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Edwards v. Ashraf

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 1, 2019

MAHBOOB ASHRAF, et al., Defendants.


          Janet C. Hall, United States District Judge.


         The plaintiff, Scott Edwards (“Edwards”), incarcerated at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution in Enfield, Connecticut, has filed a Complaint (“Compl.”) (Doc. No. 1) pro se under section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Edwards sought leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 2). On October 9, 2019, the court granted Edwards' application. (Doc. No. 7). The Complaint names Dr. Bahboob Ashraf, Nurse Sheila Baldwin, APRN Linda Oeser, and Warden Caron as defendants. Edwards alleges that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Edwards seeks damages and injunctive relief from the defendants in their individual and official capacities. In addition, Edwards has filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction. (Doc. No. 9).

         Under 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the court must assume the truth of the well-pleaded allegations and interpret them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest[ ].” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). 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. Nevertheless, it is well-established that “[p]ro se complaints ‘must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants).


         Edwards is a type 2 diabetic with chronic back, leg, and spinal pain. Compl. ¶ 4. On May 20, 2019, Edwards was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of thirty months. Doc. No. 1 ¶ 1. At sentencing, both Edwards and his attorney raised concerns about continuing to receive epidural cortisone shots to treat extreme pain in his L3-L4 and L4-L5 vertebrae. Id. ¶ 2. The judge found the concerns credible and included an order in the Judgment Mittimus that the Department of Correction ensure that Edwards receive the epidural cortisone shots in a timely fashion. Id. ¶ 3. Edwards' hospital records from May 2019 also were forwarded to the Department of Correction. Id. ¶ 5.

         Dr. Ashraf took x-rays in May 2019, while Edwards was confined at Corrigan Correctional Institution. Id. ¶ 6. The x-ray results showed that an MRI was warranted. Id. The MRI was performed on July 30, 2019. Id. Edwards considers this an inappropriate delay. Id. ¶ 7.

         On June 18, 2019, Edwards was transferred to Carl Robinson Correctional Institution. Id. ¶ 8. The facility requires much walking and has an inclined entranceway to the recreation yard. Id. Edwards is unable to negotiate the entranceway and does not attend outdoor recreation. Id.

         Edwards' medical condition is aggravated by high blood pressure as well as impaired kidney functioning caused by overprescribing ibuprofen. Id. ¶ 9. Outdoor recreation would help his blood circulation, a necessity for diabetics. Id.

         Since his arrival at Carl Robinson Correctional Institution, Edwards has submitted about twelve requests to the medical unit and Dr. Ashraf but has not yet received the court-ordered relief. Id. ¶ 10. He has been added to the medical waiting list instead of being treated on an emergency basis. Id.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Edwards contends that Dr. Ashraf waited too long between the x-rays and MRI, and that the defendants added him to the waiting list instead of immediately arranging for epidural cortisone injections as stated in the Mittimus.

         The Eighth Amendment forbids deliberate indifference to prisoners' serious medical needs. Spavone v. New York State Dep't of Corr. Servs., 719 F.3d 127, 138 (2d Cir. 2013). To state a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, plaintiff must show both that his need was serious, and that the defendants acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind. See Smith v. Carpenter, 316 F.3d 178, 184 (2d Cir. 2003) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 492 U.S. 97, 105-106 (1976)).

         There are both objective and subjective components to the deliberate indifference standard. Objectively, the alleged deprivation must be “sufficiently serious.” Spavone, 719 F.3d at 138. This inquiry “requires the court to examine how the offending conduct is inadequate and what harm, if any, the inadequacy has caused or will likely cause the prisoner.” See Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 280 (2d Cir. 2006). A “sufficiently serious” deprivation can exist if the plaintiff suffers from an urgent medical condition that is capable of causing “death, degeneration, or extreme pain.” Hathaway v. Coughlin, 99 F.3d 550, 553 (2d Cir. 1996). The Second Circuit has identified several factors that are “highly relevant” to the question of whether a medical condition is sufficiently serious, including “the existence of an injury that a reasonable doctor or patient would find important and worthy of ...

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