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Curtis v. Williams

United States District Court, Second Circuit

May 9, 2013

P.A. WILLIAMS, et al., Defendants.


JESSE M. FURMAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Sammie Curtis, proceeding pro se, brings this action, pursuant to Title 42, United States Code, Section 1983, against eleven Defendants, all current or former employees of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS") at Sing Sing Correctional Facility ("Sing Sing"), alleging that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Defendants Philip Williams, Dr. Kyeetint Maw, Dr. Mikulas Halko, Luis R. Marshall, and Philip Heath have moved to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).[1] (Docket No. 39). For the reasons discussed below, their motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.


The following facts are taken from the Complaint and are assumed to be true for purposes of this motion. See, e.g., LaFaro v. N.Y. Cardiothoracic Grp., PLLC, 570 F.3d 471, 475 (2d Cir. 2009).[2]

Plaintiff Sammie Curtis is a New York State prisoner, currently incarcerated at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, New York. At all times relevant to this action, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. On or about July 2007, Plaintiff injured his left foot while playing basketball. (Compl. § 1). He was subsequently examined by Defendant Williams, who worked as a physician's assistant at Sing Sing. ( Id. § 2). Plaintiff alleges that "despite signs of a serious physical injury and a serious medical need, " Williams failed to thoroughly examine his foot and incorrectly concluded that nothing was wrong with it. ( Id. ). After Plaintiff continued to complain of foot pain, Williams ordered an x-ray of Plaintiff's foot, which showed his foot to be "normal, " and a subsequent MRI in December 2007. ( Id. ). In February 2008, Plaintiff learned that his foot injury had been misdiagnosed and Defendant Dr. Holder informed Plaintiff that he would need an iliac bone graft to repair it. ( Id. §§ 3-5). Dr. Holder performed this surgery on June 21, 2010. ( Id. § 5).

On or around July 5, 2010, Plaintiff was diagnosed with sarcoma in his pelvic region, which he alleges was caused by the reconstructive surgery. ( Id. § 7). Dr. Holder prescribed hot compresses to treat the sarcoma and ordered that Plaintiff have weekly follow-up appointments and regular x-ray examinations to monitor his foot. ( Id. § 8). Dr. Holder also instructed the medical staff at Sing Sing to clean Plaintiff's foot and provide him with moisturizer to prevent "drying and cracking" in his toes. ( Id. § 11). Plaintiff alleges that Nurse Furco and Drs. Ferdous and Genovese did not follow these instructions, and that he subsequently contracted a fungal infection on his toes. ( Id. § 12). On August 5, 2010, Plaintiff submitted a sick call request regarding his cast, which had become wet in the shower and "exposed [him] to possible infection, " but he was never called for sick call. ( Id. § 10).

Around this time, Plaintiff approached Dr. Ferdous to discuss his medical care. Dr. Ferdous informed Plaintiff that she "lacked the proper knowledge of [plaintiff's] condition and medical needs" to respond to his complaints. ( Id. § 14). Plaintiff also complained to Dr. Genovese, but Dr. Genovese "refused to give Defendant Ferdous a[n] overview of [Plaintiff's] condition... which could [have] possibly allowed Defendant Ferdous to properly treat, evaluate, chart and care for plaintiff's condition, " and refused Plaintiff's requests to be assigned a different primary care provider. ( Id. §§ 15, 17).

On or about September 3, 2010, during an appointment with Dr. Ferdous, Plaintiff asked for new grips for his crutches, as the old ones had worn out. ( Id. § 18). Dr. Ferdous declined the request, stating "why are you telling me this... I can not [ sic ] do anything for you. Tell Dr. Holder when you see him." ( Id. § 19). Plaintiff continued to request new grips for his crutches and was forced to use latex gloves and scrub pads as substitutes until a nurse at Sing Sing provided them. ( Id. §§ 21-22). In September 2010, the medical staff at Green Haven Correctional Facility changed Plaintiff's cast. ( Id. § 23). By September 8, 2010, the cast had unraveled twenty-six inches and had two cracks, but Dr. Ferdous and Nurse Furco refused to reschedule Plaintiff's appointment with Dr. Holder for an earlier date to fix the cast. ( Id. § 25). In October 2010, Dr. Holder removed Plaintiff's cast prematurely, causing "excruciating pain and visual evidence of extreme swelling." ( Id. § 27). Although Dr. Holder ordered a post-operative boot for Plaintiff, Dr. Genovese and Nurse Furco refused to issue it to him. ( Id. §§ 28-29).

In November 2010, Plaintiff's foot began to swell and developed a "dark complexion." ( Id. §§ 31-32). Dr. Holder assured Plaintiff that once the swelling subsided, his foot's range of motion would return. ( Id. § 31). On November 30, 2010, DOCCS physical therapist Delessio suspended Plaintiff's physical therapy because it was "obvious" that there was "something wrong" with his foot. ( Id. §§ 32-33). After reviewing Plaintiff's medical records, Delessio ordered Dr. Ferdous to submit an emergency request for Plaintiff to be seen by Dr. Holder. ( Id. § 35). According to the Complaint, however, Dr. Ferdous saw "nothing abnormal about [plaintiff's] foot" and told Plaintiff that he would have to wait until Dr. Holder requested to see him and, that in the meantime, Plaintiff could take prescription pain killers. ( Id. § 37). Somewhat inconsistently, the Complaint alleges elsewhere that Dr. Ferdous submitted multiple orders for Plaintiff to be seen by Dr. Holder, which were denied. ( Id. § 41).

In January 2011, Dr. Holder informed Plaintiff that he would need another surgical procedure because, among other things, the screws in his foot were the wrong size and his cast had been removed prematurely. ( Id. § 45). On February 25, 2011, Plaintiff requested to undergo testing to check for infection and nerve damage in his foot, but Defendants Ferdous, Furco, Genovese, and Heath refused the testing. ( Id. §§ 49-50). On March 1, 2011, Dr. Holder performed corrective surgery on Plaintiff's foot to remove screws that had broken. ( Id. § 51). In May 2011, Plaintiff told Dr. Holder that he was concerned that he was losing sensation and range of motion in his foot and that one of his toes was abnormally overlapping with his big toe. ( Id. § 59). Dr. Holder stated that his ailments would improve with physical therapy. ( Id. § 60). That same month, the screws in Plaintiff's foot broke a second time. Dr. Holder told Plaintiff that the brackets were faulty and did not support his weight, but that Dr. Holder was going to file a complaint with the manufacturing company and stop using the company's products. ( Id. §§ 60-61). In or around June 2011, Plaintiff was informed by an unnamed party that Dr. Holder performed "un-discussed, unwarranted and unconsented procedures on [Plaintiff's] left foot." ( Id. § 62). On August 16, 2011, Dr. Holder performed a third surgery on Plaintiff's left foot. (Compl. § 63). Although Dr. Holder ordered three days of bed-rest following the procedure, Defendants Furco, Ferdous, and Genovese authorized Plaintiff to attend a court proceeding the morning after the surgery. ( Id. § 65). Plaintiff claims that during the proceeding, he was still heavily sedated from the surgery, and therefore was unable to present a proper defense, resulting in an unfavorable ruling. ( Id. ).

On January 17, 2012, Dr. Holder ordered Plaintiff to be given a cane. ( Id. § 69). In the subsequent days, Plaintiff inquired about the status of his cane but was told by Sing Sing staff that they were unaware of Dr. Holder's order, that no canes were available, and that his family would not be permitted to purchase him a cane that met DOCCS security requirements. ( Id. §§ 70-73). On January 25, 2012, during a Sing Sing function, Plaintiff asked Defendant Heath about his cane, to which Heath responded, "I am fully aware of your issues. Don't worry, Mr. Curtis, you'll get your cane." ( Id. § 75). In March 2012, Dr. Genovese confiscated one of Plaintiff's crutches in retaliation for his inquiries about the status of his cane. ( Id. § 78). Dr. Holder also ordered Plaintiff to receive continuous physical therapy, but as of May 10, 2012, Plaintiff had only attended one physical therapy session. ( Id. § 88). Plaintiff further alleges that Dr. Holder "falsified" Plaintiff's medical records by reporting that there were no deformities with Plaintiff's foot, despite evidence to the contrary. ( Id. § 38). Plaintiff informed Heath of all of these issues in writing, but states that his claims were denied. ( Id. §§ 118, 125).

Plaintiff commenced this action on February 14, 2011. (Docket No. 1). On October 1, 2012, Defendants Halko, Heath, Marshall, Maw, and Williams (the "Moving Defendants") filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint under Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docket No. 39). By Order dated October 3, 2012, the Court instructed that Plaintiff should file any amended complaint by November 13, 2012. (Docket No. 43). On December 4, 2012, the Court received an amended complaint from Plaintiff, dated November 9, 2012, which was loaded to the docket on December 10, 2012. (Docket No. 55). By letter dated January 4, 2013, the Moving Defendants informed the Court that they wished to rely on their previously submitted motion to dismiss. (Docket No. 66). By letter dated February 4, 2013, Plaintiff informed the Court that he wished to rely on his previously submitted opposition, dated October 16, 2012. (Docket No. 71; see also Docket No. 51). The Moving Defendants filed their reply on March 1, 2013. (Docket No. 74).


A. Standard of ...

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