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Mercado v. Dep't of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 6, 2016

RAUDELL MERCADO, Plaintiff,
v.
DEP'T OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The Plaintiff, Raudell Mercado, currently incarcerated at Northern Correctional Institution (“Northern”), has filed a motion for appointment of counsel and a civil rights complaint. He names the State of Connecticut Department of Correction, [1] Commissioner Scott Semple, Deputy Commissioner Monica Rinaldi, Warden Ann Cournoyer, Deputy Wardens William Mulligan and Richard Laffargue, Acting Warden Scott Erfe, Director of Clinical Services Craig Burns, Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Director Colleen Gallagher, Psychologist Joslyn Cruz, Drs. Mark Frayne and Gerard Gagne, Health Service Administrator Brian Liebel and Captain Jesse Johnson as Defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint is dismissed in part and the motion for appointment of counsel is denied.

         I. Complaint [Dkt. No. 1]

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss ... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or that “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility 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 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions, ' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action. . .'” or “‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement, '” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Although courts still have an obligation to interpret “a pro se complaint liberally, ” the complaint must include sufficient factual allegations to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).

         In August 2015, Commissioner Semple, Deputy Commissioner Rinaldi and Director of Psychiatric Services Burns transferred the Plaintiff to Northern. The Plaintiff was a pre-trial detainee when he arrived at Northern. Department of Correction records reflect that the Plaintiff was sentenced on September 14, 2015.[2]

         The Plaintiff has been diagnosed with multiple mental disorders. He has taken medication to treat the disorders since childhood.

         The Plaintiff claims that there are no mental health units at Northern. It was the decision of Commissioner Semple, Deputy Commissioner Rinaldi, Director of Psychiatric Services Burns, Warden Cournoyer, Deputy Warden Mulligan, Health Service Administrator Brian Liebel, and ADA Director Gallagher to confine the Plaintiff in phase one of the administrative segregation at Northern.

         The conditions in phase one, including isolation, are very restrictive and have exacerbated the Plaintiff's mental illnesses and caused him physical injury as well. The conditions in administrative segregation include: confinement to a cell for twenty-three hours a day, meals eaten in the cell, recreation one hour a day, showers three times a week, no contact visits, one telephone call a week, no work assignments, no participation in congregate religious services and limited use of the toilet and sink. The Plaintiff also asserts that he must wear full restraints when leaving his cell. The Plaintiff claims that he has been confined in phase one of administrative segregation at Northern for almost the entire time that he has remained at Northern.

         The Plaintiff contends Dr. Gagne sexually harassed him when they spoke one-on-one. The Plaintiff reported the incident, but no action was taken in response to the report. Dr. Frayne on many occasions placed the Plaintiff on behavior observation status in retaliation for the Plaintiff's complaints to Dr. Frayne's supervisor regarding improper treatment of the Plaintiff's mental health conditions.

         The Plaintiff claims that during his confinement at Northern, Commissioner Semple, Deputy Commissioner Rinaldi, Warden Cournoyer, Director Burns, Deputy Warden Mulligan, Administrator Brian Liebel, ADA Director Gallagher, and Drs. Frayne and Gagne have failed to provide mental health treatment to the Plaintiff and to hire and to train staff to deal with mentally ill inmates. He claims Drs. Frayne and Gagne, Director Burns and Administrator Liebel have neglected to develop an adequate treatment plan for the Plaintiff's mental illnesses, failed to provide him with psychotherapy, refused to involve his family in his mental health treatment and discontinued mental health medications for him.

         On February 29, 2016, Warden Cournoyer, Deputy Warden Mulligan, Dr. Mark Frayne and Dr. Gerard Gagne transferred the Plaintiff from Northern to Cheshire Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”). There are no mental health units at Cheshire. It was the decision of Commissioner Semple, Deputy Commissioner Rinaldi, Director Burns, Acting Warden Erfe, Deputy Warden Laffargue and ADA Director Gallagher to confine the Plaintiff in administrative segregation at Cheshire.

         The Plaintiff claims that during his confinement at Cheshire, Commissioner Semple, Director Burns, Acting Warden Erfe, Deputy Warden Laffargue, Dr. Cruz, ADA Director Gallagher and Captain Johnson have failed to provide mental health treatment to the Plaintiff and to train staff to deal with mentally ill inmates. He further claims Dr. Cruz and Director Burns and Health Administrator Libel have neglected to develop an adequate treatment plan for the Plaintiff's mental illnesses, failed to provide him with psychotherapy, refused to involve his family in his mental health treatment, and failed to transfer him to the mental health unit at Garner Correctional Institution in order to receive the mental health treatment that he needed.

         The Plaintiff generally alleges that he has received disciplinary sanctions as a result of his behavior that was caused by his mental illness. These sanctions have included placement in punitive segregation, placement in in-cell restraints, placement in four-point restraints, exposure to chemical agents, loss of visitation and phone privileges and denial of hygiene ...


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