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Alvarado v. Westchester County

United States District Court, S.D. New York

April 24, 2014

JIMMY ALVARADO, GUILLERMO ROSADO, DOMINGO LOPEZ, KYLE HEADY, ANDREW SUSA, TODD FRAISER, and JOHN FLAVIN, Plaintiffs,
v.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS LLC., NEW YORK CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS MEDICAL SERVICES P.C., SERGEANT COLETTI, ASSISTANT WARDEN DIAZ, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER WANDA SMITHSON, and WESTCHESTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE ROBERT P. ASTORINO, all defendant(s) individually and in their official capacities, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Jimmy Alvarado, Plaintiff, Pro se, Valhalla, NY.

Guillermo Rosado, Plaintiff, Pro se, Yonkers, NY.

Domingo Lopez, Plaintiff, Pro se, Malone, NY.

Kyle Heady, Plaintiff, Pro se, Valhalla, NY.

Andrew Susa, Plaintiff, Pro se, Valhalla, NY.

Todd Fraiser, Plaintiff, Pro se, Valhalla, NY.

John Flavin, Plaintiff, Pro se, Valhalla, NY.

For Westchester County, Individually and In their official capacity, Correct Care Solutions LLC., Individually, New York Correct Care Solutions Medical Services P.C., Individually, Sergeant Coletti, Individually, Assistant Warden Diaz, Individually, Deputy Commissioner Wanda Smithson, Individually, Robert P. Astorino, Westchester County Executive, Individually, Correct Care Solutions LLC, In their official capacity, New York Correct Care Solutions Medical Services P.C., In their official capacity, Sergeant Coletti, In their official capacity, Assistant Warden Diaz, In their official capacity, Deputy Commissioner Wanda Smithson, In their official capacity, Robert P. Astorino, Westchester County Executive, In their official capacity, Defendants: John Martin Murtagh, Jr, Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti, LLP, White Plains, NY.

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MEMORANDUM DECISION

Vincent L. Briccetti, United States District Judge.

Plaintiffs Jimmy Alvarado, Guillermo Rosado, Domingo Lopez, Kyle Heady, Andrew Susa, Todd Fraiser, and John Flavin, proceeding pro se, bring this Section 1983 prisoner civil rights action alleging defendants violated their constitutional rights.

Now pending is defendants' motion to dismiss.[1] (Doc. #22). For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

The Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

BACKGROUND

For purposes of ruling on this motion, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs are present and former inmates who were incarcerated at Westchester County Jail (" WCJ" ) between June 2012 and February 2013. Before being taken into custody, each was addicted to heroin. Defendants Correct Care Solutions, LLC, and New York Correct Care Solutions Medical Services, P.C. (collectively, the " Correct Care Defendants" ), provide on-site medical services at WCJ pursuant to a contract with Westchester County (the " County" ).

Upon arrival at WCJ, plaintiffs informed its " intake medical staff" they were regular heroin users who had begun to experience withdrawal symptoms. Plaintiff Susa, for example, told medical personnel he used five to ten bags of heroin daily, and " displayed needle marks on his arms as verification of drug abuse." And plaintiffs Flavin, Rosado, and Lopez informed medical staff they had been " participating in a Methadone Clinic" before their incarceration.

Among other symptoms, plaintiffs reported " vomiting yellow stomach bile," " [n]ausea," " fatigue," " dia[rrh]ea," " insomnia," " loss of appetite," " anxiety," " shakes," and " aching bones." Flavin reported he had " suffered a seizure" while in police custody. Plaintiffs requested treatment with methadone[2] or Suboxone,[3] but their requests were uniformly denied. Although plaintiffs allege they were forced to

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withdraw from heroin " cold turkey," most claim they were given over-the-counter analgesics (such as Tylenol or Advil) and antacids (such as Tums or Maalox).[4] However, plaintiffs allege, these medications were " not effective" in controlling their symptoms.

On June 25, 2012, Flavin wrote to Diaz and Smithson complaining of " withdraw[a]l sy[mp]toms." Flavin stated he " notified intake staff" he used heroin and was " in a methadone program prior to [his] arrest," but complained " [C]orrect [C]are [S]olutions is not issuing no inmates methadone that were using heroin." Plaintiffs allege Smithson denied the grievance in writing on June 27, 2012.[5] Elsewhere, however, plaintiffs claim Diaz and Smithson refused to accept the grievance.

Flavin also mailed a copy of his grievance to Astorino and Westchester County Attorney Robert F. Meehan, but plaintiffs allege the County " did not respond."

Plaintiffs subsequently brought this Section 1983 action, alleging (i) defendants' refusal to accept Flavin's grievance deprived them of their First Amendment right to petition the government for redress, (ii) defendants' deliberate indifference to their serious medical needs constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments,[6] and (iii) the County was deliberately indifferent to the risk the Correct Care Defendants were providing constitutionally inadequate medical care at WCJ, or acquiesced in the provision of such treatment.[7]

Defendants now move to dismiss, arguing plaintiffs (i) cannot base a constitutional claim on defendants' alleged violation of a prison grievance procedure, (ii) have failed to allege the personal involvement of individual defendants Diaz, Smithson, and Astorino in the alleged constitutional violations, and (iii) fail to plead a claim against the County under Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978).

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

The function of a motion to dismiss is " merely to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which might be offered in ...


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