United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge
serving a state prison sentence, plaintiff discovered one day
that he had a new cellmate. His cellmate had just been
transferred to plaintiff's prison after having tried to
murder his last cellmate at a different prison and after
warning prison officials that he would murder any future
inmate assigned to live with him. Within hours of the new
cellmate assignment, the cellmate allegedly launched a
violent attack against plaintiff and attacked him again the
has filed this lawsuit contending in principal part that
numerous prison officials were deliberately indifferent to
his constitutional rights and that they put him in danger to
retaliate for his many prior complaints about them.
Defendants have moved for summary judgment. I will grant the
motion in part and deny it in part, as I conclude that there
are genuine issues of fact for trial as to two of the
remaining prison official defendants.
complaint in this case alleges numerous causes of action
arising from plaintiff's imprisonment at Northern
Correctional Institution (NCI) in Somers, Connecticut. All of
the causes of action stem from plaintiff's basic claim
that prison officials decided and allowed him to be housed in
a prison cell with extraordinarily dangerous inmates who
prison officials knew or were deliberately indifferent to the
possibility that they would attack him.
has named the following defendants: Brian Murphy, the former
Acting Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of
Correction (DOC); Michael Lajoie, the former District
Administrator of the DOC; Angel Quiros, the former warden of
NCI; and Jason Cahill, a former captain and unit manager of
the 1 East Housing Unit at NCI.
the Court's prior grant in part of a motion to dismiss
(Doc. #43) and plaintiffs motion to withdraw his claims
against certain defendants (Doc. #64), the following claims
remain against the following defendants in this case:
• Count Two alleges against Quiros and Cahill a claim of
deliberate indifference and failure to protect under the
Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
• Count Three alleges against Quiros a claim of
supervisory liability for Cahill's violation of plaintiff
s constitutional rights.
• Count Four alleges against Quiros and Cahill a claim
of retaliation in violation of plaintiffs rights under the
First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
• Count Five alleges an assortment of state law claims
against Murphy, LaJoie, Quiros, and Cahill.
now move for summary judgment as to all the remaining claims,
except that Cahill does not seek summary judgment as to the
federal constitutional claims asserted against him to the
extent that they are not premised on allegations of
following facts are presented in the light most favorable to
plaintiff as the non-moving party. NCI is a maximum security
prison facility. It features an administrative segregation
unit that Connecticut uses for inmates who have caused severe
problems at other Connecticut prison facilities. Some of the
inmates at the administrative segregation unit are housed in
single cells, and others are housed in cells with other
has a long disciplinary history while imprisoned numerous
times in Connecticut, including at least three prior
designations to the administrative segregation unit at NCI in
1998, 2002, and 2008. Doc. #140-1 at 5-6 (describing prior
incidents). In September 2009, plaintiff was transferred to
NCI after having been the subject of disciplinary proceedings
while at another prison facility involving his alleged
assault on a correctional officer. At NCI he was eventually
designated to the administrative segregation unit.
Jason Cahill was the manager of plaintiff's unit.
Plaintiff had numerous run-ins with Cahill throughout October
2009, and he complained vociferously to the warden- defendant
Angel Quiros-about Cahill's treatment of him, and then
complained in turn that Quiros was not responding
appropriately to his complaints.
enough, there was another arrival to the administrative
segregation unit at NCI: inmate Michael Giangreco. At the
time, Giangreco was serving a 30-year sentence for murder.
Giangreco had ended up at NCI because he had brutally
attacked his cellmate on October 6, 2009, while at another
prison facility-the MacDougall-Walker Correctional
this attack, Giangreco hit his cellmate with the metal legs
of Giangreco's wheelchair while the cellmate was
sleeping. Afterwards, Giangreco yelled out-apparently to
MacDougall staff-“I killed my cellmate and maybe now
you would do your jobs.” Doc. #149-1 at 11. The
disciplinary hearing notice reports that Giangreco
“admitted that [he] wanted to remain on single cell
status for the remainder of [his] incarceration by any means
necessary including murder.” Doc. #150-3 (Exh. 25).
Griangreco's cellmate survived this horrible attack, but
not without severe injuries requiring hospitalization.
Giangreco was placed in Restrictive Housing. It was noted on
the DOC's order for this placement that “[t]he
inmate's continued presence in the general population
poses a serious threat to life, property, self, other inmates
. . . .” Doc. #150-3 (Exh. 26). To the same effect, a
mental health evaluation of Giangreco from shortly after the
MacDougall attack warned that Giangreco “reports [he]
will assault if put in w another cellie.” Id.
at 14. The warden at MacDougall wrote a letter to another
prison official on October 7, 2009, describing
Giangreco's attack in detail, noting that Giangreco
“intentionally and viciously assaulted his cell partner
. . . with a weapon while he was asleep, ” and that
“Giangreco has demonstrated that he is a direct threat
to the safety and security of the institution, staff, and
inmates.” Doc. #150-3 (Exh. 24).
these chilling signs, Cahill directed the assignment of
Giangreco to live in the same cell with plaintiff on November
4, 2009, just four weeks after Giangreco had nearly murdered
his last cellmate. Not surprisingly, another attack very soon
followed that day. Giangreco repeatedly and without
provocation punched plaintiff, causing him to stumble and hit
his head on the cell wall. Giangreco yelled at plaintiff
saying that that he was “going to murder [him] the
first chance [he] get[s].” Doc. #1 at 7 ¶20.
result of Giangreco's attack, plaintiff sustained
injuries including a cracked tooth, cuts inside of his mouth,
bruises, and swelling of his face and head. At one point
during the time in which they were cellmates, Giangreco also
threatened plaintiff, stating that he had just killed his
cell partner at MacDougall and intended to kill plaintiff at
the first possible moment. Doc. #149-1 at 15.
wrote complaints that day to both Cahill and Quiros, advising
them that Giangreco threatened to “murder me the first
chance he gets.” Doc. #150-3 at 37-38. According to
plaintiff, Cahill said that plaintiff “must work out
[his] difference with Giangreco and no cell partner changes
will be made.” Doc. #1 at 8 ¶22.
next day, November 5, Giangreco again attacked plaintiff,
this time while plaintiff was using the toilet. As a result
of this attack plaintiff sustained injuries to his neck,
throat, and back.
November 6, Giangreco was moved out of the cell. Later that
day, Cahill told plaintiff that “I promise, your next
cell partner will be worse.” Id. at 9.
Plaintiff then yet again wrote numerous requests and letters
to defendants Murphy, Quiros, and Cahill.
week later, on November 13, another inmate-Robin Conte-was
assigned as plaintiff's new cellmate. Id. From
November 13 to 17, plaintiff and Conte were cellmates. Prior
to being assigned as plaintiff's cellmate, Conte had been
on single-cell status for over thirteen years due to brain
injury, extreme violence, and a history of attacking
cellmates. Doc. #150-2 at 73. During the four days that Conte
and plaintiff were cellmates, Conte repeatedly threatened
plaintiff, but there were no physical altercations between
the two. Plaintiff complained to Cahill, and Cahill responded
by stating that “no cell partner changes are being
made.” Doc. #1 at 10.
on November 17, defendant Angel Quiros-NCI's
warden-toured plaintiff's cellblock. Quiros stopped by
plaintiff's cell and allegedly threatened him, stating,
“I guarantee you I'm gonna make sure you rot and
die in here since you want to sue department
officials.” Id. Quiros's statement was
just one of a series of threatening statements allegedly made
to plaintiff by Quiros or Cahill between October 2009 and