United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ROBERT F. ROBBS, Plaintiff,
KEVIN McCRYSTAL, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. Dooley United States District Judge
Robert F. Robbs (“Robbs”), currently confined at
Cheshire Correctional Institution in Cheshire, Connecticut,
filed this action pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. In his Amended Complaint, Robbs asserts claims for
deliberate indifference to medical needs against APRN Kevin
McCrystal, Nurse Gina Burns, and Dr. Cary Freston.
commenced this action by Complaint filed on December 28,
2018. The case was dismissed on February 11, 2009, when Robbs
failed to correct deficiencies in his motion to proceed
in forma pauperis. Doc. No. 14. On September 20,
2019, Robbs filed an Amended Complaint and motion to proceed
in forma pauperis. Although he did not file a motion
to reopen, the Court construed the Amended Complaint as
including a motion to reopen the case. Robbs' motion to
proceed in forma pauperis was granted on October 2,
section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, the
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. Id. In reviewing a pro se
complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the
allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the
strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v.
Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). see also
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010)
(discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se
litigants). Although 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 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.
2016, Robbs was incarcerated at MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution commencing his sentence. He
submitted written and oral requests for a shower pass but the
requests were denied or ignored. He was told to use a chair
in the shower. Robbs had to maneuver himself, his cane, and
the chair over an 8” lip to enter the shower. On one
day, when exiting the shower, the cane slipped on the floor
and Robbs fell, landing on his elbow and striking his head.
Doc. No. 15 at 4.
was taken to the medical unit for x-rays and evaluation. He
was cleared to return to population but was housed in the
handicapped unit. Shortly thereafter, he noticed that his
elbow was becoming enlarged. Id. Robbs notified the
medical unit. Medical staff drained fluid from his elbow and
sent the fluid to UConn for testing. Robbs continued to
complain that his elbow was painful and warm to the touch and
that two digits of his right hand were “sticking
shut.” Id. at 5. Medical staff prescribed
ibuprofen and Elavil which did not relieve the symptoms.
dealing with the medical staff regarding his elbow, Robbs
noticed that small pieces were breaking off the tip of his
cane. Requests to the medical unit were unanswered. One day,
while returning to his cell, the tip of the cane broke
causing Robbs to fall on his shoulder. Years earlier he had
undergone surgery on the same shoulder. Id. at 5.
Burns wheeled Robbs to the medical unit. He was not given an
x-ray for two weeks. Two weeks after that, Robbs was called
for a second x-ray. He did not see APRN McCrystal, his
medical provider, until three weeks after the second x-ray.
McCrystal told Robbs that there was nothing wrong with his
shoulder. The x-rays showed only an old healed injury. APRN
McCrystal prescribed Elavil, Neurontin, and ibuprofen.
Id. at 5-6.
months later, after many requests, Robbs underwent an MRI. He
alleges that “[t]he results were conflicting on what
the D.O.C. interpreted them to be.” Id. at 6.
Robbs was told that he would receive therapy. He disagreed
with the interpretation of the MRI results and the order for
physical therapy but Dr. Freston dismissed his concerns.
Id. Sometime later, Robbs suffered a mini-stroke and
was hospitalized. He attributes the stroke to mental and
emotional distress. Id.
alleges that he was beginning to serve his sentence when all
incidents described in the Amended Complaint occurred. Thus,
the Court assumes that Robbs was a sentenced prisoner and
considers his claim for deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs under the Eighth Amendment. See Darnell v.
Piniero, 849 F.3d 17, 29 (2d Cir. 2017) (rights of
pretrial detainees are considered ...