United States District Court, D. Connecticut
CHAZ O. GULLEY, Plaintiff,
DEPUTY WARDEN IWEKA, et al., Defendants.
RULING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
MICHAEL P. SHEA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Chaz O. Gulley, is currently incarcerated at
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution, in Uncasville,
Connecticut. He commenced this civil rights action pro
se by filing a complaint naming Deputy Warden Iweka,
Counselor Supervisor Peterson, Captain James Watson,
Lieutenants Kenny and Santopietro and Correctional Officers
Griffin, Smith, Rowold, R. Crowell, and Dicosmo as
defendants. The complaint alleges claims of excessive force,
failure to intervene in the use of force by others, and
assault and battery against all the defendants in their
individual capacities. The defendants move for summary
judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
granted in part and denied in part.
Standard of Review
motion for summary judgment, the burden is on the moving
party to establish that there are no genuine disputes of
material fact and that it is “entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is
“material” if it “might affect the outcome
of the suit under the governing law, ” and a dispute
about a material fact is “genuine” if “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
motion for summary judgment is supported by documentary
evidence and sworn affidavits and “demonstrates the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact, ” the
nonmoving party must do more than vaguely assert the
existence of some unspecified disputed material facts or
“rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated
speculation.” Robinson v. Concentra Health Servs.,
Inc., 781 F.3d 42, 44 (2d Cir. 2015) (citation omitted).
The party opposing the motion for summary judgment
“must come forward with specific evidence demonstrating
the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact.”
Id. In reviewing the record, the court must
“construe the evidence in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party and . . . draw all reasonable inferences
in its favor.” Gary Friedrich Enters., L.L.C. v.
Marvel Characters, Inc., 716 F.3d 302, 312 (2d Cir.
2013) (citation omitted).
one party is proceeding pro se, the court reads the
pro se party’s papers liberally and interprets
them “to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest.” Willey v. Kirkpatrick, 801 F.3d 51,
62 (2d Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). Despite this liberal interpretation, however,
“[u]nsupported allegations do not create a material
issue of fact” and cannot overcome a properly supported
motion for summary judgment. See Weinstock v. Columbia
Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000), cert.
denied, 540 U.S. 811 (2003).
August 10, 2014, the plaintiff was confined at Cheshire
Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”). At about
4:00 p.m. that day, the plaintiff and other inmates from his
housing unit were walking to the cafeteria for dinner.
Correctional Officer Rowold was posted at the metal detector
located in the north corridor near the CC3 door and was
monitoring inmate movement to the cafeteria. Officer Rowold
directed the plaintiff to step out of line and return to the
area near the metal detector.
Rowold approached the plaintiff and removed the
identification card from the plaintiff’s shirt. Officer
Rowold then called for additional staff support and a
supervisor. He applied force to move the plaintiff to the
wall of the corridor. Another officer arrived and assisted
Officer Rowold in securing the plaintiff against the wall and
applying handcuffs to the plaintiff’s wrists. When
Lieutenant Kenny arrived and observed the situation, he asked
another officer to relieve Officer Rowold. Under the
supervision of Lieutenant Kenny, two officers escorted the
plaintiff to the restrictive housing unit dayroom.
to an instruction by Lieutenant Kenny, a third officer
conducted a controlled strip search of the plaintiff as the
same two officers held the plaintiff’s arms. After the
strip search, officers escorted the plaintiff to a cell in
the restrictive housing unit. As the officers were removing
the handcuffs from the plaintiff’s wrist through the
trap in the door of the cell, the plaintiff made statements
regarding a desire to harm or kill himself. Lieutenant Kenny
then directed the officers to remove the plaintiff from the
cell and to escort him back to the dayroom.
dayroom, officers conducted a second controlled strip search
under the supervision of Lieutenant Kenny and dressed the
plaintiff in a safety gown. The officers escorted the
plaintiff to cell 116 in the restrictive housing unit, which
had a camera to monitor the plaintiff’s behavior. The
officers placed the plaintiff in the cell with a clean
mattress and a blanket and removed the handcuffs.
checked the plaintiff’s wrists and jaw in response to
the plaintiff’s complaints of pain in those areas.
Lieutenant Kenny photographed both of the plaintiff’s
wrists and his jaw, and placed the plaintiff on behavior
observation status due to his statements of self-harm.
approximately 4:35 p.m., correctional staff passed the
plaintiff’s dinner meal to him through the trap in the
cell door. Very shortly after receiving his dinner, the
plaintiff covered the camera in the cell, which made it
impossible to view the inside of the cell. The plaintiff also
covered the window in the door of the cell.
as an officer noticed that the plaintiff had covered the
camera and cell window, he informed Lieutenant Kenny. When
Lieutenant Kenny arrived at the cell, he ordered the
plaintiff to remove the covering from the window, but the
plaintiff refused to do so. Lieutenant Kenny was able to open
the trap in the door of the cell and observe the plaintiff
standing in the corner of the cell. Lieutenant Kenny
allegedly ordered the plaintiff to lie on the mattress in the
cell and the plaintiff allegedly did not respond.
Kenny then administered a burst of a chemical agent into the
cell through the trap in the cell door. Lieutenant Limmer
administered a second burst of a chemical agent through the
trap in the cell door. At approximately 4:42 p.m., the
plaintiff removed the covering from the camera in the cell.
Within seconds, Officers Griffin, Smith, Jura, and Johnson
and Lieutenants Kenny and Limmer entered the cell and pinned
the plaintiff to the bed. Lieutenant Kenny administered a
third burst of a chemical agent into the plaintiff’s
facial area and Lieutenant Limmer issued a fourth burst of a
chemical agent into the plaintiff’s facial area. The
officers handcuffed the plaintiff behind his back, escorted
him out of the cell, and permitted him to rinse his face in
the shower in an effort to decontaminate him from the
chemical agent residue.
the direction of Lieutenant Kenny, Officers Smith and Griffin
escorted the plaintiff to the dayroom in the restrictive
housing unit and dressed him in a clean safety gown. Based on
the plaintiff’s behavior and statements that he might
harm himself, Lieutenant Kenny directed officers to escort
the plaintiff to cell 118 in the restrictive housing unit and
to place him in full stationary soft restraints. A nurse
checked the restraints on the plaintiff’s wrists and
ankles to make sure they were not too tight. Lieutenant Kenny
placed the plaintiff on behavioral observation and full
plaintiff remained on full restraint status until the
following day, August 11, 2014, at noon. At that time,
Lieutenant Kenny decided to downgrade the plaintiff from full
restraint status. The plaintiff informed prison staff that he
did not want to be downgraded from full, stationary
restraints. As officers attempted to remove the restraints
from the plaintiff’s limbs, the plaintiff resisted.
Lieutenant Kenny administered a burst of a chemical agent
into the plaintiff’s facial area. Another lieutenant
administered a second burst of a chemical agent into the
plaintiff’s facial area. Lieutenant Kenny administered
a third burst of a chemical agent into the plaintiff’s
facial area and the plaintiff stopped his resistance to being
released from the restraints.
alleges that officers failed to decontaminate him properly
from the residue of the chemical agent. He remained in
four-point restraints in the restrictive housing unit
pursuant to an order issued by Lieutenant Kenny. The
plaintiff claims that for three hours, the chemical agent
that had been sprayed on or at him made it difficult to
breath and caused him to experience the sensation of burning
up. A nurse treated the plaintiff for these symptoms.
approximately 3:00 p.m. that afternoon, Lieutenant Kenny
decided to downgrade the plaintiff to behavior observation
status. Officers removed the plaintiff’s restraints
September 4, 2014, the plaintiff and three other prisoners
were confined in cells in the restrictive housing unit at
Cheshire. In an effort to protest conditions at Cheshire, the
plaintiff and the three other inmates covered their cell
windows so that prison officials were unable to see into
their cells. Officer Crowell notified Lieutenant Santopietro
about the conduct of the four inmates.
Lieutenant Santopietro arrived at the plaintiff’s cell,
he ordered him to remove the covering over the window in the
door of the cell. The plaintiff refused to comply with the
order. When Lieutenant Santopietro opened the trap in the
cell door, he observed that the plaintiff had draped sheets
and blankets to cover the lower bunk of the cell and he could
not see the plaintiff behind the sheets and blankets.
Santopietro directed four officers, including Officers
Dicosmo, Griffin, and Crowell, to enter the plaintiff’s
cell. As the officers and Lieutenant Santopietro entered the
cell, Lieutenant Santopietro pulled down the sheet and
administered a burst of a chemical agent towards the
plaintiff. The officers brought the plaintiff to the floor of
the cell. Lieutenant Santopietro issued a second burst of a
chemical agent towards the plaintiff as the officers shouted
at the plaintiff to stop resisting their attempts to handcuff
him. At the same time, the plaintiff was yelling that he was
not resisting and that the officers were using excessive
force against him. Eventually, one or more of the officers
applied handcuffs to the plaintiff’s wrists, and
Officers Crowell and Griffin escorted the plaintiff to the
shower for decontamination. After Officer Crowell had
decontaminated the plaintiff, he and Officer Griffin escorted
the plaintiff to a cell in the restrictive housing unit.
Officer Griffin applied leg irons to the plaintiff’s
ankles. Later that day, officers transported the plaintiff to
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution.
facts concerning the circumstances of each incident involving
the use of force against the plaintiff are set ...