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Gray v. Lee

United States District Court, N.D. New York

April 15, 2015

DWAINE GRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
DOCTOR KANG LEE, Defendant.

Dwaine Gray, Pro Se, Franklin Correctional Facility Malone, NY, FOR THE PLAINTIFF.

ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, New York State Attorney General, The Capitol, Albany, NY, FOR THE DEFENDANT.

CHRISTOPHER W. HALL, Assistant Attorney General.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

GARY L. SHARPE, Chief Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff pro se Dwaine Gray commenced this action against defendant Doctor Kang Lee, [1] pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Lee was deliberately indifferent to Gray's serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.[2] ( See generally Compl., Dkt. No. 1.)

On August 12, 2014, Lee filed a motion for summary judgment, (Dkt. No. 32), which Gray opposed, (Dkt. No. 40). In a Report and Recommendation (R&R) issued on March 9, 2015, Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles recommended that Lee's motion for summary judgment be granted and Gray's remaining Eighth Amendment claim be dismissed. (Dkt. No. 43.) Pending are Gray's objections to the R&R. (Dkt. No. 44.) For the reasons that follow, the R&R is adopted in its entirety.

II. Background[3]

Gray is an inmate in the custody of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), and, during the time relevant to his claims, was incarcerated at Clinton Correctional Facility. (Def.'s Statement of Material Facts (SMF) ¶¶ 1, 9, Dkt. No. 32, Attach. 1.) Prior to entering Clinton, Gray suffered a shoulder injury, for which he was prescribed Naproxen. (Id. ¶ 8.) After arriving at Clinton in or around April 2012, Gray met with Lee, a clinical physician, who asked Gray if he wished to continue taking Naproxen. (Id. ¶¶ 3, 10.) Gray declined the medication, claiming that it did not work. (Id. ¶ 10.) One month later, Lee again met with Gray, at which time Gray complained of continued shoulder pain and requested stronger pain medication. (Id. ¶ 11.) Lee obliged Gray's request and prescribed Flexeril, a muscle relaxer used to relieve acute pain, but not suitable for long-term use. (Id. ¶¶ 11, 12.)

Over the Summer of 2012, Gray frequently met with medical staff, including Lee and various nurses at Clinton. (Id. ¶¶ 13-17.) During those meetings, Gray continued to complain of pain in his right shoulder, reiterated his refusal of Naproxen, and requested stronger pain medications-including a continuation of Flexeril and/or a narcotic analgesic. (Id. ¶¶ 13-17.) Also during those examinations, Lee consistently found that Gray had a good range of motion in his shoulder, despite Gray's complaints that he was unable to move it. (Id. ¶¶ 15, 16.)

At the end of September 2012, Lee ordered an x-ray of Gray's right shoulder, which was completed in early October. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 19.) Lee discussed the results with Gray, which indicated that there was "early osteoporosis... present" and "a large spur arising from the inferior aspect of the acromion, " ordered a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for further testing, and prescribed Motrin for Gray's pain. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 20; Dkt. No. 32, Attach. 2 at 4.) The MRI was completed in January 2013, and, once the radiologist's report was received, Lee referred Gray to an orthopedic specialist, as the MRI suggested that Gray may have a tendon tear. (Def.'s SMF ¶¶ 21, 23, 24.) During the time that Gray was waiting for his consultation with the specialist, Gray continued to meet with medical staff at Clinton, and Lee continued to prescribe Motrin for Gray's pain. (Id. ¶ 25.) Ultimately, in April 2013, Gray was transferred to Franklin Correctional Facility, where he now resides, and whose medical staff is now charged with his care. (Id. ¶ 26.)

III. Standard of Review

Before entering final judgment, this court reviews report and recommendation orders in cases it has referred to a magistrate judge. If a party properly objects to a specific element of the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations, this court reviews those findings and recommendations de novo. See Almonte v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, No. Civ. 904CV484GLS, 2006 WL 149049, at *3, *5 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2006). In those cases where no party has filed an objection, only vague or general objections are made, or a party resubmits the same papers and arguments already ...


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