Thorpe v. Martin et al
ORDER granting 25 Motion to Dismiss. Please see attached Order for details. If plaintiff believes he can amend his allegations to cure the deficiencies discussed in this ruling, he may file an amended complaint on or before 10/23/2017. Signed by Judge Robert N. Chatigny on 9/30/2017. (Rickevicius, L.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
ROBERT MARTIN et al.,
CASE NO. 3:16-cv-737(RNC)
Jerome Thorpe, an inmate at the Corrigan-Radgowski
Correctional Center, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Deputy Warden Robert Martin and Doctor Kathleen Maurer
asserting claims for deliberate indifference to a serious medical
condition, degenerative arthritis of the knee joints, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Thorpe alleges that Deputy
Warden Martin has refused to raise the temperature in his cell,
which would help reduce the pain he experiences, and has also
failed to provide him with special footwear, which could ease his
He alleges that Dr. Maurer has refused to perform knee-
Defendants have moved to dismiss the action
for failure to state a claim on the ground that the complaint
does not allege a violation of the Eighth Amendment.
therefore grant the motion to dismiss.
I agree and
To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure Rule 12(b)(6), “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
Id. (internal quotation marks and citation
This standard requires the plaintiff to show “more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
A complaint need not allege “detailed factual allegations,”
but must contain more than an “unadorned, the-defendantunlawfully-harmed-me accusation.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 544
(internal quotation omitted).
Deliberate indifference to a serious medical need
constitutes unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, which
violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976).
Deliberate indifference involves more than just negligence or
medical malpractice; it is a form of misconduct akin to criminal
In general, prison officials act with deliberate
indifference when they are aware of and disregard a substantial
risk of serious harm to an inmate’s health or safety.
acts with deliberate indifference if she knows of and ignores an
inmate’s serious medical need.
Prison officials who are not
doctors act with deliberate indifference toward an inmate’s
serious medical need when they intentionally deny or delay access
to needed medical care.
Accepting as true and generously construed, plaintiff’s
allegations may sufficiently allege that he has a serious medical
condition for which treatment is required.
He alleges that he
has degenerative joint disease, which causes severe pain on a
See Harrison v. Barkley, 219 F.3d 132, 136 (2d Cir.
2000) (“A serious medical condition exists where the failure to
treat a prisoner’s condition could result in further significant
injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.”)
(internal quotations omitted).
However, plaintiff has not
alleged facts permitting the reasonable inference that the
defendants have been deliberately indifferent to a serious
Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Maurer refuses to authorize
needed knee replacement surgery.
A prisoner’s disagreement with
a physician’s course of treatment does not provide a basis for an
Eighth Amendment claim.
Sond v. St. Barnabus Hosp. Corrective
Health Servs., 151 F. Supp. 2d 303, 312 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).
are no allegations in the complaint that Dr. Maurer has
disregarded an excessive risk to the plaintiff’s health or safety
by failing to authorize the surgery.
U.S. 825, 837 (1994).
See Farmer v. Brennan, 511
Even assuming plaintiff could prove that
Dr. Maurer has negligently failed to order surgery, that would
not suffice to support an Eighth Amendment claim.
The complaint is therefore dismissed as to defendant Maurer.
With regard to Deputy Warden Martin, plaintiff alleges that
the temperature in his cell never exceeds 65 degrees.
no allegation that the temperature is so cold as to constitute a
“denial of the minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities.”
Tapp v. Taylor, No. 05-CV-1442 (LEK/DRH), 2009 WL 2473499, at *4
(N.D.N.Y. Aug. 7, 2009) (internal quotations omitted).
Accordingly, the allegations concerning the temperature in
plaintiff’s cell are construed as a deliberate indifference claim
reflecting disagreement over appropriate treatment for the
As noted above, a plaintiff’s disagreement
with prison officials as to what constitutes appropriate medical
care will not suffice to state an Eighth Amendment claim.
v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 703 (2d Cir. 1998) (“So long as the
treatment given is adequate, the fact that a prisoner might
prefer a different treatment does not give rise to an Eighth
As to plaintiff’s claim that he has not been given proper
footwear, the complaint provides insufficient allegations to
support a finding that Deputy Warden Martin either intended to
deny plaintiff access to needed medical care or wantonly
inflicted unnecessary pain.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104.
mere negligence will not support a Section 1983 claim.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104-06.
Accordingly, the complaint is
dismissed as to Deputy Warden Martin.
If plaintiff believes he can amend his allegations to cure
the deficiencies discussed in this ruling, he may file an amended
complaint on or before October 23, 2017.
So ordered this 30th day of September 2017.
Robert N. Chatigny
United States District Judge
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