Ceparano v. Suffolk Co. Dept of Health et al
ORDER denying 138 Motion for Reconsideration re 133 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment, or, In the Alternative, His Motion for Reargument. Ordered by Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein on 9/4/2014. (Florio, Lisa)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
ANTHONY J. CEPARANO,
-againstSUFFOLK COUNTY DEPT. OF HEALTH,
S.C.C.F. MEDICAL UNIT, DEPT. OF HEALTH
COMM. HUMAYUN CHAUNDRY, S.C.C.F. CHIEF
ADAM VINCENT GERACI, DOCTOR "IGOR,"
DR. PRENTISS, NURSE PRACTITIONER ALICE,
NURSE PRACTITIONER "JANE DOE,"
DRUG/ALCOHOL COUNSELOR ELIANA, NURSE
"JAMES DOE" LPN,
IN CLERK"S OFFICE
U S DISTRICT COURT E D N y
SEP 04 Z014 *
* LONG ISLAND OFFICE
On December 4, 2013, this Court issued an order (the "Order") granting summary
judgment to Alice Butkos ("Butkos") and the County of Suffolk ("the County," together with
Butkos, "defendants"), and dismissing the complaint filed against them by plaintiff Anthony
Ceparano ("plaintiff''). [Docket Entry No. 133]. On December 9, 2013, judgment was entered
and the action was closed. [Docket Entry No. 134].
Now before the Court is plaintiff's "Motion for Reconsideration [of the] Order, Or, In the
Alternative, His Motion for Reargument" ("Motion for Reconsideration"). 1 [Docket Entry No.
138]. For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.
Plaintiff served defendants with the Motion for Reconsideration on December 23,2013. [Docket
Entry No. 135]. The fully briefed motion was filed with the Court on February 7, 2014. [Docket Entry
Standard of Review
Motions for reconsideration in this district are governed by Local Civil Rule 6.3
("Local Rule 6.3"), which provides, in relevant part, that a "notice of motion for reconsideration
or reargument of a court order determining a motion shall be served within fourteen (14) days
after the entry of the court's determination of the original motion, or in the case of a court order
resulting in a judgment, within fourteen (14) days after the entry of the judgment." Local Rule
6.3. A movant under Local Rule 6.3 must submit "a memorandum setting forth concisely the
matters or controlling decisions which counsel believes the court has overlooked." !d.
"The standard for granting [a motion for reconsideration] is strict." Shrader v. CSX
Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255,257 (2d Cir. 1995); see also Lothian Cassidy, LLC v. Lothian
Exploration & Dev. II, L.P., 487 B.R. 158, 168 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) ("A court must narrowly
construe and strictly apply 6.3 so as to avoid duplicative rulings on previously considered issues,
and to prevent Rule 6.3 from being used to advance different theories not previously argued or as
a substitute for appealing a final judgment."). In determining a motion for reconsideration, the
court should consider: (I) whether there has been "an intervening change of controlling law;" (2)
whether there is new evidence presented that was not previously available on the original
motion; and (3) whether there is a "need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest
injustice." Kolel Beth Yechiel Mechil ofTartikov, Inc. v. YLL Irrevocable Trust, 729 F.3d 99,
104 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Virgin At!. Airways, Ltd v. Nat'! Mediation Bd, 956 F.2d 1245,
1255 (2d Cir.l992)). "[R]econsideration will generally be denied unless the moving party can
point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked - matters, in other words, that
might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court." Shrader, 70 F.3d at
257 (citations omitted).
December 4, 2013 Order
By Order dated December 4, 2013, this Court granted defendants' motion for summary
judgment upon finding that plaintiff had failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to his
claims for: (i) deliberate indifference to his medical needs by Butkos, and (2) municipal liability
pursuant to Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d
1. Deliberate Indifference
As set forth in the Order, "[p]laintiffs claim that Butkos denied him adequate medical
care in violation of his constitutional rights requires a showing of 'deliberate indifference to [a
prisoner's] medical needs."' Order, at 9 (citing Hill v. Curcione, 657 F.3d 116, 122 (2d Cir.
2011) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104,97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976))). The
Court set forth the standard for deliberate indifference:
The test for deliberate indifference to medical needs has both an
objective and a subjective component. Callazo v. Pagano, 656
F.3d 131, 135 (2d Cir. 2011) (citing Hathaway v. Coughlin, 99
F.3d 550, 553 (2d Cir. 1996)); Hill, 657 F.3d at 122 .
To satisfy the objective element of deliberate indifference, "the
alleged deprivation must be sufficiently serious, in the sense that a
condition. of urgency, one that may produce death, degeneration, or
extreme pain, exists." Hill, 657 F.3d at 122 (quoting Hathaway, 99
F.3d at 553). In order to determine whether an alleged deprivation
of medical care was objectively serious, the court must inquire
whether ( 1) the inmate was "actually deprived of adequate medical
care," and (2) "the inadequacy in medical care [was] sufficiently
serious." Salahuddin v. Goard, 467 F.3d 263,266 (2d Cir. 2006).
"Subjectively, the official must have acted with the requisite state
of mind." Collazo, 656 F.3d at 135 (quoting Hathaway, 99 F.3d at
553); see also Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 299, Ill S.Ct. 2321,
115 L.Ed.2d 271 (1991) (holding that a deliberate indifference
claim "mandate[s] inquiry into a prison official's state of mind").
"In order to show than an individual was deliberately indifferent to
the plaintiffs serious medical needs, the plaintiff must show (I)
that '[the individual] knew of a substantial risk of serious harm to
[plaintiffs] health,' and (2) that '[the individual] consciously
disregarded that risk." Ceparano v. Suffolk Cnty. Dep 't ofHealth,
485 F. App'x 505, 507-08 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting Hathaway, 99
F.3d at 553).
Order, at 9-11.
With respect to the objective element of deliberate indifference, the Court reached the
Plaintiff has failed to establish that he received inadequate medical
care from Butkos. It is undisputed that plaintiff was seen by
Butkos at the JMU on at least ten occasions, Butkos prescribed
Tylenol for plaintiffs pain, and also prescribed back stretching
exercises to treat plaintiffs back condition, which plaintiff
conceded relieved his pain. Butkos' decision not to order an
orthopedic consultation for plaintiff was a medical judgment, the
reasonableness of which is further highlighted by the facts that
plaintiffs condition eventually improved to the point where he
could perform the prescribed exercises and he no longer needed
pain medication, and that he did apparently did not seek, and did
not receive, an orthopedic consultation or surgical intervention
while incarcerated in a state facility for three (3) additional years.
Thus, there was no urgency and there was no inadequacy of
treatment, much Jess a serious inadequacy.
!d. at 10.
As to the subjective element of deliberate indifference, the Court found that "[p ]laintiff
submits no evidence other than his own unsupported conclusion which could support a finding of
substantial disregard for his health." !d. at II. Accordingly, the Court held that "[p]laintiffhas
failed to establish that Butkos knew of and substantially disregarded a known risk of serious
harm to his health." !d.
2. Municipal Liability
As explained by the Court in the December 3, 2014 Order, "(i]n order to prevail
on (a Monell] claim against a municipal defendant, the plaintiff must establish as a prerequisite
an underlying constitutional violation on the part of individual municipal actors." Order, at 12.
The Court concluded that "plaintiff has not demonstrated an underlying constitutional violation
to which Monell liability can extend" because plaintiff "failed to establish that Butkos provided
constitutionally inadequate medical care." !d. at 13. The Court also noted that plaintiff
"presented no admissible evidence that the County has a custom or policy to deny treatment in
order to save money or that such a policy or custom caused him to receive inadequate medical
treatment while incarcerated at S.C.C.F ." !d.
Motion for Reconsideration
Plaintiff contends that the Court overlooked the following facts when it determined that
plaintiff failed to raise a genuine issue of fact as to the objective prong of the deliberate
indifference inquiry: (I) "that Mr. Ceparano's back condition did not improve," (2) "that he
continually sought pain management throughout his incarceration at S.C.C.F. and in the State
system," and (3) "that he eventually received his surgery." 2 (Pl.' Mem. of Law in Supp. Of Mot.
for Recons. ("Mot") [Docket Entry No. 138-1], at 4-5).
As to the improvement of plaintiff's condition, plaintiff argues that this Court
"misunderstood that it was not Mr. Ceparano' s back condition that improved but a separate
condition- injuries to his femur and pelvis." (!d. at 3). Plaintiff then concludes that the fact that
Plaintiff does not inform the Court of the date that he underwent surgery. As of August 23, 2013,
plaintiff was scheduled to receive lumbar fusion surgery on August 30,2013. (Pl.' 56.1 Stmt. [Docket
Entry No. 130-13], ~ 85). Given plaintiff's representation in the Motion for Reconsideration, dated
December 23,2013, that he had "received his surgery," the Court concludes that plaintiff must have
received the surgery sometime between August 23,2013 and December 23,2013.
these separate injuries "eventually improved have no bearing on the reasonableness of Nurse
Butkos's failure to order Mr. Ceparano an orthopedic consultation." (Id.). Assuming, arguendo,
that the Court misunderstood which of plaintiff's conditions had improved to the point that he
was able to perform the back exercises prescribed by Butkos, such a misunderstanding would not
"alter the conclusion reached by the court" in the Order. Shrader, 70 F .3d at 257.
The improvement of plaintiff's condition was just one (I) of many facts relied upon by
the Court in determining that plaintiff failed to establish that he received inadequate medical care
from Butkos. Regardless of whether the injuries that improved were to plaintiff's back, or his
femur and pelvis, or whether plaintiff "continually sought pain management throughout his
incarceration at S.C.C.F. and in the State system," (Mot, at 4-5), the fact remains that plaintiff
"apparently did not seek, and did not receive, an orthopedic consultation or surgical intervention
while incarcerated in a state facility for approximately three (3) additional years." Order, at 10.
Plaintiff does not contend that the Court has overlooked some detail that would change this fact,
nor could he. Indeed, plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration altogether ignores this fact upon
which the Court based its conclusion that Butkos' failure to order a surgical consultation was not
sufficiently serious because there was no "condition of urgency." Hill, 657 F.3d at 122.
Furthermore, none of the facts purportedly overlooked by the Court create a genuine
issue of material fact as to whether Butkos' failure to order a surgical consultation was
"sufficiently serious." Salahuddin, 467 F.3d at 266. Instead, plaintiff's reliance on the fact that
he eventually received surgery in 2013 provides additional support for this Court's determination
that "there was no urgency," and thus, "there was no inadequacy of treatment, much less a
serious inadequacy." Order, at 10. Plaintiff has not presented facts that were overlooked by this
Court in its December 4, 2013 Order that "might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion
reached by the court" as to the objective element of deliberate indifference, and therefore, the
deliberate indifference claim in its entirety. 4 Williams v. County ofNassau, 779 F. Supp. 2d 276,
279 (E.D.N.Y. 2011) (quoting Shrader v. CSXTransp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255,257 (2d Cir. 1995)).
Accordingly, plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration is denied.
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration is denied.
s/ Sandra J. Feuerstein
Salfdra J. FeuerstM
United States District Judge
Dated: September 4, 2014
Central Islip, New York
In light of this determination, the Court does not address plaintiffs remaining arguments
regarding the subjective element of deliberate indifference. See Allah v. Michael, 506 F. App'x 49, 51
(2d Cir. Dec. 21, 2012) (summary order) (affirming district court's dismissal of plaintiffs deliberate
indifference claim where plaintiff failed to satisfy objective prong of the test); Feder v. Sposato, No. 11CV-193, 2014 WL 1801137, at *8 (E.D.N.Y. May 7, 2014) (noting Court need not resolve factual dispute
regarding objective prong where "the uncontroverted evidence makes clear that plaintiff cannot satisfy the
subjective prong of his deliberate indifference claim, even construing the evidence in plaintiff's favor").
The Court need not consider plaintiffs contentions regarding his Monell claim, since plaintiff
cannot establish an underlying constitutional violation. See Segal v. City ofN Y., 459 F.3d 207, 219 (2d
Cir. 2006) (Monell "extends liability to a municipal organization where ... the policies or customs that
[the organization] sanctioned, led to an independent constitutional violation.").
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