Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Roy v. New Hampshire Department of Corrections Commissioner Hanks

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

April 24, 2019

Steven J. Roy[1]
v.
New Hampshire Department of Corrections Commissioner Helen Hanks; Director of Medical and Forensic Services Paula Mattis; Bernadette Campbell, Administrator, Medical and Forensic Services; Centurion of New Hampshire LLC; MHM Solutions, Inc.; Dr. Jose Aviles; Dr. Edward Dransite; Dr. FNU Anzel; Dr. Keith Batchelder; Dr. Raj Pande; and Kathy Belisle

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ANDREA K. JOHNSTONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the court is plaintiff Steven J. Roy's complaint (Doc. No. 1) and motion for a preliminary injunction (Doc. No. 18). Roy, an inmate at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility (“NCF”), asserts claims relating to the dental care he has received at NCF. Defendants, named in their individual and official capacities, are New Hampshire Department of Corrections (“DOC”) officials, employees, and dentists Dr. Jose Aviles, Dr. FNU Anzel, Dr. Edward Dransite, Dr. Keith Batchelder, and Dr. Raj Pande; Centurion of New Hampshire LLC (“Centurion”); and MHM Solutions, Inc. (“MHM”).[2]

         The complaint (Doc. No. 1), as supplemented by the factual allegations in the motion for a preliminary injunction (Doc. No. 18), is before the court for preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and LR 4.3(d)(1). The motion for a preliminary injunction has been referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for a report and recommendation, see April 10, 2019 Order.

         Background

         Roy asserts that he has received inadequate dental care while at NCF. Roy alleges generally that the NCF Dental Department is understaffed and underfunded, and that NCF dental care is inadequately reactive and not appropriately preventive and proactive.

         I. Settlement Agreement

         Roy was the lead plaintiff in a group of eight plaintiffs in 2009 who, through counsel, jointly filed a case against a set of DOC officials, challenging the adequacy of the dental care those plaintiffs received in DOC custody. See Roy v. N.H. Dep't of Corr. Comm'r, No. 1:09-cv-00075-SM (D.N.H.) (“Roy I”).[3] That case settled. See Jan. 20, 2011 Stip., Roy I, ECF No. 47. Roy asserts here that the settlement agreement required DOC dentists to provide him with semi-annual teeth cleanings and to “fast-track” his receipt of upper and lower partial dentures. See Aff. of Steven Roy, Aug. 7, 2017 (“August 2017 Affidavit”) (Doc. No. 1, at 19). Roy asserts that the DOC breached that agreement by failing to schedule teeth cleanings every six months and by delaying the delivery of his partial dentures.

         II. Teeth Cleanings and Partial Dentures

         Roy reports he received no teeth cleanings in 2014, and that the two cleanings he received in 2015 (January and August), 2016 (April and October), 2017 (April and December), and 2018 (June and December), were scheduled on dates that diverged from regular, six-month intervals. See Aff. of Steven Roy, Aug. 22, 2018 (Doc. No. 1, at 24) (“August 2018 Affidavit”); Aff. of Steven Roy, Jan. 21, 2019 (“January 2019 Affidavit”) (Doc. No. 18, at 4).

         Roy alleges that both of his partial dentures (upper and lower) had been authorized since 2010. He asserts that, on October 1, 2013, Dr. Aviles notified him that both sets had been approved. See August 2018 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 24). Roy received an upper partial in 2014 and a lower partial on December 22, 2016. August 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 20).

         III. Delays Preceding Receipt of Lower Partial

         Roy contends that delays in his receipt of the lower partial caused the deterioration of his remaining bottom teeth, including front teeth #20 through #29, see Aff. of Steven Roy, June 14, 2017 (“June 2017 Affidavit”) (Doc. No. 1, at 15), and the “sequential failure of [his] bottom molars, ” August 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 19). Roy asserts that in 2010 he needed a lower partial only for teeth #19 and #30, but, by late 2016, he needed replacements for lower teeth #18, #19, #29, #30, and #31. See Id. Roy further asserts that in an appointment on April 25, 2017, dentist Dr. Shyne said that his bottom front teeth had suffered excessive wear due to the lack of bottom molars, and that Dr. Anzel had expressed a similar opinion in October or December 2016 as to bottom front teeth #20 and #22. See June 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 15, 16).

         IV. Loss of Fillings on Tooth #28 and Consequences

         Roy asserts that the lower partial denture fitted by Dr. Anzel on December 22, 2016 was anchored to teeth #20 and #28, and that three of the four fillings on tooth #28 fell out on December 29, 2016, rendering the partial “useless.” June 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 15). Roy's January 2, 2017 Inmate Request Slip (“IRS”) addressed to dentist Dr. Batchelder and copied to Dr. Anzel describes the damage to tooth #28, and reports that Roy remained able to use the lower partial to eat. See IRS to Dr. Batchelder, Jan. 2, 2017 (Doc. No. 1, at 33). Roy has asserted that denture adhesive he purchased in July 2017 was marginally effective in holding his lower partial in place. See August 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 20).

         Roy alleges that he reported the loss of fillings on tooth #28 to Dr. Anzel and Dr. Batchelder in January 2017, and again to Dr. Anzel on July 20, 2017. See Aff. of Steven Roy, Nov. 15, 2017 (“November 2017 Affidavit”) (Doc. No. 1, at 47). Dr. Anzel characterized tooth #28 as irreparable in July 2017. See August 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 20). A dentist applied a crown to tooth #28 on December 4, 2017, which lasted three months, until March 19, 2018. See January 2019 Affidavit (Doc. No. 18, at 4). Dr. Pande examined tooth #28 in April 2018, declared it to be free of decay, and refused to perform any repair to it. See August 2018 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 25). In response to Roy's complaints of pain in tooth #28, a dentist applied composite, which Roy asserts alleviated his pain, on September 24, 2018.

         Roy reported to the dental administrator in December 2018 that Dr. Anzel had previously told Roy to request a new lower partial, as Roy was eligible to do so. See January 2019 Affidavit (Doc. No. 18, at 4). The dental administrator told Roy, however, that although he was no longer eligible for a new lower partial, he could receive a full bottom denture if his remaining bottom teeth were extracted. See id.

         V. Abscesses, Decay, and Extractions

         Roy asserts that abscesses related to dental problems, if untreated, can cause cardiovascular and immune system damage. See June 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 16); August 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 19). Roy alleges that before Dr. Aviles retired in 2016, he diagnosed Roy as having persistent abscesses in teeth including teeth #2, #3, and several bottom teeth, which he determined needed no immediate treatment, as he considered the abscesses to be draining well. See June 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 15). Roy further alleges that Dr. Anzel, on October 27, 2016 and December 22, 2016, diagnosed abscesses in Roy's teeth #2, #3, #23, #24, and #25. Id. at 15-16; August 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 20). Dr. Shyne diagnosed abscesses in the same teeth and noted that a filling on tooth #11 was loose, in an appointment on April 25, 2017. June 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 16); see also August 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 19).

         Roy alleges that during a July 10, 2017 dental appointment, Roy reported to Dr. Anzel that a tooth on his lower partial had broken off, that fillings in teeth #11 and #20 had fallen out, and that teeth #23 and #28 had disintegrated or broken apart. See August 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 20); November 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 47). On July 10, 2017, Dr. Anzel: prescribed antibiotics for Roy's abscessed teeth, concluded that they needed to be extracted, expressed his opinion that teeth #11 and #20 involved only “simple repairs, ” and opined that tooth #28 was “not reparable.” August 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 20). Dr. Batchelder extracted teeth #23, #24, and #25 in November 2017. See November 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 47). Roy received fillings for teeth #20 and #21 on February 13, 2018. See August 2018 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 25). Dr. Pande repaired tooth #22 on April 9, 2018. See August 2018 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 25).

         Roy alleges that on December 1, 2017, an unnamed dentist, assisted by defendant Kathy Belisle, recorded decay and chips on many of Roy's teeth. Roy asserts that the decayed or chipped teeth have not been treated or repaired. See January 2019 Affidavit (Doc. No. 18, at 4). In a dental appointment on December 13, 2018, the dental administrator made it clear that Roy would receive no more repairs to his bottom teeth. See id.

         VI. Single Procedure Rule and Extraction Preference

         Roy asserts that the NCF Dental Department limits each inmate's dental care to a “single procedure” per visit. Roy asserts that inmates with multiple, concurrent dental problems must submit separate requests for each problem, that appointments are typically scheduled months apart, and that separate appointments are scheduled for each reported dental problem. November 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 47). Roy further alleges that the defendants prefer to extract teeth rather than repair them. See Id. As evidence of the defendants' extraction preference, Roy points to statements made by a dental administrator at Roy's September 2018 appointment, when Roy was told he could not have any further repairs made to his lower teeth, other than extractions. As to the single procedure policy, Roy alleges that when he went to dental “sick call” on July 10, 2017, seeking an appointment for missing fillings in teeth #11 and #20, repairs to teeth #23 and #28, and repairs to his lower partial, Roy received a follow-up appointment slip only for an extraction scheduled for November 2, 2017 and did not receive an appointment for the other procedures. Roy attributes that response to the “single procedure rule.” Roy has also alleged that the “single procedure rule” resulted in his having to defer a semi-annual cleaning on one occasion so he could get a cavity filled. See November 2017 Affidavit (Doc. No. 1, at 47).

         Claims

         Roy asserts the following claims in this case:

         1. Defendants are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law, in that delays in Roy's receipt of an upper partial denture in 2014 violated the Eighth Amendment, breached the 2010 settlement agreement in Roy I, and manifested negligence or malpractice.

         2. Defendants are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law, with respect to Roy's teeth cleanings, in that:

a. The failure to provide any teeth cleanings to Roy in 2014 violated the Eighth Amendment and breached the 2010 settlement agreement in Roy I;
b. The failure to provide any teeth cleanings to Roy in 2014 was negligence and/or professional malpractice; and
c. The variations in the scheduling of Roy's twice-yearly teeth cleanings in 2015-2018:
i. Violated his Eighth Amendment rights;
ii. Breached the 2010 settlement agreement in Roy I; and
iii. Constituted negligence and/or professional ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.