JULIO FIGUEROA, Plaintiff, pro se.
CHARLES J. QUACKENBUSH, AAG, , Attorney for Defendants.
ANDREW T. BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.
This matter has been referred for Report and Recommendation, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rules N.D.N.Y. 72.3(c), by the Honorable Frederick J. Scullin, Senior United States District Judge. In this pro se civil rights complaint (Dkt. No. 1), plaintiff alleges that, while he was an inmate in the custody of the Upstate Correctional Facility ("Upstate"), defendants denied him constitutionally adequate medical care and retaliated against him. He seeks substantial damages.
Presently before this court is defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Dkt. No. 10). Plaintiff has informed the court that he does not intend to respond in opposition to defendants' motion. (Dkt. Nos. 14, 22). For the following reasons, this court recommends that defendants' motion to dismiss be granted as to plaintiff's retaliation claim, and denied as to plaintiff's claim that he was denied adequate medical care.
I. Facts and Contentions
While under the care of medical staff at Gowanda Correctional Facility, plaintiff was diagnosed with Paget's disease and prescribed Tramadol. (Compl. at 4). Plaintiff later came under the care of defendants Parmer and Holmes at Upstate, where his medication was discontinued in October 2010. (Compl. at 4). As a result, plaintiff filed a grievance against these defendants in November 2010 and appealed it to the Central Office Review Committee. (Compl. at 4-5). A specialist subsequently placed plaintiff on Indomethacin and "upped the original pain medication, " however, defendants refused to issue the Ultram. (Compl. at 5). Plaintiff further asserts that despite several requests, he has "been denied [his] pain medication for 27 months, " and when he files sick call slips, they are ignored and the defendants simply advise him to "drink more water.'" (Compl. at 5, 8). According to plaintiff, Nurse Holmes told him she will not provide him pain medication because she believes that prisoners "are nothing but a bunch of drug addicts." (Compl. at 8).
Plaintiff alleges that he has suffered extreme pain as a result of these denials-"some days [he] feel[s] as if [he is] going to die in [his] cell, " he "wake[s] up screaming for medical attention, " and is losing weight because he is in too much pain to get out of bed and eat. (Compl. at 5-6). Plaintiff has written letters to Chief Medical Director Koenigsmann who advised him that defendant Smith would address his concerns. (Compl. at 5). He also wrote and spoke to "both defendant doctors mentioned in this complaint" and "in retaliation, defendant Holmes advised [him] that if [he] keep[s] writing [he] will really need some medical attention along with some bandages!!'" (Compl. at 6).
II. Motion to Dismiss
To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim 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 (2007)). "[T]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, " do not suffice. Id. (citing Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555). Plaintiff's factual allegations must also be sufficient to give the defendant "fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).
When ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citations omitted); Int'l Audiotext Network, Inc. v. Am. Tel. & Tel. Co., 62 F.3d 69, 71 (2d Cir. 1995). The court must heed its particular obligation to treat pro se pleadings with liberality. Phillips v. Girdich, 408 F.3d 124, 128 (2d Cir. 2005); Tapia-Ortiz v. Doe, 171 F.3d 150, 152 (2d Cir. 1999) ( per curiam ).
For the reasons discussed below, the court concludes that plaintiff has stated a plausible claim against the defendants for deliberate indifference to plaintiff's serious medical needs, and that defendants' motion to dismiss should be denied as to that claim. Additionally, the court concludes that plaintiff has not stated a plausible claim based on retaliation, and that defendants' motion to dismiss should be granted as to that claim.
III. Denial of ...