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ABDUS-SAMAD v. GREINER

August 13, 2001

SAUFUDDIN ABDUS-SAMAD, FORMERLY KNOWN AS LANCE L. GRAYS, PLAINTIFF
V.
MR. GREINER, SUPERINTENDENT, SING-SING C.F.; K.A. GREINER, R.N., N.A., SING-SING C.F.; DR. HALKO, M.D., SING-SING C.F.; DR. MAW, M.D., SING-SING C.F.; MS. FIGUEROA, R.N., SING-SING C.F.; R. COLON, I.R.G.C. SUPERVISOR, SING-SING C.F.; MICHAEL MCGINNIS, SUPERINTENDENT, SOUTHPORT C.F.; MR. OBROWISKI, N.A., SOUTHPORT C.F.; MS. VON HAGEN, R.N., SOUTHPORT C.F., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Laura Taylor Swain, United States District Judge

  OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is the motion of Defendants, brought pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and (6), to dismiss the complaint.*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to dismiss the Complaint is denied as against Superintendent Greiner, K.A. Greiner, Dr. Halko, Dr. Maw, Ms. Figueroa, and Mr. Colon, and is granted as to Defendants Williams, Von Hagen, Mr. Obrowiski and Michael McGinnis.

Background

The facts as set forth below are taken from Plaintiff's complaint. On May 3, 1997, Plaintiff, an inmate of Sing Sing Correctional Facility, was injured during a basketball game. Complaint, ¶ 13. Plaintiff was examined by a nurse in the prison emergency room where he was given temporary medical pass for a cane, showers, a medical keeplock and allowed in-cell meals. Id., ¶ 15. Plaintiff was also given an appointment to see staff physicians. Id., ¶ 16. On May 5, 1997, Plaintiff was examined by Defendant Dr. Halko, who diagnosed Plaintiff as suffering from a bruised tendon. Id., ¶¶ 17-18. After continued complaints, he was examined by Defendant Dr. Maw on May 12, 1997. Id., ¶ 19. Plaintiff complained to Dr. Maw that he experienced chronic and substantial pain and swelling, but Dr. Maw did not refer Plaintiff to a specialist and did not renew Plaintiff's medical pass. Id., ¶ 20. Dr. Maw insisted that Plaintiff was well enough to return to his work assignment. Id. Plaintiff then filed a grievance on May 13, 1997, claiming that he had not received adequate medical care. Id., ¶ 21. In addition, Plaintiff wrote a letter to Defendant Superintendent Greiner, complaining that he had not received adequate medical care for his injury. Id., ¶ 22.

Defendant Mr. Colon responded to Plaintiff by promising to refer him to Dr. Halko for a new medical pass and that Plaintiff would be given an MRI exam. Id., ¶¶ 23-24. These appointments did not occur. Id., ¶ 25. Defendant Superintendent Greiner responded to Plaintiff's complaint about his medical care by informing Plaintiff that he would be reexamined by Dr. Maw. Id., ¶ 27. This appointment also never occurred. Id., ¶ 28. On July 2, 1997, Plaintiff again injured his ankle when he slipped on a staircase while he was performing his work assignment in the prison cafeteria. Id., ¶ 29. In the emergency room, Defendant Figueroa saw Plaintiff and accused Plaintiff of unlawfully possessing the cane he had been given at the time of the first injury. Id., ¶ 31. Defendant Figueroa did not examine him or review his file, and sent him back to his cell without treatment. Id., ¶¶ 32-33.

On July 8, 1997, Plaintiff's Achilles tendon collapsed while he was walking up a flight of stairs. Id., ¶ 34. Defendants Figueroa and Williams again examined Plaintiff. Id., ¶ 35. Defendant Figueroa asserted that Plaintiff was faking his injury. Id., ¶ 36. Defendants Figueroa and Williams then sent Plaintiff for an X-ray, which revealed no abnormalities. Id., ¶ 37.

Subsequently, Plaintiff wrote additional letters to Defendant Nurse Administrator K.A. Greiner, the Inmate Grievance Resolution Committee, the Assistant Commissioner for Medical Services and the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, and also filed an appeal to the grievance committee. Id., ¶¶ 38-39. Plaintiff also asked Defendants Figueroa and Williams to place him on a less stringent work assignment. They refused to do so. Id., ¶ 41.

Defendant KA. Greiner responded to Plaintiff's inquiry by stating that she would await the outcome of the grievance process. Id., ¶¶ 43-44. In October 1997, Plaintiff wrote a second letter to Defendant Superintendent Greiner, complaining that he still had not received adequate medical care and that he had not received a response to the appeal filed in July 1997 from the adverse grievance committee decision. Id., ¶ 45. In November 1997, Defendant Superintendent Greiner informed Plaintiff that the appeal had been denied, stating that the medical department had acted appropriately and that Plaintiff had been abusing the system. Id., ¶¶ 47, 50-51.

In May 1998, Plaintiff, then incarcerated at Green Meadow Correctional Facility, again sought medical treatment for his ankle injury. Id., ¶ 48. Plaintiff was examined by a Dr. Paulano, who noted progressive atrophy and build-up of scar tissue. Id., ¶¶ 50-51. Dr. Paulano referred Plaintiff to a podiatrist, who determined that Plaintiff suffered from progressive atrophy stemming from a ruptured left Achilles tendon suffered in the preceding year. Id., ¶¶ 52-53. The podiatrist prescribed physical therapy. Id., ¶ 53. The physical therapist also noted accumulation of scar tissue. Id., ¶ 54.

While incarcerated at the Green Meadow Correctional Facility, Plaintiff requested his medical records in order to prepare for this lawsuit. Id., ¶ 56. When Plaintiff examined his medical records on September 10, 1999, he discovered that some of the records were missing. Id., ¶¶ 57-58. Defendant Nurse Von Hagen, who was supervising Plaintiff's review of his medical records, informed Plaintiff that she would contact the prisons where Plaintiff previously had been incarcerated and that she would get back to Plaintiff concerning the missing medical records. Id., ¶¶ 57, 59-60. Defendant Von Hagen did not follow up and did not respond to Plaintiff's subsequent inquiries concerning the whereabouts of the missing records. Id., ¶ 61. In September 1999, Plaintiff wrote to Defendant Nurse Administrator Mr. Obrowiski concerning the missing medical records; Mr. Obrowiski also did not respond to Plaintiff's inquiry. Id., ¶ 62. Subsequently, Plaintiff filed a grievance requesting that the medical records be located and wrote Mr. Obrowiski a second time. Id., ¶¶ 63-64. Neither the grievance committee or Mr. Obrowiski responded. Id., ¶¶ 64-65. Subsequently, Plaintiff discovered that his grievance complaint had not been received, so Plaintiff submitted another complaint seeking assistance in locating the missing medical records. Id., ¶¶ 66-67. Plaintiff was instructed to contact the correctional facilities directly to request the missing records. Id., ¶ 68. Plaintiff appealed this decision to Defendant McGinnis, who denied the appeal. Id., ¶ 69.

DISCUSSION

A complaint should not be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) unless it "`appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Allen v. WestPoint-Pepperell, Inc., 945 F.2d 40, 44 (2d Cir. 1991) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46(1957). The factual allegations set forth in the complaint are accepted as true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. See Bernheim v. Litt, 79 F.3d 318, 321 (2d Cir. 1996). The issue before the Court "`is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims.'" Villager Pond, Inc. v. Town of Darien, 56 F.3d 375, 378 (2d Cir. 1995) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236(1974)). In addition, allegations of a pro se complainant are held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520(1972).

The Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of "cruel and unusual punishment" on persons convicted of crimes. U.S. Const. amend. VIII. In order to establish an Eighth Amendment claim based upon failure to provide adequate medical care, a prisoner must prove "deliberate indifference to [his] serious medical needs." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). Establishing deliberate indifference includes both a subjective and an objective element. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834(1994); Chance v. ...


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