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Rogers v. Salius

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

April 12, 2017

JOHN ROGERS, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT SALIUS, et al., Defendants.

          RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 25)

          Janet C. Hall United States District Judge.

         The plaintiff, John Rogers (“Rogers”), currently incarcerated at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut, has filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 23) pro se under section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code. The defendants named in the Amended Complaint are Captain Scott Salius (“Salius”), Officer Jared Grasso (“Grasso”), Nurse Barbara LaFrance (“LaFrance”), Counselor Angela Maiorana (“Maiorana”), Counselor Damian Doran (“Doran”), Officer Shepard (“Shepard”), Dr. Syhed Johar Naqvi (“Dr. Naqvi”), Director of Security Kimberly Weir (“Weir”) and Deputy Warden Jesus Guadarrama (“Guadarrama”). Rogers seeks damages as well as declaratory and injunctive relief from the defendants for violation of his constitutional rights. The defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 25). For the reasons that follow, the defendants' Motion is GRANTED as to the request for injunctive relief and DENIED in all other respects.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         To withstand a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The plausibility standard is not a probability requirement; the pleading must show, not merely allege, that the pleader is entitled to relief. Id. Legal conclusions and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” are not entitled to a presumption of truth. Id. However, when reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court must draw all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Graziano v. Pataki, 689 F.3d 110, 114 (2d Cir. 2012).

         II. FACTS

         The incidents underlying this action occurred while Rogers was confined in the Security Risk Group (“SRG”) Phase Program at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MacDougall”). See Am. Compl. ¶ 11. In 2012, Rogers renounced his SRG affiliation. See id. ¶ 11. He remained inactive during the events underlying this action. See id. ¶ 11. Inmates in the SRG Program attend recreation with their hands cuffed behind their backs. See id. ¶ 11. They recreate with other members of the SRG with which they are affiliated. See id. ¶ 11.

         Between 2010 and 2013, Rogers told defendant Weir multiple times that he was concerned for his safety. See id. ¶ 12. He submitted many requests to be transferred to protective custody, which requests defendant Weir denied. See id. ¶ 12. Instead, Rogers was placed on rec-alone status. See id. ¶ 12. In 2012, Rogers completed the SRG Program at Northern Correctional Institution. See id. ¶ 12.

         In 2013, Rogers was re-affiliated with the SRG Crips and transferred to MacDougall, the facility at which the SRG Program was then located. See id. ¶ 13. Rogers again requested protective custody. See id. ¶ 13. Defendant Weir denied the request even though she knew that, when the program was relocated, rec-alone status was discontinued. See id. ¶ 13.

         In September 2013, other Crips members told Rogers to assault another inmate. See id. ¶ 14. He refused, claiming he was inactive. See id. ¶ 14. As a result of the refusal, the Crips put a “hit” on Rogers. See id. ¶ 14. Defendant Shepard intercepted a note about the hit being passed between two Crips members and gave the note to defendants Salius, Doran and Guadarrama. See id. ¶ 15. They did not remove Rogers from Crips recreation. See id. ¶ 15. Sometime later, Doran told Rogers that he “found this month[']s hit list, ” but the information meant nothing to Rogers. See id. ¶ 16.

         On October 31, 2013, defendant Grasso was supervising Crips recreation. See id. ¶ 17. He applied handcuffs to each inmate and escorted them to the recreation yard. See id. ¶ 17. Rogers believes that while Grasso was assigned to the SRG unit, several inmates had manipulated their restraints and used the handcuffs as weapons to assault other inmates. See id. ¶ 18.

         On October 31, 2013, one inmate slipped his handcuffs and used them to assault Rogers while another inmate kicked and stomped Rogers in the head, neck and face. See id. ¶ 19. Right before the assault, Rogers claims that defendant Grasso saw the inmate slip his handcuffs and told him to “make it quick and get on the ground when I call the code.” See id. ¶ 20. Rogers was unable to protect himself and suffered multiple injuries. See id. ¶ 21.

         Following the assault, Rogers was seen in the medical unit where he received stitches. See id. ¶ 22. Rogers complained about dizziness and pain in his neck and face, but Dr. Naqvi did not address these claims. See id. ¶ 22. Rogers returned to the housing unit and was placed in the same cell, with another Crips member. See id. ¶ 23. Defendants Salius, Doran and Maiorana told Rogers about finding the note and learning about the hit. See id. ¶ 23. Defendant Grasso approached Rogers and tried to explain that he did not set Rogers up. See id. ¶ 24. He asked Rogers not to sue him. See id. ¶ 24.

         A few days later, Rogers felt a pop or crack at the base of his neck and his left arm became numb. See id. ¶ 25. Dr. Naqvi prescribed Flexeril, a muscle relaxant, for a few days. See id. ¶ 26. He said the condition was not serious and thought Rogers had slept wrong. See id. ¶ 26. Rogers disagreed with the diagnosis. See id. ¶ 26. Following the incident, the medical unit ignored Rogers' complaints. See id. ¶ 27. Nurse LaFrance denied Rogers' requests for pain medication and, when he told her about the assault, told him he was overreacting. See id. ¶ 27. She told him she would order an x-ray, but he did not get one. See id. ¶ 27.

         On February 20, 2014, Rogers went to the medical unit. See id. ¶ 28. He complained of numbness and problems sleeping and an inability to turn his head to the left without experiencing shooting pain down his back. See id. ¶ 28. He was denied a meeting with Nurse LaFrance. See id. ¶ 28. Later on February 20, 2014, Rogers lay down on the cell floor to “manipulate a medical code” to obtain medical assistance. See id. ¶ 29. Defendant Maiorana came to his cell and told him to stop faking. See id. ¶ 29. When Rogers would not get up, a lieutenant called a medical code. See id. ¶ 29. Rogers was sent to St. Francis Hospital for an x-ray, CAT scan and MRI. See id. ¶ 30.

         The tests showed that Rogers had suffered trauma to his neck, specifically a fracture at ¶ 1 and disc bulges at ¶ 4 and C5. See id. ¶ 31. Rogers was admitted because he required surgery to have a screw inserted into his neck. See id. ¶ 32. He was discharged the following day because the Department of Corrections' contract for medical services was with the University of Connecticut, not St. Francis Hospital. See id. ¶ 33.

         Upon his return to MacDougall, defendants Salius and Maiorana stated that they knew what Rogers had done. See id. ΒΆ 34. A few days later, defendant Maiorana told other inmates that Rogers was a ...


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