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WEBBER v. DR. HAMMACK

July 31, 1997

FRANCIS WEBBER, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. HAMMACK, Clinton Correctional Facility; J.M. SISKAVICH, R.N., Clinton Correctional Facility; R.W. SPENCE, Asst. Health Services Administrator, Clinton Correctional Facility; D.E. SHERIDAN, M.D., Clinical Director, Clinton Correctional Facility; DR. QUELLMAN, DR. ROSNER, Shawangunk Correctional Facility; DR. GOLDMAN, Shawangunk Correctional Facility; DR. TUFAU, Sullivan Correctional Facility, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SCULLIN

 Introduction

 Plaintiff, Francis Webber, brings the present civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Defendants, who are comprised of various medical personnel employed by the New York State Department of Corrections ("NYSDOC"). The Plaintiff, currently incarcerated by the NYSDOC, alleges that the medical treatment he received from the above-captioned Defendants over a period of three years at Clinton Correctional Facility ("CCF"), Shawangunk Correctional Facility ("SCF"), and Sullivan Correctional Facility("SUCF") violated his constitutional rights as guaranteed by the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Additionally, Plaintiff brings an unspecified pendant state claim alleging a violation of NYDOC regulations. Presently before the Court is (1) a motion by the Defendants to dismiss the claims against Defendants Sheridan and Hammack for lack of personal jurisdiction, and (2) a motion by the Defendants for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted or, in the alternative, on the ground of qualified immunity. *fn1"

 Factual Background

 Because the complaint contains broad allegations about inadequate treatment over a period of three years from November 1986 to November 1989, this factual background contains a fairly detailed summary of the Plaintiff's course of treatment. This factual summary is based on the medical records offered by both parties.

 The Plaintiff injured his left knee while playing football at CCF on November 9, 1986. Plaintiff was taken to the prison hospital where he was examined by Defendant Siskavich, a registered nurse. Nurse Siskavich elevated his leg, applied ice to reduce the swelling, and placed a call to a Dr. Lee. Dr. Lee ordered the Plaintiff's admission to the hospital, an x-ray, immobilization of the knee, and prescribed Motrin for the pain. (Def. Ex. A at 2). The Plaintiff, however, refused to be hospitalized and signed a "refusal of treatment" waiver. (Def. Ex. A at 3). Plaintiff returned to the prison hospital ward the next day on November 10, 1986 and received an x-ray which showed fluid on the knee, but no fracture or discoloration. (Def. Ex. A at 6). Plaintiff was prescribed 500 mg of Dolobid and three days of bed rest. Id. On November 13, 1986, Plaintiff was re-examined, prescribed Dolobid again, and referred to an orthopedic specialist. The following day, the Plaintiff was examined by Defendant Dr. Quellman, an orthopedic specialist, who ordered immobilization of the Plaintiff's knee and noted the need for a hinged brace.

 On November 25, 1986, the Plaintiff was provided with a non-hinged knee brace for his knee. (Def. Ex. A at 8). On December 9, 1986, Plaintiff returned to sick call complaining of pain. He was given pain medication and referred for a second orthopedic consult. (Def. Ex. A at 10). On December 11, 1986, the Defendant received a second orthopedic consult from a Dr. Lorige who recommended he be provided with a "Lennox-Hill" knee brace, which is a custom made knee brace made at Lennox-Hill Hospital. (Pl. Ex. B at 59). On December 19, 1986, Dr. Quellman examined the Plaintiff again and recommended physical therapy four times a week on a Universal weight machine. (Def. Ex. A at 12). On December 30, 1986, Defendant Dr. Sheridan, the CCF Clinical Director made a request to the facility Captain to allow the Plaintiff to utilize the Universal weight machine in the gym for the Plaintiff's physical therapy. (Def. Ex. A at 13). On February 2, 1987 the Plaintiff received his Lennox-Hill brace.

 On May 18, 1987, the Plaintiff reported to sick call complaining that the brace he was provided with was not helping him with the stability of his knee. (Def. Ex. B. at 4). As a result, the medical staff requested another orthopedic consult for the Plaintiff, and Defendant Dr. Quellman re-examined the Plaintiff on August 7, 1987. Dr. Quellman recommended that the Plaintiff be examined by orthopedic personnel at Albany Medical Center for possible surgical intervention. (Def. Ex. B at 4). During this time period the Plaintiff twice requested a medical clearance to play sports, on Aug 11 and September 5, 1987. Defendant Dr. Sheridan re-examined the Plaintiff at Albany Medical Center on October 16, 1997, and recommended brace adjustments to the Plaintiff's brace including the addition of a de-rotation strap to address the Plaintiff's stability problems. (Def. Ex. B at 9). The de-rotation strap was ordered by Dr. Sheridan the next day on October 17. (Def. Ex. B at 11). Plaintiff received the de-rotation strap on December 18, 1987, the day after he was transferred to Shawangunk Correctional Facility ("SCF"). (Def. Ex. B at 12).

 Upon his arrival at SCF, the Plaintiff was examined by Defendant Dr. Goldman, who arranged for another orthopedic consult for the Plaintiff. (Def. Ex. B at 12). This consult took place at Helen Hayes Hospital on March 21, 1988 by Dr Tromanhauser. Id. Dr. Tromanhauser recommended intensive rehabilitation including quadricep and hamstring strengthening by doing leg extensions with a Universal weight machine and wearing ankle weights during normal activities. Id. The recommendation called for a four month period of rehab which if unsuccessful could result in a surgical intervention Id. On March 8, 1988 Plaintiff received medical authorization to use the gym at SCF which contained a Universal weight machine, to conduct his exercises five times a week. (Def. Ex. C at 4).

 During the months of March and April of 1988, the Plaintiff was reported playing softball twice. (Def. Ex. C at 5,6). Thereafter, the Plaintiff complained of pain in his knee during the month of May, June and July of 1988. During that time period, Plaintiff was seen on multiple occasions by either Dr Goldman or Dr. Rosner who prescribed different types of pain medication each time to try to alleviate the Plaintiff's pain. (Def Ex. C at 6, 7). On July 15, 1988, the Plaintiff came to sick call complaining of severe pain in his knee. He was admitted for three days, treated with codeine and Percodan and released on July 18. On July 18, the Plaintiff signed a refusal of treatment form so that he could participate in athletics even though he was advised not to SCF medical staff. (Pl.. Ex. G at 3). The very next day, on July 19, 1988, the Plaintiff was admitted to the prison infirmary complaining of severe pain in his knee. Dr. Rosner treated the Plaintiff with Robatin and extra-strength Tylenol. (Def. Ex. C at 12). Dr Goldman discharged the Plaintiff three days later on July 22, 1988, noting on the Plaintiff's ambulatory records that the Plaintiff exhibited no signs of instability from walking around. Id.

 The Plaintiff was treated for pain at the SCF prison infirmary on August 1, 12, 16, 17 and 26 of 1988. On August 17, Dr. Rosner requested another orthopedic consult for the Plaintiff outside of the facility. (Def. Ex. C at 16). That consult took place on August 26 at Julia Butterfield Memorial Hospital by Dr. DiMarco, who recommended a period of pre-surgery physical therapy, adjustment of the Plaintiff's brace, and temporary pain relief. Id. Plaintiff received pain medication twice more in August and four times in early September. (Def. Ex. C at 18, 20). On September 16, the Plaintiff advised the Facility medical personnel that he had been playing baseball the night before, and that his knee felt great. (Def Ex. C at 20). Later, on September 17, 1988 the Plaintiff signed a refusal of treatment form refusing the order of medical keeplock for five days which would have restricted the Plaintiff to his cell without recreation. (Def. Ex. B at 23).

 The Plaintiff was treated for pain by the SCF infirmary four times during the month of October. The Plaintiff received an MRI of his knee on October 18 at Albany Medical Center which indicated no effusion on his knee. (Def. Ex. C. at 31). On November 3, 1989, the Plaintiff began out-of-facility physical therapy sessions at Horton Hospital, which occurred eleven more times in the months of November and December of 1988. (Def. Ex. D at 5-13). On December 6, Plaintiff's leg strength was evaluated by the Horton Hospital physical therapist who determined that his left leg strength was comparable to that in his right, and that the Plaintiff did not need any more out-of-facility physical therapy. (Def Ex. D at 14, 15). Additionally, during the early part of December, the Plaintiff's medical records indicate that was seen on two different occasions playing football in the recreation yard.

 In the month of January 1989, the Plaintiff was seen seven times by the infirmary staff at which time he was treated for complaints of pain in his knee. (Def. Ex. F at 1-5). On January 27, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. DiMarco at Butterfield Hospital who scheduled knee surgery for the Plaintiff in the month of March. On February 21, 1989 the Plaintiff was observed playing basketball after twice being cautioned not to by infirmary staff. (Def. Ex. F at 7, 8).

 On March 16, 1989, the Plaintiff received surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left leg. Throughout the months of April, May, and June the Plaintiff received post-operative care and physical therapy. (Def. Ex. F at 11-20). Plaintiff received post-operative check ups by Dr. DiMarco and Dr. Nunez on March 28, April 7, and May 5. (Def. Ex. F at 11-14). After Plaintiff was transferred to Sullivan Correctional Facility ("SUCF") on May 12, 1989, Plaintiff was admitted to the SUCF infirmary and was given outside therapy nine times in June, July and the beginning of August. (Def. Ex. G at 3-5). In August, the Plaintiff complained of pain and swelling to the infirmary staff, but the Plaintiff refused to attend a scheduled orthopedic consult on September 8, 1989. (Def. Ex. F at 21-23). Plaintiff had a second orthopedic consult on October 6, at which Defendant Dr. Tufau noted that Plaintiff's recovery was not as far along as it should have been, and suggested a ...


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