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Timm v. Faucher

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 31, 2017




         Plaintiff, Jessica Timm, a resident of Monroe, Connecticut, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 1988, naming Stephen Faucher, M. Connell, APRN, Vivianne Hage, RN, Tara Hood, NP, Henry F. Crabbe, MD, Christine Bachmann, and CO Hollis, all employees of the Connecticut Department of Correction, as Defendants. Ms. Timm alleges that Defendants violated her Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment while she was incarcerated in York Correctional Institution (“York”) in 2015.

         Mr. Faucher, who was Warden at York during the relevant time period, and Mr. Hollis, who was a Correctional Officer at York, have moved to dismiss Ms. Timm's claims against them.[1] For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

         I. Factual Allegations

         On January 20, 2015, Ms. Timm was sentenced by the Connecticut Superior Court to serve a term of 45 days in the York Correctional Institution in Niantic, Connecticut for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Compl. ¶ 6. Prison officials then transported Ms. Timm to York to serve her 45-day sentence. Id. at ¶ 7.

         Ms. Timm alleges that officials at York received instructions from the Superior Court as well as a letter from her physician upon her arrival. Id. at ¶ 8. The documents stated that Ms. Timm suffered from multiple mental and physical health issues. Id. Specifically, they relayed that she had been severely assaulted, which caused permanent physical and mental health disabilities, including chronic and acute pancreatitis, re-occurring fistulas requiring continuous treatment and care, multiple abdominal surgeries and abdominal drainage issues, severe allergies, chronic nausea, depression, post-traumatic disorder, and chronic internal and external pain. Id. Ms. Timm contends that Defendants were thus notified, through receipt of the court's instructions and the letter from her physician, of her serious medical needs. Id. Ms. Timm further alleges that she was placed in Defendants' care and custody and that they had “direct, immediate, ongoing personal responsibility for, and involvement with, her.” Id. at ¶ 9.

         Ms. Timm alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs when she was incarcerated at York from January 20, 2015 to February 27, 2015. Id. at ¶ 10. Ms. Timm specifically argues that Defendants “denied her the special diet and some of the medications she required, refused to permit her to utilize prescription medications she brought with her” to York, and “refused to change her dressings as was medically required.” Id. Ms. Timm argues that Defendants had actual knowledge of and personal responsibility for her multiple serious medical needs, but still caused serious harm to her. Id.

         Ms. Timm further alleges that Mr. Hollis “berated and threatened [her] in the presence of other correctional staff[, ]” causing “severe and foreseeable emotional distress, fear and anguish.” Id. at ¶ 11. Ms. Timm claims that she “suffered mental and physical pain, and was re-traumatized from her prior assault” as the consequence of Defendants' actions and inactions. Id. at ¶ 12. Ms. Timm argues that Defendants subjected her to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of her Eight Amendment rights. Id. at ¶ 13. She seeks judgment against each Defendant, jointly and severally, for compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney's fees and costs. Id.

         II. Standard of Review

         In order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “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.” Id. In determining whether a complaint states a plausible entitlement to legal relief, the Court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences from those allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Nechis v. Oxford Health Plans, Inc., 421 F.3d 96, 100 (2d Cir. 2005).

         This “plausibility standard” is guided by “[t]wo working principles.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. First, the requirement that a court accept as true the allegations in a complaint “‘is inapplicable to legal conclusions, ' and ‘[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.'” Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Second, to survive a motion to dismiss, the claim for relief alleged in the complaint must be plausible. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is “a context specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         III. Discussion

         Defendants Faucher and Hollis have moved to dismiss Ms. Timm's Complaint, arguing that she has failed to allege a plausible claim of supervisory liability as to Mr. Faucher and has failed to allege any constitutional violation against Mr. Hollis. Defendants also argue that Ms. Timm is precluded from bringing her claim by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). Ms. Timm opposes the partial motion to dismiss, arguing that Mr. Faucher was deliberately indifferent to her medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Ms. Timm also argues that Mr. Hollis's actions rose to the level of constitutional violations because of his knowledge of her exceptional vulnerability and that the Prison Litigation Reform Act does not preclude her claim.

         The Court agrees with Defendants. Ms. Timm has not stated a plausible claim for deliberate indifference against Mr. Faucher. Moreover, Ms. Timm does not allege a constitutional violation upon which relief can be granted against Mr. Hollis. The ...

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