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Lewis v. Dep't of Correction

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 6, 2017

DAVID LEWIS, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff, David Lewis, currently incarcerated at Northern Correctional Institution (“Northern”), has filed a civil rights complaint against Defendants, the State of Connecticut Department of Correction, Commissioner Scott Semple, Deputy Warden William Mulligan, Director of Psychiatric Services Craig Burns, Director of Offender Classification and Management David Maiga, Dr. Mark Frayne, Dr. Gerard Gagne and Health Service Administrator Brien Libel. For the reasons set forth below, the Complaint is dismissed in part.


         Under 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).

         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, ” “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 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) (citations omitted).


         On or around June 22, 2015, Commissioner Semple and Directors Maiga and Burns allegedly transferred Mr. Lewis to Northern. Compl. ¶¶ 16-17, ECF No. 1. Before his incarceration, mental health workers had allegedly diagnosed Mr. Lewis as suffering from multiple mental disorders. Id. ¶¶ 12-13. Mr. Lewis has taken medication to treat the disorders since childhood. Id. ¶ 14. There are allegedly no mental health units at Northern. Id. ¶ 20.

         Commissioner Semple, Directors Burns and Maiga, and Deputy Warden Mulligan allegedly decided to confine Mr. Lewis in phase one of administrative segregation at Northern. Compl. ¶¶ 22, 25-27. Mr. Lewis alleges that the conditions in phase one, including isolation, are very restrictive and have exacerbated his mental illnesses and also caused him physical injury. Id. ¶¶ 25, 66. The conditions allegedly include: confinement to a cell for twenty-three hours a day, meals eaten in the cell, recreation for one hour a day, showers three times a week, no contact visits, one telephone call a week, no work assignments and no participation in congregate religious services. Id. ¶ 25. Mr. Lewis also asserts that he must wear full restraints when leaving his cell. Id. Mr. Lewis alleges that he has been confined in phase one of administrative segregation at Northern for almost the entire time that he has remained at Northern. Id. ¶ 27.

         During his confinement at Northern, Commissioner Semple, Director Burns, Deputy Warden Mulligan, and Administrator Libel have allegedly failed to provide mental health treatment to Mr. Lewis and to hire and train staff to deal with mentally ill inmates. Compl. ¶¶ 35-42. Drs. Frayne and Gagne, Director Burns and Administrator Libel have allegedly neglected to develop an adequate treatment plan for Mr. Lewis's mental illnesses, failed to provide him with psychotherapy, refused to involve his family in his mental health treatment, and discontinued his mental health medications. Id. ¶¶ 38-42.

         Deputy Warden Mulligan has allegedly placed Mr. Lewis in a unit with inmates who are not mentally ill. Compl. ¶ 28. Those inmates have allegedly taunted, threatened, and verbally abused Mr. Lewis. Id. ¶ 29. This victimization has allegedly caused Mr. Lewis anxiety and has allegedly aggravated his mental health conditions. Id. ¶ 31.

         Mr. Lewis generally alleges that he has received disciplinary sanctions as a result of his behavior that was caused by his mental illness. Compl. ¶¶ 32-33. These sanctions have allegedly included placement in punitive segregation, placement in in-cell restraints, placement in four-point restraints, exposure to chemical agents, loss of visitation and phone privileges, and denial of hygiene items. Id. ¶ 33. Mr. Lewis alleges that Defendants made no attempts at mental health intervention to address his behavior prior to imposing these types of sanctions. Id. ¶ 34.

         Mr. Lewis alleges that the conditions at Northern have caused him to sustain physical and mental injuries and have exacerbated his mental health conditions. Compl. ¶ 45. Specifically, he alleges that he has “suffer[ed] from delusions, bewilderment and racing thoughts, ” a loss of “sleep and memory . . . anxiety attacks . . . [and] hallucinations.” Id. ¶ 46. He also alleges that he has “engage[d] in acts of self-harm, [such as] bang[ing] his head against the walls and other hard surfaces.” Id. Defendants have allegedly refused to obtain copies of Mr. Lewis's mental health records from other mental health agencies and physicians who treated him before incarceration. Id. ¶ 48.


         Mr. Lewis brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) and Title II of the Americans with Disability Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (the “ADA”). He seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and monetary damages from the Defendants in their individual and official capacities.

         To state a claim under Section 1983, Mr. Lewis must allege facts showing that a Defendant, who was a person acting under color of state law, deprived him of a federally protected right. See Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 930 (1982) (“[T]he § 1983 plaintiff must show both that he has been deprived of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States and that the defendant acted under color of any statute of any State.” (internal quotation marks omitted)); Sybalski v. Indep. Grp. Home Living Program, Inc., 546 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 2008) (“Pursuant to section 1983, anyone acting under color of any state statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, who causes a United States citizen to be deprived of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

         Mr. Lewis alleges, in relevant part, that the Defendants violated his Eighth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Compl. ¶¶ 65, 68, 72.

         A. Dismissed Claims

         1. ...

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