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Correa v. McLeod

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 11, 2017

JOSE CORREA, Plaintiff,
McLEOD, Defendants.



         On June 29, 2017, the Plaintiff, Jose Correa, an inmate currently confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Correction Officer McLeod, Lieutenant Lindsey, Correction Officer Ortyl, Correction Officer Heinberg, Correction Officer Weir, Correction Officer Daigle, Correction Officer Pinar, Correction Officer Beaulier, Correction Officer Cassidy, Correction Officer Boudreau, Correction Officer Carasquillo, Administrator Cournoyer, [1] Deputy Warden Mulligan, Lieutenant Perylo, and Dr. Wright. The Plaintiff is suing each defendant in his or her individual and official capacities for violations of his Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. He is seeking declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. For the reasons that follow, his complaint will be dismissed in part.

         I. Factual Allegations

         On February 27, 2016, at approximately 4:00 p.m., the Plaintiff was in the 3-East day room at Northern for recreation, when correctional officers searched through his cell and “wreck[ed]” his legal papers. Frustrated, the plaintiff threw a plastic container at Correction Officer McLeod, hitting him on the left side of his face. The Plaintiff immediately lied face-down on the ground in submission. Nevertheless, Correction Officer John Doe proceeded to punch and kick the Plaintiff in the ribs. The Plaintiff was then placed in restraints, and multiple John Doe officers continuously beat the plaintiff and “bang[ed]” his head against the concrete floor. Lieutenants Lindsey and Guimond then sprayed a chemical agent in the Plaintiff's face. Afterward, the Plaintiff was denied a shower to wash off the chemical agent, and was also denied medical care and food. Officers also continued to harass him.

         At 4:45 p.m., Officer Boudreau “called in a false code, ” claiming that the Plaintiff was attempting to damage his restraints, which prompted Lieutenant Perylo to deploy another chemical agent on the Plaintiff and call him names. Once again, the Plaintiff was denied a shower to wash off the agent and was continuously harassed.

         The Plaintiff wrote multiple inmate request forms and grievances seeking medical attention, but no one responded. The Plaintiff later learned that the correctional officers at Northern were reading his legal mail and telling other inmates his charges, which the Plaintiff believed put him in danger.

         II. Standard of Law

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this 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. 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.” Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 570. Nevertheless, it is well-established that “[p]ro 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)).

         III. Analysis

         The Plaintiff claims that the officers and staff at Northern violated his Fourth Amendment rights by unlawfully searching his cell, reading his mail, and using excessive force against him, violated his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment by acting with deliberate indifference to his safety and medical needs and failing to protect him from harm, violated his Fifth Amendment rights, and unlawfully discriminating against him on the basis of his race.

         A. Personal Involvement

         “It is well settled . . . that personal involvement of defendants in alleged constitutional deprivations is a prerequisite to an award of damages under § 1983.” Wright v. Smith, 21 F.3d 496, 501 (2d Cir. 1994) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Johnson v. Glick, 481 F.2d 1028, 1034 (2d Cir. 1973) (doctrine of respondeat superior does not suffice for claim of monetary damages under § 1983). A plaintiff who sues a supervisory official for monetary damages must allege that the official was “personally involved” in the constitutional deprivation in one of four ways: (1) the official directly participated in the deprivation; (2) the official learned about the deprivation through a report or appeal and failed to remedy the wrong; (3) the official created or perpetuated a policy or custom under which unconstitutional practices occurred; or (4) the official was grossly negligent in managing subordinates who caused the unlawful condition or event. Wright, 21 F.3d at 501; Hernandez v. Keane, 341 F.3d 137, 145 (2d Cir. 2003). In addition, the plaintiff must allege a causal link between the conduct of the supervisory official, or lack thereof, and the injury. See Poe v. Leonard, 282 F.3d 123, 140 (2d Cir. 2002).

         The only Defendants mentioned in the Plaintiff's statement of facts are Lieutenant Perylo, Lieutenant Guimond, Lieutenant Lindsey, Correction Officer McLeod, Correction Officer Boudreau, and several unnamed correction officers identified only as John Does. Thus, aside from these individuals, all claims against Defendants listed in this action are DISMISSED for lack of personal involvement.

         Moreover, the Plaintiff does not explain how Officer McLeod was involved in the attack or denial of care thereafter. He only alleges that McLeod was hit in the face by the plastic container thrown by the Plaintiff. Therefore, the claims against Officer McLeod are also DISMISSED.

         B. Claims Against Defendants in their Official Capacities

         To the extent that the Plaintiff seeks money damages from the Defendants in their official capacities, those claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985); Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 ...

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