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Ifill v. Goord

September 27, 2007

RICHARD SUNDAY IFILL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GLENN GOORD, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

In this case, Plaintiff Richard Sunday Ifill, a former inmate at the Five Points Correctional Facility ("Five Points") alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief and damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986. Presently before this Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.*fn1 For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted and Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed his initial Complaint on May 1, 2003. (Docket No. 1). Plaintiff filed his most recent Amended Complaint on January 31, 2005. (Docket No. 63). On September 1, 2005, this Court granted Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth causes of action from Plaintiff's Complaint. (Docket No. 75). Remaining in this action are Plaintiff's first and second causes of action, which pertain to Plaintiff's allegations that he was denied medications, denied the use of a wheelchair, and subjected to cruel conditions of confinement in the mental health and special housing units at Five Points Correctional Facility.

On May 1, 2006, Defendants moved for summary judgment on the remaining causes of action. (Docket No. 81). For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is granted and Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed.

B. Facts

Plaintiff is a former inmate of the Five Points Correctional Facility. The record indicates that when he arrived at Five Points, Plaintiff was receiving MS Contin and Percocet for pain as prescribed at his previous facility. (Defendants' Statement of Facts, Docket No. 82, ¶ 21). Both are narcotic drugs and are highly addictive. (Defendants' Statement of Facts, Docket No. 82, ¶¶ 22-23). Plaintiff continued to receive these medications until 2002, when another inmate was discovered selling MS Contin. (Defendants' Statement of Facts, Docket No. 82, ¶¶ 25-26). Because Plaintiff was the only inmate receiving MS Contin, Defendant Thornton discontinued the prescription pending review by Dr. Stornelli. (Defendants' Statement of Facts, Docket No. 82, ¶ 28). Dr. Stornelli discontinued Plaintiff's MS Contin prescription and directed that the Percocet be given to Plaintiff in a crushed form to discourage distribution. (Defendants' Statement of Facts, Docket No. 82, ¶¶ 29-30).

In August of 2002, Dr. Trabout re-prescribed MS Contin to Plaintiff, but determined that the Percocet was not needed. (Defendants' Statement of Facts, Docket No. 82, ¶ 31). In October of 2002, plaintiff's blood was drawn to check if his morphine levels were consistent with someone who was taking MS Contin. (Defendants' Statement of Facts, Docket No. 82, ¶¶ 33-34). Plaintiff's blood test showed no trace of morphine, despite the fact that he was receiving six pills daily. (Defendants' Statement of Facts, Docket No. 82, ¶¶ 34). Following this blood test, Dr. Trabout concluded that Plaintiff was not taking the MS Contin, and discontinued his prescription. (Defendants' Statement of Facts, Docket No. 82, ¶¶ 35).

Dr. Gregoire, the Health Services Director at Five Points Correctional Facility, has examined Plaintiff several times, reviewed his medical chart, and interviewed employees who had regular contact with Plaintiff. (Gregoire Dec., ¶¶ 7-8). Each time Dr. Gregoire examined Plaintiff, he would complain of chronic pain and request to be put on narcotic pain medications. (Gregoire Dec., ¶¶ 6-7). Dr. Gregoire observed, however, that Plaintiff did not exhibit any objective symptoms of pain, and was able to complete his daily activities without significant discomfort. (Gregoire Dec., ¶¶ 7). Dr. Gregoire further concluded that Plaintiff did not require an egg-crate mattress or back brace, both of which Plaintiff had requested. (Gregoire Dec., ¶¶ 3, 10, 11).

At times during his placement at Five Points, Plaintiff was housed in the mental health unit and special housing unit after multiple suicide attempts. (Amended Complaint, Docket No. 63, ¶¶ 63, 73-74). Plaintiff has commenced this lawsuit, alleging that while housed in the special housing unit and mental health unit, he was subjected to cold temperatures and filthy conditions, deprived access to toiletries, and denied access to a wheelchair. (Amended Complaint, Docket No. 63, ¶¶ 62-68, 73-74).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment is warranted where 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 as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A "genuine issue" exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Ford v. Reynolds, 316 F.3d 351, 354 (2d Cir. 2003). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In a case where the non-moving party bears the ultimate burden of proof at trial, the movant ...


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