United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, JR. Chief Judge
Plaintiff Anthony Cesar Villafane, an inmate of the Elmira
Correctional Facility, has filed this action seeking relief
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff has
requested permission to proceed in forma pauperis
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and has also requested
the assignment of counsel. ECF Nos. 2, 3. In short, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Raymond Haag, a dentist who treated
Plaintiff while they were both at the Southport Correctional
Facility, was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's
severe dental pain for a period of eight months, despite
numerous visits and complaints from Plaintiff to Defendant
has both met the statutory requirements and furnished the
Court with a signed Authorization. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's request to proceed as a poor person is hereby
granted. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(a)
require the Court to conduct an initial screening of this
complaint. 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).
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
“To state a valid claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
the plaintiff must allege that the challenged conduct (1) was
attributable to a person acting under color of state law, and
(2) deprived the plaintiff of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States.” Whalen v. County of Fulton, 126 F.3d
400, 405 (2d. Cir. 1997).
of inadequate dental care rises to the level of a
constitutional violation only where the facts alleged show
that a defendant was deliberately indifferent to a
plaintiff's serious medical needs. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976). 'A serious
medical condition exists where ‛the failure to treat a
prisoner's condition could result in further significant
injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain.'” Harrison v. Barkley, 219 F.3d 132,
136-137 (2d Cir. 2000). The Second Circuit has observed that:
[medical] conditions ... vary in severity and ... a decision
to leave a condition untreated will be constitutional or not
depending on the facts of the particular case. Thus, a
prisoner with a hang-nail has no constitutional right to
treatment, but if prison officials deliberately ignore an
infected gash, the failure to provide appropriate treatment
might well violate the Eighth Amendment.
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
isolated failure to provide medical treatment is generally
not actionable unless 'the surrounding circumstances
suggest a degree of deliberateness, rather than inadvertence,
in the failure to render meaningful treatment.” Gil
v. Mooney, 824 F.2d 192, 196 (2d Cir. 1987). Here,
Plaintiff has specifically alleged that Defendant Haag
ignored his dental pain for a period of eight months despite
numerous visits and complaints, and as a result, that two of
his teeth were ultimately extracted. Drawing all reasonable
inferences in plaintiff's favor, as the Court must at
this stage, Plaintiff has stated a plausible claim which may
has also applied to the Court for the appointment of counsel
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Because the Complaint
has not yet been served on Defendant, Plaintiff's request
for appointment of counsel is premature, and is therefore
denied without prejudice.
HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk of Court is directed to file
Plaintiffs papers, and to cause the United States Marshal to
serve copies of the Summons, Complaint, and this Order upon
the named Defendant without Plaintiffs payment therefor,
unpaid fees to be recoverable if this action terminates by
monetary award in Plaintiffs favor.
that Plaintiffs application to proceed in forma