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Thomas v. Westchester County

United States District Court, Second Circuit

July 3, 2013

SHAWN D. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS LLC, WESTCHESTER COUNTY CORRECTIONAL OFFICER VAL #1439, Individually and in his Official Capacity, DR. PAUL ADLER, Individually and in his Official Capacity, and NEW YORK CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS P.C., Defendants.

Shawn D. Thomas, Plaintiff Pro Se.

James C. Freeman, Kent Hazzard, LLP, White Plains, New York, Counsel for Defendants Correct Care Solutions LLC, New York Correct Care Solutions P.C., and Dr. Paul Adler.

OPINION AND ORDER

CATHY SEIBEL, District Judge.

Before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Correct Care Solutions LLC ("CCS"), New York Correct Care Solutions P.C. ("NYCCS"), and Dr. Paul Adler pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. 16.) For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.

I. Background

For the purposes of the present Motion, the Court accepts as true the facts (but not the conclusions) stated in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint ("AC"), (Doc. 8).

Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Westchester County Jail ("WCJ") in Valhalla, New York on August 9, 2011, (AC 3.1), [1] at which time he had an open wound in his ankle from a shooting at close range in April 2010, [2] which required daily bandage changing to prevent infection, ( id. Exs. 4, 20). Prior to his incarceration, Plaintiff had twelve surgeries on his ankle, faced "life threatening" infections in his wound, and developed a chronic need for pain medication. ( Id. Ex. 20.)

At his initial medical screening, Plaintiff informed the nurse that he was taking ten milligrams of Percocet three times daily, which was effective for his "severe pain." ( Id. at 3.1.) The nurse responded that "we only give [M]otrin or [T]ylenol, " and put Plaintiff on the list to see a doctor. ( Id. ) Plaintiff subsequently met with Dr. Paul Adler, [3] who refused to prescribe him stronger medication despite Plaintiff's assertion that Motrin was ineffective in alleviating his pain; Dr. Adler allegedly stated that, "[T]his department is cheap they'LL [ sic ] just prolong so it becomes someone else's problem sorry." ( Id. at 3.1-3.2.) In response to Plaintiff's concern about the effect of taking extended doses of Motrin, Dr. Adler explained that switching between Tylenol and Motrin would avoid any liver damage. ( Id. at 3.2.) Plaintiff further informed Dr. Adler that his injury required at least daily cleaning, and he alleges that CCS failed to clean the wound on "numerous occasions, " "causing... an infection which is now a[n] ulcer on [his] right ankle heel injury." ( Id. ) Plaintiff also specifically alleges that two nurses refused to change his bandages on January 3, 2012. ( Id. Ex. 4.)

On August 21, 2011, Plaintiff alleges that he suffered further injury to his ankle when a corrections officer closed a door on him. ( Id. at 3.2.) He immediately requested medical attention but did not receive it until thirty minutes later, whereupon he was given Motrin and was scheduled for an X-ray with an outside provider. ( Id.; see id. Exs. 3, 15.) On August 23, 26, and 29, 2011, Plaintiff received X-rays of his foot, which revealed a previous fracture of the heel bone in the process of healing. ( Id. Exs. 10, 12, 13.) Plaintiff alleges that he did not receive the X-rays of his chest, lower back, and lower neck that he requested following the door incident. ( Id. Ex. 18.) Plaintiff also received two orthotic shoes on August 23, 2011, ( id. Ex. 2), but he alleges that he has not yet received the physical therapy that he requires for his injury, ( id. at 3.3).

Plaintiff brings a claim against CCS, NYCCS, and Dr. Adler under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 for deliberate indifference to his medical needs, as well as a Monell claim against CCS and NYCCS for engaging in a pattern or practice of constitutional violations. ( See id. at 3.3.)

II. Legal Standard

A. Motion to Dismiss

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570).[4] "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "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." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (alteration, citations, and internal quotation marks omitted). While Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 "marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era, ... it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79.

In considering whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court "begin[s] by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth, " and then determines whether the remaining well-pleaded factual allegations, accepted as true, "plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id. at 679. Deciding whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere ...


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