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Quint v. Semple

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 9, 2017

RICHARD R. QUINT, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER SEMPLE, et al., Defendants.

INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Richard R. Quint is incarcerated at the MacDougall Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut. He has filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Commissioner Semple, Warden Mulligan, Deputy Warden Hines, Captain Rivera, Counselor Supervisors Weldon and Calderon, Dr. Coleman, Lieutenant John Doe and Correctional Officers John Doe. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint is dismissed with leave to amend.

         Pursuant to 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 Plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that 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 still 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).

         Plaintiff claims that prison officials at MacDougall placed him in a cell with an inmate who smelled strongly of Bengay. When Plaintiff asked to be moved to another cell, officers moved him to the restrictive housing unit. While in the restrictive housing unit, Plaintiff suffered a nervous breakdown.

         Plaintiff tried to hang himself. When Lieutenant John Doe arrived, he sprayed Plaintiff in the face with mace. After officers gained control over Plaintiff, they put him in the shower for several minutes to rinse his face, but this only further activated the residue of mace that was left on his face.

         Officers then escorted Plaintiff to a cell in the medical unit for observation. During his confinement in the medical unit cell, officials removed Plaintiff's shoes and forced him to wear a gown and eat meals with his hands. At some point, Plaintiff stopped eating for thirteen days. When Commissioner Semple became aware of the potential dangers to Plaintiff's health due to plaintiff's refusal to eat or drink, he sought an order in state court to force feed Plaintiff.

         Before officers transferred Plaintiff to a cell in the restrictive housing unit, Plaintiff suffered a cut to his head when he hit his head on a cell door. After he arrived in the restrictive housing unit, officers sprayed him with mace.

         Officers then escorted Plaintiff back to the medical unit, placed him on a bed in a cell and applied restraints to his ankles and wrists. Hours later, officials downgraded Plaintiff to in-cell restraints. Officers applied restraints to Plaintiff's ankles and wrists too tightly. Plaintiff was unable to fully stand up because the tether chain around his waist was so short. He remained in restraints for over eighteen hours. The restraints caused Plaintiff's right ankle to become swollen and painful. At some point, Lieutenant John Doe loosened the restraints.

         I. Official Capacity Claims

         Plaintiff seeks seeks monetary damages and declaratory and injunctive relief. To the extent that he seeks monetary damages from Defendants in their official capacities, those claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985) (Eleventh Amendment, which protects the state from suits for monetary relief, also protects state officials sued for damages in their official capacity); Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979) (Section 1983 does not override a state's Eleventh Amendment immunity). All claims for monetary damages against Defendants in their official capacities are dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).

         II. Commissioner Semple and Lieutenant John Doe

         Plaintiff claims that he refused to eat for thirteen days. In response to this behavior and the potential impact of this behavior on Plaintiff's health, Commissioner Semple filed an action in state court seeking a court order to force-feed Plaintiff.

         The allegations suggest that Commissioner Semple sought the court order regarding feeding Plaintiff because Plaintiff's health was in jeopardy. In the state court action, Semple v. Quint, HHD-CV17-6079477-S, the judge granted the application for an immediate ex parte temporary injunction to prevent Quint from interfering with medical treatment including intravenous fluids and/or nourishment, nasal-gastric feeding and any other health care measures necessary to preserve Quint's life or prevent physical harm to him. See Appl. ...


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