United States District Court, W.D. New York
LARRY J. SHELTON COLLINS, JR., Plaintiff,
PETER GRUEN, RN; SALLY SMITH, RN; LYDIA TORRES, RN; PATRICE MINKIEWICZ; DANIELLE WIEPERT, LPN; JENNIFER HOLOWAKA, LPN; RILEY ROBERTSON, RN; MICHELLE PORECCA, RN; SOPHIA OVERTON, LPN; LOU FUCINA, LPN; MARY BARTH, RN; PAULA CAMPANELLA; MICHELLE SIROLLI; MELANIE COMSTOCK, Nurse Practitioner; BRANDON COBURN, Nurse Practitioner; EDWIN HEIDELBERGER, M.D.; Defendants.
DECISION & ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, Jr., District Judge.
Pro se Plaintiff Larry J. Shelton Collins, Jr. ("Plaintiff"), a prisoner in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, commenced this action on January 12, 2012 by filing a Complaint (ECF No. 1), thereafter, completely replaced by an Amended Complaint filed on March 14, 2012 (ECF No. 6) seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights based upon "cruel and mental punishment" due to the denial of medical treatment for diabetes while incarcerated at the Erie County Holding Center ("ECHC") located in Buffalo, New York. The Amended Complaint specifically alleged the failure of ECHC's medical staff and John and Jane Doe to administer the prescribed insulin dosages to Plaintiff for three days while under their care.
Before the Court for review and determination are the following motions: (1) a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) filed by Defendants Coburn and Comstock on January 30, 2013, alleging that dismissal of the Amended Complaint is proper based upon Plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) ("PLRA") and that the Amended Complaint sets forth no factual allegations stating a cognizable cause of action for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs nor any demonstration of their personal involvement in the treatment of Plaintiff (ECF No. 54); (2) a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) filed by Defendant Heidelberger on January 31, 2013, asserting as grounds for dismissal of the Amended Complaint Plaintiff's failure to allege any personal involvement by Dr. Heidelberger, and his failure to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the PLRA (ECF No. 60); (3) a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiff on July 22, 2013, alleging that all Defendants have withheld information pertaining to his medical treatment, Defendant Heidelberger won't admit that he is at fault, and all Defendants are responsible for damages due to pain and suffering, medical neglect, medical indifference resulting from their neglect of duty and providing him proper medical treatment (ECF No. 88); (4) a Cross Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint with Prejudice pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c),  filed by Defendants Gruen, Minkiewicz, Smith, and Torres on August 29, 2013, alleging Plaintiff's failure to exhaust his available administrative remedies and the failure of the Amended Complaint to state a cause of action upon which relief can be predicated under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 98); (5) a Cross Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Barth, Campanella, Fucina, Holowaka, Overton, Robertson, Sirolli, and Wiepert on September 3, 2013, alleging Plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies and his failure to show deliberate indifference regarding his medical needs (ECF No. 101); and (6) a Cross Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Heidelberger on September 3, 2013, alleging Plaintiff's failure to allege any personal involvement by Dr. Heidelberger, and his failure to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the PLRA (ECF No. 102). The Court has considered the parties' responses in opposition and any replies filed with respect to the various motions, as well.
Because all of the motions filed by the Defendants seeking dismissal of the Amended Complaint share issue-commonality, i.e., that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this action in federal court as required by the PLRA, and because resolution of this issue is dispositive of Defendants' motions, as well as the Plaintiff's summary judgment motion, the Court has reached only the issue of exhaustion. For the reasons set forth herein below, I find that the Amended Complaint should be dismissed against all Defendants based upon Plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies.
The Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff named as Defendants the County of Erie, the Erie County Holding Center Medical Staff, the Erie County Holding Center Entire Staff and, additionally, stated Plaintiff's belief that various medical staff John and Jane Does, specifically, the "3 to 11 shift at night on November 18, 2011" were responsible for failing to attend to his medical needs or neglecting them. It set forth two claims giving brief recitations of the alleged involvement of the Defendants and the John and Jane Does.
In the First Claim, Plaintiff alleged that the entire medical staff at ECHC didn't provide him the services he needed, treated him unjustly and unfairly, and didn't show any concern to his matter. ECF No. 6. Plaintiff alleged "Cruel and Mental Punishment" as the constitutional basis for this claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Also, regarding this First Claim, under the heading "Exhaustion of Your Administrative Remedies for this Claim, " Plaintiff checked "No, " in response to the printed question, "Did you grieve or appeal this claim?" In response to the printed question in this same section, "If you did not exhaust your administrative remedies, state why you did not do so, " Plaintiff wrote, "I believe that this matter would just been sweep under the rug." Id. at 5.
In the Second Claim, Plaintiff alleged that on November 18, 2011, he did not receive his insulin, he was denied medical attention, and the ECHC staff was aware that he was diabetic because it was in his medical record. Id. at 6. Also, regarding this Second Claim, under the heading "Exhaustion of Your Administrative Remedies for this Claim, " Plaintiff checked "No, " in response to the printed question, "Did you grieve or appeal this claim?" In response to the printed question, "If you did not exhaust your administrative remedies, state why you did not do so, " Plaintiff wrote, "I believe that no one are willing to accept that they were at fault." Id.
Plaintiff offered further statements regarding exhaustion of administrative remedies: "I believe that Jane Doe and John Doe aren't willingly to admit that it was their fault. Also I believe that this matter would have just been sweep under the rug. I honestly believe that I wouldn't gotten any responsible back." Id. at 7.
The Amended Complaint alleged in greater detail the Fifth and Eighth Amendment violations as follows:
Fifth Amend. That I was being denied medical attention, and staff didn't show and concern. They are awhere of my illness.
Fifth Amend. That know one shouldn't every be denied medical attention. Yes under New York State and Fedral law every one are entitle to medical attention even if they don't have medical cover. This is Hipqa law.
Eight Amend. By refusing to attend my medical need. Yes this is cruel and mental punishment. Also by neglecting me.
Eight Amend. I don't understand why I was being treat like this. There is no reason or excuse for this type of treatment when this matter was address to staff. The facility told the complaint that they would have to call last facility that I was at. They call Erie County Correctional Facility and they verify my circumstance. Yes Erie County Holding Center are awhere of my circumstance. Also they were given instruction that I was and diabetic, and I take 52 unit of insulin at night. Yes everything are document. The fact that this happen, and they just ignore it. This shouldn't have happen at all. I believe the entire staff should be held accountable. Like I said I had made numerous complain and staff just ignore them. Staff didn't try to correct or recify this matter no apology were made. I believe that inmate should receive better treatment. And better and update equipment. Also staff should pay more attention to inmate with special need... ...