United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JAMES A. HARNAGE, Plaintiff,
INTERN SHARI, ET AL., Defendants.
RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS
W. Thompson United States District Judge.
plaintiff, James Harnage, is currently confined at Garner
Correctional Institution. He initiated this action by filing
a civil rights complaint asserting claims of deliberate
indifference to his medical needs after his hernia surgery.
The plaintiff named the surgeon, a surgical intern and
thirteen medical staff members, who were involved in the
surgery or his post-operative care, as defendants.
March 6, 2018, the court dismissed the First Amendment
retaliation claim and the Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference to medical needs claims and the claims under
Article First, §§ 4, 5, 8, 10 and 14 of the
Connecticut Constitution against Dr. Giles, the John Doe
Medical Staff Members 1-6 and the Jane Doe Medical Staff
Members 1-4 and concluded that the Eighth Amendment
deliberate indifference to medical needs claim would proceed
against Surgical Intern Shari and Jane Doe Medical Staff
Members 5, 6, and 7 in their individual capacities.
See IRO, ECF No. 11.
February 28, 2017, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint
that identified Surgical Intern Shari as Sreelakshmi
Reddivari and the Doe defendants as follows: Medical Staff
Member Joanne Ernest, Medical Staff Member Jacqueline
Anderson and Medical Staff Member Joan LeBlanc. See
Am. Compl., ECF No. 25. The plaintiff asserted that
defendants Ernest, Anderson, LeBlanc and Reddivari were
deliberately indifferent to his serious post-operative needs
in September 2015. The plaintiff also asserted a claim under
Article First § 9 of the Connecticut Constitution.
Reddivari, Ernest, Anderson and LeBlanc have moved to dismiss
the state constitutional claim. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion is granted.
ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court
“accepts as true all of the factual allegations set out
in [the] complaint, draw[s] inferences from those allegations
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and construes
the complaint liberally.” Roth v. Jennings,
489 F.3d 499, 510 (2d Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted). In addition to the facts set forth in
the complaint, the court may also consider documents either
attached to the complaint or incorporated into it by
reference, “and matters subject to judicial
notice.” New York Pet Welfare Ass'n, Inc. v.
City of New York, 850 F.3d 79, 86 (citation omitted),
cert. denied, U.S.___, 138 S.Ct. 131 (2017).
withstand a motion to dismiss, detailed factual allegations
are not required, but “the complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief 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. “The
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint,
they must be supported by factual allegations.”
Id. at 679. Thus, statements of the law and
recitations of “the elements of a cause of action,
supported by mere conclusory [allegations], ” are not
sufficient. Id. at 678.
... the complaint was filed pro se, it must be
construed liberally with ‘special solicitude' and
interpreted to raise the strongest claims that it
suggests.” Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 515
(2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Hill v. Curcione, 657 F.3d
116, 122 (2d Cir. 2011)). Nevertheless, a pro se
plaintiff's complaint must state a plausible claim for
relief. Id. (citation omitted).
court assumes the facts that are asserted in paragraphs seven
through forty-one of the amended complaint are true for
purposes of deciding the motion to dismiss. On or about
September 2, 2015, prison officials at MacDougall
Correctional Institution transferred the plaintiff to the
University of Connecticut Health Center (“UCONN Health
Center”) for hernia surgery. The plaintiff remained
hospitalized at UCONN for seven days after the surgical
Anderson, Ernest and LeBlanc worked in the postoperative unit
where the plaintiff was a patient. They regularly delayed or
denied the plaintiff his prescribed pain medications, ignored
his call button when he required assistance in using the
toilet or needed water or pain medication and forced him to
get out of bed himself in order to use the bathroom, which
caused him pain and distress.
Reddivari monitored the plaintiff's recovery on a daily
basis. During rounds, defendant Reddivari and other members
of the surgical team took turns conducting examinations of
the plaintiff's abdomen, including palpating the abdomen
and observing the fluid in the drain tubes for color and