Document Type

Amicus Brief

Publication Date


Case Name

Darby v. New York City Department of Co


Plaintiff-Appellant Devin Darby ("Plaintiff' or "Darby") brought this action pro se in the District Court, after experiencing several months of excruciating pain while in the care and custody of Appellees-Defendants David Greenman, Rafael Hamilton, and John Doe Nos. 1 and 2 ("Defendants"). Although Plaintiff clearly pleaded the grounds establishing that Defendants violated the constitution by failing to provide treatment for Mr. Darby's painful and swollen gums, the District Court dismissed the action. The District Court entered its dismissal even though no arguments were presented on behalf of Defendant Hamilton and John Doe Nos. 1 and 2. Indeed, at the time dismissal was ordered, the presiding magistrate judge had ordered the production of documents so as to enable Mr. Darby to identify and serve the Doe Defendants.

The District Court made multiple errors that should result in reversal here. First, the District Court disregarded the factual allegations contained in Mr. Darby's complaint and failed to draw reasonable inferences therefrom in his favor, a critical error at the motion to dismiss stage, particularly where the plaintiff proceeds pro se. Second, the court below disregarded well-established law by finding that Mr. Darby's allegations of continuous pain and gum swelling sufficient to interfere with daily activities (ultimately requiring surgery) are not enough to rise to the level of an objectively serious harm for the purposes of establishing deliberate indifference under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. And finally, the court below failed to credit Mr. Darby's factual allegations when considering whether he had established, for the purposes of the motion to dismiss, that defendant Hamilton knew, and defendant Greenman should have known, of the pain they were exposing him to on a daily basis. Nor did the District Court credit Mr. Darby's factual allegations regarding the acts and omissions of the Doe Defendants.

Mr. Darby spent months fruitlessly seeking treatment from the City of New York and the individual Defendants in this case. Defendant Greenman proposed to pull Mr. Darby's tooth rather than treat his swollen and painful gums, while Defendant Hamilton only cleaned his teeth. In the meantime, Plaintiff endured severe pain on a daily basis, ultimately receiving the surgery he so desperately needed only after being transferred into state custody. He has now spent years attempting to seek accountability for Defendants' failures. This Court should reverse the judgment below so that he may proceed to obtain the discovery that will buttress his cause.