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Lara-Grimaldi v. County of Putnam

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 29, 2018

NANCY LARA-GRIMALDI, individually and as Administratrix of Estate of Alexandra Grimaldi, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF PUTNAM, DONALD SMITH, KAREN JACKSON, A. VILLANI, STEPHEN NAPOLITANO, CRIS STEWART, JOHN AND JANE DOES, et al., Defendants.

          Keith M. Szczepanski, Esq. Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP New York, NY Counsel for Plaintiff.

          James A. Randazzo, Esq. Portale Randazzo LLP White Plains, NY Counsel for Defendants County Of Putnam, Donald Smith, Karen Jackson, A. Villani, and Stephen Napolitano.

          Drew W. Sumner, Esq. Morris Duffy Alonso & Faley New York, NY Counsel for Defendants County Of Putnam, Donald Smith, Karen Jackson, A. Villani, and Stephen Napolitano.

          Jonathan E. Symer, Esq. Law Offices of James A. Steinberg Poughkeepsie, NY Counsel for Defendant Christopher Stewart.

          Ellen A. Fischer, Esq. Steinberg & Symer, LLP Poughkeepsie, NY Counsel for Defendant Christopher Stewart.

          OPINION & ORDER

          KENNETH M. KARAS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Nancy Lara-Grimaldi (“Plaintiff”), individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of Alexandra Grimaldi (“Grimaldi”), brings the instant Action against the County of Putnam (“Putnam County”), Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith (“Smith”), Sergeant Karen Jackson (“Jackson”), Correction Officer A. Villani (“Villani”), Correction Officer Steven Napolitano (“Napolitano, ” and together “County Defendants”), and Nurse Christopher Stewart (“Stewart, ” and together with County Defendants, “Defendants”), for wrongful death of Grimaldi. (See generally Compl. (Dkt. No. 1).)[1] Plaintiff brings eight claims: (1) federal claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Smith, Jackson, Villani, Napolitano, and Stewart (together, “Individual Defendants”) for violations of Plaintiff's First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment Rights; (2) federal claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Putnam County for the aforementioned Constitutional violations; (3) federal claims against Putnam County for violations of Title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794; (4) state law wrongful death claims against the Individual Defendants; (5) state constitutional law claims under Article I § 12 against the Individual Defendants; (6) state law negligence claims against the Individual Defendants; (7) state law claims of negligent hiring, training, and supervision against Putnam County; and (8) state law respondeat superior claims against Putnam County. (See generally id.)

         Before the Court is Stewart's Motion To Dismiss the Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (the “Stewart Motion”), (see Dkt. No. 31; Def. Stewart's Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. To Dismiss (“Def. Stewart's Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 32)), and County Defendants' Motion To Dismiss the Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (the “County Defendant's Motion”), (see Dkt. No. 34; Cty. Defs.' Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. To. Dismiss (“Cty. Defs.' Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 36)).

         For the reasons that follow, the Motions are granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         The following facts are taken from the Complaint and are accepted as true for the purposes of this Motion. At the time of the events described herein, Grimaldi was a pre-trial detainee at Putnam County Correctional Facility (“PCCF”). (See Compl. ¶¶ 34, 84(a).)

         A. Factual Background

         Grimaldi resided in the Town of Carmel, County of Putnam in New York State. (Id. ¶ 8.) According to Plaintiff, Grimaldi's mother and Administratrix of the Estate of Alexandra Grimaldi, (id. ¶ 9), “Grimaldi began struggling with an opioid addiction in or about 2012, ” (id. ¶ 27). Her “first arrest for heroin possession occurred in Putnam County in or about 2012.” (Id. ¶ 28.) “Grimaldi was subsequently arrested on approximately five other occasions for heroin possession and/or possession of a hypodermic needle.” (Id. ¶ 29.) “Grimaldi had been detained at PCCF on at least three prior occasions, most recently in December 2014.” (Id. ¶ 37.) Sadly, on October 28, 2015, Grimaldi hanged herself in her cell at PCCF. (Id. ¶ 2.) She was 23 years old. (Id. ¶ 8.)

         “On October 27, 2015, at approximately 3:30 p.m., after having lunch with her father, her aunt, and her uncle, . . . Grimaldi was waiting outside of her father's home for a cab when an unmarked Town of Kent Police Department car arrived.” (Id. ¶ 30.) “[T]he officers had a warrant for . . . Grimaldi's arrest for violating the terms of her probation.” (Id. ¶ 31.) During a search incident to the arrest, the officers “found a hypodermic needle and a bag of marijuana.” (Id. ¶ 32.) Grimaldi was charged with violating the terms of her probation, possession of a hypodermic needle, and criminal possession of marijuana. (Id. ¶ 33.) After being taken into custody, Grimaldi was transported to the Kent Justice Court, where she was arraigned and remanded to PCCF. (Id. ¶ 34.) Upon arrival at PCCF, Grimaldi was sent to the Putnam Hospital Center (“PHC”) “to receive treatment for a knee injury she sustained prior to being taken into custody.” (Id. ¶ 35.) Following treatment, she “was transported back to PCCF, where she was processed.” (Id. ¶ 36.)

         At PCCF, Napolitano conducted an intake interview of Grimaldi. (Id. ¶ 42.) Plaintiff alleges that “[u]pon information and belief . . . Grimaldi told . . . Napolitano that she had previously attempted suicide, that she injected heroin within the last day, and that she suffered from mental health issues, including bipolar disorder.” (Id. ¶ 43.) During the interview, Napolitano filled out New York State Commission of Correction Screening Guidelines (“Screening Guidelines”) Form 330 ADM. (See Decl. of James A. Randazzo, Esq. (“Randazzo Decl.”) Ex. B (“Form 330 ADM”), at 1 (Dkt. No. 35).)[2] In “Column A, ” Napolitano checked boxes indicating Grimaldi had a “history of drug or alcohol abuse, ” noting heroin was last used on “10/26;” a “history of counseling or mental health evaluation/treatment, ” noting “bi-polar;” and “previous suicide attempt, ” noting it was “4 yrs ago.” (Id.) “Napolitano recommended ‘routine supervision' for . . . Grimaldi while she was incarcerated at PCCF.” (Compl. ¶ 44; see also Form 330 ADM, at 1.)[3] Jackson then reviewed the intake form and suicide prevention form prepared by Napolitano and allegedly “concurred with Napolitano's recommendation to provide . . . Grimaldi with ‘routine supervision, ' despite knowing that . . . Grimaldi informed . . . Napolitano that she had previously attempted suicide, suffered from mental health issues, and had recently injected heroin.” (Compl. ¶ 45.) Grimaldi was then examined by Stewart. (Id. ¶ 46.) Plaintiff alleges “Stewart also agreed with . . . Napolitano's recommendation for ‘routine supervision, ' despite knowing that . . . Grimaldi informed . . . Napolitano that she had previously attempted suicide, suffered from mental health issues, and had recently injected heroin.” (Id. ¶ 47.) Plaintiff asserts that the “grossly inadequate response to . . . Grimaldi's need for a heightened form of supervision as a result of her previous suicide attempt, mental health issues, and recent drug use constitutes a policy of deliberate indifference to serious medical/psychiatric needs of incarcerated people at PCCF and ultimately resulted in her suicide.” (Id. ¶ 48.)

         Plaintiff contends that “[d]uring previous detentions at PCCF, when . . . Grimaldi reported the same physical and mental health conditions, she was placed on a heightened supervision schedule.” (Id. ¶ 41.) Plaintiff also alleges “[u]pon information and belief, the PCSD [“Putnam County Sheriff's Department”] Correction Officers working at PCCF knew . . . Grimaldi and knew that she struggled with opioid addiction and mental health issues, including bipolar disorder.” (Id. ¶ 38.) Additionally, “Grimaldi's case file at PCCF included information about her previous arrests for possession of heroin and/or a hypodermic needle, her mental health issues, which included a bipolar disorder diagnosis, and information about her previous suicide attempt.” (Id. ¶ 39.) And, “[d]ocuments from . . . Grimaldi's prior incarcerations at PCCF include handwritten medical requests made by . . . Grimaldi that state, ‘NEED MEDS GOING CRAZY!, ' ‘HELP ME!, ' and ‘CAN'T SLEEP! NEED MY MEDS! PLEASE! ASAP!'” (Id. at ¶ 40.)

         The next day, on October 28, 2015, Villani allegedly “reviewed . . . Grimaldi's charges and case file while completing an ‘Inmate Classification Points Sheet.'” (Id. ¶ 49.) Plaintiff avers that “Villani did not properly calculate . . . Grimaldi's classification, which resulted in a higher score.” (Id. ¶ 50.) According to Plaintiff, had Villani properly calculated Grimaldi's “prior misbehavior and disciplinary infractions at PCCF, she would have received a lower classification score and additional supervision from correction officers.” (Id. ¶ 51.)

         Plaintiff contends that “in the late morning or early afternoon of October 28th . . . Grimaldi began to suffer from heroin withdrawal symptoms.” (Id. ¶ 52.) Allegedly, “in the early afternoon . . . Grimaldi cried out for help to PCSD Correction Officers who were monitoring her area of the PCCF, but those calls went unanswered.” (Id. ¶ 53.) Plaintiff alleges “[u]pon information and belief, the withdrawal symptoms . . . Grimaldi experienced were treatable if they had been acted upon by PCSD Correction Officers and/or PCCF medical officials.” (Id. ¶ 54.) However, “the PCCF Correction Officers and medical officials did nothing to address [Grimaldi's] withdrawal symptoms.” (Id. ¶ 55.)

         “[A]t approximately 3:20 p.m., . . . Grimaldi hanged herself on her cell bars with a bedsheet that was issued to her by PCCF.” (Id. ¶ 56.) “[A]t least 15-20 minutes later, PCSD officers found . . . Grimaldi, unresponsive, hanging from the cell bars with a bedsheet issued by PCCF tied around her neck.” (Id. ¶ 57.) Plaintiff alleges that “PCSD Correction Officers did not check on . . . Grimaldi for a significant length of time prior to finding her hanging from her cell bars.” (Id. ¶ 58.)

         “[A]fter finding . . . Grimaldi . . . PCSD Correction Officers untied the bedsheet.” (Id. ¶ 59.) “Grimaldi was not breathing and her heart was not beating.” (Id. ¶ 60.) PCSD Correction Officers then “provided lifesaving procedures, ” which “were successful in resuscitating” Grimaldi, and “made a call for Emergency Medical Technicians.” (Id. ¶¶ 61-62.) Grimaldi was transported to PHC by ambulance and placed in the Intensive Care Unit “where she was connected to a respirator to assist with her breathing and [a] tube was inserted into her trachea.” (Id. ¶¶ 63-64.) “At PHC, several PCSD Officers were stationed in . . . Grimaldi's room and the area directly outside her room, ” (id. ¶ 67), and “[a]t least one officer interfered with family members' access to . . . Grimaldi and refused to move in order to allow access to her bedside, ” (id. ¶ 68).

         On or about November 1, 2015, Grimaldi was transferred from PHC to Westchester Medical Center (“WMC”), (id. ¶ 72), where she “was slowly taken off of the respirator and was able to breathe on her own, ” (id. ¶ 73). On or about December 18, 2015, Grimaldi was transferred to Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital, (id. ¶ 74), where “the tube that had been inserted into . . . Grimaldi's trachea at PHC was removed, ” (id. ¶ 75). In or about late January or early February 2016, Grimaldi was moved to Tarrytown Hall Care Center. (Id. ¶ 76.) “On or about May 13, 2016, . . . Grimaldi passed away at WMC as a direct result of the injuries she sustained at PCCF.” (Id. ¶ 77.)

         Plaintiff alleges that “approximately four days after . . . Grimaldi was found hanging in her cell, another female detainee attempted suicide at PCCF.” (Id. ¶ 78.) Plaintiff avers that “the supervision provided at PCCF is deliberately indifferent to the physical and mental health needs of the people incarcerated at the correctional facility and, as a result, two incarcerated people have recently attempted suicide.” (Id. ¶ 79.)

         Plaintiff seeks “compensatory damages for . . . Grimaldi's wrongful death, psychological and emotional distress, and other financial loss caused by” Defendants' alleged actions, “punitive damages to deter such intentional or reckless deviations from well settled constitutional law, ” and “costs and attorney's fees.” (Id. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff alleges that “Defendants' conduct caused . . . Grimaldi to suffer physical, mental, emotional and financial injuries, deprived her of her constitutional rights, resulted in her wrongful death, and resulted in the loss of decedent's familial relationships, comfort, protection, companionship, love, affection, solace, and moral support.” (Id. ¶ 80.) In addition to these damages, Plaintiff also asserts she entitled to recover the reasonable value of funeral and burial expenses. (Id.)

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint on January 26, 2017. (See Compl.) On May 18, 2017, Stewart sought leave to file a Motion To Dismiss. (See Dkt. No. 25.) Plaintiff filed a letter in opposition. (See Dkt. No. 26.) On June 2, 2017, County Defendants sought leave to file a Motion To Dismiss. (See Dkt. No. 28.) Plaintiff again filed a letter in opposition. (See Dkt. No. 29.) The Court held a premotion conference on June 8, 2017 and adopted a Scheduling Order for Stewart's and County Defendants' Motions. (See Dkt. No. 30.) Pursuant to the Scheduling Order, on July 27, 2017, Stewart filed his Motion To Dismiss and accompanying Memorandum of Law and declaration, (see Dkt. No. 31; Def. Stewart's Mem.; Decl. Jonathan E. Symer, Esq. (“Symer Decl.”) ¶ 13 (Dkt. No. 32)), and on July 28, 2017, County Defendants filed their Motion To Dismiss and accompanying Memorandum of Law, declaration, and exhibits, (see Dkt. No. 34; Cty. Defs.' Mem.; Randazzo Decl.). On September 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed Memorandums of Law in Opposition to County Defendants' and Stewart's Motion. (See Pl.'s Mem. Law in Opp. to Cty. Defs.' Mot. To. Dismiss (“Pl.'s Cty. Defs.' Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 38)); Pl.'s Mem. Law in Opp. to Def. Stewart's Mot. To. Dismiss (“Pl.'s Stewart Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 39)). On October 6, 2017, County Defendants and Stewart each filed a Reply Memoranda of Law. (See Cty. Defs.' Reply Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. To. Dismiss (“Cty. Defs.' Reply Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 41); Def. Stewart's Reply Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. To. Dismiss (“Def. Stewart's Reply Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 42).)

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         The Supreme Court has held that although a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations” to survive a motion to dismiss, “a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his [or her] entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration and internal quotation marks omitted). Indeed, Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement.” Id. (alteration and internal quotation marks omitted). Rather, a complaint's “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Although “once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint, ” id. at 563, and a plaintiff must allege “only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” id. at 570, if a plaintiff has not “nudged [his] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, the[] complaint must be dismissed, ” id.; see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (“Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” (second alteration in original) (citation omitted) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2))); id. at 678-79 (“Rule 8 marks a notable and generous departure from the hypertechnical, code-pleading regime of a prior era, but it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.”).

         “[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, ” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), and “draw[] all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff, ” Daniel v. T & M Prot. Res., Inc., 992 F.Supp.2d 302, 304 n.1 (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (citing Koch v. Christie's Int'l PLC, 699 F.3d 141, 145 (2d Cir. 2012)). Additionally, “[i]n adjudicating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a district court must confine its consideration to facts stated on the face of the complaint, in documents appended to the complaint or incorporated in the complaint by reference, and to matters of which judicial notice may be taken.” Leonard F. v. Isr. Disc. Bank of New York, 199 F.3d 99, 107 (2d Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Wang v. Palmisano, 157 F.Supp.3d 306, 317 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) (same).

         B. Analysis

         1. First Cause of Action - Deliberate Indifference Claims Against Individual Defendants

         Because Grimaldi was a pre-trial detainee rather than a convicted prisoner at the time she was denied adequate medical care, (see Compl. ¶¶ 34, 84(a)), Plaintiff's claim falls under “the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, rather than the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eight[h] Amendment, ” Darnell v. Pineiro, 849 F.3d 17, 29 (2d Cir. 2017).[4] A pre-trial detainee's rights are “at least as great as the Eighth Amendment protections available to a convicted prisoner.” Id. (quoting City of Revere v. Mass. Gen. Hosp., 463 U.S. 239, 244 (1983)).

         “While in custody, a pretrial detainee has a Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process right to care and protection, including protection from suicide' resulting from a preexisting mental health disorder.” Case v. Anderson, No. 16-CV-983, 2017 WL 3701863, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 25, 2017) (quoting Kelsey v. City of New York, 306 F. App'x. 700, 702 (2d Cir. 2009)). “‘A pretrial detainee may establish a § 1983 claim for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement'-such as the denial of mental health care-‘by showing that the officers acted with deliberate indifference to the challenged conditions.'” Case, 2017 WL 3701863, at *8 (quoting Kelsey, 306 F. App'x. at 702). To establish a claim for deliberate indifference to medical needs under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, a pre-trial detainee must establish two elements: (1) that the “deprivation of medical care . . . [was] ‘sufficiently serious, '” and (2) that the defendant “acted or failed to act with ‘a sufficiently culpable state of mind.'” Smith v. Outlaw, No. 15-CV-9961, 2017 WL 4417699, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2017) (quoting Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 279 (2d Cir. 2006); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994)).

         “The first requirement is objective: the alleged deprivation of adequate medical care must be sufficiently serious.” Spavone v. New York State Dep't of Corr. Servs., 719 F.3d 127, 138 (2d Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted). “There is no static test to determine whether a deprivation is sufficiently serious; instead, the conditions themselves must be evaluated in light of contemporary standards of decency.” Darnell, 849 F.3d at 30 (internal quotation marks omitted). Analyzing this objective requirement involves two inquiries: “[t]he first inquiry is whether the prisoner was actually deprived of adequate medical care, ” Salahuddin, 467 F.3d at 279, and the second “asks whether the inadequacy in medical care is sufficiently serious. This inquiry requires the [C]ourt to examine how the offending conduct is inadequate and what harm, if any, the inadequacy has caused or will likely cause the prisoner, ” id. at 280. To meet the objective requirement, “the inmate must show that the conditions, either alone or in combination, pose an unreasonable risk of serious damage to his [or her] health.” Walker v. Schult, 717 F.3d 119, 125 (2d Cir. 2013). “There is no settled, precise metric to guide a court in its estimation of the seriousness of a prisoner's medical condition.” Brock v. Wright, 315 F.3d 158, 162 (2d Cir. 2003). Nevertheless, the Second Circuit has presented the following non-exhaustive list of factors to consider when evaluating an inmate's medical condition: “(1) whether a reasonable doctor or patient would perceive the medical need in question as important and worthy of comment or treatment, (2) whether the medical condition significantly affects daily activities, and (3) the existence of chronic and substantial pain.” Id. (quoting Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 702 (2d Cir. 1998)); see also Morales v. Fischer, 46 F.Supp.3d 239, 247 (W.D.N.Y. 2014) (same). Generally, the condition must be “‘a condition of urgency' that may result in ‘degeneration' or ‘extreme pain.'” Grimmett v. Corizon Med. Assocs. of New York, No. 15-CV-7351, 2017 WL 2274485, at * 3 (S.D.N.Y. May 24, 2017) (quoting Chance, 143 F.3d at 702)).

         The second requirement is the “mens rea prong.”[5] “Prior to the Second Circuit's decision in Darnell, 849 F.3d 17, the second element-whether the defendant acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind-was evaluated subjectively.” Ryan v. Cty. of Nassau, No. 12-CV-5343, 2018 WL 354684, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 10, 2018) . However, in Darnell, in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Kingsley v. Henderickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466 (2015), the Second Circuit held that when a claim arises under the Fourteenth Amendment, “the pretrial detainee must prove that the defendant-official acted intentionally, ” in depriving adequate medical care “or recklessly failed to act with reasonable care . . . even though the defendant-official knew, or should have known, that the condition posed an excessive risk to health or safety.” Darnell, 849 F.3d at 35; see also Ryan, 2018 WL 354684, at *3 (same); Charles v. Cty. of Orange, New York, No. 16-CV-5527, 2017 WL 4402576, at *10 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2017) (same). “In other words, the second element of a deliberate indifference claim under the Fourteenth Amendment ‘is defined objectively, ' and a plaintiff is not required to show subjective awareness by the defendant that ‘[his] acts (or omissions) have subjected the pre-trial detainee to a substantial risk of harm.'” Ryan, 2018 WL 354684, at *3 (quoting Darnell, 849 F.3d at 35).[6] Despite the slightly lower standard articulated in Darnell, which is akin to objective recklessness, “any § 1983 claim for a violation of due process requires proof of a mens rea greater than mere negligence.” Smith, 2017 WL 4417699, at *3 (quoting Darnell, 849 F.3d at 36) (italics omitted); see also Ryan, 2018 WL 354684, at *3 (same); Grimmett, 2017 WL 2274485, at *4 (same). “A detainee must prove that an official acted intentionally or recklessly, and not merely negligently.” Darnell, 849 F.3d at 36.

         a. County Defendants Napolitano and Jackson

         Napolitano and Jackson concede that Plaintiff has plausibly pled the objective element for purposes of the present Motion. (Cty. Defs.' Mem. 5.) Napolitano and Jackson instead argue that the mens rea prong has not been satisfied because Grimaldi's statements to Napolitano regarding her recent heroin use, bipolar disorder, and previous suicide attempt did not establish that Grimaldi was at risk to attempt suicide or require her to be placed on constant supervision, and by following the Screening Guidelines, Napolitano's and Jackson's decision to place Grimaldi on routine supervision was reasonable under the circumstances. (See Id. at 5-7; Cty. Defs.' Reply Mem. 1-5.)

         Plaintiff does not allege Napolitano and Jackson intentionally deprived Grimaldi of adequate medical care. However, Plaintiff has plausibly alleged enough facts to suggest Napoitano and Jackson “recklessly failed to act with reasonable care . . . even though the defendant-official knew, or should have known, that the condition posed an excessive risk to health or safety.” Darnell, 849 F.3d at 35. Plaintiff alleges that Napolitano assessed Grimaldi during the intake interview, and was informed that Grimaldi had “previously attempted suicide, suffered from mental health issues, and had recently injected heroin.” (See Compl. ¶¶ 42-43.) Plaintiff alleges Jackson reviewed the intake form, which noted the previous suicide attempt, mental health issues, and recent heroin use, and concurred with Napolitano's recommendation. (See id. ¶ 45; Form 330 ADM, at 1.)[7] Napolitano and Jackson, however, point out that Napolitano also noted that Grimaldi did not show signs of depression, did not appear to be anxious, panicked, afraid or angry, did not display unusual behaviors, did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and did not show signs of withdrawal. (See Cty. Defs.' Mem. 6 (citing Form 330 ADM, at 1); Cty. Defs.' Reply Mem. 3-4.) Based on the information Grimaldi provided, Napolitano and Jackson argue the Screening Guidelines did not recommend anything above routine supervision, and thus Napolitano's recommendation was constitutionally firm. (See Cty. Defs.' Mem. 6; Cty. Defs.' Reply Mem. 3-5.)

         “[F]ollowing Darnell, the Court is faced with a difficult task. It is called upon to determine, without the benefit of medical expertise, whether an objectively reasonable person in Defendant[s'] position would have known, or should have known, that Defendant[s'] actions or omissions posed an excessive risk of harm to [Grimaldi].” Davis v. McCready, No. 14-CV-6405, 2017 WL 4803918, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 23, 2017). The Court cannot find that Plaintiff's claim that Napolitano and Jackson knew or should have known of Griamldi's suicide risk based on the information they had and that providing Grimaldi with only routine supervision was not reasonable care, with all reasonable inferences drawn in Plaintiff's favor, fails to state a plausible claim for deliberate indifference. See, e.g., Thomas v. Ashcroft, 470 F.3d 491, 497 (2d Cir. 2006) (reversing the dismissal of a prisoner's complaint that alleged the defendants ignored his serious medical needs despite being made aware of them); Case, 2017 WL 3701863, at *11 (noting that the “[p]laintiff has alleged that the officers involved at each juncture had some level of awareness of [the decedent's] mental illness. Thus, to provide no treatment would be to ignore a serious medical need, and to delay treatment would be to run the very risk of self-harm that reasonably prompt treatment was designed to avoid.” (citations omitted)); Silvera v. Connecticut Dep't of Corr., 726 F.Supp.2d 183, 192 (D. Conn. 2010) (denying a motion to dismiss despite “a disagreement about the proper course of treatment, ” for mentally ill pre-trial detainee because the defendants “recklessly ignored the risk that [the decedent] would attempt to harm himself”); Allah v. Kemp, No. 08-CV-1008, 2010 WL 1036802, at *6 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 25, 2010), adopted by 2010 WL 1035657 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 18, 2010) (denying a Rule 12(c) motion, rejecting the defendants' arguments that failure to take more affirmative steps to prevent the plaintiff from attempting suicide was, at most, a mistake “in their exercise of psychiatric judgment” (internal quotation marks omitted)); Estate of Rodriguez v. Simon, No. 06-CV-125, 2007 WL 2154238, at *5 (D. Vt. Mar. 30, 2007), adopted sub nom. by 2007 WL 2107542 (D. Vt. July 19, 2007) (denying a motion to dismiss and rejecting the defendants' argument that placing a pretrial detainee on 15-minute checks, and nothing more, was a reasonable response to the risk that the detainee would harm himself).

         “The Court does not doubt that individuals in the Defendants' positions face difficult decisions on a daily basis regarding how to respond appropriately to a detainee's serious mental health needs.” Silvera, 726 F.Supp.2d at 192. Moreover, it is axiomatic that if the evidence demonstrates that the Napolitano and Jackson reacted reasonably to Grimaldi informing them that she had mental health issues, had used heroin, and previously attempted suicide by following the Screening Guidelines and placing her on routine supervision, they cannot be held liable for the tragedy that ultimately transpired. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 844-45 (noting that “prison officials who act reasonably cannot be found liable”). Nonetheless, the Court is unable to conclude at this early stage-and on the basis of the Complaint alone-that the Napolitano and Jackson were not deliberately indifferent to Grimaldi's serious mental health needs. See Id. at 842 (“Whether a prison official had the requisite knowledge of a substantial risk is a question of fact subject to demonstration in the usual ways . . . .”); Chance, 143 F.3d at 703 (“Whether a course of treatment was the product of sound medical judgment, negligence, or deliberate indifference depends on the facts of the case.”).

         Napolitano and Jackson argue that even if Plaintiff has stated a substantive due process claim, they are nonetheless shielded by qualified immunity. (Cty. Defs.' Mem. 11-13; Cty. Defs.' Reply Mem. 6-7). “The doctrine of qualified immunity protects government officials from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). “[Qualified] immunity protect[s] government's ability to perform its traditional functions . . . by helping to avoid unwarranted timidity in performance of public duties, ensuring that talented candidates are not deterred from public service, and preventing the harmful distractions from carrying out the work of government that can often accompany damages suits.” Filarsky v. Delia, 566 U.S. 377, 389- 90 (2012) (second alteration in original) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Qualified immunity shields a defendant from standing trial or facing other burdens of litigation “if either (a) the defendant's action did not violate clearly established law, or (b) it was objectively reasonable for the defendant to believe that his action did not violate such law.” Johnson v. Newburgh Enlarged Sch. Dist., 239 F.3d 246, 250 (2d Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         The Supreme Court has held that when evaluating an asserted qualified immunity defense, a court may begin by examining whether a reasonable officer in Defendants' position would have believed his or her conduct would violate the asserted constitutional right. See Pearson, 555 U.S. at 236 (overruling Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194 (2001), and explaining that judges are no longer required to begin by deciding whether a constitutional right was violated but are instead “permitted to exercise their sound discretion in deciding which of the two prongs of the qualified immunity analysis should be addressed first”). The Supreme Court has further instructed that “[t]o be clearly established, a right must be sufficiently clear that every reasonable official would [have understood] that what he is doing violates that right. In other words, existing precedent must have placed the statutory or constitutional question beyond debate.” Reichle v. Howards, 566 U.S. 658, 664 (2012) (second alteration in original) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Furthermore, “the right allegedly violated must be established, not as a broad general proposition, but in a particularized sense so that the contours of the right are clear to a reasonable official.” Id. at 665 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Otherwise stated, to ...


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