United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
28, 2017, Rogelio Medina (“Plaintiff” or
“Mr. Medina”), an inmate confined at Garner
Correctional Institution (“Garner”) in Newtown,
CT, filed a Complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Correction Officer Punter in his individual
capacity for monetary damages. Mr. Medina is suing Officer
Punter for negligence and deliberate indifference to Mr.
August 9, 2017, the Court granted Mr. Medina's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis. See ECF No. 9.
For the following reasons, Mr. Medina's Complaint will
proceed in its entirety.
ALLEGED FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Complaint alleges that, on March 21, 2017, at around 4:45
p.m., Garner correction officers opened Mr. Medina's cell
door so that Mr. Medina could go to the dining hall. At that
moment, another inmate named Taylor allegedly passed in front
of Mr. Medina and asked him what he had just said. Mr. Medina
replied that he did not say anything. Mr. Taylor then
allegedly walked up to Mr. Medina, placed his two fingers
next to Mr. Medina's head as if it was a gun, and told
him to “watch [his] fucking mouth.” The Complaint
maintains that Mr. Taylor's cellmate, Campbell, pulled
Mr. Taylor away from Mr. Medina and then said to Mr. Medina,
“I got you.” Mr. Medina allegedly approached
Officer Punter, who was nearby, and asked him why he had not
said anything to Mr. Taylor in response to the threat.
Officer Punter allegedly told Mr. Medina that he did not see
Mr. Taylor engage in any threatening behavior.
Complaint further claims that when Mr. Taylor and Mr.
Campbell overhead Mr. Medina talking to Officer Punter, they
called Mr. Medina a “snitching little bitch, ”
and the three inmates started cursing and arguing with each
other. Officer Punter allegedly told them to “bang out
or get in line.” It is alleged that Mr. Campbell's
friend put Mr. Medina in a choke hold. Officer Punter
allegedly watched the physical altercation unfold for three
minutes before calling a “code blue, ” which
allegedly signals an inmate fight.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court must “review . . . a complaint in a civil action
in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity
or officer or employee of a governmental
entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must
“identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint,
or any portion of the complaint, ” if the complaint or
any of its parts are “frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted” or
“seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id. § 1915A(b).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a plaintiff
plead only “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), to provide the defendant “fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
plaintiff's “[f]actual allegations must be enough
to raise a right to relief above the speculative level,
” and assert a cause of action with enough heft to show
entitlement to relief and “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. A claim is facially
plausible if “the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although “detailed factual allegations” are not
required, a complaint must offer more than “labels and
conclusions, ” “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action, ” or “naked
assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual
enhancement.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-57.
Plausibility at the pleading stage is nonetheless distinct
from probability, and “a well-pleaded complaint may
proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of
[the claims] is improbable, and ... recovery is very remote
and unlikely.” Id. at 556 (internal quotation
se complaints, however, “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) (internal quotation marks
omitted) (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 the “special solicitude” courts
afford pro se litigants).
Eighth Amendment prohibits “cruel and unusual
punishment.” U.S. Const. amend. VIII; see also
Robinson v. California, 370 U.S. 660, 667 (1962)
(incorporating the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of
cruel and unusual punishment as binding on the states by way
of the Fourteenth Amendment). “[S]et[ting]
constitutional boundaries on the conditions of imprisonment,
” the Amendment bars “unnecessary and wanton