United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
C. Hall, United States District Judge.
September 25, 2017, the plaintiff, Howard Cosby
(“Cosby”), an inmate currently housed at
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution in Uncasville,
Connecticut, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to
title 42, section 1983 of the United States Code against Mark
Morin (“Morin”), a phlebotomist at Cheshire
Correctional Institution, in his individual and official
capacities for monetary relief. Cosby is suing Morin for
taking blood and urine samples from him without his consent,
in violation of his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel
and unusual punishment. On September 26, 2017, this court
granted Cosby's Motion to Proceed in forma
pauperis. See Order (Doc. No. 6). That same
day, Cosby filed a Motion to Amend his Complaint in order to
add a claim that Morin violated his Fourteenth Amendment
right to due process. Mot. to Amend Complaint (Doc. No. 7).
This court granted Cosby's Motion to Amend on September
28, 2017. See Order (Doc. No. 8). On October 13,
2017, Cosby filed a document styled as an Amended Complaint.
(Doc. No. 9). However, the text of that filing and
Cosby's Motion to Amend both clearly indicate that Cosby
intended the document styled as an Amended Complaint to
supplement to the initial Complaint, rather than replace it.
See Mot. to Am. at ¶ 2 (requesting leave to add
a claim). Given the plaintiff's pro se status,
the court will treat the Amended Complaint as incorporating
by reference the initial Complaint, and will address the
facts and arguments contained in both the initial Complaint
(Doc. No. 1) and the Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 9).
reasons articulated below, the Amended Complaint is dismissed
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to title 28, section 1915A of the United States Code, this
court reviews prisoner civil complaints and dismisses 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. 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)).
December 22, 2014, Morin requested that Cosby provide him
with blood and urine samples. Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 6. Cosby
told Morin that he did not want him to take blood and urine
samples because he had just recently given them to clinical
staff. Id. Despite Cosby's refusal, Morin drew
the samples from Cosby. Id. On January 16, 2015,
Cosby was called to the medical unit again, where a
registered nurse (“RN”) identified only as
“Cherryl” informed Cosby that he was “there
for the second part of [his] physical” and then
retracted that statement, telling him he did not need to
complete anything because he had had a physical in October.
Id. When Cosby informed RN Cherryl that he had
informed Morin of this fact and nevertheless been told he
needed to submit to testing, Cherryl told Morin that
“the Nurse messed up.” Id.
brings claims pursuant to the Eighth Amendment's
protection against cruel and unusual punishment, Compl. at 6,
and the Fourteenth Amendment's substantive due process
right to refuse medical treatment, Am. Compl. at ¶ 2.
Cosby sues Morin in his individual and official capacity, and
seeks monetary damages only. Claims of monetary damages
against state officials are barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985);
Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979).
Therefore, all claims against Morin in his official capacity
are dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).
alleges that Morin's act of drawing blood and urine
samples from him constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
However, Cosby's Amended Complaint implies that Morin was
acting pursuant to a mistaken belief that Cosby was due for a
routine physical, a mistake that another member of the
medical staff identified a month later. See Compl.
(Doc. No. 1) at 6. This inadvertent action is insufficient to
state a claim of cruel and unusual punishment. “[O]nly
the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain . . .
constitutes cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the
Eighth Amendment.” Kingsley v. Bureau of
Prisons, 937 F.2d 26, 31 (2d Cir. 1991) (quoting
Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651 (1977)); see
Whitney v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 320 (1986) (“It
is obduracy and wantonness, not inadvertence or error in good
faith, that characterizes the conduct prohibited by [the
blood draws and urinalysis screenings ordinarily will not
suffice to state a claim of cruel and unusual punishment. The
Second Circuit has described the drawing of blood as
“quite a minor intrusion, of the sort that ordinary
citizens voluntarily submit to routinely for medical
purposes.” Nicholas v. Goord, 430 F.3d 652,
676 (2d Cir. 2005). Several lower courts have held that
“a forced blood draw on a prisoner . . . is not the
sort of conduct that amounts to [an Eighth Amendment]
violation.” Thompson v. CCA-LAC Medical
Dep't, No. 1:06-CV-104, 2007 WL 390356, at *5 (D.
Vt. Jan. 30, 2007); see also, e.g., Boreland v.
Vaughn, No. CIV.A. 92-0172, 1993 WL 62707, at *6 (E.D.
Pa. March 3, 1993) (“The use of a needle to draw blood
is hardly the cruel and unusual punishment contemplated by
the Eighth Amendment.”). Similarly, “urinalysis
testing . . . conducted in accordance with established
guidelines, cannot be said to constitute obduracy and
wantonness” under the Eighth Amendment. Brown v.
Dreyfus, No. 9:11-CV-1298, 2013 WL 4026845, at *3 n.12
(N.D.N.Y. Aug. 6, 2013) (quoting Rodriguez v.
Coughlin, 795 F.Supp. 609, 613 (W.D.N.Y. 1992)).
blood draw or urinalysis test were conducted maliciously or
sadistically, that might be a different story: “When
prison official maliciously and sadistically use force to
cause harm, contemporary standards of decency are always
violated, ” even if “significant injury” is
not caused. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9
(1992). However, Cosby's allegations are ...