The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leisure, United States District Court Judge.
Plaintiff; Ronald Davidson, brings this action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment right
to adequate medical care while incarcerated by the New York State
Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"). The named defendants are:
Thomas Coughlin, former Commissioner of DOCS; Charles Scully,
Superintendent of Green Haven Correctional Facility ("Green Haven"); Dean
Riley, Deputy Superintendent of Security at Green Haven; E. Michael
Kalomck, Health Services Administrator at Green Haven; Dr. Marc
Freedman, Facilities Health Services Director at Green Haven; Wayne
Strack, Lieutenant at Green Haven; Dennis Thomson, Sergeant at Green
Haven; Angelo Senisi, Senior Counselor at Green Haven; and Gerald
Gallagher, Assistant Superintendent of Industries at Green Haven.
Plaintiffs actions allege a continuous and ongoing failure by defendants
to provide him with adequate medical care for four distinct medical
conditions. Plaintiff alleges that defendants have: i) failed to treat his
foot problems by failing to provide him with access to a podiatrist and
orthopedic footwear; ii) refused to treat his allergies by denying him
allergy shots, denying him access to an allergist, ceasing to provide his
allergy medication, and denying him housing in a smoke-free environment;
iii) failed to treat his tinnitus by denying him ear plugs, specific
medications, a masking device, participation in a sleep study, and housing
in quieter sections of the correctional facilities; and iv) denied him
treatment of his vision problems by denying him, at various times, contact
lenses, the use of eye lubricants, access to monitoring of his contact lens
use, and correctly ground lenses for his eyeglasses.
Plaintiff originally brought these actions pro se pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, in the early 1980s, alleging violations of his
Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical treatment during his
incarceration at Green Haven. Plaintiff amended his 81 Civ. 0390
complaint in 1990 to add Thomas Coughlin, the DOCS Commissioner at the
time, as a defendant. After retaining pro bono counsel in 1996, plaintiff
filed a Supplemental Amended Complaint to update his claims to include
events that took place after his transfer to Auburn Correctional
Facility. In Davidson v. Coughlin, 914 F. Supp. 1011, 1, 015 (S.D.N.Y.
1996), the Court denied plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction
regarding the claims underlying these actions, holding that plaintiff
could not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits regarding the
seriousness of his medical concerns. In May 2001, the Court granted in
part plaintiffs motion for leave to submit additional evidence in further
opposition to defendants' motion for summary judgment, Davidson v.
Coughlin, 148 F. Supp.2d 249 (S.D.N.Y. 2001) [hereinafter, "Davidson
II"], and plaintiff submitted evidence regarding his medical treatment
since his incarceration at Elmira Correctional Facility. On August 2,
2001, the Court denied plaintiffs request for permission to submit
supplemental evidence.*fn1 Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, defendants now move for summary judgment. Defendants'
motion is granted in its entirety.*fn2
I. Summary Judgement Standard
A moving party is entitled to summary judgment if "the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment a
matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Holt v. KMI-Continental Inc..,
95 F.3d 123, 128 (2d Cir. 1996). When considering a motion for summary
judgment, the Court's responsibility is not "to resolve disputed issues
of fact but to assess whether there are any factual issues to be tried."
Knight v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 11 (2d Cir. 1986). In
determining whether genuine issues of material fact exist, the Court must
resolve all ambiguities and draw all justifiable inferences in favor of
the nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
255 (1986); Holt, 95 F.3d at 129.
The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating that no genuine
issue of material fact exists. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co.,
398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970); Gallo v. Prudential
Residential Serv. L.P.,
22 F.3d 1219, 1223-24 (2d Cir. 1994). "[T]he movant's burden will be
satisfied if he can point to an absence of evidence to support an
essential element of the nonmoving party's claim." Goenaga v. March of
Dimes Birth Defects Found., 51 F.3d 14, 18 (2d Cir. 1995). Once the
moving party discharges his burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue
of material fact exists, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to
offer specific evidence showing that a genuine issue for trial exists.
See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. The nonmoving party "must do more than
simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
586 (1986). "A "genuine' dispute over a material fact only arises if the
evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the
nonmoving party." Dister v. Continental Group, 859 F.2d 1108, 1114 (2d
Cir. 1988) (quoting Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248).
II. Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment Claims
In order to establish an Eighth Amendment claim for inadequate medical
care, a prisoner must prove "deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); see also Chance v.
Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 702 (2d Cir. 1998). To satisfy this standard, the
prisoner must satisfy both a subjective and an objective prong.
First, the alleged medical need must be, in objective terms,
"sufficiently serious." Chance, 143 F.3d at 702. A condition is
"sufficiently serious" under the Eighth Amendment if it is "a condition
of urgency that may result in degeneration or extreme pain." Id.
(internal quotes omitted). Medical needs that have been deemed to be
sufficiently serious by the Second Circuit include: an untreated tooth
cavity see Harrison v. Barklev, 219 F.3d 132, 137 (2d Cir. 2000); chronic
tooth pain lasting six months, rendering prisoner unable to chew and
resulting in tooth degeneration, see Chance, 143 F.3d at 702; a ruptured
Achilles tendon see Hemmings v. Gorczvk, 134 F.3d 104, 107 (2d Cir.
1998); deprivation of "prescribed eye-glasses to avoid double vision and
the loss of depth perception," Koehl v. Dalsheim, 85 F.3d 86, 88 (2d
Cir. 1996); and delay in removing broken hip pins from a prisoner's hip
for more than two years, see Hathaway v. Coughlin, 37 F.3d 63, 66 (2d
Second, to satisfy the subjective prong, the defendant must act with "a
sufficiently culpable state of mind" that amounts to "deliberate
indifference" to the serious medical need. Hathaway, 37 F.3d at 67. A
"prison official does not act in a deliberately indifferent manner unless
that official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety." Id. at 66. "[D]eliberate indifference entails something more than
mere negligence," Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 835 (1994), and
"[m]edical malpractice does not become a constitutional violation merely
because the victim is a prisoner." Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. "Thus, a
complaint that a physician has been negligent in diagnosing or treating a
medical condition does not state a valid claim of medical mistreatment
under the Eighth Amendment." Id.
A. Plaintiff's Podiatric Condition
Plaintiff alleges that he has "bilateral Tailor's bunions," which cause
him extreme pain. Plaintiffs Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgement [hereinafter, "Pl's Mem"] at 3. Dr. Lawrence
examined plaintiff on January 9, 1998, concluded that
plaintiff does suffer from "bilateral Tailor's bunions," and that while
"the level of pain one person experiences is subjective," he believes
plaintiffs pedal problems "could lead to the type of pain a patient might
characterize as `acute' or `extremely painful.'" Declaration of Dr.
Lawrence Kobak, sworn to on April 22, 1999 [hereinafter, "Kobak Dec."] at
¶ 6. Dr. ...