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Goolsby v. Cicconi-Crozier

United States District Court, W.D. New York

March 27, 2014

IAN GOOLSBY, Plaintiff,
v.
Z. CICCONI-CROZIER, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN (Jane Doe #1), INTAKE NURSE #2 (Jane Doe #2), PAUL CHAPPIUS, JR., Defendants.

DECISION AND ORDER

RICHARD J. ARCARA, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Ian Goolsby, a former inmate of the Elmira and Chateaugay Correctional Facilities (hereinafter, "Elmira" and "Chateaugay") commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 while he was incarcerated at the Franklin Correctional Facility, and has filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. His complaint seeks to recover damages stemming from the defendants' alleged failure to provide him with a medication to treat his narcolepsy during his incarceration at Elmira and Chateaugay in April and May, 2013. Plaintiff's application to proceed as a poor person will be granted and, for the reasons discussed below, the complaint will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Because plaintiff has met the statutory requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), plaintiff is granted permission to proceed in forma pauperis. Section 1915(e)(2)(B) of 28 U.S.C. provides that the Court shall dismiss a case in which in forma pauperis status has been granted if, at any time, the Court determines that the action (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. Section 1915 "provide[s] an efficient means by which a court can screen for and dismiss legally insufficient claims." Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007) (citing Shakur v. Selsky, 391 F.3d 106, 112 (2d Cir. 2004)).

In evaluating the complaint, the Court must accept as true all of the factual allegations and must draw all inferences in plaintiff's favor. See Larkin v. Savage, 318 F.3d 138, 139 (2d Cir. 2003) (per curiam); King v. Simpson, 189 F.3d 284, 287 (2d Cir. 1999). Moreover, "a court is obliged to construe [ pro se ] pleadings liberally, particularly when they allege civil rights violations." McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004); and see Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 701 (2d Cir. 1998). "The policy of liberally construing pro se submissions is driven by the understanding that [i]mplicit in the right to self-representation is an obligation on the part of the court to make reasonable allowances to protect pro se litigants from inadvertent forfeiture of important rights because of their lack of legal training.'" Abbas, 480 F.3d at 639 (quoting Traguth v. Zuck, 710 F.2d 90, 95 (2d Cir.1983)).

Nevertheless, even pleadings submitted pro se must meet the notice requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wynder v. McMahon, 360 F.3d 73 (2d Cir. 2004). "Specific facts are not necessary, " and the plaintiff "need only give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Upon review of the complaint, plaintiff's request to proceed as a poor person is granted, but the Court finds that plaintiff's claims must be dismissed pursuant to U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff suffers from narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder which can cause sudden daytime attacks of drowsiness and sleep. The First Claim of his complaint alleges that upon his arrival at Elmira on April 8, 2013, he informed Intake Nurse Administrator Cicconi-Crozier that he had been prescribed Nuvigil for his condition, whereupon she told him that he would not be receiving that medication, "so forget it." The Second Claim of the complaint alleges that on April 9, 2013, plaintiff saw Jane Doe #1 (Primary Care Physician), explained his experience with defendant Cicconi-Crozier, brought with him a doctor's note describing his diagnosis, and explaining that he had initiated treatment, as well as a document indicating the tests that had been performed on him. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Jane Doe #1 responded that "DOCS does not issue narcotics."

Plaintiff's Third Claim alleges that in response to the grievance he had filed after having been denied Nuvigil, defendant Superintendent Chappius never investigated any of his claims, but simply concurred with Cicconi-Crozier and denied his grievance. The decision, dated May 20, 2013, a copy of which is attached to the complaint, [1] referred to Cicconi-Crozier's investigation as revealing that there was no record from the county jail at which plaintiff was located prior to his arrival at Elmira substantiating plaintiff's allegations with respect to his having been prescribed the drug, and that the requested medication was "non-formulary" which "requires central office review and approval before prescription/treatment, " The Superintendent's decision concluded by advising plaintiff to "follow up at his permanent facility." Plaintiff claims that Chappius' failure to sufficiently investigate plaintiff's claims and to then provide treatment for the diagnosed condition demonstrated "deliberate indifference" to his condition in violation of the Eight Amendment.

Plaintiff's Fourth Claim alleges that upon his arrival at Chateaugay on April 26, 2013, he informed defendant Intake Nurse #2 of his condition and the medication necessary to treat it, etc. While the Intake Nurse told plaintiff that she would look into the issue, her failure to get back to him led him to write to the facility's nurse administrator; he was subsequently called to the infirmary by the Intake Nurse to sign a release, but after a further delay, he was again called to the infirmary, on May 23, 2013, but the nurse refused to see him. Plaintiff alleges that the Intake Nurse's actions constituted deliberate indifference to his medical condition, and violated the Eighth Amendment.

Plaintiff a grievance the same date (May 23, 2013), and he states that the grievance was "accepted in part" but that on appeal to the Superintendent, it was "inadequately resolved" though he does not explain further. The Chateaugay Superintendent's decision, a copy of which is also attached to the complaint, states, in part, that after plaintiff "requested information regarding a specific medication", medical records "were requested and after being reviewed by the facility M.D., the grievant's medical level was changed. The grievant was transferred to an appropriate facility on 6/10/13 where his medical needs could be addressed."

The Eighth Amendment "imposes a duty upon prison officials to ensure that inmates receive adequate medical care." Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 279 (2d Cir. 2006) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832, 844, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994)). To establish a constitutional claim based on the quality of medical care provided by a defendant, a plaintiff who is in custody must demonstrate "deliberate indifference to [his] serious medical needs." Hathaway v. Coughlin, 37 F.3d 63, ...


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