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Jones v. Forbes

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 19, 2016




         Plaintiff, Dashante Scott Jones, currently resides in Hartford, Connecticut. He has filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of law that occurred while he was in the custody of Connecticut’s Department of Correction. He has named Mental Health Workers Scarlett Forbes, Pat Ward, Debi Ward and William Longo, Drs. Mark Frayne, Gerold Gonye, Johny Wu and Carson Wright, Captain Marinelli, Warden Ann Cornouyer and Health Services Administrator Ritchard Farey as Defendants. Mr. Jones has also filed a motion for injunctive relief and a motion to preserve videotapes. For the reasons set forth below, the Complaint is dismissed in part, and the pending motions are denied.

         I. Initial Review of the Complaint [ECF No. 1]

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) and (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 have an obligation to interpret “a pro se complaint liberally, ” a 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).

         A. Factual Allegations

         Mr. Jones claims that on May 22, 2014, at Corrigan Correctional Institution (“Corrigan”), prison staff sexually assaulted him.[1] Prison officials allegedly transferred him to Northern Correctional Institution (“Northern”) later that day. Mr. Jones claims that he was not able to submit a claim under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (“PREA”) until fifteen days after he was allegedly sexually assaulted by prison staff at Corrigan. In early June 2014, Captain Marinelli allegedly falsified reports that he submitted in connection with Mr. Jones’s claim under the PREA. Mr. Jones also claims that Warden Cornouyer refused to report the alleged sexual assault on the Mr. Jones to the Connecticut State Police.

         Mr. Jones claims that Dr. Frayne examined him on May 23, 2014 at Northern. During this exam, Dr. Frayne allegedly noted that someone had kicked Mr. Jones in the testicles. Mr. Jones claims that Dr. Frayne refused to characterize the assault by prison officials at Corrigan as a sexual assault because Dr. Frayne had allegedly sexually assaulted individuals at a prior place of employment.

         At Northern, Defendants Debi Ward, Scarlett Forbes and Pat Ward allegedly refused to speak to Mr. Jones privately about his mental health issues. Instead, he claims that they would speak to him at his cell door so that other inmates could hear what was said about his mental health issues, in violation of his right to privacy. This conduct allegedly occurred for seven months. Mr. Jones claims that when he told Defendant Farey about this conduct, Farey failed to take any action.

         Defendant Gonye allegedly discontinued Mr. Jones’s mental health medications despite the fact that Mr. Jones had been previously diagnosed as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr. Gonye allegedly informed Mr. Jones that he had discontinued the medications because he did not think Mr. Jones suffered from a condition that required medication. Mr. Jones also claims that Dr. Gonye considered the requests for mental health treatment and medication as an attempt by Mr. Jones to influence the sentence that he might receive in connection with his state criminal case.

         Mr. Jones alleges that Defendant Wright did not prescribe medication for his head injury in a timely manner. Dr. Wright also allegedly refused to issue an order that Mr. Jones undergo an MRI, but did prescribe pain medication for the injury to his testicles.

         Mr. Jones claims that he filed a complaint against the Defendants with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) in August or September 2014. On November 6, 2014, after Mr. Jones accused Defendant Frayne of having molested individuals at his prior place of employment, Defendant Frayne allegedly issued Mr. Jones a disciplinary report for using foul language and intimidating staff. Defendant Longo was listed as a witness to the disciplinary infraction, but Mr. Jones claims that he was not present at the scene.

         On November 7, 2014, Defendant Frayne allegedly placed Mr. Jones on behavior observation status in retaliation for filing his complaint with the CHRO. He also allegedly ordered prison officials to remove legal work from Mr. Jones’s cell. Mr. Jones claims that when he informed Defendant Cornouyer of his unlawful placement on behavior observation status, she failed to take any action.

         Finally, Mr. Jones claims that Dr. Johny Wu is the supervisor of all of the Defendants. He alleges that he contacted Dr. Wu in 2014 seeking medical treatment for his injuries from a medical provider outside of the Department of Correction, and Dr. Wu failed to take any action. In January 2015, prison officials at Northern allegedly transferred Mr. Jones to Cheshire Correctional Institution.

         B. Official Capacity Claims

         For relief, Mr. Jones seeks monetary damages. To the extent that Mr. Jones seeks damages against the Defendants in their official capacities, the claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979); see also Will v. Mich. Dep’t of State Police, 491 ...

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