United States District Court, S.D. New York
Ahmadou Sankara Rome, New York Pro se Plaintiff
Christian Kramer Laura Anne Delvecchio Austa Starr Devlin
Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy & Bach, LLP New York, New York
Counsel for Defendants
OPINION & ORDER
S. BRODERICK, United States District Judge
Ahmadou Sankara brings this action pro se pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Deborah Mateo
(“Mateo”), a medical professional at the Vernon
C. Bain Center (“VCBC”), and the City of New York
(the “City, ” and together with Mateo,
“Defendants”), alleging that Defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. Before me is
Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff s Fifth Amended
Complaint or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. (Doc.
68.) Because Plaintiffs allegations related to Mateo are
insufficient to state a claim of deliberate indifference, and
Plaintiff fails to allege that his injuries were the result
of a municipal policy, custom, or practice, Defendants'
motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
Plaintiffs Fifth Amended Complaint could be read to allege
claims of medical malpractice and negligence under New York
law, I am dismissing all of the federal claims before me and
to the extent that Plaintiffs claims could be read to assert
state law claims they are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
is currently incarcerated at Mohawk Correctional Facility in
Rome, New York. (Doc. 46.) As of at least July 10, 2014,
Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at VCBC, a detention center
located in the Bronx, New York. (Fifth Am. Compl.
Prior to being placed in his designated housing unit at VCBC,
Plaintiff was subjected to a medical examination.
(Id. at 3.) Plaintiff informed the medical staff
that he was originally from Africa, that he had been in the
United States since 2001, and that he was taking medication
for HIV. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that during the
examination he was misdiagnosed with tuberculosis and
hepatitis B. (Id. at 2-5.) As a result, Plaintiff
alleges that he was forced to take two different medications:
an injection for hepatitis B and INH for tuberculosis.
(Id.) Plaintiff was told he would not be placed in
the VCBC general population unless he took the medications.
(Id.) Plaintiff asserts that Mateo, who he claims is
an unlicensed medical doctor, prescribed him the medications.
(Id. at 4.) With regard to the John Doe Captain,
Plaintiff merely states that he “escort[ed] me every
day to the medical [ward].” (Id. at 2, 7.)
Plaintiff claims that the medications caused him to
repeatedly throw up blood, leading to numerous visits to the
medical ward, and liver damage. (Id. at 2-5.)
Plaintiff was eventually taken to Bellevue Hospital where he
was given “a gallon of water medicine, ” and
examined by hospital staff who inspected the inside of his
stomach with a camera. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff asserts
that the staff at Bellevue Hospital told him not to take the
medication he was given at VCBC in the future. (Id.
commenced this action on September 1, 2015 by filing a
Complaint that named VCBC and a doctor employed by VCBC as
defendants but that contained no factual background or
allegations. (Doc. 2.) On September 25, 2015, Chief Judge
Loretta Preska, to whom this case was previously assigned,
granted Plaintiff leave to amend his Complaint. (Doc. 6.) On
October 2, 2015, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint that
apparently concerned allegations related to another pro se
action brought by Plaintiff in this Court. (Doc. 7.) On
November 23, 2015, Judge Preska granted Plaintiff leave to
amend his Amended Complaint. (Doc. 9.) On December 22, 2015,
Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint against VCBC and a
John Doe doctor alleging that in July 2014 he was given
medications that caused him liver damage. (Doc. 10.)
March 4, 2016 this case was reassigned to me. On March 7,
2016, I dismissed the claims against VCBC and ordered the
City of New York to be named in its place. (Doc. 14.) I also
directed the New York City Department of Corrections to
identify the John Doe defendant, and directed Plaintiff to
file a third amended complaint naming the John Doe defendant.
March 25, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Third Amended Complaint
naming The City of New York and a John Doe doctor as
defendants and alleging that he received medications that
caused him liver damage and required treatment at Bellevue
Hospital. (Doc. 18.)
4, 2016, counsel for the City of New York indicated that they
were unable to identify the John Doe physician named in the
Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 22.) As a result, I directed
the City of New York to send Plaintiff a copy of his medical
files, and directed Plaintiff to submit a letter providing
any additional information that might assist the City with
identifying the John Doe defendant. (Doc. 23.) On May 13,
2016, counsel for the City sent Plaintiff a copy of his 2014
medical files. (Doc. 27.)
23 and June 13, 2016, Plaintiff submitted applications to me
requesting pro bono counsel, (Docs. 24, 28), which I denied
without prejudice on May 25 and June 15, 2016, respectively,
(Docs. 26, 29).
22, 2016, I again ordered Plaintiff to review the medical
files provided by the City, and to file a letter providing
additional identifying information regarding the John Doe
defendant. (Doc. 32.) In a letter dated August 24, 2016,
Plaintiff identified the John Doe defendant as Mateo. (Doc.
34.) On October 24, 2016, pursuant to my March 7 Order, I
directed Plaintiff to file a fourth amended complaint naming
Mateo as a defendant. (Doc. 39.) On November 14, 2016,
Plaintiff filed his Fourth Amended Complaint against Mateo
and the City of New York, and adding “D.O.C. Captain
John Doe” as a defendant. (Doc. 41.)
February 15, 2017, Defendants filed a letter seeking
permission to move to dismiss Plaintiff's claims, (Doc.
56), which Plaintiff opposed on February 22, (Doc. 59). I
held a pre-motion conference on April 28, 2017, during which
Plaintiff indicated that there were additional facts not
alleged in his Fourth Amended Complaint that supported his
claim of deliberate indifference. (Doc. 81.) Following the
conference, I granted Plaintiff s request to amend his Fourth
Amended Complaint prior to the filing of Defendants'
motion to dismiss. (Doc. 61.) Plaintiff filed his Fifth
Amended Complaint on May 30, 2017, again naming Mateo, D.O.C.
Captain John Doe, and the City of New York as
defendants. (Doc. 65.) On June 20, 2017, counsel for
Defendants submitted a letter requesting a one week extension
of time to file their motion to dismiss, (Doc. 66), which I
granted, (Doc. 67).
28, 2017, Defendants filed their motion to dismiss, (Doc.
68), along with the declaration of Tucker C. Kramer with
exhibits, (Doc. 69), and memorandum of law in support, (Doc.
70). On July 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed an opposition to the
motion. (Doc. 72.) On August 25, 2017, Defendants filed their
reply, (Doc. 76), and the reply declaration of Tucker C.
Kramer with exhibits, (Doc. 80), at which point the motion
was fully briefed.