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Oquendo v. Quality Choice Correctional Healthcare

United States District Court, S.D. New York

September 6, 2017

JOSE MIGUEL OQUENDO, Plaintiff,
v.
QUALITY CHOICE CORRECTIONAL HEALTHCARE; KATHY PETRINO, CEO Quality Choice Healthcare; MARIA KARIMI, Medical Director/Medical Doctor; CARL DUBOIS, Orange County Sheriff; KENNETH DECKER, Orange County Correctional Administrator, Defendants.

         Appearances:

          Jose Miguel Oquendo Goshen, NY Pro se Plaintiff David A. Beatty, Esq.

          Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan LLP Valhalla, NY Counsel for Defendants Quality Choice Correctional Healthcare and Kathy Petrino

          Kellie E. Lagitch, Esq.Office of the Orange County Attorney Goshen, NY Counsel for Defendants Carl DuBois and Kenneth Decker

          OPINION & ORDER

          KENNETH M. KARAS, District Judge:

         Pro se Plaintiff Jose Miguel Oquendo (“Plaintiff”) brings this Action against Quality Choice Correctional Healthcare (“Quality Choice”), Kathy Petrino (“Petrino”), Dr. Maria Karimi (“Dr. Karimi”), Carl DuBois (“DuBois”), and Kenneth Decker (“Decker”) (collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by failing to provide him with proper medical care to treat his diabetes even though they were aware of his diagnosis, which resulted in Plaintiff's loss of sight in his left eye and loss of feeling in the toes on his right foot. (See generally Compl. (Dkt. No. 2).) Before the Court are Defendants' Motions To Dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (See Dkt. Nos. 24, 30.)[1] For the reasons to follow, the Motions are granted.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         The following facts are taken from the Complaint, and are assumed true for the purpose of resolving the Motions.

         On September 3, 2015, Plaintiff was taken into custody at Orange County Correctional Facility (“OCCF”) where he informed a nurse that he is a “severe type [1] diabetic”; he was told that he would see a doctor within a couple of days. (Compl. at unnumbered 3.)[2] Plaintiff met with Dr. Karimi on September 4, 2015 and informed her that he is diabetic and dependent on insulin. (See id.) Plaintiff provided Dr. Karimi with information on the medications he was taking, his pharmacy, and his primary care doctor. (See id.) Dr. Karimi told Plaintiff she would get the information about Plaintiff's prescriptions and have them filled the next day. (See id.)

         On September 6, 2015, Plaintiff began to feel lightheaded, experience pain in his leg, and have blood in his eye. (See id.) Plaintiff told multiple officers, nurses, and Dr. Karimi about his symptoms and submitted several sick call sheets, but he was told there was no insulin available for him. (See id.) On September 10, 2015, after Plaintiff began experiencing tingling in his right foot, poor vision in his right eye, and severe pain in his right leg, he went to another nurse about his symptoms, but was informed that she could not give him insulin because it had not been prescribed for him. (See Id. at unnumbered 4.) Plaintiff had not received any insulin from September 9, 2015 to September 25, 2015. (See Id. at unnumbered 3-4.) On or about September 25, 2015, Plaintiff saw a doctor who, upon seeing Plaintiff's foot and eye, immediately sent Plaintiff to the emergency room at an outside hospital. (See Id. at unnumbered 4.)

         On February 17, 2016, Plaintiff was arrested again and brought to OCCF. (See id.) Plaintiff informed a nurse that he had needed to be revived the day before because his blood glucose was at 560 and that he was experiencing pain in his chest and lungs. (See Id. at unnumbered 4.)[3] Plaintiff also informed the nurse about other complications-including that he felt like his ribs were fractured, he was suffering from severe chronic pain, and he felt like he was going to die-and about the medications he was taking. (See Id. at unnumbered 4.) Plaintiff was told he would see a doctor in a few days, but did not see one until after he put in his eighth sick call. (See id.) Plaintiff was in severe pain and agony from February 16, 2016 through February 26, 2016, during which he was kept in a freezing cold cell. (See Id. at unnumbered 5.) Plaintiff alleges the medical and correctional staff “were fully aware of [his] medical conditions yet they constantly lied to [him] and neglect[ed] to do anything but give [him his] medications [and] [d]iet meal[s].” (Id.)

         As of November 1, 2016, Plaintiff is now “legally blind out [of] [his] left eye due to [the] lac[k] of insulin that [he] did not receive [during] th[e relevant] time.” (See Letter from Plaintiff to Court (Nov. 1, 2016) (“Nov. 1 Plaintiff Letter”) (Dkt. No. 37).)

         As a result of his alleged injuries, Plaintiff seeks $300, 000 in general damages, $400, 000 in compensatory damages, $500, 000 for mental anguish, and $500, 000 in punitive damages. (See Compl. at unnumbered 7.)

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on March 11, 2016. (See Dkt. No. 2.) Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on April 21, 2016. (See Dkt. No. 6.) On July 27, 2016, counsel for Defendants Quality Choice, Petrino, and, purportedly, Dr. Karimi submitted a letter to the Court requesting permission to file a motion to dismiss on behalf of Quality Choice and Petrino pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (See Dkt. No. 20.) Defendants DuBois and Decker (“County Defendants”) submitted a similar letter on August 3, 2016, also requesting to file a motion to dismiss. (See Dkt. No. 21.) On August 15, 2016, the Court entered an Order that all Defendants could file their motions to dismiss by September 10, 2016, and Plaintiff should respond to any motions by October 10, 2016. (See Dkt. No. 23.)

         On September 9, 2016, County Defendants filed their Motion To Dismiss and accompanying papers. (See Dkt. Nos. 24-26.) On September 29, 2016, after a failed first attempt to file their papers electronically, Quality Choice and Petrino filed a separate Motion To Dismiss and accompanying papers. (See Dkt. Nos. 30-32.) Dr. Karimi did not join the Motion as she has never been served. (Letter from David A. Beatty, Esq., to Court (July 27, 2016) (“Beatty July Letter”) 1 (Dkt. No. 20); see also Dkt. No. 9.) Plaintiff sent a letter dated November 1, 2016 to the Court which was filed on December 13, 2016. (See Nov. 1 Plaintiff Letter.) Plaintiff explained that he does not know much about civil law and although he requested a pro se manual, he never received one, which has impacted his ability to answer any motions. (See id.) The ...


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