United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Andrews (“Andrews”), currently confined at
Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut,
filed this complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 challenging his conditions of confinement and alleging
that the defendants failed to protect him from assault by
another inmate and violated his rights under the Americans
with Disabilities Act. The named defendants are Scott Semple,
John Aldy, Allison Black, Denise Walker, Lieutenant Papoosha,
Correctional Officer John Doe, and Counselor Ferriera.
Andrews's complaint was received on July 24, 2017, and
his motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted
on July 27, 2017.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, 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. 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).
incidents underlying this action occurred while Andrews was
confined at Bridgeport Correctional Center
(“Bridgeport”). Andrews is classified as
seriously mentally ill. He has been diagnosed with bipolar
disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and
paranoia. Andrews has taken medication to address his mental
January 29, 2017, Andrews was injured in an altercation with
inmate Craig Rivera. Following the incident, correctional
officials created a separation profile to keep the two
inmates apart. However, defendants Semple, Walker, Black,
Aldy, and Papoosha kept both inmates confined in the same
protective custody unit at Bridgeport. Andrews told
defendants Black, Walker, Aldy, and Papoosha that he feared
for his safety and requested a transfer to another housing
unit before he was assaulted again.
March 6, 2017, Andrews was released from his cell to go to
recreation. While on recreation, Andrews went to use the
phone. While doing so, inmate Rivera jumped out of the
shower, where he had been hiding, pushed Andrews onto the
“slop sink” and began to beat him. Andrews
suffered injuries to his head, neck and back. Andrews alleges
that defendants Doe and Ferriera failed to ensure that all
inmates, in particular inmate Rivera, were secure in their
assigned cells before releasing Andrews for recreation.
responded to the altercation and used a chemical agent to
separate the inmates. Andrews was exposed to an excessive
amount of chemical agent causing him to experience pain and
burning in his eyes and difficulty breathing.
Semple and Aldy placed Andrews on Security Risk Group
(“SRG”) status even though he is not a gang
member. Andrews previously had been assaulted in the SRG unit
at Walker Correctional Institution. Several gang members had
assaulted him because he was not a gang member. After the
prior incident, Andrews was placed on SRG protective custody
status for his safety.
Rivera was a member of the same gang whose members had
previously assaulted Andrews. Defendants Black, Walker and
Papoosha were aware of this when making Andrews's cell
is denied commissary, telephone access, visits, a television,
a hand-held game boy, and other property that general
population inmates are permitted. He is also denied
post-secondary education and a job outside the housing unit,
and provided only limited communication with other inmates,
limited gym recreation, and limited visiting days that are
inconvenient for his family. He is not housed in the most
integrated setting appropriate for his mental health needs,
but rather under restrictive conditions.
includes four counts in his complaint. In the first
count, Andrews alleges that all defendants have been
deliberately indifferent to his safety and serious mental
health needs. In the second count, Andrews alleges that he
has a protected liberty interest in avoiding SRG protective
custody and that defendants Semple, Aldy, Black, and Papoosha
violated his right to due process by failing to remove him
from SRG status, transfer him after the fight with inmate
Rivera, or transfer him to Garner Correctional Institution.
In the third count, Andrews alleges that defendants Semple,
Aldy, Black, Walker, and Papoosha violated his Eighth
Amendment rights by creating a policy, or permitting an
existing policy to continue, under which he was deprived of
adequate safety, by failing to properly supervise their
subordinates to ensure his safety. In the fourth count,
Andrews alleges that the defendants have violated his rights
under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Deliberate Indifference to Safety
officials have a duty to make reasonable efforts to ensure
inmate safety. To establish a constitutional violation, an
inmate must show that the conditions of his incarceration
posed a substantial risk of serious harm and that prison
officials were deliberately indifferent to his safety.
See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994).
Deliberate indifference exists where prison officials know of
and disregard an excessive risk to inmate safety. See
Id. at 837; Bridgewater v. Taylor, 698
F.Supp.2d 351, 357 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (explaining that
defendants must be aware of facts supporting an inference
that harm would occur and must actually draw that inference).
For example, correctional staff would ...