Hines v. Valletta et al
PRISCS-INITIAL REVIEW ORDER, L. Messenger Leroy terminated., ( Discovery due by 6/7/2013, Dispositive Motions due by 7/8/2013), Answer deadline updated for Valletta to 1/15/2013.. Signed by Judge Janet C. Hall on 11/6/2012. (Payton, R.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
DR. VALLETTA, et. al.,
PRISONER CASE NO.
NOVEMBER 6, 2012
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
The plaintiff, Graig Hines, currently incarcerated at the Garner Correctional
Center in Newtown, Connecticut, has filed a complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(2000). The plaintiff names as defendants Dr. Valletta and L. Messenger Leroy. He
asserts an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (2000), the court must review prisoner civil complaints
and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the
court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the
strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir.
2007). Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must include
sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon
which they are based and to demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). The plaintiff must plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. But “‘[a]
document filed pro se is to be liberally construed and a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.’” Boykin v. KeyCorp., 521 F.3d 202, 214 (2d Cir. 2008) (quoting
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)).
The plaintiff alleges that, while in federal custody, he was bitten by a bat and not
given a tetanus or rabies shot. He was returned to Connecticut before receiving
treatment. The plaintiff submitted sick call requests for a sore throat, muscle spasms,
and pain in his lower back. The plaintiff believes that he has contracted rabies or some
other pathology transmitted by bats. He seeks a consult with an ENT specialist and
damages for negligence in his medical treatment.
The plaintiff provides a summary of his medical treatment compiled while he was
confined at MacDougall Correctional Institution. The summary indicated that the plaintiff
does not display symptoms of rabies. A throat culture was taken, and the plaintiff
received antibiotics to address his throat problems. The plaintiff alleges that his throat
problems did not go away and that he was repeatedly coughing mucus and that his ear
glands and spine hurt. He includes documentation showing that he was approved for
an ENT consult while confined in federal custody. An ENT consult has not been
authorized by state medical personnel.
The plaintiff includes no allegations regarding defendant Leroy. The only
reference is a copy of a notice that defendant Leroy returned grievance appeal
paperwork to the plaintiff because the issue had already been addressed and denied,
and could not be appealed. The plaintiff has no constitutional right to repeatedly appeal
the denial of a grievance. See Rhodes v. Hoy, No. 9:05-CV-836, 2007 WL 1343649, at
*2 (N.D.N.Y. May 6, 2007) (no constitutionally protected due process right regarding
allegedly improper treatment of prison grievance). Defendant Leroy is not identified as
a doctor, and the plaintiff alleges no facts indicating that he or she provides any medical
attention. All claims against defendant Leroy are dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
The plaintiff currently is an unsentenced state prisoner on a charge of murder.
See www.ctinmateinfo.state.ct.us (last visited Oct. 22, 2012). Although claims of
deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition of a pretrial detainee are
considered under the Fourteenth Amendment and claims of sentenced inmates are
considered under the Eighth Amendment, the same standard is applied. See Caiozzo
v. Koreman, 581 F.3d 63, 72 (2d Cir. 2009).
To establish a constitutional claim for denial of medical care, the plaintiff must
demonstrate that the defendant was "‘deliberate[ly] indifference to [his] serious medical
needs.’" Hathaway v. Coughlin, 37 F.3d 63, 66 (2d Cir. 1994) (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). This two-part test embodies both an objective and a
subjective component. The physical condition of the plaintiff must be sufficiently
serious, and the failure to render proper care must result from "a sufficiently culpable
state of mind." Id. at 66 (citing, inter alia, Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)).
An official acts with deliberate indifference when he "knows of and disregards an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the official must both be aware of facts from
which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he
must also draw that inference." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994).
The plaintiff alleges that he explained his symptoms and self-diagnosis to
defendant Valletta. Although he has been prescribed some treatment, the plaintiff has
attached a health grievance indicating, in March 2012, that his condition would be
assessed once he was released from segregation. From the documentation attached to
the Complaint, the court cannot discern whether any further medical treatment was
provided. Liberally construing the Complaint, the court concludes that the plaintiff has
alleged sufficient facts to suggest that defendant Valletta was aware of his medical
needs and may have failed to address them. Accordingly, the claim against Dr. Valletta
will proceed at this time.
In accordance with the foregoing analysis, the court enters the following orders:
The claims against defendant Leroy are DISMISSED pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A.
The Pro Se Prisoner Litigation Office shall verify the current work
address of defendant Valletta with the Department of Correction Office of Legal Affairs
and mail waiver of service of process request packets to him at the confirmed
addresses within fourteen (14) days of this Order. The Pro Se Prisoner Litigation
Office shall report to the court on the status of that waiver request on the thirty-fifth (35)
day after mailing. If the defendant fails to return the waiver request, the Pro Se Prisoner
Litigation Office shall make arrangements for in-person service by the U.S. Marshals
Service on the defendant in his individual capacity and the defendant shall be required
to pay the costs of such service in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
The Pro Se Prisoner Litigation Office shall prepare a summons form
and send an official capacity service packet to the U.S. Marshal Service. The U.S.
Marshal is directed to effect service of the Complaint on defendant Valletta in his official
capacity at the Office of the Attorney General, 55 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06141, within
fourteen (14) days from the date of this order and to file returns of service within
twenty (20) days from the date of this order.
The Pro Se Prisoner Litigation Office shall send written notice to the
plaintiff of the status of this action, along with a copy of this Order.
The defendant shall file his response to the Complaint, either an answer
or motion to dismiss, within seventy (70) days from the date of this Order. If he
chooses to file an answer, he shall admit or deny the allegations and respond to the
cognizable claims recited above. He also may include any and all additional defenses
permitted by the Federal Rules.
Discovery, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26 through 37,
shall be completed within seven months (210 days) from the date of this Order.
Discovery requests need not be filed with the court.
All motions for summary judgment shall be filed within eight months (240
days) from the date of this order.
Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7(a), a nonmoving party must respond to a
dispositive motion within twenty-one (21) days of the date the motion was filed. If no
response is filed, or the response is not timely, the dispositive motion can be granted
SO ORDERED this 6th day of November 2012, at New Haven, Connecticut.
/s/ Janet C. Hall
Janet C. Hall
United States District Judge
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