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Daniel Clay v. Dr. Mary D'silva

March 25, 2011

DANIEL CLAY PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. MARY D'SILVA, DIRECTOR OF DENTAL SERVICES, NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, DEFENDANT.



The Capitol Albany, New York 12224 HON. GLENN T. SUDDABY, United States District Judge 9:09-CV-1245

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

Currently before the Court, in this pro se prisoner civil rights action filed by Daniel Clay ("Plaintiff") against New York State Department of Correctional Services Director of Dental Services Dr. Mary D'Silva ("Defendant"), are (1) Defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (Dkt. No. 12), and (2) United States Magistrate Judge David R. Homer's Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendant's motion be granted (Dkt. No. 21). Plaintiff has not submitted any Objections to the Report-Recommendation, and the time in which to do so has expired. For the reasons set forth below, the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety; Defendant's motion is granted; and Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this action on November 6, 2009. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 9.) The factual allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint are accurately recited in Magistrate Judge Homer's Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. No. 21, at 2-3.) The Court will not repeat that recitation in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for review by the parties. The Court will note only that, generally, construed with the utmost of liberality, Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that, between October 2006 and November 2009, while he was incarcerated at Clinton Correctional Facility ("Clinton C.F.") in Dannemora, New York, Defendant violated his constitutional rights by causing him to experience unnecessary pain due to delayed dental treatment. (See generally Dkt. No. 1 [Plf.'s Compl.]; Dkt. No. 9 [Exs. to Plf.'s Compl.].). More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that, during the time period in question, (1) he experienced unnecessary pain while waiting for the removal of three tooth fragments that remained in his gums following the extraction of one of his teeth on October 11, 2006, and (2) that the delays and pain he experienced was due to Defendant's failure to fulfill her duty to make sure there are a sufficient number of dentists at Clinton C.F. to treat the dental needs of the large population of inmates incarcerated there. (Id.) Based on these factual allegations, Plaintiff asserts a claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, in violation the Eighth Amendment. (Id.)

On March 10, 2010, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). (Dkt. No. 12.)

Generally, in support of her motion, Defendant asserts the following three arguments: (1) Plaintiff has failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting a claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs because, inter alia, (a) he has failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting that Defendant acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind during the time in question, and (b) indeed, Plaintiff alleges that there were three dentists at Clinton C.F. during the time in question; (2) Plaintiff has failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting a causal connection between anything Defendant did or did not do (regarding the staffing of dentists at Clinton C.F.) and the scheduling delays that Plaintiff allegedly experienced, which were caused by office staff; and (3) based on the factual allegations asserted in Plaintiff's Complaint, Defendant is protected from liability as a matter of law by the doctrine of qualified immunity. (Id.)

On April 28, 2010, after being granted an extension of time in which to do so, Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to Defendants' motion. (Dkt. Nos. 15, 16.) Construed with the utmost of special liberality, Plaintiff's response challenges each of the three arguments asserted by Defendants. (Id.) Among other things, Plaintiff argues that (1) the third dentist arrived at Clinton C.F. only a "few months" before he filed his Complaint in this action; and (2) a memorandum from "S. Garman, ADSP" at Clinton C.F. dated October 18, 2007, refers to "the vacancy rate of Dental personnel statement and . . . [the need] to help recruit and retain Dental professionals," plausibly suggesting a causal connection between anything Defendant did or did not do (regarding the staffing of dentists at Clinton C.F.) and the scheduling delays that Plaintiff allegedly experienced. (Id.)

On February 1, 2011, Magistrate Judge Homer issued a Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendant's motion be granted and that Plaintiff's Complaint be dismissed.

(Dkt. No. 21.) Generally, in support of his recommendation, Magistrate Judge Homer found that Plaintiff had failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting that Defendant was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. (Id.) Familiarity with the remaining grounds of Magistrate Judge Homer's Report-Recommendation is assumed in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for the review of the parties. (Id.)

II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Standard of Review

When specific objections are made to a magistrate judge's report-recommendation, the Court makes a "de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).*fn1

When only general objections are made a magistrate judge's report-recommendation, the Court reviews the report-recommendation for clear error or manifest injustice. See Brown v. Peters, 95-CV-1641, 1997 WL 599355, at *2-3 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 22, 1997) (Pooler, J.) [collecting cases], aff'd without opinion, 175 F.3d 1007 (2d Cir. 1999).*fn2 Similarly, when a party makes no objection to a portion of a report-recommendation, the Court reviews that portion for clear error or manifest injustice. See Batista v. Walker, 94-CV-2826, 1995 WL 453299, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 31, 1995) (Sotomayor, J.) [citations omitted]; Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), Advisory Committee Notes: 1983 Addition [citations omitted]. After conducing ...


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