The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stein, District Judge.
Pro se plaintiff Edgar Gil, an inmate at Green Haven
Correctional Facility, brought this action for damages suffered
allegedly due to improper medical treatment during his detention
at the Westchester County Jail. Defendant Westchester County now
moves to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
and Fed R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction.
The Court has construed the pro se litigant's papers to raise
the strongest arguments they suggest and, for the reasons set
forth below, grants the County's motion with respect to Gil's
claim for punitive damages against the County and denies it in
all other respects.
The following facts are taken from the "Prisoner's 1983 Action
Amended Complaint" ("Compl.") in this action dated August 8,
2000, and are presumed true for the purposes of this motion:
In August 1995, while incarcerated at the Westchester County
Jail pending a trial on unspecified criminal charges, Gil fell
in the shower area, injuring his left hand, lower back, and
right heel. Compl. at 2. He requested medical attention and was
referred to defendant Dr. George Vogliano*fn1 the next day.
Id. Dr. Vogliano treated the open wound to Gil's hand, but did
not treat any injuries to Gil's back and heel because those
areas showed no visible signs of trauma. Id.
Within a week, Gil's condition worsened, and his heel became
extremely swollen and painful. Id. Gil was sent to the jail's
clinic, where he was examined by defendant Nurse Sharon, who
refused to administer any medication or treatment or arrange for
Gil to see a doctor, and instead ordered that he be returned to
his cell. Id.
Gil then enlisted the aid of his attorney in the then pending
criminal action against him, who contacted facility officials.
Id. Those officials assured the attorney that Gil would
receive the necessary medical treatment. Id. Despite those
assurances, Gil did not receive medical treatment. Id.
Gil's medical condition was then brought to the attention of
the judge presiding over the criminal action. Id. That jurist
allegedly directed jail officials on three separate occasions to
give Gil medical treatment. Id. Ultimately, on January 24,
1996, Gil was examined by Dr. Vogliano, who told Gil that he was
healing normally. Id. at 3-4.
A few days later, Gil once again complained about his medical
condition during a court appearance in the criminal action.
Id. at 4. The judge ordered that an x-ray be taken of Gil's
foot. Id. Although an x-ray was taken the next day, Gil was
allegedly never told the results. Id.
Gil continued to request medical treatment, and he was taken
to the jail's clinic on February 5, 1996. Id. At the clinic,
however, defendant Nurse Louri directed that Gil be taken back
to his cell without being examined or treated. Id. Gil
continually renewed his request to see a doctor until March 20,
1996, when he was transferred to the custody of the New York
State Department of Correctional Services. Id. He was then
diagnosed with osteomylitis-a condition of bone deterioration
due to infection — of his right heel. Id. Gil was surgically
treated to prevent further damage to the heel of his right foot.
Id. However, despite the surgery, Gil asserts that he now
walks with a pronounced limp. Id.
On November 24, 1997, Gil filed a complaint in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York
naming Dr. Vogliano, Nurse Louri, Nurse Sharon, and Dr. Davirro
as defendants. Gil also sought to proceed in forma pauperis
but did not include an authorization for the Clerk of Court to
collect the full filing fee from his prison account, as required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2),(b). The Pro Se Office of the Southern
District mailed Gil a Prisoner Authorization Form, notifying him
of the required authorization and instructing him to submit a
completed form within 45 days or face dismissal of his action.
Gil did not respond, and on May 1, 1998, Chief Judge Grisea
dismissed the action without prejudice. See Order of
Dismissal, No. 98 Civ. ...