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Mica Howard v. Doctor C. Deuel

October 12, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles J. Siragusa United States District Judge



Mica Howard, ("Plaintiff") a prison inmate in custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS")*fn1 , is suing pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to provide him with adequate medical treatment. Now before the Court are Defendants‟ motions (Docket Nos. [#14] and [#19]) to dismiss for failure to state a claim.*fn2 For the reasons that follow, the applications are granted and Plaintiff‟s claim is dismissed without prejudice.


Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are taken from Plaintiff‟s Amended Complaint, and are presumed to be true for purposes of this Decision and Order. [#8]. On March 26, 2008, Dr. Deuel ("Deuel") had Plaintiff undergo "routine lab work." Id. On April 2, 2008, Plaintiff received a memo from Deuel, stating that the results of his testing were acceptable. Id. On April 2, 2008 Deuel had Plaintiff undergo further testing. Id. On April 3, 2008, Deuel met with Plaintiff and told him that he had high blood pressure and needed to "slow down on [his] smoking." Id. Otherwise, Deuel did not specifically discuss the test results with him. Id.

On September 19, 2008, Deuel scheduled Plaintiff for additional blood work. Id. Specifically, the test that was performed was "Lipid Screen (Coronary Risk I), Glucose, fasting". From this, Plaintiff interprets that he was at a Coronary Risk I, which, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the highest risk category for a heart attack within ten years. *fn3 On September 23, 2008, the blood work report was completed. Complaint, Ex. 2 [#1]. Id. In Plaintiff‟s layman‟s opinion, he believes that the results show he had an increased risk for a heart attack. On September 25, 2008, Plaintiff received notice that he was scheduled to discuss his test results with Deuel. Id., Ex. 3 [#1]. However, Plaintiff never met with Deuel or anyone else from the medical department to discuss his test results prior to November 5, 2008. Amended Complaint, 4. On that date, Plaintiff suffered a heart attack which resulted in open heart surgery. Id. at 5.

On September 5, 2010, Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint. He alleges his blood work from April 2, 2008 onward showed high coronary risk factors and that Defendants kept this information from him. Id. He states that Defendants, specifically Deuel and Nurse Administrator Goins ("Goins"), knew of the results and did not provide appropriate diet orders or medication. Id. He alleges that his heart attack could have been avoided if Defendants‟ had provided him with medical treatment in April 2008. Id.

On April 18, 2011, Defendants filed a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff filed a response on May 17, 2011.


Inasmuch as Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, this Court is mindful that, [w]hen considering motions to dismiss a pro se complaint such as this, "courts must construe [the complaint] broadly, and interpret [it] to raise the strongest arguments that [it] suggests." Cruz v. Gomez, 202 F.3d 593, 597 (2d Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted). This is especially true when dealing with pro se complaints alleging civil rights violations. See Weinstein v. Albright, 261 F.3d 127, 132 (2d Cir. 2001). Accordingly, the plaintiffs' allegations in this case must be read so as to "raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." McPherson v. Coombe, 174 F.3d 276, 280 (2d Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Weixel v. Bd. of Educ. of N.Y., 287 F.3d 138, 145-146 (2d Cir. 2002).

The legal principles applicable to a 12(b)(6) application to dismiss for failure to state a claim are clear:

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964--65, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007); see also, ATSI Communications, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007) ("To survive dismissal, the plaintiff must provide the grounds upon which his claim rests through factual allegations sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.‟ ") (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly) (footnote omitted); Iqbal v. Hasty, 490 F.3d 143, 157--58 (2d Cir. 2007) (indicating that Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly adopted "a flexible "plausibility standard,‟ which obliges a pleader to amplify a claim with some factual allegations in those contexts where such amplification is needed to render the claim plausible[,]" as opposed to merely conceivable.), reversed on other grounds, Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ------ U.S. --------, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). When ...

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