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Farah v. Richeson

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 6, 2019

ALBERT FARAH, Plaintiff,


          Charles S. Haight, Jr. Senior United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Albert Farah, a convicted prisoner currently incarcerated at the Garner Correctional Institution ("Garner") in Newtown, Connecticut, has filed a civil rights action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against four Connecticut Department of Correction ("DOC") officials employed at Garner in their individual and official capacities: Robert Richeson, Chief Operations Officer of Health Services; Michael DeSena, Medical Supervisor; Adriana De Barrios, Nursing Supervisor; and Michelle Britton, Registered Nurse (collectively, "the Defendants"). Doc. 1 ("Compl."). He seeks unspecified monetary damages. Id. at 15. On August 16, 2019, Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel granted Farah's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Doc. 5. The Court denied Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on September 5, 2019. See Doc. 7.

         The Court now reviews Farah's Complaint to determine whether his claims may proceed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the following reasons, the Complaint is DISMISSED.


         The Court must dismiss a complaint "in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity[, ] or officer or employee of a governmental entity," that "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a)-(b); Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). Although detailed allegations are not required, a complaint must "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the Court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. This plausibility standard is not simply a "probability requirement," but imposes a standard higher than "a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id.

         In undertaking this analysis, the Court must "draw all reasonable inferences in [the plaintiff's] favor, assume all well-pleaded factual allegations to be true, and determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Faber v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, the Court is "not bound to accept conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual conclusions," id., and "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do," Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Ultimately, "[d]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679.

         Pro se submissions "are reviewed with special solicitude, and 'must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'" Matheson v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Tr. Co., 706 Fed.Appx. 24, 26 (2d Cir. 2017) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006) (per curiam)). See also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ("A document filed pro se is 'to be liberally construed,' and 'a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, mus t be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" (internal citations omitted)). This liberal approach, however, does not exempt pro se litigants from the minimum pleading requirements described above: A pro se plaintiff's complaint still must "'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Mancuso v. Hynes, 379 Fed.Appx. 60, 61 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Therefore, even in a pro se case, "threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice," Chavis v. Chappius, 618 F.3d 162, 170 (2d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted), and the Court may not "invent factual allegations" that the plaintiff has not pleaded, id.


         Farah was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 33, over 25 years ago. Doc. 1 ("Compl.") at 10. On March 4, 2019, Farah walked to the medical unit because he was feeling ill. Id. at 6. After examining him, Nurse Britton told Farah that he did not have an abnormal temperature and that he should rest and drink water. Id. Afterward, Britton sent him back to his housing unit. Id.

         The next day, Farah declined to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and he did not show up to receive his 4:30 p.m. medication. Id. at 6. Thereafter, Nurse Ginger came to his cell and told him that she was going to ask a lieutenant if he could be escorted to the medical unit in a wheelchair. Id. Farah waited for one hour, but no officers arrived with a wheelchair. Id. He then decided to walk to the medical unit where Nurse Ginger assessed his vitals and then placed him in the infirmary. Id.

         The day after, on March 6, Dr. Valletta examined Farah and concluded that he was suffering from bronchitis. Compl. at 6. Farah remained in the infirmary for five days. Id. Before being placed in the infirmary, he had repeatedly requested help for chest pains, high temperature, coughing, and loss of appetite, but Nurse Britton did not assist him. Id. at 7. Farah also experienced extreme exhaustion, weight loss, and head pain during his five days in the infirmary. Id.

         On April 22, 2019, Britton gave Farah another inmate's insulin medication. Compl. at 8. After eating his dinner, Farah started shaking and sweating, which he believed to be signs of the onset of hypoglycemia. Id. He asked Correction Officer Fortin to call the medical unit and request that Britton come to his unit to provide him with emergency sugar paste and check his vital signs. Id. Fortin later came to Farah's cell and told him that he had called the medical unit several times and paged Britton, but she did not call him back. Id. Farah then asked his cellmate for peanut butter and candy, which he ate with sugar packets to stop himself from shaking and sweating. Id. at 8-9. Britton later gave Farah an NPH and regular insulin injection mix, even though Farah needed 30 units of Lantus insulin. Id. at 9.

         On April 23, 2019, Farah asked Britton about her failure to return Officer Fortin's calls on the previous day. Compl. at 9. Britton said that she was in the medical unit and was later in Farah's unit to pick up medical inmate requests, but was never informed by the officers about Farah's medical issue. Id.

         Three days later, on April 26, 2019, Farah was walking toward the medical unit to receive his medication. Compl. at 10. At that time, Fortin informed him that he had contacted the medical unit several times over the course of two hours on April 22 and had paged Britton three times, but Britton never called him back. Id. When Britton arrived, Fortin asked her why she ...

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