United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Bond Arterton, U.S.D.J.
Michael Wegrzyn brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Defendants Peter Murphy, Gary Wright,
Scott Semple, Correctional Officer Billie, Captain Beaudry,
Correctional Treatment Officer Massoia, Captain Harnett, and
Lieutenant Roy, alleging negligent breach of duty to protect,
negligent denial of medical treatment, and retaliation for
filing a lawsuit. Each Defendant has been sued in both
individual and official capacities. Defendants now move [Doc.
#122] for summary judgment on the Second Amended Complaint in
its entirety. For the reasons set forth below,
Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.
Michael Wegrzyn's claims relate to allegations of events
that occurred while he was incarcerated at MacDougall
Correctional Institution ("MacDougall") in
Connecticut and are brought against Peter Murphy (warden at
MacDougall), Gary Wright (deputy warden at MacDougall), Scott
Semple (warden at Garner Correctional Institution
("Garner")), Mr. Harnett (captain at MacDougall),
Correctional Officer Billie, Captain Beaudry, Correctional
Treatment Officer Massoia, and Lieutenant Roy.
Wegrzyn's wide-ranging complaint alleges deliberate
indifference to three assaults committed by a fellow inmate,
denial of medical treatment by John and Jane Does, as well as
by Defendant Roy, and retaliation for filing a lawsuit (the
"Initial Lawsuit") on March 3, 2011 (served May 13,
2011), by means of the assaults and through a strategy of
deliberate transfers between institutions and cells. Mr.
Wegrzyn swore to his first complaint, thereby qualifying it
as a verified complaint and permitting the Court to treat it
as an affidavit for summary judgment purposes. (See
Complaint, Part I [Doc. # 2] at 6). Colon v.
Coughlin, 58 F.3d 865 (2d Cir. 1995). This first,
verified complaint will be referred to as the "Wegrzyn
opposing Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment,
Plaintiff has not supplemented his affidavit with any further
evidence. Defendants have submitted documentary evidence and
affidavits from non-party witnesses that contradict the
factual assertions in Mr. Wegrzyn's affidavit. In
determining whether Plaintiff has raised any material issues
of fact requiring trial disposition, the Court proceeds under
the principle that a party's affidavit, unsupported by
any other evidence in the record, fails to raise a triable
issue of fact when it conflicts with uncontroverted
documentary evidence. Christiana Bank & Trust Co. v.
Dalton, No. 06-CV-3206, 2009 WL 4016507, at *4 (E.D.N.Y.
Nov. 17, 2009) ("a self-serving, contradictory affidavit
fails to raise a triable issue of fact when it conflicts with
documentary evidence"); see also Henderson v. Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 13-cv-378, 2017 WL 731780 (D.
Conn. Feb. 2, 2017); Dzanoucakis v. Chase Manhattan Bank,
USA, No. 06-cv-5673, 2009 WL 910691 at *8 (E.D.N.Y. Mar.
31, 2009) (where the "uncontroverted record clearly
supports a [particular] finding, " then
"[p]laintiff s own self-serving declaration to the
contrary is insufficient, under the circumstances, to raise a
triable issue of fact").
affidavit sets forth the circumstances of the first alleged
assault, claiming that on April 24, 2011 Defendant Officer
Billie opened Plaintiffs cell door and instructed Inmate
Daniel Klimas to ask Plaintiff "why he filed the
lawsuit?" before assaulting him. (Wegrzyn Aff. ¶
4.) After the assault, Officer Billie told Plaintiff,
"this is how we do things in MacDougall."
(Id.) Plaintiff then claims he was taken to the
medical department where his requests for medical attention
and a keep-away order were denied. (Id. ¶ 5.)
Plaintiff repeated this request in the next few days.
(Id. ¶¶ 6-7.) The affidavit also claims a
second assault occurred on May 24, 2011, during which
Defendant Billie again opened Plaintiffs cell door and
instructed Mr. Klimas to enter and assault Plaintiff.
(Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff again asked for medical
treatment and issuance of a keep-away order, and was again
refused. (Id. ¶ 24.)
assault is alleged to have occurred on October 24, 2011.
(Id. ¶ 28.) According to Plaintiff, this
assault took place in similar fashion to the other two:
Defendant Billie opened Plaintiffs cell and Mr. Klimas
entered the cell to assault Plaintiff. (Id.) This
time, however, no one said anything. (Id.) Plaintiff
asserts that he was taken to the medical unit where he again
requested to file charges against Mr. Klimas and to file a
grievance, but the doctors refused.
documentary evidence submitted by Defendants shows that the
first two assaults could not have taken place because Mr.
Klimas and Plaintiff were not housed in the same facility on
those dates. (Ex. D ("O'Neill Aff") to Mot.
Summ. J. [Doc. # 122-6] at ¶ 23; Ex. E ("Wegrzyn
RT60") and Ex. F ("Klimas RT60") [Docs. ##
122-7, 122-8].), If these assaults could not have taken
place in the timeframe and location that Plaintiff claims,
then the retaliatory comments accompanying the assaults
likewise cannot be shown to have taken place, and any request
by Plaintiff for a keep-away order against Mr. Klimas would
be meaningless because they were not housed together.
the first two claimed attacks for which no credible evidence
has been offered, the third confrontation undisputedly
occurred. The prison records confirm that on October 24,
2011, Plaintiff and Mr. Klimas engaged in a physical fight,
but that the fight was documented to have taken place during
"pod recreation, " not in Plaintiffs cell. (Ex. G
("Cassidy Aff") to Mot Summ. J. [Doc. # 122-9]; Ex.
H ("Incident Report") to Mot. Summ. J. [Doc. #
122-10].) After non-party Officer Cassidy reported
the fight, responding staff including Defendant Billie came
and secured the unit and both inmates. (Cassidy Aff.
¶¶ 6-7.) Aside from Defendant Billie, no other
Defendants were on the scene and none of the other Defendants
responded to the call. (Id. ¶21.) That same
day, an Inmate Separation Profile was created to ensure
Plaintiff and Mr. Klimas remained separated and Plaintiff was
transferred to a different cell in the S unit. (Id.
respect to the one fight shown to have occurred between Mr.
Klimas and Plaintiff, the record does not support Plaintiffs
claim that Officer Billie instructed Mr. Klimas to assault
Plaintiff. Officer Billie's affidavit (which also is
deemed a self-serving affidavit because he is a party)
declares that before Officer Cassidy called the alarm in
response to the fight on October 24, 2011, "I did not
know that the two inmates would fight or that they had
problems with one another ... ." (Ex. J ("Billie
Aff.") to Mot. Summ. J. [Doc. # 122-12] ¶ 4-5].)
Plaintiff offers no rebuttal other than his discredited
allegations about Mr. Billie's role in two prior fights.
addition to Officer Billie's affidavit, non-party Scott
O'Neill, a correctional counselor for the Connecticut
Department of Corrections, submitted an affidavit stating
that "if either inmate raised concerns about safety that
information would be documented in their Department of
Correction file and an inmate separation profile would be
initiated" and that "there is no indication in
either inmate's Department of Correction file that an
inmate separation profile was warranted prior to October 24,
2011." (Ex. D ("O'Neill Aff.") to Mot.
Summ. J. [Doc. # 122-6] ¶¶ 21-22.) The inmate
separation profile created after the fight indicates that the
fight occurred because of gang disputes. (Ex. I ("Inmate
Separation Profile") to Mot. Summ. J. [Doc. # 122-11].)
affidavit further claims that he was transferred between
correctional facilities seven times between April 21, 2011
and October 31, 2011, and that he was transferred at least 10
times between cells during that same period. The prison
records submitted by Defendants contradict these claims and
show that he was transferred between facilities four times in
2005, once in 2010, and three times in 2011 after filing the
Complaint. (Ex. E ("RT60 Movement Record") to Mot.
Summ. J. [Doc. # 122-4].) In 2010 and January 2011, before
the lawsuit was filed, Plaintiff was transferred among cells
nine times, and after the lawsuit was initiated, he was
transferred between cells another five times. (Ex. B
("Locator Card") to Mot. Summ. J. [Doc. # 22-4].)
judgment is appropriate where, "resolvfing] all
ambiguities and draw[ing] all permissible factual inferences
in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is
sought, " Holcomb v. Iona Coll.,521 F.3d 130,
137 (2d Cir. 2008), "the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law, " Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). "A dispute regarding a material fact is genuine
if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Williams v. Utica
Coll. of Syracuse Univ.,453 F.3d 112, 116 (2d Cir.
2006) (quotation marks omitted). "The substantive law
governing the case will identify those facts that are
material, and '[o]nly disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment."'
Bouboulis v. Transp. Workers Union of Am., 442 F.3d
55, 59 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty ...