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Conley v. Rivera

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 20, 2017

JOHN L. CONLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSE RIVERA, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, John L. Conley, currently incarcerated at Northern Correctional Institution, filed this Complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”). Mr. Conley's Complaint was received on December 19, 2016, ECF No. 1, and his motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on January 4, 2017, ECF No. 9. The Defendants are Captain Jose Rivera, Lieutenants Hicks and Goudreault, and Correctional Officers Magliochetti, Mclain, [1] Bertrand, Cheney, Felix, Usluca, Cabrera and Lavimodiere. Mr. Conley alleges that the Defendants failed to protect him from an alleged assault by another inmate.

         I. Standard of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court must “liberally construe [the] pleadings, ” and interpret the complaint to “raise the strongest arguments it suggests.” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007); see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-03 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special solicitude that courts ought to show to pro se litigants). Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must still include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon which they are based and to demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient. See 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 570.

         II. Factual Allegations

         While incarcerated at Bridgeport Correctional Center, Mr. Conley was allegedly designated as a Security Risk Group member and allegedly transferred to MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in late December 2015. Compl. at 8, ECF No. 1. Mr. Conley was confined in the B1 housing unit in Phase One of the Security Risk Group Program. Id. Captain Rivera was allegedly in charge of the unit. Id.

         Allegedly, inmates in the B1 unit are required to attend recreation handcuffed with their hands behind their backs. Compl. at 8. During his recreation time, which Mr. Conley allegedly shared with the Bloods, he allegedly observed that thinner inmates were able to slip their handcuffs to the front and assault other inmates. Id. Mr. Conley allegedly brought this fact to Captain Rivera's attention numerous times. Mr. Conley also alleges that he told Captain Rivera about such an inmate, Jayquan Dilday, who allegedly insisted that Mr. Conley was not a gang member and had stated that, if Mr. Conley continued to have recreation time at the same time as the Bloods, Mr. Dilday would assault Mr. Conley. Id. at 8-9.

         Mr. Conley allegedly submitted his first request to Captain Rivera on February 9, 2016, after allegedly hearing members of the Bloods asking why Mr. Conley shared recreation time with them. Compl. at 9. When he received no response, Mr. Conley allegedly spoke to Captain Rivera when he toured the housing unit. Id. Captain Rivera allegedly stated that he would look into the matter. Id. Mr. Conley alleges that he did not attend recreation while waiting for a response. Id. Inmates who had allegedly overheard the conversation between Mr. Conley and Captain Rivera allegedly began calling Mr. Conley a snitch. Id.

         On March 13, 2016, Mr. Conley allegedly passed Captain Rivera a note while Captain Rivera was touring the housing unit and told Captain Rivera that he was losing patience. Compl. at 9-10. Captain Rivera allegedly stated that he was still investigating the matter and advised Mr. Conley to “sit tight.” Id. at 10.

         On May 26, 2016, Mr. Conley alleges that he attended recreation to speak with the Bloods to try to come to an agreement that would allow him to attend recreation. Compl. at 10. While he was speaking to Blood members, another Blood-affiliated inmate allegedly slipped his handcuffs to the front and assaulted Mr. Conley, who was unable to defend himself as his hands were behind his back in handcuffs. Id.

         Defendants Hicks, Goudreault, Cheney, Bertrand and Mclain allegedly responded to the assault and escorted Mr. Conley to segregation. Compl. at 11. Five minutes later, Defendant Goudreault allegedly escorted Mr. Conley to the medical unit where the laceration to Mr. Conley's right eye, sustained during the alleged assault, was treated. Id.

         The following day, Mr. Conley allegedly returned to B1 unit and permitted to serve his segregation time there. Compl. at 11. Mr. Conley allegedly experienced explosive headaches and blurred vision. Id. He was allegedly seen in the Medical Unit and scheduled for an eye exam. Id.

         III. Discussion

         Mr. Conley asserts three legal claims: (1) a claim for supervisory liability against Defendants Rivera, Hicks and Goudreault; (2) a claim for deliberate indifference to safety against Defendant Rivera; and (3) a claim for failure to protect him from harm against Defendants Mclain, Bertrand, Cheney, Magliochetti, Felix, Usluca, Cabrera and Lavimodiere. “Because a finding of supervisory liability requires that the allegations against that supervisory defendant ‘satisfy each element of the underlying constitutional tort, ” the Court first considers the deliberate indifference to safety claim against Captain Rivera before considering the supervisory liability claim against him and Defendants Hicks and Goudreault. Manning v. Griffin, No. 15-CV-3 (KMK), 2016 WL ...


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