for themselves.") So strong is this view that determinations of
medical providers concerning the care and safety of patients are
given a "presumption of correctness." Perez v. The County of
Westchester, 83 F. Supp.2d 435, 440 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) (citing
Kulak v. City of New York, 88 F.3d 63, 77 (2d Cir. 1996)).
Here again, the complaint is deficient, because there is no
allegation by the plaintiff that St. Barnabas denied him any
medically-necessary treatment. To the contrary, the plaintiff
alleges in the complaint that he was treated within 3½ hours of
his injury, had his finger soaked in a brown colored liquid, was
given a tetanus shot, and had the injury bandaged. These facts
undermine any claim of deliberate indifference by St. Barnabas
and demonstrate that it did not willfully disregard the
plaintiff's medical needs. See also Henderson v. Doe, No.
Civ.A. 98-5011, 1999 WL 378333 (S.D.N.Y. June 10, 1999);
Marshall v. Strack, No. Civ.A. 96-6789, 1998 WL 118167
(S.D.N.Y. Mar.16, 1998) (defendants provided medical attention
throughout plaintiff's incarceration); Walker v. Reid, No.
Civ.A. 84-5281, 1985 WL 192 (S.D.N.Y. Jan.14, 1985) (complaint
alleged that plaintiff received medical treatment for his finger
injury in that medical personnel inside and outside prison
facilities administered treatment to plaintiff's injured finger).
To the extent that plaintiff alleges that a corrections officer
caused some delay in the commencement of treatment, his claim
(assuming, arguendo, that it rises to a constitutional level),
does not lie against St. Barnabas. Moreover, concerning the
alleged delay of 3½ hours between the injury and treatment, "[a]s
any lay person is well accustomed, patients are frequently faced
with delays in receiving medical care, particularly when, [as in
this case], their medical condition is not grave." Davidson v.
Harris, 960 F. Supp. 644, 648 (W.D.N.Y. 1997).
Finally, to the extent that plaintiff alleges that he was not
properly treated, or that he disagreed with the treatment given
him by the doctors from St. Barnabas (for example, his claim that
the doctors failed to x-ray his finger), that conduct does not
rise to the level of a constitutional violation. Courts have
repeatedly held that an omission of this nature does not amount
to a constitutional violation, See Rivera v. SB Johnson, No.
Civ.A. 95-0845, 1996 WL 549336 (W.D.N.Y. Sept.20, 1996) (citation
omitted), and disagreements between a prisoner and prison
officials over treatment decisions fall short of cruel and
unusual punishment. Thus, disagreements over medications,
diagnostic techniques (e.g., the need for X-rays), forms of
treatment, or the need for specialists or the timing of their
intervention, are not adequate grounds for a Section 1983 claim.
These issues implicate medical judgments and, at worst,
negligence amounting to medical malpractice, but not the Eighth
Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107, 97 S.Ct. 285,
50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976).
3. As a Matter of Law, There Has Been no Excessive Force
In his response to the City's motion, plaintiff alleges, for
the first time, that the injury to his finger resulted from
excessive force on the part of prison officials at Rikers, and
further that the defective cell door in which he cut his finger
constituted a weapon. As no defendant has answered, plaintiff has
an absolute right to amend his complaint, without seeking leave
of Court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). However, assuming, arguendo, that
plaintiff's responsive letter were deemed to assert an amendment
to the complaint, the allegation would have to be dismissed.
In essence, plaintiff contends that prison officials caused him
injury by having a
defective door in the facility. There is, however, no allegation
in either the original complaint or in plaintiff's responsive
letter (where he raises the spectre of excessive force) that any
corrections officer laid hands on plaintiff, let alone that an
officer deliberately shut the door on his finger. Thus, there
exists no factual predicate for a claim of excessive force. Even
in some situations where deliberate acts are committed by a state
officer to cause harm to an inmate, courts have found no
excessive force. Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319, 106
S.Ct. 1078, 1085, 89 L.Ed.2d 251 (1986) (prison guard's shooting
of inmate in the leg during prison riot is not excessive);
Pristell v. County of Sullivan, No. Civ.A. 91-6317, 1996 WL
11210 at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 10, 1996) (restraint of disorderly
detainee resulting in fractured rib is not excessive force).
Because there is no allegation whatsoever that force was used by
prison guards against plaintiff, this claim also would fail.
The individual Corrections Officers, the Department of
Corrections and "Dr. Robert" have not moved to dismiss the
amended complaint. However, the court dismisses the claims
against the nonmoving defendants sua sponte. The District Court
may dismiss a complaint sua sponte for failure to state a
claim, as long as the plaintiff has been given an opportunity to
be heard. Thomas v. Scully, 943 F.2d 259, 260 (2d Cir. 1991).
In this case, plaintiff has been heard — in his responses to the
existing motion. The complaint makes identical allegations
against each non-moving defendants as it does against some moving
defendants. Moreover, as against the New York State Department of
Corrections, the Eleventh Amendment bars plaintiff's suit.
For the above reasons, plaintiff's complaint is dismissed with
prejudice as against all defendants. The Clerk of the Court is
directed to close the case.