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Manon v. Brantly

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 12, 2017

KELVIN MANON, Plaintiff,
v.
BRANTLY, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          Janet C. Hall, United States District Judge.

         On May 1, 2017, the plaintiff, Kelvin Manon (“Manon”), an inmate currently housed at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, CT (“MacDougall-Walker”), filed a Complaint pro se pursuant to title 42, section 1983 of the United States Code (“section 1983”) against Correction Officer Brantly, Correction Officer James, Warden Chapdelaine, Deputy Warden Guadarrama, Deputy Warden Hynes, Counselor Moore, and “C.T.O.” Perry for monetary and injunctive relief. Manon is suing the defendants for acting with deliberate indifference to his safety and for violating his due process rights.

         This court denied Manon's Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis because his application showed that he had more than sufficient funds to pay the $400.00 filing fee to commence this action. See Order #6. On June 16, 2017, Manon paid the filing fee to proceed with his case.

         For the reasons articulated below, his Complaint is dismissed in part.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant to title 28, section 1915A of the United States Code, this court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any portion of a 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. 18 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Although detailed allegations are not required, a 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.” 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)).

         II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS[1]

         On July 31, 2016, Correction Officer Brantly propped open Manon's cell door, which permitted another inmate to enter Manon's cell and assault him. Correction Officer James also witnessed the incident. Afterward, Brantly wrote a disciplinary report in which he falsely stated that the physical altercation occurred in the dayroom outside of Manon's cell, despite the fact that James had told him that the altercation occurred inside the cell. The incident was not investigated.

         The next day, Manon submitted a written request to Captain Paine to preserve the video surveillance footage of the incident, but Captain Paine refused to produce the footage, stating that he could not review it without a court order. Manon then wrote to Counselor Moore who refused to provide the video footage because Manon's request “was not received in the [required] time frame.”

         On August 11, 2016, Lieutenant Diaz told Manon that he had reviewed the video and had seen the other inmate enter Manon's cell. Diaz said that she knew Manon was not at fault and “wrote that on her report.”

         On August 16, 2016, Manon requested assistance from “C.T.O.” Perry. Specifically, Manon requested that Perry “take notes of the things [he] needed . . . to defend [him]self” at the disciplinary hearing, review the video from the incident, and determine how much time elapsed after the other inmate entered his cell before any prison official noticed. He also asked her to take a statement from his cell mate, Paredes. Perry did not honor any of Manon's requests.

         Unsatisfied, Manon wrote to Warden Chapdelaine and Deputy Wardens Guadarrama and Hynes on August 19, 2016, requesting all written reports of the July 31 incident, but he never received a response from any of them. That same day, Manon was moved to Q-Pod, a unit that houses inmates who have been sanctioned for disciplinary reports. The Q-Pod unit also has inadequate plumbing, which created “a serious threat to [Manon's] physical and mental well being . . . .” A few weeks later, he was moved to N-Pod, a similar unit. There, Manon learned that the inmate who had assaulted him had not been issued a disciplinary report.

         On September 22, 2016, Manon submitted a grievance for prison officials' failure to respond to his requests for information about the incident, which was later rejected. That same week, he was moved to another disciplinary housing unit.

         On September 29, 2016, Manon was transferred to general population and placed in a cell adjacent to where the inmate who had assaulted him was staying. Manon feared for his safety because the other inmate had “access to the same things as [him].” Manon believes that the decision not to discipline the other inmate is part of a conspiracy to cover up the July 31 incident.

         On November 8, he requested from Counselor Moore copies of reports on the July 31 incident and information regarding his disciplinary ticket. Three months later, Manon received the requested information, but he “felt like [he] was given what [officials] wanted [him] to see only and not all of it.” Lieutenant Diaz's report, which allegedly stated that he had seen the other inmate enter Manon's cell on July 31, was not included in the information provided to Manon. None of the reports given to Manon state that he had a physical altercation with another inmate. Three prison officials reported that the video footage taken of the incident do not capture the physical altercation because there was a pillar blocking the view of the camera lens.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Manon is suing defendants Brantly, James, Chapdelaine, Guadarrama, and Hynes for acting with deliberate indifference to his safety, in violation of his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. He is suing defendants Moore and Perry for violating his procedural due process rights based on their failure to assist him in procuring evidence in his defense against the disciplinary sanctions imposed by prison officials. To remedy these alleged ...


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