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Grimmett v. Corizon Medical Associates of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

May 24, 2017



          J. PAUL OETKEN, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Paul Grimmett, proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was denied dental care while incarcerated at Manhattan Detention Center (“MDC”). Specifically, he alleges that Allan Matthew, D.D.S., and Dr. Sharma, M.D., the MDC Site Medical Director, were deliberately indifferent to Grimmett's serious dental condition and related ear pain and hearing loss in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. He further alleges municipal liability under § 1983 on the part of Corizon Medical Associates of New York (“Corizon”). Grimmett also raises state medical malpractice and negligence claims against all Defendants. Defendants move to dismiss Grimmett's second amended complaint (“SAC”) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         A. Procedural History

         Grimmett filed this lawsuit in September 2015. (Dkt. No. 2.) He filed a first amended complaint (“FAC”) in April 2016 and named as defendants the City of New York, Corizon, Dr. Matthew, Dr. Sharma, and Acting MDC Warden Cooper. (Dkt. No. 38.) On August 12, 2016, the Honorable Analisa Torres dismissed the FAC, but granted Grimmett leave to file a second amended complaint against Dr. Matthew and Dr. Sharma. (Dkt. No. 56.)

         On November 18, 2016, Grimmett filed his SAC against Defendants Corizon, Dr. Matthew, and Dr. Sharma. (Dkt. No. 61.) The SAC asserts claims under § 1983 for deliberate indifference to Grimmett's serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, along with state medical malpractice and negligence claims. Defendants have moved to dismiss the SAC pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Dkt. No. 73.) The motion is fully submitted. The case was reassigned to the undersigned on April 5, 2017.

         B. Plaintiff's Claims[1]

         Grimmett was first incarcerated at MDC in June 2013. (SAC ¶¶ 2, 9, 11.) On July 2, 2013, Grimmett had a dental appointment with Dr. Matthew. (Id. ¶ 27.) During this appointment, Grimmett told Dr. Matthew that, before he was arrested, his personal dentist had recommended “a full mouth extraction” of all his teeth due to preexisting dental problems. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 28.) Grimmett alleges that, at the time of this appointment, he had “swollen gums that were already infected, ” along with “dental caries and badly decayed teeth, ” and that Dr. Matthew saw these conditions. (Dkt. No. 83 at 36.) Dr. Matthew examined Grimmett's mouth and told him he “would put [him down] for all of the necessary work that needs to be done.” (SAC ¶ 29; see also Dkt. No. 83 at 35; SAC Ex. G at 56.) Grimmett alleges that Dr. Matthew intentionally omitted the real facts of Grimmett's condition from Grimmett's medical records so that Dr. Matthew could avoid providing further treatment. (Dkt. No. 83 at 36.) The medical records from the initial visit do not mention infection or the need for extraction, though they do indicate “swollen gums” and some “bone loss.” (SAC Ex. G at 56.) Grimmett alleges that Dr. Matthew never scheduled the follow-up treatment he promised. (SAC ¶ 147.)

         After the initial appointment, Grimmett sent “numerous” dental slips to Dr. Matthew and to the dental department but received no response for approximately three months. (Id. ¶ 30.)

         On October 5, 2013, Grimmett went to the infirmary because he was in “agonizing pain from an abscess in [his] mouth.” (Id. ¶¶ 31-32.) A nurse directed him to Dr. Sharma. (Id. ¶ 34.) When Grimmett asked for amoxicillin and ibuprofen to help control the pain and treat the infection, Dr. Sharma told him that there was no one available to administer any medication. (Id. ¶¶ 35-36.) Grimmett then asked Dr. Sharma to examine his mouth, but the doctor refused. (Id. ¶ 37.) Grimmett described his condition to Dr. Sharma, who replied that he would have to report to sick call to be seen. (Id. ¶ 38.) Grimmett alleges that, despite the doctor's representations to the contrary, Dr. Sharma in fact had “all the keys to the cabinet to provide ‘emergency medication.'” (Dkt. No. 83 at 47.)

         Two days later, on October 7, 2013, Grimmett went to sick call and explained to a physician assistant (“PA”) that his mouth was in “agonizing pain” and that he could not “hear anything out of [his] left ear.” (SAC ¶¶ 39-40.) He explained that he had been experiencing that level of pain for the past two days. (Id. ¶ 46.) The PA told Grimmett that he had a tooth abscess, prescribed him medication for the pain and infection, and generated dental and ENT referrals. (Id. ¶¶ 42-44; id. Ex. G at 59.)

         Grimmett went back to sick call the next day because he had not received his pain medication (SAC ¶¶ 47-48), and again on October 11 because the ibuprofen and penicillin were not helping his toothache (id. ¶¶ 49, 52). He was prescribed a new regimen of medications, which included Augmentin and Tylenol with codeine. (Id. ¶¶ 53-55; id. Ex. G at 61-62.)

         On October 24, 2013, Mariane Molfetas, D.D.S., a non-party to this lawsuit, extracted two of Grimmett's teeth. (SAC ¶ 64; id. Ex. G at 70.) On December 13, 2013, a hearing aid for Grimmett was approved (SAC ¶ 68; id. Ex. G(2) at 7), and he received the hearing aid on January 21, 2014 (SAC ¶ 73; id. Ex. G(2) at 11-13). Grimmett was then transferred to Downstate Reception Center, where a nurse told him that he could have a full extraction once he got to his “primary facility.” (SAC ¶¶ 75, 78.) On September 12, 2014, after Grimmett was transferred to Auburn Correctional Facility, where he would stay for at least six months, an oral surgeon extracted his lower teeth. (Id. ¶¶ 82, 83, 90-93.) A month later, after Grimmett had completed a course of amoxicillin for an infection in his upper gums, his upper teeth were removed. (Id. ¶¶ 94-95.) As of May 2015, Grimmett was being fitted for dentures. (Id. ¶¶ 103-04.)

         II. ...

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