United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Anthony Torrez, currently confined at Northern Correctional
Institution in Somers, Connecticut, filed a complaint pro
se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging his
conditions of confinement as a pretrial detainee. The
defendants are the Department of Correction, Scott Semple,
Monica Rinaldi, William Mulligan, Carol Chapdelaine, Giuliana
Mudano, Craig Burns, Colleen Gallagher, Brian Libel, Mark A.
Frayne, Dr. Yesu, Gerald G. Gagne, Jr., and Gregorio Robles.
Torrez's complaint was received on July 21, 2017, and his
motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on
July 25, 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
Semple and Rinaldi, respectively, are the Commissioner and
Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Correction.
Defendant Mulligan was the Warden at Northern Correctional
Institution (“Northern”). Defendants Chapdelaine
and Mudano, respectively, were the Warden and Acting Deputy
Warden at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“MacDougall”). Dr. Burns is the Director of
Clinical Services with regard to psychiatry for the
Department of Correction. Defendant Gallagher is the Director
of the Americans with Disabilities Act for the Department of
Correction. Defendant Libel is a Health Services
Administrator. Drs. Frayne and Yesu are psychiatrists
employed at Northern and MacDougall, respectively. Dr. Gagne
is a medical doctor employed at Northern. Captain Robles is a
custodial officer at Northern.
is classified as seriously mentally ill. He suffers from
bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder,
attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder, and conduct disorder. He has taken mental health
medication and undergone therapy to address these conditions
since childhood. Torrez also has engaged in acts of mania and
has attempted suicide.
February 2016, while he was a pretrial detainee, Torres was
transferred to Northern. He was then transferred to Cheshire
Correctional Institution in September 2016, and then to
MacDougall in January 2017, when Phases 2 and 3 of the
Administrative Segregation Program were transferred to
MacDougall. Northern is a maximum security, level 5,
facility. Although MacDougall is a level 4 facility, the B-1
housing unit is used as a maximum security unit. There are no
mental health units at either facility.
has been confined in Administrative Segregation at both
Northern and MacDougall. Administrative Segregation can
involve extended periods of solitary confinement that entail
social isolation and reduced environmental stimulation. In
Phase 1 of Administrative Segregation, inmates are confined
in a small sensory deprivation cell for 23 hours per day.
They eat all meals in the cell. Inmates are removed from the
cell for one hour of recreation per day and showers three
times per week. Inmates are placed in full restraints any
time they leave their cells. They are denied contact visits
and are limited to one 15-minute telephone call per week.
Inmates are denied work assignments and cannot participate in
congregate programs. They are permitted only limited property
and have restricted use of sinks and toilets.
has been confined in Administrative Segregation for over a
year. He was in phase 1 for most of the time he was at
Northern. Torrez alleges that defendant Gagne sexually
harassed him by forcing him to exit his cell and speak with
Dr. Gagne one-on-one at Northern.
has received disciplinary sanctions as a result of behavior
that is caused by his mental illness. Those sanctions include
placement in punitive segregation, denial of visitation and
telephone privileges, placement on in-cell restraint status,
placement on behavioral observation status, and exposure to
excessive amounts of chemical agent during cell extractions.
In many instances, the defendants did not attempt mental
health interventions before using discipline or punishment.
Frayne has watched Torrez attempt to commit suicide without
calling a code and instead placed Torrez on behavior
observation status with no one watching him or providing
mental health treatment.
has not been provided adequate mental health care at Northern
or MacDougall. The defendants failed to ensure these
facilities are adequately staffed with mental health
providers so the inmates can receive proper mental health
treatment. They also have not trained custodial staff to
properly deal with mentally ill inmates.
Libel, Burns, Yesu, Frayne and Gagne have failed to develop
an adequate mental health plan for Torrez. They have not
provided him with psychotherapy. Despite documentation from
the community, defendants Frayne and Gagne claim that the
plaintiff is manipulating his illness. Torrez alleges that he
should have been confined at Garner Correctional Institution
conditions of confinement have exacerbated Torrez' mental
illness and caused him to suffer physical injury. He
experiences racing thoughts, fear for his safety, loss of
sleep, and extreme anxiety attacks. Torrez has engaged in
self-harm in the form of beatings by custodial staff, and has
attempted suicide. All defendants had access to Torrez'
mental health records and, thus, were aware of his mental
health needs. In addition, Torrez repeatedly informed the
defendants about his conditions.