United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
A. Dooley United States District Judge
pro se plaintiff, Jamal Small (“Small”),
an inmate in the custody of the Department of Correction
(DOC), brings this civil rights action Dr. Michael Clements,
a DOC medical provider, in his individual capacity. He
alleges that Dr. Clements was deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment of
the United States Constitution. The Defendant seeks summary
judgment on the ground that the Plaintiff's claim is
merely a disagreement over medical treatment and does not
therefore rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation.
For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment is
motion for summary judgment may be granted only where there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56(a),
Fed. R. Civ. P.; see also Nick's Garage, Inc. v.
Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 875 F.3d 107, 113-14 (2d Cir.
2017). “A genuine issue of material fact exists if
‘the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'”
Nick's Garage, 875 F.3d at 113-14 (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986)). Which facts are material is determined by the
substantive law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
“The same standard applies whether summary judgment is
granted on the merits or on an affirmative defense
….” Giordano v. Market Am., Inc., 599
F.3d 87, 93 (2d Cir. 2010).
moving party bears the initial burden of informing the court
of the basis for its motion and identifying the admissible
evidence it believes demonstrates the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party meets this
burden, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Wright
v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266 (2d Cir. 2009). He cannot
“rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated
speculation' but ‘must come forward with specific
evidence demonstrating the existence of a genuine dispute of
material fact.” Robinson v. Concentra Health
Servs., 781 F.3d 42, 34 (2d Cir. 2015) (quotation marks
and citation omitted). To defeat a motion for summary
judgment, the nonmoving party must present such evidence as
would allow a jury to find in his favor. Graham v. Long
Island R.R., 230 F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000).
the court is required to read a self-represented
“party's papers liberally and interpret them to
raise the strongest arguments that they suggest, ”
Willey v. Kirkpatrick, 801 F.3d 51, 62 (2d Cir.
2015), “unsupported allegations do not create a
material issue of fact” and do not overcome a properly
supported motion for summary judgment. Weinstock v.
Columbia Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000).
was a sentenced inmate confined at the Willard-Cybulski
Correctional Institution (“WCCI”) at the time of
the injury underlying this action. Def.'s Rule 56(a)1
Statement, Doc. No. 29-2, ¶¶ 2-3. Small has no
medical or emergency services training. Id. ¶
Clements is a board-certified physician licensed to practice
medicine in Connecticut. Id. ¶¶ 5-6. He
has been providing medical care to Connecticut inmates since
2008. Id. ¶ 7. Dr. Clements was Small's
primary treating physician while he was confined at WCCI.
Id. ¶ 8.
8, 2018, Small injured his left hand while playing
basketball. Id. ¶ 9. He sought treatment from
the medical unit that same day. Id. ¶ 10. A
nurse assessed Small's needs and notified the on-call
physician. Id. ¶ 12. Small was able to move his
hand, wrist, and fingers. Id. ¶ 11. The nurse
recommended treatment with Motrin, ice, and an ACE bandage.
Id. ¶ 13. The on-call doctor also ordered that
an x-ray be taken of Small's hand. Id. ¶
14. At this time, Small also had been diagnosed with an
“as-yet uncorrected hernia and unexplained hematuria
(blood in his urine).” Id. ¶ 15.
met with a nurse on June 11, 2018. She noted that he had good
range of movement in his hand, instructed Small about Motrin
use for pain, and noted a pending order for an x-ray of his
left hand. Id. ¶ 16. The June 15, 2018 x-ray
showed a nondisplaced oblique fracture through the proximal
diaphysis of the third metacarpal. Id. ¶ 17.
Small met with Dr. Clements the same day to discuss the x-ray
results. Dr. Clements prescribed a foam hand splint and a
follow-up x-ray. Id. ¶ 18. The foam splint
consisted of a thick piece of foam with Velcro wraps to
secure it to the hand. Id. ¶ 19. The splint
extended from about five inches down the wrist to the
knuckles of the hand and over the thumb. Id.
submitted an inmate request form dated June 15, 2018 to the
medical unit, seeking a copy of his medical records and
asking to see the doctor because he was experiencing pain in
his hand. Id. ¶ 20. The request was received on
June 17, 2019. Id. Small met with Dr. Clements on
June 19, 2018. Id. ¶ 21. The doctor noted that
the hand was healing well. Id. The medical records
contain no indication that Small complained about the splint.
27, 2018, the medical unit received a health services review
request dated June 21, 2018, seeking a review of Small's
diagnosis and treatment. Id. ¶ 22. Small
described his treatment to that point, stating that he had
been prescribed a “wrist brace” for his broken