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White v. Clement

United States District Court, W.D. New York

July 22, 2015

DEQUANA WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
JEREMY CLEMENT, Registered Nurse, WESLEY CANFIELD, Doctor, BEN OAKES, Doctor, JOHN VONHAGN, Nurse Administrator, CARL KOENIGSMANN, Chief Medical Officer, and STEPHEN WENDERLICH, Superintendent, Defendants

Page 184

Dequana White, Plaintiff, Pro se, Pine City, NY.

For Jeremy Clement, Registered Nurse, Wesley Canfield, Doctor, Ben Oakes, Doctor, John VonHagn, Nurse Administrator, Carl Koenigsmann, Chief Medical Officer, Stephen Wenderlich, Superintendent, Defendants: Bernard F. Sheehan, LEAD ATTORNEY, N.Y.S. Attorney General's Office, Rochester, NY.

Page 185

DECISION AND ORDER

DAVID G. LARIMER, United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Dequana White, appearing pro se, commenced this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (" DOCCS" ), alleges that defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution by denying him adequate medical care. Plaintiff also alleges a violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights based on the allegation that defendants retaliated against him after he filed grievances and complaints concerning his lack of adequate medical treatment.

Plaintiff has sued six defendants, all of whom are medical professionals employed by DOCCS. On March 26, 2014, plaintiff's retaliation claim was dismissed against all defendants except for Jeremy Clement, and plaintiff's equal protection claim was dismissed in its entirety. (Dkt. #3). The underlying events, which relate mainly to plaintiff's complaints of chest pain, took place at Southport Correctional Facility (" Southport" ) between July 2012 and February 2014.

Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff has not responded to the motion.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff became a DOCCS inmate at Southport on February 9, 2012. He alleges that starting around July 16, 2012, he complained of severe chest pain, which made it difficult for him to breathe or lift his left arm. During the relevant time period, the plaintiff alleges a series of interactions with the medical staff at Southport, who largely ignored his complaints of chest pain. Plaintiff also alleges that to the extent that defendants responded to his complaints, they gave him medicine that was ineffective or inappropriate for his medical needs.

There is no dispute, however, that plaintiff was seen and treated by medical personnel, albeit not to his satisfaction. Plaintiff details three instances when he was seen by a doctor at Southport, and on one occasion he was sent outside the facility, to Arnot Ogden Medical Center, for a mammogram, the results of which were negative. Plaintiff does not allege that he received no treatment at all, but that the treatment he received was inadequate.

Between July 2012 and February 2014, plaintiff filed four grievances alleging improper medical care against various staff members at Southport. On March 3, 2014, plaintiff filed the complaint in this action.

The defendants filed their motion for summary judgment on July 7, 2014 (Dkt. #8). Defendants' motion papers, and this Court's scheduling order (Dkt. #13) put plaintiff on notice of his obligation to respond to the motion, and of the consequences of failing to do so. As stated, plaintiff has not filed any response to the motion.

DISCUSSION

I. Plaintiff's Failure to Respond to the Summary Judgment Motion

Rule 56(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that " [w]hen a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as provided in this rule, an adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denial of the adverse party's pleading, but the adverse party's response by affidavits as otherwise provided in this rule must set forth specific facts ...


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