United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION & ORDER
ABRAMS, United States District Judge
Wayne Stewart, a paraplegic pretrial detainee at Rikers
Island Correctional Center, brings this action against the
City of New York, various individuals (Tanisha Bo wen, Raul
Ramos, Elizabeth Parboo, Zachary Rosner, Nina Edwards,
Zulfiquar Bhuiyan, and two "John Does, "
collectively, the "Individual Defendants"), and a
private corporation (Corizon Health, Inc.). Individual
Defendants and Corizon were responsible for providing medical
care to or arranging medical accommodations for Rikers
detainees during the relevant time period. Stewart claims
that the City, Individual Defendants, and Corizon all
violated his right to constitutionally adequate medical care
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and that the City also refused
to adequately accommodate his disability under Title II of
the Americans with Disabilities Act and § 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Plaintiff asserts various other
state-law claims, including negligent hiring, training, and
retention, conversion, negligent infliction of emotional
distress, and general negligence. Defendants now move to
dismiss the case under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the
following reasons, that motion is granted with prejudice as
to Plaintiff's § 1983 claims and without prejudice
as to his ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims. The Court
declines to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
state-law claims and thus dismisses them without prejudice.
following facts are drawn from the Second Amended Complaint
(the "Complaint") and its accompanying exhibits.
Compl. (Dkt. 73, 73-1, 73-2); Decl. (Dkt. 62). These facts
are assumed to be true for the purposes of resolving
Defendants' motion to dismiss. See Stadnick v. Vivint
Solar, Inc., 861 F.3d 31, 35 (2d Cir. 2017).
2001 and 2002, as a result of a series of gunshot wounds,
Stewart injured his wrists and became paraplegic. Compl.
¶¶ 14, 50. Over time, Plaintiff's immobility
has caused him to suffer from chronic decubitus ulcers, also
known as pressure ulcers or bedsores, which are prone to
infection. At some point (and prior to his detention at
Rikers), Stewart's right leg had to be amputated
"due to an infection in his ulcers that went to the
bone." Id. ¶¶ 285, 389. In 2009, the
Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Center recommended that he begin
using a motorized wheelchair due to his "severe upper
extremity pain [and] imbalance, " with the goal of
"encouraging wound healing and good skin
integrity." Id. ¶ 51. Stewart used the
motorized wheelchair until 2014, when he was arrested and the
wheelchair was confiscated.
his arrest, Stewart was admitted to Bellevue Hospital Center
for treatment of (and surgery on) his ulcers. Id.
¶ 246. The doctors at Bellevue gave Plaintiff a
treatment plan for his ulcers that "included the use of
the motorized wheelchair; the need for a Hill-Rom rental
Clinitron Rite Hite Fluidized air bed with trapeze; and wound
care dressing changes, which included instructions for
properly cleaning and dressing" the ulcers every three
days. Id. ¶¶ 59-60. According to Stewart,
Defendants failed to comply with each one of those three
requests as described below.
when Plaintiff was discharged from Bellevue, he was deprived
access to a motorized wheelchair. Instead, he was provided
with a manual wheelchair that lacked a safety belt, had
"unstable" arm rests, and had "unsteady"
front wheels that "caught in the grooves on the
floor." Id. ¶¶ 72, 125. After he
complained about the wheelchair in 2015, he received a new
manual wheelchair that was also purportedly
"defective." Id. ¶¶ 234-36.
"Stewart ... use[d] his weak upper body and injured
wrists to maneuver the wheelchair from one place to the
next." Id. ¶ 73. Defendants refused to
provide Stewart with a motorized wheelchair or an Inmate
Mobility Assistant to assist him getting around, which has
allegedly "subject[ed] Mr. Stewart to harm as he
manually wheels himself from place to place."
Id. ¶ 402.
Stewart was not provided with the Clinitron bed or a trapeze
to "assist [him] in sitting up in the bed and
repositioning himself ... to avoid additional pressure
sores" when he returned to Rikers. Id.
¶¶ 167, 171. Instead, he was transferred "to a
bed that had a mattress bigger than the bed frame, no
trapeze, and no side rails to prevent him from falling out of
the bed." Id. ¶ 171. According to Stewart,
the absence of a Clinitron bed and trapeze "made it
difficult for [him] to heal his ulcers, " and additional
bedsores formed. Id. ¶¶ 177-79. As a
result, he was readmitted to Bellevue Hospital a few weeks
after his initial discharge. Plaintiff alleges that he was
"frequently admitted to Bellevue for follow-up
care" for his ulcers, as well as for other issues such
as urinary tract infections. Id. ¶¶ 182,
277, 280, 290.
further alleges that, as a consequence of the
"defective" manual wheelchair and the non-Clinitron
bed, he has "suffered multiple injuries from several
falls from the wheelchair and the bed." Id.
¶ 211. For example, he alleges several instances where
he fell from his bed or wheelchair, including one time where
he fell "as [he] wheeled himself to the law
library" and was going down a ramp. Id. ¶
231. Injuries from his various falls allegedly included
"injuries to his back and left knee, " id.
¶¶ 223, 227, to "the left side of his head and
left foot, " id. ¶ 232, and to his ankle,
id. ¶ 237. In February or March 2015, after
repeated complaints, Stewart finally received a bed with a
trapeze. Id. ¶ 186. He also appears to have
been provided with bed side rails at some point in 2015.
Id. ¶ 242 ("Mr. Stewart remained in a bed
without side rails from August 2014 thr[ough] early to
Plaintiff asserts that Defendants failed to comply with the
Bellevue doctors' instructions regarding his wound care.
Bellevue had specified a "meticulous wound care"
plan for his chronic ulcers. Id. ¶ 250.
According to Stewart, Defendants did not follow these
instructions. "When Defendants John Doe #1 and John Doe
#2 performed the dressing change on Mr. Stewart, " it
was generally a "basic" "wet-to-dry dressing
instead of the three step process ordered by the Bellevue
specialist." Id. ¶¶ 256, 344. Stewart
purportedly submitted several grievances claiming that the
John Does "either would not comply" with the
Bellevue plan "or refused to change his dressings
period." Id. ¶26l. The John Does allegedly
"disagreed on the care needed for Mr. Stewart."
Id. ¶¶ 270-73. During one of Stewart's
frequent stays at Bellevue, he asked the wound care
specialist to show him how to change his own dressings
because he was afraid of infection. He changed his own
dressings from March 2015 to May 2016, and his ulcers
improved as a result. M¶¶ 286-88.
also identifies a few other ways in which Defendants
purportedly failed to provide him adequate medical care. He
alleges that his ulcers and frequent falls caused him
"extreme chronic pain" in his lower back and
extremities. Id. ¶ 289. He admits that he
received Tylenol, and then Tylenol with Codeine, for his
pain, but he alleges that these prescriptions were "not
strong enough." Id. ¶¶ 295-96.
Plaintiff asked Defendant Ramos (a doctor who often treated
Stewart at Rikers) for stronger medication, but his requests
were denied. Id. ¶ 307. On November 24, 2014, a
few months after his arrest, a different doctor prescribed
him MS Contin which "consistently managed" his pain
from that point on. Id. ¶ 310.
also alleges that, during medical treatment at Rikers, Ramos,
Defendant Bowen (a nurse at Rikers), and others failed to
keep his body steady and thus caused him to fall. During one
of those incidents, he alleges that he broke his leg as a
result of the fall. Id. ¶¶ 217-19. He
further alleges that he was incorrectly prescribed diabetes
medication which caused him to have an "adverse
result" once, id. ¶ 318, and that when he
had a fever one day in December 2014, prison medical staff
failed to correctly diagnose that he had a urinary-tract
infection for which he was later treated at Bellevue,
id. ¶¶ 331-33. Stewart also alleges other
delays in treatment and care, which he asserts caused him to
develop additional bed sores. Id. ¶¶
301-02. Throughout his detention at Rikers, Stewart has
repeatedly complained (often to Individual Defendants) about
his treatment and the lack of appropriate medical equipment.
See, e.g., Id. ¶¶ 93-94, 103, 118, 127,
187, 193, 203.
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed his original
complaint on May 29, 2015, and an amended complaint on
January 25, 2016. Stewart asked the Court to request pro
bono counsel on his behalf, and that request was
granted. Before pro bono counsel appeared,
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. See Dkt. 27.
The Court thereafter granted Plaintiff, proceeding through
his pro bono counsel, leave to amend his complaint
again. The Second Amended Complaint, as filed, is over 75
pages long with more than 450 paragraphs asserting nine
causes of action. Defendants now move to dismiss that
complaint. See Dkt. 77. Stewart responded in
opposition through counsel, and Defendants replied.
See Dkts. 87, 90.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'"
Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Although the Court must
accept as true all non-conclusory factual allegations and
draw all reasonable inferences in Plaintiff's favor,
Goldstein v. Pataki,516 F.3d 50, 56 (2d Cir. 2008),
it need not credit "[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, " Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at ...