United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Gregory Christofakis, currently incarcerated at the Osborn
Correctional Institution, filed this Complaint pro
se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on June 27, 2016. Mr.
Christofakis tendered the filing fee to commence this action
on September 20, 2016. The Defendants are Commissioner Scott
Semple, Warden Anne Cornouyer, Deputy Warden Mulligan,
Captain Tuttle, Counselor Christina Schaeffer, Correctional
Officer Weimel, Correctional Officer Borcier, Johnny Wu,
Richard Furey, Nurse Paul Wilber, Nurse Nancy Hill, Dr.
Carson Wright and Dr. Joseph Breton. Mr. Christofakis
challenges his placement at Northern Correctional Institution
as a pretrial detainee, the disregard for his medical
conditions and his medical care. Mr. Christofakis seeks
damages from Defendants.
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) of the United States Code, 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. Id. In reviewing a pro se
complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the
allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the
strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v.
Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). Although
detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must
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. 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. Nevertheless, it is well-established that “pro se
complaints ‘must be construed liberally and interpreted
to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d
399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau
of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see
also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir.
2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro
Christofakis was a pretrial detainee until he was sentenced
on November 16, 2015. As a result of prison overcrowding and
his bail being set at $1, 000, 000, Mr. Christofakis was sent
to Northern Correctional Institution
his arrival at Northern, Mr. Christofakis allegedly provided
copies of medical records documenting a spinal injury. He
claims that these documents were placed in his medical file.
Mr. Christofakis states that, when he was admitted to
Northern, he weighed 330 lbs, was morbidly obese, and
suffered from cardiac and other medical issues.
October 7, 2014, Mr. Christofakis claims that he was assigned
a cellmate who was 65 years old. Correctional staff allegedly
told them to work out the bunk assignments. According to Mr.
Christofakis, his cellmate did not mind the top bunk, and Mr.
Christofakis retained the bottom bunk. On October 9, 2014,
Mr. Christofakis was allegedly sent to behavior observation
for twenty-four hours. Upon his return to his cell, Captain
Tuttle allegedly told Mr. Christofakis he would have to use
the top bunk because of his cellmate's age. Mr.
Christofakis alleges that Captain Tuttle refused to listen
when Mr. Christofakis explained that he required the bottom
bunk because of his spinal injury. Mr. Christofakis claims
that he feared that he would be sent to segregation and
accepted the top bunk. Captain Tuttle allegedly refused to
check Mr. Christofakis' medical file. Captain Tuttle
allegedly stated to Mr. Christofakis that there was no record
of a bottom bunk pass and noted that Northern does not issue
bottom bunk passes. Nurses Hill and Wilber allegedly brought
Mr. Christofakis his daily medications. According to Mr.
Christofakis, they were aware of both his medical history and
a bottom bunk pass but did nothing to correct the situation.
The nurses allegedly observed the difficulty experienced by
Mr. Christofakis in getting down from the top bunk but said
nothing. Mr. Christofakis claims that he explained to
Counselor Schaeffer that his cellmate was willing to switch
bunks, but his request for the switch was allegedly denied.
Other requests submitted by Mr. Christofakis on this issue
also were allegedly denied.
Christofakis claims that, on October 7, 2014, he fell while
trying to get down from the top bunk. He allegedly hit his
buttocks, hip, head, neck and shoulder on the floor, causing
a disc compression. When Mr. Christofakis reported the fall
to Correctional Officers Weimel and Borcier, they allegedly
noted it in the log book but did not call for any medical
care. Days after the incident, Mr. Christofakis allegedly
complained to nurses and other Defendants about the fall and
the requirement that he be on the top bunk. He was allegedly
told that his assignment was by order of the captain.
Christofakis alleges that Captain Tuttle and Deputy Warden
Mulligan told Mr. Christofakis he should be careful because
he could be moved to another cell and again required to use
the top bunk. Mr. Christofakis also alleges that, when Nurse
Vicki returned from vacation, she arranged for Mr.
Christofakis' cellmate to be moved, thereby allowing Mr.
Christofakis to use the bottom bunk. On November 12, 2014,
Mr. Christofakis was allegedly seen by the medical unit in
response to his complaints from the fall, and Dr. Wright
allegedly ordered x-rays.
February 19, 2015 and June 23, 2015, Mr. Christofakis claims
that he received lumbar epidural steroid injections to
address his complaints of pain. The injections allegedly had
no effect on Mr. Christofakis' injuries. A January 5,
2016 MRI allegedly showed numerous diffuse disc bulges and
compression on the existing nerve root of two discs. Mr.
Christofakis attributes these injuries to his fall.
times, Mr. Christofakis allegedly asked Defendant Furey for a
new mattress to address his back pain. Defendants Furey and
Wu allegedly denied these requests, stating that Mr.
Christofakis could get a new mattress only if he had a skin
Breton allegedly saw Mr. Christofakis on January 26, 2016.
Dr. Breton allegedly reviewed Mr. Christofakis' MRI
report and told Mr. Christofakis he would call him to the
medical unit for further discussion and treatment. Mr.
Christofakis claims that he has received no treatment from
that date until he filed this Complaint.
Christofakis alleges that his wife began calling Defendant
Furey asking about her husband's medical condition and
seeking information regarding treatment. Defendant Furey
allegedly provided no information. He allegedly found a
terminated protective order in Mr. Christofakis' file and
used it on April 7, 2016, to prevent Mr. Christofakis from
communicating with his wife. Mr. Christofakis claims that