Spencer v. Kenny et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 19 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Robert N. Chatigny on 6/10/2013. (Gillenwater, J)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
KENNY, et al.
CASE NO. 3:11CV50(RNC)
RULING AND ORDER
On January 7, 2013, the defendants filed a motion to
dismiss this action for failure to state a claim on which
relief may be granted (ECF No. 19).
Plaintiff has not
responded to the motion or requested an extension of time,
although he has been given the notice required by Local Rule
For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss
is granted in part and denied in part.
Plaintiff, a Connecticut inmate proceeding pro se,
brings this case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that
defendants Egan and Byars violated his Eighth Amendment
right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment following
a slip-and-fall incident at Garner Correctional Institution
on October 10, 2010, which allegedly resulted in a painful
injury to the plaintiff's back.
The amended complaint has
been construed as attempting to allege that defendant Egan
showed deliberate indifference to a serious medical need by
ordering that the plaintiff be taken by van to John Dempsey
Hospital rather than Danbury Hospital, which was closer to
With regard to defendant Byars, the amended
complaint has been construed as attempting to allege wanton
and unnecessary infliction of pain based on the manner in
which Byars drove the van to the hospital.
complaint alleges that Byars drove the van in an
"exceedingly fast and reckless" manner, "hitting every bump
and pothole"; that the plaintiff pleaded with him to slow
down because the "jolting and bouncing" was causing the
plaintiff "extreme pain"; and that he ignored the
plaintiff's pleas and continued to drive recklessly because
he wanted to get off work as soon as possible that night.
The defendants argue that the allegations of the
complaint, accepted as true for purposes of their motion to
dismiss, are insufficient to allege a violation of the
Eighth Amendment because (1) there are no allegations that
the defendants' conduct caused or risked sufficiently
harmful effects, and (2) the allegations do not show
In addition, the defendants argue
that they are entitled to qualified immunity because the
plaintiff did not have a clearly established right to
treatment at Danbury Hospital as opposed to John Dempsey
Finally, they contend that to the extent the
amended complaint alleges negligence, they are immune from
liability under Connecticut General Statute § 4-165(a).
After considering the arguments presented in support of
the defendants' motion to dismiss, the Court concludes that
the motion should be granted with regard to the claim
against defendant Egan but denied with regard to the claim
against defendant Byars.
The claim against defendant Egan is governed by the
Eighth Amendment standard of deliberate indifference to a
serious medical need.
This standard incorporates both an
objective and subjective test: an inmate must show that the
alleged deprivation was objectively "sufficiently serious,"
and that the defendant acted with a "sufficiently culpable
state of mind."
Hathaway v. Coughlin, 99 F.3d 550, 553 (2d
Even assuming the plaintiff's back injury
constituted a serious medical need, the allegations of the
amended complaint do not support a plausible conclusion that
the delay in treatment caused by defendant Egan's decision
to have the plaintiff taken to John Dempsey Hospital rather
than Danbury Hospital constituted a deprivation of care that
was sufficiently serious to support an Eighth Amendment
See Smith v. Carpenter, 316 F.3d 178, 185-86 (2d
Moreover, the facts alleged in the amended
complaint do not support a plausible conclusion that, in
deciding to have the plaintiff taken to John Dempsey
Hospital, defendant Egan consciously exposed the plaintiff
to a substantial risk of serious harm.
allegations against defendant Egan fail to satisfy either
prong of the Eighth Amendment standard and the claim against
him is properly dismissed.
The allegations against defendant Byars stand on a
The amended complaint does not allege
that he caused a delay in treatment due to deliberate
indifference to a serious medical need.
It alleges, rather,
that he ignored the plaintiff's complaints of pain caused by
the manner in which he drove the van.
unnecessary infliction of pain by prison personnel is
actionable under the Eighth Amendment and this claim has not
been adequately briefed by the defendants.
The motion to
dismiss argues that Byars lacked the requisite mental state,
and it well may be that Byars did not know the severity of
the plaintiff's condition as there is no allegation in the
complaint that he was present when the plaintiff fell.
However, the motion to dismiss does not squarely address the
allegations that defendant Byars continued to drive the van
in a reckless manner, despite the plaintiff's complaints
that the bumps and jolts were causing him extreme pain, in
order to get off work as soon as possible.
motion to dismiss the claim against defendant Byars is
So ordered this 10th day of June 2013.
Robert N. Chatigny, U.S.D.J.
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