Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

LEACOCK v. CITY OF NEW YORK

February 8, 2005.

INGER LEACOCK, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH & HOSPITALS CORPORATION, ST. BARNABAS HOSPITAL CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, BEDFORD HILLS HOSPITAL REGIONAL MEDICAL UNIT, JOHN AND JANE DOE, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENISE COTE, District Judge

OPINION & ORDER

Plaintiff Inger Leacock ("Leacock") brings this pro se action alleging that defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to a serious medical need in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"). Collectively, the City of New York, New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation, and St. Barnabas Correctional Health Services (the "City Defendants") have moved Page 2 to dismiss plaintiff's claims on the grounds that plaintiff has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), and has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Because Leacock was transferred from City to State custody the day after her cause of action arose, and for the additional reasons detailed below, the City Defendants' motion to dismiss is denied.

Background

  The following facts relevant to this motion to dismiss are taken from plaintiff's second amended complaint. On the evening of April 27, 1999, while Leacock was incarcerated at Rose M. Singer Correctional Facility at Rikers Island, another inmate pushed her against the metal frame of a bed, breaking her right knee cap. As Leacock was unable to walk, corrections officer John Doe carried her to the clinic at St. Barnabas Hospital Correctional Health Services, at which she waited for nine hours to be seen by a physician, Dr. Calderone, while her knee swelled with blood. During her evaluation by Dr. Calderone, Leacock received an injection of pain medication, and she then waited two additional hours to see a bone specialist, a Dr. John Doe, on the morning of April 28. Page 3

  After Dr. Doe examined Leacock, he told her that she should stay in the infirmary overnight and then should receive X-rays in the morning. Upon hearing this, the corrections officer accompanying Leacock, Officer Watkinson, informed Dr. Doe that Leacock was scheduled to be transferred the next day to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility ("Bedford Hills"), which is operated by the New York State Department of Corrections ("DOCS"). The bone specialist replied that Leacock could not be transferred in her condition. Despite the specialist's instructions, Officer Watkinson and/or Dr. Calderone wrote in Leacock's file that her knee was merely swollen, thus paving the way for her transfer to Bedford Hills. Rather than being kept in the infirmary, Leacock spent the night of April 28 in her cell and arrived at Bedford Hills on April 29, 1999.

  Upon her arrival at Bedford Hills, Leacock was taken to see a nurse, who determined that a doctor should evaluate Leacock's knee. After she saw the nurse, however, several days passed before Leacock saw a doctor. Nevertheless, Bedford Hills staff housed Leacock in an area accessible only by stairs, and she was able to move from place to place only by having other inmates carry her. Given her inability to walk up and down the stairs and her increasing pain, Leacock requested that Deputy Johnson move her to the infirmary, but that did not happen. Page 4

  On or around May 3, 1999, X-rays were taken of Leacock's knee and it was determined that her knee was broken. Accordingly, Leacock was taken to Bedford Hills Regional Medical Center, where a second doctor repaired her knee. Leacock alleges that she still suffers pain in her knee, especially when it rains and in the cold.

  Procedural History

  Plaintiff's complaint was received by the Pro Se Office of this District on October 23, 2000. Through an April 4, 2001 Order, the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, to whom this case was initially assigned, directed

 
the Corporation Counsel and the Attorney General to ascertain from documents created at the time of the events described in the complaint the identities of the medical providers and officers whom plaintiff seeks to sue here and, if they can be identified, to provide addresses where each individual can be served.
Chief Judge Mukasey's Order further directed the Corporation Counsel and Attorney General to "produce the relevant incident and medical reports to the plaintiff and the Court (to the Pro Se Office) on or before April 20, 2001." Finally, Judge Mukasey allowed the plaintiff thirty days after the receipt of the above-described information to file an amended complaint, in which she was required to state "who denied, delayed, or interfered with her medical care." Page 5

  Approximately two years later, on June 19, 2003, Judge Mukasey issued another Order, in which he observed that both the Attorney General and the Corporation Counsel produced the requested medical records during the summer of 2001.*fn1 Judge Mukasey noted that although plaintiff had attempted to file an amended complaint, it was neither timely nor did it sufficiently identify the individual defendants, as required by his April 4, 2001 Order. As a result, the June 19, 2003 Order directed plaintiff to file an amended complaint that reflected the individual defendants and detailed her exhaustion of available administrative remedies. This Order also described the grievance processes available within both the New York City Department of Correction ("DOC") and DOCS, specifying that an inmate is "required to pursue her institutional remedies even if she may ultimately be found to be time-barred from pursuing this administrative process or she is seeking a remedy that cannot be awarded by the administrative proceeding." Pursuant to this order, Leacock filed an amended complaint on July 2, 2003.

  On December 18, 2003, Judge Mukasey issued a third order, in which he observed that plaintiff's amended complaint "fails to Page 6 name as defendants in the caption of the complaint the corrections officials who were deliberately indifferent to her medical needs" and granted her an additional thirty days to "identify as defendants the individual responsible in both the CAPTION and the body of her complaint." (Emphasis in original.) In addition, the December 18 Order directed Leacock to "state the steps she has taken to exhaust her administrative remedies as directed by the June 25, 2003 order."

  On January 28, 2004, Leacock submitted her second amended complaint. As with her previous complaints, she utilized a form provided by the Southern District to aid prisoners in filing Section 1983 actions. In response to questions asked on the form, Leacock indicated her awareness of a prisoner grievance procedure within DOCS and stated that she presented the facts relating to her complaint through that process. With respect to the steps that she took, however, Leacock wrote only, "I file my grievance." The result of Leacock's grievance was not described; instead, Leacock wrote, "And grievance is not working for the inmates; they are working with the jail." In response to a question asking for details as to why the inmate's grievance was denied, Leacock wrote, "Doing illegal scams with the jail and unfairly judge inmates and grievance suppose to be fore inmates but they are not." (as in original). Page 7

  On February 18, 2004, this action was assigned to this Court. On July 7, 2004, the City Defendants moved to dismiss Leacock's complaint, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and (b)(6), Fed.R. Civ. P., on the grounds that as Leacock failed to properly exhaust her administrative remedies, this Court lacks jurisdiction over her complaint, and that her complaint fails to state a claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment stemming from deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Both Leacock and the City Defendants ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.