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Brown v. Santiago

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 17, 2017

CHRISTOPHER BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTONIO SANTIAGO, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          Michael P. Shea, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Christopher Brown, previously incarcerated at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville, Connecticut, and now incarcerated at a facility in Chesire, Connecticut, filed this case pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting claims for deliberate indifference to safety and unconstitutional conditions of confinement. The plaintiff names five defendants: Warden Antonio Santiago, who was the warden at Corrigan “at the times the actions in this complaint took place” (ECF No. 1 at 1), Warden Faucher, who was the warden at Corrigan when the lawsuit was filed, Director of Offender Classification and Population Management David Maiga, District Administrator Edward Maldonado, and Captain Daniel Dauherty, who worked at Corrigan at the relevant times. All defendants are named in individual and official capacities. The complaint was received by the Court on August 23, 2017. The plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on August 24, 2017. (ECF No. 6.)

         The Court 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. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest[].” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). 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 se litigants).

         I. Allegations

         In August 2016, the plaintiff was acquitted in state court on a charge of assault. Defendant Dauherty testified at the trial. After the plaintiff was found not guilty because he was acting in self-defense, he was returned to Corrigan. Upon his arrival, defendant Dauherty told the plaintiff that he had something special in store for the plaintiff now that he was back at Corrigan. Three days later the plaintiff was assaulted by two Latin King members.

         As Director of Offender Classification and Population Management, defendant Maiga is responsible for determining the housing assignments for each inmate and ensuring that the housing assignments are in accord with any separation orders in the inmate's file. Defendant Dauherty is an intelligence officer, in charge of supervising all gang block intelligence.

         The plaintiff was assigned to H-pod at Corrigan. The plaintiff was assaulted by two Latin King gang members three days after his arrival at H-pod. (It is not clear whether this alleged assault is different from the one mentioned above.) The plaintiff alleges that he had a documented profile with one of the inmates who attacked him and contends that defendants Santiago and Dauherty arranged his placement in H-pod.

         The plaintiff was taken to the restrictive housing unit pending resolution of the disciplinary charge for fighting. A correctional officer who witnessed the assault stated in his incident report that the plaintiff was assaulted by the other inmates and was just defending himself. After the investigation was completed, the disciplinary charge was dismissed. The plaintiff remained in restrictive housing for only one day. Investigating officials also determined that the plaintiff had a separation profile with one of the assailants and should not have been housed in the unit, or even the same correctional facility, as that inmate.

         Following the assault, the plaintiff began experiencing headaches and blackouts, sometimes lasting for hours. Although the plaintiff submitted many request forms, he was not seen by a doctor. After threatening legal action, the plaintiff was seen by a doctor on August 6, 2017.

         The plaintiff filed a grievance about his assignment to Corrigan. In response, the warden indicated that staff at Corrigan did not become aware that the plaintiff has been involved in an altercation with the other inmate until January 27, 2017. However, the incident occurred on January 12, 2017, and the plaintiff alleges that the necessary information was in the plaintiff's file. District Administrator Maldonado denied the grievance appeal. The plaintiff also submitted an inmate request seeking transfer to another facility. His request and subsequent grievance were denied. (On September 19, 2017, the Court received a letter from the plaintiff (ECF No. 8) indicating that he had been transferred to Cheshire.)

         Each time the plaintiff was sent to restrictive housing he was assigned a cell with an “agitated, hostile, and dangerous” inmate. ECF No. 1, ¶ 46. He had to fight to defend himself from being assaulted by his cellmates.

         Inmates in restrictive housing in January 2017 were not provided winter gear to attend recreation, which is held outside. Inmates in general population were permitted to wear their own sneakers, boots, or sweatsuits, to attend recreation. The plaintiff alleges that inmates in restrictive housing are not allowed access to their own clothing and must wear the thin jumpsuit and thin shoes that are provided, but attaches to the complaint a grievance response stating that inmates may wear their own footwear. ECF No. 1 at 64-65. Gloves and hat are not provided.

         II. Analysis

         The plaintiff argues that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his safety and subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Although he alleges that he was not provided proper medical care for his ...


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