United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL, United States District Judge
plaintiff, Gregory Swinton, currently incarcerated at the
Bridgeport Correctional Center and proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis, brings this action under
Section 1983. He alleges that the State of Connecticut
Judicial Branch acted negligently by not securing the rear of
the truck transporting him, causing him to slip and fall when
he was exiting, and was deliberately indifferent when it
failed to provide him medical assistance thereafter. Swinton
also brings a claim against the hospital and medical
personnel that eventually treated his injuries: St.
Vincent’s Medical Center, Mary Gergis (a
physician’s assistant), and Dr. Shideh Imanian-Parsa.
He alleges that Gergis gave him food to which he was allergic
after he had disclosed his allergies, which caused him to
have an adverse reaction, and that she failed to properly
document the incident. Swinton has filed two motions to
appoint counsel (doc. ## 3, 16), and three motions for an
expedited ruling (doc. ## 12, 14, 15).
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. In reviewing a prisoner’s
pro se complaint, the Court must assume the truth of
the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise
the strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v.
Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d. Cir. 2007). Although
detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must
include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice
of the claims and the grounds upon which they are based to
demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atlantic v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory
allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
following allegations are taken from Swinton’s
complaint and are assumed to be true for the purposes of this
initial review. On November 12, 2015, Swinton was transported
from the Bridgeport Correctional Center to the Fairfield
County Courthouse by the State of Connecticut Judicial
Branch. When he stepped out of the vehicle, Swinton slipped
and fell from the vehicle “paneling, ” which he
alleges the marshals transporting him negligently failed to
secure. Swinton alleges that the marshals subjected him to
cruel and deliberate indifference by leaving him chained to
the “sally port” and lying on the ground for 30
minutes, and that he was not assisted by any of the marshals.
ambulance arrived and transported Swinton to St.
Vincent’s Medical Center where he was examined for
bruising and a back strain. He asked for food and disclosed
to the nurse and the doctor, Gergis and Imanian-Parsa
respectively, that he was allergic to eggs and soy. Gergis
brought a sandwich containing egg and soy and Swinton ate it
without knowing its contents.
went into anaphylactic shock, and he was given an
“epi-pen” and steroids to counteract the allergy.
Swinton alleges the incident involving the food and the
subsequent treatment was not properly documented.
was thereafter returned to the Bridgeport Correctional Center
and was attended to by the facility’s medical staff. He
alleges he requested the documentation of the allergic
reaction and medication he was given and learned that there
was no such documentation created by the Medical Center.
Swinton’s amended complaint, he adds the identity of
two Judicial Marshals, Officer Miranda “No. 351”
and Officer Matos “No. 592, ” who he says
witnessed St. Vincent’s Medical Center “hide
evidence” that they gave him food that caused his
allergic reaction. Swinton claims the two Marshals were
present when he disclosed his allergies to the St. Vincent
staff. He also alleges that the doctor, Defendant
Imanian-Parsa, failed to document administering the
“epi-pen” and steroid medication in
Swinton’s medical file.
nominally brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
allows him to file in federal court, by checking an item on a
standard form complaint indicating that he is suing
“State, county or city employees for violating [his]
federal rights” (doc. # 11 at 2). He does not appear to
be suing any such employees, however. He names as defendants
a hospital and medical personnel, who do not appear to be
state employees (and against whom any claims are presumably
state-law claims), and the State of Connecticut Judicial
against the state or one of its branches are generally barred
by the Eleventh Amendment “[u]nless Eleventh Amendment
immunity has been waived by the state or abrogated by
Congress.” Walker v. City of Waterbury, 253 F.
App’x 58, 60 (2d Cir. 2007). The Eleventh Amendment
applies not only to suits directed at a state as a whole, but
also to suits directed at state agencies. See In re
Deposit Ins. Agency, 482 F.3d 612, 617 (2d Cir. 2007).
“The Judicial Branch is clearly an arm of the state,
” and Swinton’s claims against it are therefore
barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Patterson v.
Connecticut Dep’t of Labor Adm’r, 2012 WL
4484913, at *5 (D. Conn. Sept. 27, 2012). Swinton has not
cited any authority-and I am not aware of any-to allow his
claims to proceed against the State of Connecticut Judicial
Branch on the basis that Eleventh Amendment immunity has been
abrogated or waived. The claim against the State of
Connecticut Judicial Branch therefore must be dismissed.
Swinton has any possible claim under Section 1983, the
threshold issue is identifying the correct defendant. Because
the state itself (and therefore the Judicial Branch) is
immune, and Section 1983 allows claims against state
employees, the individual marshals who allegedly
violated his rights must be identified. When a pro
se litigant might have a viable claim “but has
failed to name the proper defendant, he should be directed to
obtain the requisite information and allowed an opportunity
to amend his complaint.” Carlisle v. City of
Yonkers, 104 F.3d 352 (2d Cir. 1996) (unpublished
opinion). Accordingly, any federal ...