United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JAMES P. WOOD, Plaintiff,
CAPTAIN COLON, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS
VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
James P. Wood, currently incarcerated at the
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield,
Connecticut, has filed this action pro se against
defendants Captain Colon, Officer S. Ocasio, Social Worker
Erica Richardson and Warden Edward Maldonado. The remaining
claims include use of excessive force, use of threats,
deliberate indifference to safety by knowingly disseminating
false information regarding gang affiliation, retaliation,
conspiracy, and failure to discipline staff. The defendants
have filed a motion to dismiss all remaining claims. For the
reasons that follow, the defendants’ motion is granted
and denied in part.
Standard of Review
considering a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true all factual
allegations in the complaint and draws inferences from these
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974);
Flores v. Southern Peru Copper Corp., 343 F.3d 140,
143 (2d Cir. 2003). The Court considers not whether the
plaintiff ultimately will prevail, but whether he has stated
a claim upon which relief may be granted so that he should be
entitled to offer evidence to support his claim. Walker
v. Schult, 717 F.3d 119, 124 (2d Cir. 2013).
reviewing the complaint in response to a motion to dismiss,
the Court applies “a ‘plausibility standard,
’ which is guided by two working principles.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First,
the requirement that the Court accept the allegations in the
complaint as true “‘is inapplicable to legal
conclusions, ’ and ‘[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.’” Harris v.
Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Second, to survive a motion
to dismiss, the complaint must state a plausible claim for
relief. Determining whether the complaint states a plausible
claim for relief is “‘a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.’” Id.
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). Even under this
standard, however, the Court liberally construes a pro
se complaint. See Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723
F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013).
incidents underlying the complaint occurred at Osborn
Correctional Institution. On March 15, 2014, defendant Colon
told the plaintiff that he had entered into the Department of
Correction main computer a statement that the plaintiff was
the “head/leader of the Pecker Wood A/B” gang.
[Am. Compl., Dkt. #10-1 at 1]. Defendant Colon stated that
this information would prevent the plaintiff from being
granted parole. [Id.]
March 21, 2014, defendants Colon and Ocasio searched the
plaintiff’s cell. [Compl., Dkt. #1 at 6]. During the
search, they broke the plaintiff’s headphone and
destroyed family photos. [Id.] When the plaintiff
complained that they had damaged his personal property,
defendant Colon verbally assaulted the plaintiff.
March 31, 2014, the plaintiff spoke with defendant Richardson
in the mental health unit. When he complained about the cell
search, she told him that he could not complain about
correctional staff and asked him to leave the mental health
unit. [Id.] That evening, the plaintiff was called
to defendant Colon’s office. Defendant Richardson and
several unidentified officers were present. Defendant Colon
called the plaintiff a “cry baby and grown up
bitch.” [Id.] The verbal harassment continued
over the next few weeks. [Id.]
22, 2014, the plaintiff wrote a letter to defendant Warden
Maldonado complaining about defendant Colon’s behavior.
[Id. at 9]. When defendants Colon and Ocasio learned
about the letter, they pushed the plaintiff in the hallway
and threatened harm to him and his family if he continued
writing to the warden. [Id. at 8]. Specifically, the
plaintiff contends that one of the two officers told him that
if he kept “writing the warden [defendant] Colon will
have [the plaintiff] and [his] family taken care of.”
13, 2014, defendant Ocasio searched the plaintiff’s
cell and issued him a disciplinary report for possession of
sexually explicit materials and nuisance contraband.
[Id.] Upon receiving the disciplinary report, the
plaintiff was taken to the restrictive housing unit. During
transport, defendant Ocasio pushed and verbally assaulted the
following day, June 14, 2014, the plaintiff wrote a letter to
Sandy Wood. [Id.] Defendant Ocasio opened and read
the letter. [Id.] Defendant Ocasio claimed the
letter contained specific threats against defendant Colon and
issued the plaintiff a second disciplinary report.
[Id.]. The plaintiff pled guilty to both charges.
[Id. at 9].
24, 2014, the plaintiff learned that he had been denied
parole because of the statement defendant Colon had entered
into the Department of Correction computer ...