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Slater v. Lacapriccia

United States District Court, W.D. New York

January 12, 2018

J. LACAPRICCIA, ET AL., Defendants.




         In this action, pro se Plaintiff Terrence Slater alleges Eighth Amendment claims against two sets of defendants, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. First, he alleges Eighth Amendment excessive-force claims against Defendants Jeff Lacapruccia, Mark Antinore, and John Does 1-3, [1] each of whom is a corrections officer employed at the Attica Correctional Facility. Second, he alleges Eighth Amendment deliberate-indifference-to-medical-needs claims against Defendants Sallah Abbasey, Jadow Rao, and Donna Bonning, each of whom is a medical professional at Attica.

         Presently before this Court is Defendants' motion seeking partial summary judgment as it relates to the Eighth Amendment deliberate-indifference-to-medical-needs claims against Defendants Abbasey, Rao, and Bonning. (Docket No. 30.) For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted.


         At all times relevant, Slater was an inmate at Attica under the care and custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (“DOCCS”).[2](Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts (“Defendants' Statement”), Docket No. 30-1, ¶ 1.) Abbasey and Rao were physicians at Attica. (Defendants' Statement, ¶¶ 3, 4.) Bonning was a registered nurse at Attica. (Defendants' Statement, ¶ 5.)

         On February 10, 2011, Slater was involved in a Use-of-Force incident, allegedly involving Defendants Lacapruccia and Antinore and other corrections officers. (Defendants' Statement, ¶ 6; Deposition of Terrence Slater (“Slater Dep.”), Docket No. 30-5, pp. 35-40.) In short, Slater alleges that the officers punched and kicked him in an unprovoked attack. (Slater Dep., pp. 35-40, 50.) The details of this incident make up Slater's excessive-force claim, which is not at issue here.

         Immediately after this incident, Slater was sent to the Special Housing Unit (“SHU”). (Slater Dep., pp. 50, 51.) Before being placed in his SHU cell, Slater was examined by Nurse Nicole Rasor.[3] (Slater Dep., p. 51; Declaration of Jadow Rao (“Rao Decl.”), Docket No. 30-6, ¶ 5.) Slater maintains that he told Rasor that he had been assaulted and had a “big headache.” (Slater Dep., p. 52.) Slater testified that he “really didn't say anything” to Rasor at the time, but he was also experiencing pain throughout his face, neck, back, and entire left arm and shoulder. (Slater Dep., pp. 52, 54.) Slater does not recall whether he was cut, and does not recall whether he needed to be washed or bandaged. (Slater Dep., p. 53.)

         Slater's medical records show that Rasor noted three contusions across his forehead, which Rasor cleaned. (Rao Decl., ¶ 5 and pp. 11-15.) They further note that Slater denied any pain or discomfort related to his forehead and declined Rasor's offers of pain relievers. (Rao Decl., ¶ 5 and pp. 11-15.) Slater, however, recalls that Rasor gave him Ibuprofen before she cleared him to enter his SHU cell. (Slater Dep., pp. 53, 60.)

         After this examination, Slater recalls receiving an additional dose of Ibuprofen from an unidentified male nurse later that night or the next morning (February 11, 2011), after he complained of continuing pain. (Slater Dep., pp. 53, 60, 61.) The Ibuprofen, however, did not ease Slater's pain. (Slater Dep., pp. 60-62.) He therefore requested additional Ibuprofen or stronger medication on multiple occasions from several unidentified staff members. (Slater Dep., pp. 61-62, 66.) The medical records do not reflect this interaction.

         After Slater had been in the SHU for a couple of days, an unidentified man came to visit him at his cell to inquire about his injuries. (Slater Dep., pp. 63-64.) Slater reported to this individual that his left hand was numb and that he was having difficulty grasping with his left hand. (Slater Dep., p. 63.) This individual performed several tests, including having Slater squeeze two of this individual's fingers, first with his left hand, then with his right. (Slater Dep., pp. 63-64.) There is no record of this alleged visit in Slater's medical file.

         On February 21, 2011, Bonning saw Slater during morning sick call. (Declaration of Donna Bonning (“Bonning Decl.”), Docket No. 30-4, ¶ 8; Rao Decl., p. 9.) She noted that Slater had continuing complaints of neck and back pain, and further reported numbness in his left upper extremity. (Bonning Decl., ¶ 8.) Bonning determined that Slater was not in acute distress and was ambulating in his cell without difficulty. (Bonning Decl., ¶ 8.) Bonning further noted that Slater was already scheduled to see Rao, so she simply provided him Motrin for his pain. (Bonning Decl., ¶ 8.)

         On March 1, 2011, Rao examined Slater. (Rao Decl., ¶ 8 and p. 8.) Rao noted Slater's complaints of ongoing neck pain and numbness in his left hand. (Rao Decl., ¶ 8.) He further noted that Slater was not in distress and that his speech and eye contact were good. (Rao Decl., ¶ 8.) Slater had full range of motion in his head and neck and his hand grip was equal and strong bilaterally. (Rao Decl., ¶ 8.) Rao recommended that Slater not exercise or lift for two or three weeks and he prescribed 400 milligrams of Motrin twice per day.[4] (Rao Decl., ¶ 8.)

         Three days later, Abbasey examined Slater. (Declaration of Sallah Abbasey (“Abbasey Decl.”), Docket No. 30-3, ¶ 6; Rao Decl., p. 10.) Abbasey noted that Slater presented no new complaints or problems, but he wanted a “medical diet, ” which Abbasey declined because there was no medical need for it. (Abbasey Decl., ¶ 6.) Abbasey also noted that Slater had asthma, but was experiencing no acute symptoms at that time. (Abbasey Decl., ¶ 6.)

         On March 7, 2011, Nurse Cygan saw Slater in his cell, where he was standing without difficulty.[5] (Rao Decl., ¶ 10.) The record of that interaction indicates that Slater told Cygan that the Ibuprofen was not working for his neck and back pain and therefore he did not want it renewed. (Rao Decl., ¶ 10 and p. 7.)

         The next day, Bonning saw Slater again at morning sick call. (Bonning Decl., ¶ 9; Rao Decl., p. 7.) She noted Slater's continued complaints of pain, but again found that he was in no acute distress and was moving without difficulty. (Bonning Decl., ¶ 9.) Slater also complained of constipation, which Bonning treated with a dose of milk of magnesia. (Bonning Decl., ¶ 9.) Bonning further directed Slater to return to sick call if the milk of magnesia did not provide relief. (Bonning Decl., ¶ 9.) She also told him to write to his medical provider concerning his neck pain. (Bonning Decl., ¶ 9.)

         On March 10, 2011, Nurse Hawley saw Slater at morning sick call.[6] (Rao Decl., ¶ 12 and p. 7.) Hawley noted that Slater reported continuation of his pain, but resolution of his constipation. (Rao Decl., ¶ 12.) She refilled Slater's order for 400 milligrams of Motrin twice per day. (Rao Decl., ¶ 12.)

         On March 11, 2011, Slater was transferred out of Attica to the Upstate Correctional Facility. (Slater Dep., pp. 64, 65, 70; Rao Decl., p. 10.)

         III. ...

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