United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge.
White-a prisoner currently incarcerated at the
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution-has filed a civil
rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden
Carol Chapdelaine, Maintenance Supervisor Clifford, and
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I must review prisoner civil
complaints and dismiss any portion of the 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.” Although detailed allegations are
not required, the complaint must include sufficient facts to
afford the defendants “fair notice” of the claims
and grounds upon which they are based, and to demonstrate a
“plausible” right to relief. Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
“[C]onclusory” 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 se
14, 2014, at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution,
White was playing basketball during his recreation period. He
claims that he severely injured his left ankle due to a hole
in the cement in the recreation yard. Officers transported
White to the medical department in a wheelchair. White claims
that defendants Chapdelaine, Clifford and Rivera failed to
maintain the recreation yard and created a risk of injury to
him in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He also asserts
that the conduct of the defendants constituted the tort of
negligence under state law.
Official Capacity Eighth Amendment Claims
requests compensatory and punitive damages and declaratory
relief. To the extent that White seeks monetary damages from
the defendants in their official capacities, that claim is
barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-67 (1985) (Eleventh Amendment,
which protects the state from suits for monetary relief, also
protects state officials sued for damages in their official
capacities); Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342
(1979) (Section 1983 does not override a state's Eleventh
Amendment immunity). I dismiss the Eighth Amendment claim for
monetary damages against the defendants in their official
capacities pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).
asks the court to declare that the conduct of the defendants
violated his Eighth Amendment rights. The purpose of the
Declaratory Judgment Act is “to enable parties to
adjudicate disputes before either side suffers great
damage.” In re Combustion Equip. Assocs., 838
F.2d 35, 37 (2d Cir. 1988). In Ex parte Young, 209
U.S. 123 (1908), the Supreme Court held that an exception to
the Eleventh Amendment's grant of sovereign immunity from
suit existed to permit a plaintiff to sue a state official
acting in his or her official capacity for prospective
injunctive relief for continuing violations of federal law.
Id. at 155-56. The exception to Eleventh Amendment
immunity, however, “does not permit judgments against
state officers declaring that they violated federal law in
the past.” See P.R. Aqueduct & Sewer
Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy, 506 U.S. 139, 146 (1993)
(emphasis added); Green v. Mansour, 474 U.S. 64, 68
(1985) (“We have refused to extend the reasoning of
Young . . . to claims for retrospective
relief.”); Ward v. Thomas, 207 F.3d 114,
119-20 (2d Cir. 2000) (Eleventh Amendment barred
retrospective relief in form of declaration that Connecticut
violated federal law in the past).
request for a declaration that, in July 2014 at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, the defendants
violated his federal constitutional rights cannot be properly
characterized as “prospective” because White does
not allege how such relief would remedy a future
constitutional violation by the defendants. Cf.
Green, 474 U.S. at 68. Thus, White's request for
declaratory relief relating to his Eighth Amendment claim
does not meet the exception to the Eleventh Amendment
immunity set forth in Ex parte Young. See
any request for prospective relief to remedy ongoing
violations of federal law, a declaration that the defendants
violated White's constitutional rights in the past is
barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Id. at 73 (if
there is “no claimed continuing violation of federal
law, ” then “the issuance of a declaratory
judgment . . . [is] prohibited by the Eleventh
Amendment”); Jackson v. Battaglia, 63
F.Supp.3d 214, 220-21 (N.D.N.Y. 2014) (dismissing requests
for relief seeking an “injunction precluding any
‘unlawful conduct alleged within this [c]omplaint at
any time in the future' and a declaration that defendants
‘have violated' federal law” because they
“cannot be properly characterized as
‘prospective'” requests for relief).
Accordingly, I dismiss White's request for declaratory
relief relating to the Eighth Amendment claim. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
Eighth Amendment Individual Capacity Claim
claims that he injured his ankle as a result of the
defendants' failure to maintain the recreation yard in a
safe condition. He argues that the conduct of the defendants
violated his right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment under the Eighth Amendment.
Supreme Court has held that an inmate's conditions of
confinement must meet “minimal civilized measures of
life's necessities.” Wilson v. Seiter, 501
U.S. 294, 298 (1991). This means that prison officials must
“provide for [inmates'] basic human
needs-e.g., food, clothing, shelter, medical care,
and reasonable safety.” DeShaney v. Winnebago Cnty.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189, 200 (1989). To
state an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claims,
an inmate must meet both an objective and subjective
requirement. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
834 (1994). First, the deprivation of a “basic human
need, ” such as “food, clothing, shelter, medical
care, and reasonable safety” must be
“sufficiently serious.” Id.;
DeShaney, 489 at 200. Second, the official must have
exhibited a “sufficiently culpable state of mind”
by acting with “‘deliberate ...