Vallen v. Beau Plan et al
MEMORANDUM & ORDER granting 20 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' motion to dismiss (Docket Entry 20) is GRANTED and the Amended Complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Defendants' req uest for an order barring Plaintiff from filing additional lawsuits against Pilgrim or its employees is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Clerk of the Court is directed to mail a copy of this Memorandum and Order to the pro se Plaintiff. Given Plaintiff& #039;s pro se status, the Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this Memorandum and Order would not be taken in good faith and therefore in forma pauperis status is DENIED for purposes of an appeal. The Clerk of the Court is directed to mark this case CLOSED. So Ordered by Judge Joanna Seybert on 2/14/2017. C/M; C/ECF (Valle, Christine)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
DR. ROGER BEAU PLAN, DR. BILAL KHAN,
and DR. LEONCIA CARLOTTA,
Barry Vallen, pro se
Pilgrim Psychiatric Center Hospital
998 Crooked Hill Road
W. Brentwood, NY 11717
Lori L. Pack, Esq.
Office of the New York State Attorney General
300 Motor Parkway, Suite 205
Hauppauge, NY 11788
SEYBERT, District Judge:
Currently pending before the Court in this section 1983
action is a motion filed by
Dr. Roger Beau Plan (“Dr. Plan”), Dr.
Bilal Khan (“Dr. Khan”), and Dr. Leoncia Carlotta (“Dr. Carlotta”
and collectively “Defendants”) to dismiss for failure to state a
claim (Docket Entry 20).
For the following reasons, Defendants’
motion is GRANTED.
procedural background of this case, which is set forth in its
Memorandum and Order dated February 4, 2016.
See Vallen v. Plan,
No. 15-CV-0703, 2016 WL 482026 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 4, 2016).
Briefly, Plaintiff is a patient at Pilgrim Psychiatric
Center (“Pilgrim”) and commenced this action on February 9, 2015.
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in connection with
a severe back injury.
(Compl. ¶ IV.)
Specifically, he alleged
that Defendants, after determining that he was addicted to certain
pain medications, decided to stop prescribing those medications.
“unbearable” pain without the pain medications.
(Compl. ¶ IV.)
He sought $75,000 from Dr. Plan, $25,000 from Dr. Khan, and $25,000
from Dr. Carlotta to compensate him for the alleged violations of
his Eighth Amendment rights.
(Compl. ¶ V.)
sought injunctive relief directing Defendants “to end the lowering
psychiatrist-psychologist[,] medical doctor[,] and social worker
trained in treated trauma.”
(Compl. ¶ V.)
On August 11, 2015,
Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a
claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
On February 4, 2016, this Court granted Defendant’s
motion in part.
Vallen, 2016 WL 482026, at *4.
The Court held
that Plaintiff’s claims for monetary damages against Defendants in
their official capacities were barred by sovereign immunity and
dismissed those claims.
Id. at *3.
The Court further held that
Plaintiff’s Complaint failed to state a claim and dismissed the
Complaint with leave to amend.
Id. at *4.
While Plaintiff may
have disagreed with the course of treatment, the Court found that
See id. at *4.
THE AMENDED COMPLAINT1
On April 22, 2016, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff makes similar allegations in his Amended Complaint,
including that: (1) Defendants were “deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff[’s] [p]sychiatric and medical need[s];” (2) Plaintiff
suffers from a deteriorating “hip condition” which is “well known
to Defendants;” (3) Plaintiff “never asked for narcotics . . .
[and] would rather have had bed rest;” (4) Defendants and nurses
teased Plaintiff; (5) “Due to the Staff[’]s deliberate infliction
and wanton and vicious abuse of [Plaintiff] . . . Plaintiff even
with the medications could not leave a psychological and physical
The following facts are taken from the Amended Complaint (Am.
Compl., Docket Entry 17) and are presumed to be true for the
purposes of this Memorandum and Order. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 572, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1975, 167 L. Ed. 2d
929 (2007) (“[A] judge ruling on a defendant’s motion to dismiss
a complaint must accept as true all of the factual allegations
contained in the complaint.” (internal quotation marks and
state of pain;” and (6) “Defendants were obviously together in a
sufficiently culpable state of mind, not being kind or even trying
to be kind to Plaintiff.”
(Am. Compl. at 1-3)2 (emphasis in
Plaintiff contends that he has “silently suffered with
vicious and wanton infliction [of pain]” and requests that the
Court order an evaluation by an outside doctor as soon as possible.
(Am. Compl. at 4.)
Finally, he states that he intends to proceed
against Defendants in their individual capacities in light of the
Court’s prior ruling.
(Am. Compl. at 5.)
The Court construes the
Amended Complaint as seeking unspecified monetary damages against
Defendants and an order directing that Defendants allow him to be
examined by an outside doctor.
Specifically, they argue that Plaintiff’s allegations fail to
state a claim for deliberate indifference to his medical needs.
(Defs.’ Br., Docket Entry 20-2, at 2-3.) Alternatively, they argue
that the Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.
Br. at 3-6.) Defendants also request an order precluding Plaintiff
The Court will use the page numbers assigned by the Electronic
Case Filing System when referring to the Amended Complaint.
from filing additional lawsuits against Pilgrim, or members of its
staff, without permission of this Court.
(Defs.’ Br. at 6-7.)
Rule 12(b)(6) provides that dismissal is appropriate if
the complaint fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to dismiss,
a complaint must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007).
A claim is plausible
“when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court
to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for
the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678,
129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009).
Court must accept all allegations in the Amended Complaint as true,
this tenet is “inapplicable to legal conclusions.”
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action,
supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common
Id. at 679, 129 S. Ct. at 1950.
A complaint filed by a pro se litigant is to be construed
liberally and “however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200, 167 L.
Ed. 2d 1081 (2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
See also Hiller v. Farmington Police Dep’t, No. 12-CV-1139, 2015
WL 4619624, at *7 (D. Conn. July 31, 2015) (noting that the
dismissal of a pro se complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is not
appropriate “unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
Nevertheless, a pro se complaint must state a plausible claim for
relief and comply with the minimal pleading standards set forth in
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Hiller, 2015 WL 4619624, at *7.
In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court is generally
confined to “the allegations contained within the four corners of
Pani v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, 152 F.3d
67, 71 (2d Cir. 1998).
However, the Court may consider “any
written instrument attached to [the complaint] as an exhibit,
materials incorporated in it by reference, and documents that,
Sira v. Morton, 380 F.3d 57, 67 (2d Cir. 2004)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Deliberate Indifference Claim
When a prisoner alleges inadequate medical treatment, he
must show “deliberate indifference to [his] serious medical needs”
to establish a constitutional violation.3
Johnson v. Wright, 412
F.3d 398, 403 (2d Cir. 2005) (alteration in original) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104, 97 S. Ct. 285, 291, 50 L. Ed.
2d 251 (1976)). Deliberate indifference has an objective component
and a subjective component.
Bolden v. Cty. of Sullivan, 523 F.
App’x 832, 833 (2d Cir. 2013) (citing Hathaway v. Coughlin, 99
deprivation must be sufficiently serious, in the sense that a
condition of urgency, one that may produce death, degeneration or
extreme pain exists.’”
Bolden, 523 F. App’x at 833 (quoting
Hathaway, 99 F.3d at 553).
To satisfy the subjective component,
“the charged official must act with a sufficiently culpable state
of mind, i.e., something more than mere negligence and akin to
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted)
disagreement with a course of treatment or allegations of medical
malpractice do not rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
Id.; Hathaway, 99 F.3d at 553.
As the Court previously held, “[b]ecause Plaintiff was
involuntarily committed at the time of the challenged conduct,
his deliberate indifference claims are analyzed under the Due
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment rather than under the
Eighth Amendment.” Vallen, 2016 WL 482026, at *3. However,
courts apply the same standard for deliberate indifference
claims brought by non-prisoners under the Fourteenth Amendment
and prisoners under the Eighth Amendment. Id. at *3 n.4 (citing
Caiozzo v. Koreman, 581 F.3d 63, 72 (2d Cir. 2009)).
Even assuming arguendo that Plaintiff’s pain constitutes
a sufficiently serious injury, the Court finds that the Amended
Complaint fails to state a claim for deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff’s medical needs.
In his original Complaint, Plaintiff
alleged that Defendants decided to stop prescribing certain pain
medications after they determined that he may have become addicted
to those medications.
(Compl. ¶ IV.)
This Court held that
although those allegations “ma[d]e clear that . . . he may have
disagreed with the course of treatment,” the allegations failed to
state a claim for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s medical
Complaint contains substantially similar allegations.
alleges that he has a hip condition that causes serious pain and
appears to disagree with Defendants’ initial decision to prescribe
(Am. Compl. at 2.)
However, as set forth above, simply disagreeing with a
course of treatment does not demonstrate deliberate indifference
See Bolden, 523 F. App’x at 833; see also Joyner
v. Greiner, 195 F. Supp. 2d 500, 504-05 (S.D.N.Y. 2002) (“It is
well established that a difference of opinion between a prisoner
and prison officials regarding medical treatment does not, as a
matter of law, constitute deliberate indifference.
Nor does the
fact that an inmate might prefer an alternative treatment, or feels
that he did not get the level of medical attention he preferred.”)
allegations of teasing by medical staff, including that they were
“not even trying to be kind” to him, also do not rise to the level
of deliberate indifference.
See, e.g., Sanchez v. Graham, No. 12-
CV-1646, 2016 WL 5854551, at *13 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 12, 2016), R&R
adopted, 2016 WL 5852511 (N.D.N.Y. Oct. 6, 2016) (“[A]llegations
regarding the bedside man[ner] of medical staff do not amount to
deliberate indifference claim is DISMISSED.4
III. Defendants’ Request for an Order Concerning Future Lawsuits
Defendants seek an order barring Plaintiff from filing
additional lawsuits against Pilgrim and its employees without
leave of court.
However, Defendants have failed to provide the
Court with adequate information regarding, inter alia, Plaintiff’s
history of litigation and the outcome of his other cases. A review
of the Electronic Case Filing System reveals that Plaintiff has
filed six cases in this district, four of which remain pending.
As such, the Court finds that the requested order is unwarranted
at this time, and Defendants’ request is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Because Plaintiff’s underlying claim lacks merit, the Court
need not determine whether Defendants are entitled to qualified
IV. Leave to Amend
The Second Circuit has held that “[w]hen a motion to
dismiss is granted, the usual practice is to grant leave to amend
Hayden v. Cty. of Nassau, 180 F.3d 42, 53 (2d
Cir. 1999), overruled on other grounds, Gonzaga v. Doe, 536 U.S.
273, 122 S.Ct. 2268, 153 L.Ed.2d 309 (2002).
See also FED. R. CIV.
P. 15(a)(2) (“The court should freely give leave [to amend] when
discretion whether or not to grant leave to amend,” and “[w]here
productive . . . it is not an abuse of discretion to deny leave to
Ruffolo v. Oppenheimer & Co., 987 F.2d 129, 131 (2d Cir.
Additionally, a district court may deny leave to amend
where “there is no indication from a liberal reading of the
complaint that a valid claim might be stated.” Perri v. Bloomberg,
No. 11-CV-2646, 2012 WL 3307013, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 13, 2012).
In light of the fact that Plaintiff was previously
disagreement with Defendants’ treatment plan cannot give rise to
a constitutional violation under well-established precedent, leave
to amend is DENIED.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ motion to dismiss
(Docket Entry 20) is GRANTED and the Amended Complaint is DISMISSED
WITH PREJUDICE. Defendants’ request for an order barring Plaintiff
from filing additional lawsuits against Pilgrim or its employees
is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
The Clerk of the Court is directed
to mail a copy of this Memorandum and Order to the pro se Plaintiff.
Given Plaintiff’s pro se status, the Court certifies pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this Memorandum and
Order would not be taken in good faith and therefore in forma
pauperis status is DENIED for purposes of an appeal. Coppedge v.
United States, 369 U.S. 438, 444–45, 82 S. Ct. 917, 8 L. Ed. 2d 21
The Clerk of the Court is directed to mark this case
/s/ JOANNA SEYBERT______
Joanna Seybert, U.S.D.J.
14 , 2017
Central Islip, New York
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