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Smickle v. The City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 29, 2018

RANDEL O. SMICKLE, Plaintiffs,
The City of New York; N.Y.C.D.O.C. Environmental Health; N.Y.C.D.O.H. & M.H. N.Y.C.D.O.H. & M.H. Comm. Mary Basset; N.Y.C.D.O.C. Environmental Health Asst. Comm. Patricia Feeney; Medical Administrator, Ms. B. Parboo; Medical Administrator, Mr. John Doe; Senior Medical Director Mr. R. Ramos; Senior Medical Director Ms. Jane Doe; Head Nurse RN T. Bowen, Defendants.

          Randel Smickle Wallkill, New York Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Evan Robert Schnittman Kate Fay McMahon New York City Law Department New York, New York Counsel for Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER


         Pro se Plaintiff Randel Smickle brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at an infirmary annex on Rikers Island. Before me is Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). Because Plaintiff executed a general release that bars all of his claims in this action, Defendants' Rule 12(c) motion is GRANTED, and Plaintiffs claims are dismissed in their entirety.

         I. Background[1]

         Plaintiff alleges that doctors at Bellevue Hospital diagnosed Plaintiff with “a history of obesity and severe [obstructive sleep apnea], ” conducted a sleep study, and recommended that Plaintiff sleep with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (“CPAP”) machine that includes a humidifier. (Am. Compl. 8-9.)[2] On August 19, 2015, Plaintiff was transferred from Bellevue Hospital to the North Infirmary Command Annex (“NIC Annex”), where he received a CPAP machine that did not include a humidifier. (See id.) Plaintiff filed grievances requesting that he receive a CPAP machine that included a humidifier, (see, e.g., Doc. 22-1, at 11), but his request was denied by a senior medical director as not medically necessary, (see Id. at 9-10).

         On December 27, 2015, Plaintiff was assaulted by another inmate in the NIC Annex, resulting in Plaintiff being “pushed into the door frame” and falling on his back causing back and shoulder pain. (Id.) The inmate who assaulted Plaintiff was sprayed with a chemical agent, and Plaintiff was incidentally exposed to some of the chemical agent. (Id. at 10.) Plaintiff was taken for an x-ray that showed “no bone injury, ” but he did not receive any pain medication or physical therapy for his resulting back and shoulder pain. (Id.)

         On August 11, 2016, Plaintiff slipped and fell, which exacerbated his back and shoulder pain and also injured the right side of his body, making it difficult for Plaintiff to move. (Id. at 10.) Plaintiff was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, received an x-ray that showed no bone injuries, and was provided physical therapy for his back injury. (Id.) Plaintiff requested an MRI, but was unable to receive an MRI because he was “40 lbs” above the MRI machine's maximum weight limit. (Id.) According to Plaintiff, he saw an orthopedic doctor and asked for a cane to assist with walking, but he never received one. (Id. at 11.)

         Additionally, Plaintiff developed posterior scalp folliculitis as a result of receiving haircuts at Rikers Island. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he did not receive any treatment for this condition and was not scheduled for an appointment with a dermatologist until February of 2017. (See id.) However, according to his medical records, copies of which he annexed to his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff was seen by a dermatologist on or about August 31, 2016 and was prescribed medication to treat this scalp condition. (Am. Compl. Ex. 1, at 30-32.)

         On March 6, 2016, Plaintiff submitted a notice of claim to the Office of the New York City Comptroller in connection with Plaintiff's alleged inability to receive a CPAP machine that included a humidifier at the NIC Annex (the “CPAP Claim”). (See Schnittmann Decl. Ex. A, at 3-7.)[3] With the assistance of counsel, Plaintiff settled the CPAP Claim with the Comptroller for $2, 000 and executed a general release in connection with the settlement (the “Release”). (See id. Exs. B.) The Release states, in relevant part:

RANDEL SMICKLE . . . as “RELEASOR”, . . . in consideration of the payment of $2, 000.00 . . . hereby voluntarily, knowingly, and willingly releases and forever discharges the City of New York, and all past and present officials, officers, directors, managers, administrators, employees, agents, assignees, lessees, and representatives of the City of New York . . ., collectively the “RELEASEES”, from any and all liability, claims, or rights of action alleging a violation of civil rights and any and all claims, causes of action, suits, administrative proceedings, debts, sums of money, accounts, reckonings, bonds, bills, specialties, covenants, contracts, controversies, transactions, occurrences, agreements, promises, damages, variances, trespasses, extents, judgments, executions, and demands known or unknown, at law, in equity, or by administrative regulations, which RELEASOR, his/her heirs, distributes, devisees, legatees, executors, administrators, successors and assignees had, now has or hereafter can, shall, or may have, either directly or through subrogees or other third persons, against the RELEASEES for, upon or by reason of any matter, cause of thing whatsoever that occurred through the date of this RELEASE.

(Id. at 1.) The Release was executed on January 13, 2017, nearly three months after the Amended Complaint was filed in this action on October 17, 2016.

         II. Procedural History

         On May 4, 2016, Plaintiff filed his complaint, (Doc. 2), which was amended on or about October 17, 2016, (Doc. 22). On December 15, 2016, Defendants answered the Amended Complaint. (Doc. 25.) On June 29, 2017, Defendants filed a motion for leave to amend their answer pursuant ...

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