United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge
Kevin Jackson is a prisoner of the New Haven Correctional
Center, and he has filed a pro se complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his mental health counselor
was deliberately indifferent to his mental health needs in
violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint
will proceed against defendant Monica Farinella in her
individual and official capacities.
following facts are alleged in the complaint and accepted as
true only for purposes of this initial ruling. When plaintiff
arrived at New Haven Correctional Center on February 11,
2014, he suffered from various mental health conditions,
including bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder,
and schizophrenia. He informed the mental health department
that he had these disorders and that mental health officials
at a prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had diagnosed him
as suffering from these conditions; plaintiff then requested
medication to stave off symptoms of those conditions. After
plaintiff was informed that he would need copies of his prior
mental health records before he could be seen by a mental
health worker, he signed a medical records release form and
provided the street address of the pharmacy that he had used
prior to his incarceration.
plaintiffs first month of confinement, and while waiting for
mental health officials to receive plaintiffs prior health
records, he suffered from hallucinations. He informed mental
health officials about his hallucinations and his need for
medication to treat his symptoms.
27, 2014, defendant Mental Health Counselor Monica Farinella
met with plaintiff. Plaintiff informed defendant about his
hallucinations and that he was experiencing thoughts of
suicide. He also gave defendant the names of medications that
had been previously prescribed to treat his mental health
of evaluating plaintiff, defendant accused him of lying about
his symptoms and indicated that mental health staff had been
unable to secure his previous mental health records or locate
the pharmacy that had previously prescribed him medication.
Defendant stated that she did not believe him to suffer from
mental disorders because he “looked clean” and,
with respect to his symptoms, he should go back to his
“cell and deal with it like a man.” Doc. #1 at 3.
Defendant also stated that plaintiff would not be put on any
medications no matter what he did, and that nobody would let
him see a doctor because the request had to go through her.
March 2014 to December 2014, plaintiffs mental health
allegedly deteriorated for lack of mental health treatment
and medication. His symptoms manifested in hallucinations,
depression, and poor behavior, which led to his punitive
segregation. In June 2015, mental health officials placed him
on suicide watch for three days. In August 2015, a physician
examined plaintiff, confirmed his mental health diagnoses,
and prescribed medication and therapy to treat him. Despite
having received some mental health care, plaintiff asserts
that he continues to be denied adequate medical treatment,
causing him further injury.
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. 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).
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 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). A complaint that includes only “‘labels
and conclusions, ' ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked
assertions]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement, '” does not meet the facial
plausibility standard. Ibid. (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)).
Although courts still have an obligation to interpret
“a pro se complaint liberally, ” the
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).
relief, plaintiff requests compensatory damages as well as
declaratory and injunctive relief. To the extent that he
seeks monetary damages from defendant in her official
capacity, the claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985);
Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979). All such
claims are dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Court concludes that plaintiff has stated a plausible Eighth
Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to mental health
needs against defendant. It is well established that “a
prison official's ‘deliberate indifference' to
a substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate violates the
Eighth Amendment.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 828 (1994). A deliberate indifference claim has two
requirements. “The first requirement is objective: the
alleged deprivation of adequate medical care must be
sufficiently serious. The second requirement is subjective:
the charged officials must be subjectively reckless in their
denial of medical care.” Spavone v. New York State
Dep't of Corr. Servs., 719 F.3d 127, 138 (2d Cir.
2013). In order to meet the subjective requirement,
“the charged official [must] act or fail to act
while actually aware of a substantial risk that
serious inmate harm will result.” Ibid.
prejudice to defendant's right to seek dismissal as
allowed under the federal rules, I conclude at this initial
review stage that the complaint adequately alleges facts
that-if true-would give rise to plausible grounds for relief
under the Eighth Amendment. Accordingly, plaintiffs claim
will proceed at this time against defendant Farinella in her