United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ISAAC M. COUNCIL, Plaintiff,
WARDEN CHAPDELAINE, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge.
Isaac M. Council, currently confined at MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, filed a
complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
challenging his medical care. The named defendants are Warden
Chapdelaine, Unit Manager Davis, Dr. Pillai,  and Lieutenant
Doe. Council's complaint was received on July 12, 2017,
and his motion to proceed in forma pauperis was
granted on July 13, 2017.
section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, I 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. 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
plausible 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 “[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)); see
also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir.
2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro
an amputee, wears a prosthetic left leg. When he arrived at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution on April 26, 2016,
he was told that he would be housed in N-Pod and would be
permitted to go to the medical unit to use the
handicap-accessible shower. That procedure was followed until
May 4, 2016.
4, 2016, Council was not permitted to go to use the medical
unit shower because he did not have a shower pass. A
correctional officer told Council that, until he was seen by
Dr. Pillai, he would need to use the non-handicapped shower
in the housing unit. Upon Council's request, the
correctional officer contacted Lieutenant Doe. Lieutenant Doe
reviewed Council's medical file and agreed that he was
required to see the doctor. Council was told to use a plastic
chair from his cell for support in the unit shower.
showering, Council lost his balance, fell out of the chair,
and landed on his back on the shower floor. A code was called
and Council was taken to the medical unit in a wheelchair.
His vital signs were taken and he was given Motrin before
being wheeled back to his cell.
following morning, Council awoke with severe pain in his
lower back. Council asked the correctional officer to contact
the medical unit about his pain and to ask whether he was on
the list to see the doctor that day. Council was told to
submit a request. Council asked to speak with Unit Manager
Davis, but she did not come to the housing unit to speak with
9, 2016, Council filed a grievance for lack of medical
attention for a back injury. On May 14, 2016, he submitted a
second request explaining the severity of his pain and his
urgent need to be seen. Also on May 14, 2016, Council spoke
to Unit Manager Davis while she was touring the unit. Unit
Manager Davis told him to submit another medical request and
to purchase Ibuprofen from the commissary.
27, 2016, Council filed a Health Emergency Grievance because
he had not yet been seen. To date, he has received no relief
for his injuries. He continues to experience pain and
inability to sleep as a result of the fall.
Defendants Davis and Doe
claim against Unit Manager Davis and Lieutenant Doe appears
to be a claim for deliberate indifference to safety. Prison
officials have a duty to “take reasonable measures to
guarantee the safety of the inmates.” Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). To state a claim,
Council must show (i) that the conditions of his
incarceration posed a “substantial risk of serious
harm, ” and (ii) that prison officials were
“deliberate[ly] indifferen[t]” to his safety.
Id. at 834. Deliberate indifference exists where
prison officials “know of and disregard an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety.”
Id. at 837.
alleges that that prison officials permitted him to use the
medical unit shower upon his arrival at the facility, which
constitutes an acknowledgment of the risk of requiring him to
use the unit showers. Unit Manager Davis and Lieutenant Doe
were aware that the practice was terminated, but they made no
effort to schedule a visit with Dr. Pillai so that Council
could obtain the required shower pass, nor did they assist
Council in doing so. At the present stage of the litigation,