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Manson v. Furey

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 4, 2019

JAMES MANSON, Plaintiff,
RICHARD FUREY, et al., Defendants.


          Stefan R. Underhill United States District Judge.

         James Manson, currently confined at Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut, filed an amended complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Health Services Administrator Richard Furey and Dr. Cary R. Freston (collectively, “Defendants”), asserting violations of his Eighth Amendment rights for failure to treat a serious medical need.[1] See Am. Compl., Doc. No. 12, at ¶¶ 6-7. Manson seeks damages and medical care from a specialist, as well as attorneys' fees. Id. at ¶ 6.

         Under section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, I 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. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). 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. See Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). In addition, the plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, and conclusory allegations will not suffice, Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). 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 afforded to pro se litigants).

         I. Allegations

         Manson suffers from a “[h]elicobacter pylori AG” infection, which causes him “extreme” pain, interferes with his sleep, limits his movements including recreation and work performance, and has resulted in “severe” weight loss. Am. Compl., Doc. No. 12, at 6, at ¶ 5. Manson submitted several requests to Furey and Freston, complaining that he was experiencing severe pain as a result of his infection. Id. at ¶ 1.

         Even though both Furey and Freston were “made aware” of his condition through “verbal and written communication, ” they denied Mason “meaningful treatment, follow up care, and information about [his] illness.” Id. at ¶¶ 2, 7. Manson thereafter submitted a number of additional formal requests through his counselor, John Kay, but still did not receive a response. Id. at ¶ 3. A request to the deputy warden was referred to Furey, who again did not respond. Id. at ¶ 4.

         On February 14, 2019, Manson filed a Health Services Review/Grievance, claiming that Furey and Freston failed to treat his condition. Id. at ¶ 6. After submitting the formal request, Manson received a document from medical records personnel stating that he “had been cured, ” even though Mason had yet to be treated. Id. at ¶ 8.

         Moreover, a medical staff member who concealed her identity informed Manson that the infection can spread to other parts of the body, and can lead to cancer and even death. Id. at ¶ 9. The defendants did not warn Manson of such consequences. Id.

         II. Analysis

         Manson asserts a claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs under the Eighth Amendment as a result of Defendants' failure to provide information about or treatment for his helicobacter pylori AG infection. Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs exists when an official “knows that [an] inmate[] faces a substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable measures to abate it.” Harrison v. Barkley, 219 F.3d 132, 137-38 (2d Cir. 1998) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847 (1994)).

         The deliberate indifference standard “embodies both an objective and a subjective prong.Hathaway v. Coughlin, 37 F.3d 63, 66 (2d Cir. 1994). Objectively, the alleged deprivation must be “sufficiently serious, ” meaning that the condition must be “one that may produce death, degeneration, or extreme pain.” See Hathaway v. Coughlin, 99 F.3d 550, 553 (2d Cir. 1996) (internal quotation marks omitted). Subjectively, the defendants must have been “actually aware of a substantial risk” that Manson would suffer serious harm as a result of their conduct. See Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 280-81 (2d Cir. 2006).

         In the instant case, with respect to the objective prong, Manson alleges that his helicobacter pylori AG infection caused him “extreme” pain, “severe” weight loss, and interfered with his sleep as well as his ability to exercise and work. Am. Compl., Doc. No. 12, at ¶ 5. Mason further alleges that the condition can lead to cancer and death. Id. at ¶ 9. Although courts have determined that an H. pylori infection is not a serious medical need, I will assume that Manson's condition is sufficiently serious for purposes of this ruling. See Robinson v. Edwards, 2016 WL 1889900, at *10 (S.D.N.Y. July 5, 2006) (noting that courts generally reject Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claims based on H. pylori infections).

         With respect to the subjective prong, Manson alleges that he submitted multiple requests to Furey and Freston, complaining of his severe pain stemming from his infection, but nonetheless did not receive treatment. Am. Compl., Doc. No. 12, at ¶ 5.

         For the foregoing reasons, I conclude that Manson's complaint was not frivolous nor malicious, nor did it fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. I will ...

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