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Hentschel v. Rockingham County Department of Corrections.

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

November 20, 2015

Derrick D. Hentschel
Rockingham County Department of Corrections.


ANDREA K. JOHNSTONE, Magistrate Judge.

Before the court is plaintiff Derrick D. Hentschel's original complaint (doc. no. 1) and four complaint addenda (doc. nos. 3, 8, 9, and 11), alleging violations of his rights under the federal constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. ("ADA"), and state law. The matter is before this court for preliminary review, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and LR 4.3(d)(1).


For the purposes of this court's preliminary review of prisoner pleadings under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and LR 4.3(d)(1), the court construes the pleading liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Disregarding any legal conclusions, the court considers whether the factual content in the pleading and inferences reasonably drawn therefrom, taken as true, state a claim to relief. Hernandez-Cuevas v. Taylor, 723 F.3d 91, 102-03 (1st Cir. 2013) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).


Hentschel has been an inmate at the Rockingham County Department of Corrections ("RCDC") since April 2015. Hentschel alleges that during his initial intake at the RCDC, he provided that facility with information regarding his previous medical diagnoses, a severe knee injury and scoliosis spinal injury, as well as his psychiatric diagnoses, post-traumatic stress disorder, antisocial personality disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. Hentschel also signed releases to allow RCDC medical providers to obtain his prior medical and mental health information, as he had, prior to his incarceration, been receiving medical and orthopedic care for his knee injury, and treatment for his mental illnesses. Hentschel also states that he reinjured his knee early in his RCDC incarceration.

Hentschel asserts that despite repeated requests, he has received no mental health care while at RCDC. The complaint details substantial efforts by RCDC medical care providers to treat or diagnose his knee. Apart from Hentschel's assertion that he has not received adequate treatment for his spinal condition or mental illness, the complaint fails to provide any details regarding either the requests he has made to obtain treatment, or the nature of the treatment he has received for those conditions, if any.


I. Inadequate Medical Care

A. Standard

The First Circuit has held that to assert either a Fourteenth Amendment or an Eighth Amendment claim based on inadequate medical care, a plaintiff must establish that the deprivation was, objectively, "sufficiently serious, " and must also show that, "[s]ubjectively, ... prison officials possessed a sufficiently culpable state of mind, namely one of deliberate indifference' to an inmate's health or safety." Perry v. Roy, 782 F.3d 73, 78 (1st Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); Ruiz-Rosa v. Rullan, 485 F.3d 150, 155 (1st Cir. 2007).[1]

"To demonstrate deliberate indifference a plaintiff must show (1) a grave risk of harm, (2) the defendant's actual or constructive knowledge of that risk, and (3) his failure to take easily available measures to address the risk.'" Penn v. Escorsio, 764 F.3d 102, 110 (1st Cir. 2014) (citation omitted), cert. dismissed, 135 S.Ct. 1732 (2015). Deliberate indifference is not demonstrated "where the dispute concerns not the absence of help, but the choice of a certain course of treatment." Kosilek v. Spencer, 774 F.3d 63, 92 (1st Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 2059 (2015).

B. Knee Injury

Here, Hentschel's complaints concerning his medical care for his knee amount to a dissatisfaction with the choice of treatment made by the RCDC providers. Hentschel acknowledges that he has been examined and provided with treatment. These assertions undermine any assertion that any individual at the RCDC medical department was deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. Accordingly, the federal constitutional claims concerning treatment for Hentschel's knee injury should be dismissed. The court should also decline to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. § 1367, and dismiss the related state law claims asserted with respect to plaintiff's ...

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