial” and that “[t]he affidavits, deposition testimony, responses to discovery requests, or other documents containing such evidence” be submitted “with the Local Rule 56(a)1 . . . Statement[] in conformity with Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).” D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 56(a)3.

         Although the plaintiff filed a memorandum and two supplemental memoranda in support of his motion, he did not file a Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement. See ECF Nos. 35, 37, 43. Thus, the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment does not comply with the requirements of Local Rule 56(a)1 or 3. Additionally, the only evidence submitted by the plaintiff in support of the arguments in the motion are four pages of his medical records. The plaintiff did not file a declaration or affidavit in support of his motion.[2] The four pages of medical records in and of themselves do not demonstrate the absence of material facts in dispute or that the plaintiff is “entitled to judgment as a matter of law” on his claim of deliberate indifference to medical needs. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (“The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”) Accordingly, the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is denied. To the extent that the memoranda in support of the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment include arguments that might apply to the arguments raised in the defendants' motion for summary judgment, the court considers those arguments below.

         II. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 40]

         The defendants move for summary judgment on three grounds. In response to their motion, the plaintiff has filed a memorandum, a Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement, a declaration and documentary exhibits in support of both the Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement and the declaration.

         A. Legal Standard

         When filing a motion for summary judgment, the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact 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). The moving party may satisfy its 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 and citations omitted).

         If a 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). Thus, the party opposing the motion for summary judgment “must come forward with specific evidence demonstrating the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact.” Id.

         In 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). The court may not, however, “make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence. . . . [because] [c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.” Proctor v. LeClaire, 846 F.3d 597, 607-08 (2d Cir. 2017) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). If there is any evidence in the record from which a reasonable factual inference could be drawn in favor of the opposing party on the issue on which summary judgment is sought, however, summary judgment is improper. See Security Ins. Co. of Hartford v. Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., 391 F.3d 77, 83 (2d Cir. 2004).

         The court reads a pro se party's papers liberally and interprets 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, allegations unsupported by admissible evidence “do not create a material issue of fact” and cannot overcome a properly supported motion for summary judgment. Weinstock v. Columbia Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000).

         B. ...


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