United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge
Marcuss Figueroa is a sentenced prisoner in the custody of
the Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”).
He has filed a complaint pro se and in forma
pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Figueroa alleges
that defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical need by failing to adequately treat his knee injury.
After an initial review, I conclude that the complaint should
be served on Dr. Ruiz in his individual capacity as set forth
in the ruling below.
claims arise from his confinement at Cheshire Correctional
Institution. He filed his complaint on June 24, 2019, suing
five defendants in their individual and official capacities:
Dr. Ruiz and four unidentified Jane Doe nurses. The complaint
is barely legible, and although Figueroa was provided with
numbered lines and instructions to use them, his allegations
consist of a single, run-on paragraph. The following facts
are alleged in the complaint and are accepted as true only
for purposes of this ruling.
March 2017, Figueroa underwent surgery on his right knee to
repair a torn ACL and torn meniscus. Doc. #1 at 4. About six
months later, Dr. Ruiz instructed him to begin strengthening
exercises, such as lunges and squats. Ibid. While
doing the exercises, Figueroa felt a popping sensation and
experienced pain and discomfort. Ibid.
weeks later, Dr. Ruiz and Figueroa held a videoconference
with a surgeon at the University of Connecticut Health Center
(“UConn”). Ibid. The surgeon told Dr.
Ruiz to immediately send Figueroa to UConn if he experienced
any “non-slight” pain in order to avoid further
injury. Ibid. As soon as the videoconference ended,
Figueroa told Dr. Ruiz about the pain and discomfort he had
been experiencing. Ibid. But Dr. Ruiz dismissed his
concerns, telling him the pain was caused by scar tissue and
to submit a request to the medical unit if the pain worsened.
September 29, 2017, Figueroa wrote to the medical unit
complaining about increased pain, and relaying the
surgeon's order to Dr. Ruiz. Ibid. In response,
Figueroa was told that the pain was caused by scar tissue and
to write again if it worsened. Ibid.
October 17, 2017, Figueroa again wrote to the medical unit.
Ibid. He was scheduled for an x-ray even though
medical staff knew his injuries were in his ligaments, not
his bones, such that any damage would only appear in an MRI.
Id. at 4-5.
wrote to the medical unit a third time and then was seen by
Dr. Ruiz. Id. at 5. Again, Dr. Ruiz said the pain
was caused by scar tissue, but this time he advised Figueroa
to stop the strengthening exercises for a couple of months.
Ibid. When Figueroa resumed the exercises on January
6, 2018, he tore multiple ligaments in his knee.
Ibid. Following the incident, he still was not sent
to UConn, but rather was transferred to Robinson Correctional
condition is ongoing and continues to worsen. Ibid.
He now seeks from defendants compensatory and punitive
damages in the amount of $2.5 million. Ibid.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a
prisoner's civil complaint against a governmental entity
or governmental actors and “identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the compliant, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint-(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” If the prisoner is proceeding pro se,
the allegations of the complaint must be read liberally to
raise the strongest arguments that they suggest. See
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010).
Supreme Court has set forth a threshold
“plausibility” pleading standard for courts to
evaluate the adequacy of allegations in federal court
complaints. A complaint must allege enough facts-as distinct
from legal conclusions-that give rise to plausible grounds
for relief. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Notwithstanding the
rule of liberal interpretation of a pro se
complaint, a complaint may not survive dismissal if its
factual allegations do not meet the basic plausibility
standard. See, e.g., Fowlkes v. Ironworkers
Local 40, 790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015).