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Washington v. Superintendent, Hillsborough County Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

February 10, 2016

William B. Washington,
v.
Superintendent, Hillsborough County Department of Corrections.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

ANDREA K. JOHNSTONE, Magistrate Judge.

Before the court are plaintiff William B. Washington's addenda to the complaint (doc. nos. 17, 18, 21, 24), and the factual allegations in the cover letter to Washington's Motion to Appoint Counsel (doc. no. 19). Washington filed these documents in response to this court's October 15, 2015, Order (doc. no. 14) ("October 15 Order").

Also before the court is Washington's motion to join the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections ("HCDC") Medical Department as a defendant. This court previously took that motion (doc. no. 11) under advisement, pending receipt of Washington's response to the October 15 Order.

To the extent Washington's recent filings seek to add allegations and claims to the complaint, they are before this court for preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and LR 4.3(d)(1). The court, in conducting its preliminary review of those filings, applies the same standard as that set forth in the October 15 Order.

Background

This court has construed the complaint to assert that unnamed HCDC Medical Department personnel and corrections officers violated Washington's Fourteenth Amendment right to avoid punitive conditions of confinement and inadequate medical care while in pretrial detention, in that while Washington was in the custody of the HCDC, the unnamed defendants denied or delayed treatment for, and forced Washington to walk on, a severe and painful foot injury. See Oct. 15, 2015, Order (doc. no. 14). Washington previously named the HCDC Superintendent as a defendant in the Complaint (doc. no. 1), and sought leave to join the HCDC Medical Department as a second defendant in his Motion to Amend (doc. no. 11). In the October 15 Order, this court took the motion to join the HCDC Medical Department (doc. no. 11) under advisement, and granted Washington leave to amend the complaint to name particular HCDC corrections officers or health care providers who he asserts made him walk on his injured foot, despite knowing about the pain it caused him, and/or who failed to provide timely, adequate care for his foot problem while Washington was at the HCDC.

In response to the October 15 Order, Washington filed five documents (doc. nos. 17-19, 21, 24), asserting that the HCDC Superintendent, HCDC Health Services Administrator Denise Ryan, the HCDC doctor, and the HCDC nurses knew about his foot problem but did not provide adequate treatment for the condition, and/or delayed treating it. Washington has specifically alleged that the HCDC doctor saw him only twice in seven months and misdiagnosed his problem as arthritis, and that the HCDC Superintendent and Health Services Administrator neither provided crutches, put Washington on bed rest, nor took any other reasonable steps to alleviate Washington's suffering, when HCDC corrections officers, who also knew about Washington's foot problems, made him walk.

Washington has further alleged that the pain that first appeared in his foot had radiated up into his leg; that the New Hampshire State Prison ("NHSP") physician, Dr. Celia Englander, was concerned about the lack of "help" the HCDC had provided to Washington; and that she feared Washington's foot might need to be amputated. See Doc. No. 17, at 1-2. Washington notified this court in late December 2015 that foot surgery he received after he was incarcerated at the NHSP had not fixed the problem, and that he was awaiting emergency vascular surgery, to be followed by weeks of confinement, rehabilitation, pain, and scarring, which he believes could have been avoided if the problem had been addressed by the HCDC a year ago. See Doc. No. 19, at 2.

Washington's pleadings (doc. nos. 1, 8, 17-19, 21, 24), construed liberally, assert the following claims[1]:

1. HCDC Superintendent David Dionne, Health Services Administrator Denise Ryan, the HCDC doctor, and unnamed HCDC nurses, who knew of Washington's complaints of foot pain and injury, are each liable to Washington under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for violating Washington's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights while Washington was in pretrial detention, in that each of them caused delays in or denial of adequate diagnosis and treatment of Washington's foot injury, with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm to Washington, from December 2014 until his transfer to the NHSP on July 24, 2015.
2. HCDC Superintendent David Dionne, Health Services Administrator Denise Ryan, and unnamed HCDC corrections officers who knew of Washington's complaints of foot pain and injury are each liable to Washington under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for causing Washington to walk on his injured foot, with deliberate indifference to the pain and substantial risk of serious harm it caused Washington, without taking reasonable steps to alleviate the risk of such pain and harm, from December 2014 until his transfer to the NHSP on
3. The HCDC Medical Department, Nurse Denise Ryan, and the HCDC doctor are liable to Washington for medical malpractice under state law, based on the allegations giving rise to Claim 1.

Discussion

I. Fifth and Eighth ...


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