United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer, United States District Judge.
Davon Miller is a prisoner in the custody of the Connecticut
Department of Correction. He has filed a complaint pro
se and in forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. After an initial review, the Court concludes that the
amended complaint shall be allowed to proceed in part as to
some of plaintiff's claims against some of the
names seven defendants: Correctional Officer Mann, Lieutenant
Squires, Lieutenant Cavagnoff, Lieutenant Beebe, Deputy
Warden Roach, Medical Administrator Lightner, and Captain
Rivera. The following allegations from plaintiff's
amended complaint are accepted as true for purposes of the
August 17, 2017, plaintiff was an unsentenced detainee at the
MacDougall Correctional Institution
(“MacDougall”). Cavagnoff instructed Mann to
place plaintiff in a segregation cell with a sentenced inmate
who had a history of violence and mental illness. Because the
inmate wanted a single cell, he assaulted his cellmates.
Staff at MacDougall were aware of this behavior. Doc. #1 at 5
(¶ 1). When plaintiff entered the cell, he went to use
the toilet. His cellmate assaulted him, repeatedly smashing
plaintiff's head against the steel toilet until plaintiff
became unconscious. Id. (¶ 2).
plaintiff began to regain consciousness, Mann opened the cell
door and sprayed a chemical agent (mace) into plaintiff's
face and open wound. Id. (¶ 3). Plaintiff again
lost consciousness. When he awoke, a nurse was stitching his
wound. His boxers were off, and his face and body were
burning from the chemical agent. Id. (¶ 4).
was admitted to the infirmary. He had suffered two black
eyes, six stitches under his right eye, a blood clot in his
right eye, a bone fracture in his right eye socket, a swollen
jaw and a cut in his right eye. Id. at 6 (¶ 5).
Plaintiff was not taken to the hospital or given a bottom
bunk pass. He was not given a tetanus shot or a CAT scan. He
was given a Motrin tablet at the end of the day. The
following day, he was transferred to the Walker Correctional
Institution segregation unit. Id. (¶ 6).
asked Squires and Beebe if he could press charges. They told
him no, that he should have done so on the day of the
incident. Beebe also told plaintiff that calling the state
police is a privilege and that he was refusing to let
plaintiff call or make an incident report. Id.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), 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. The
Court must accept as true all factual matters alleged in a
complaint, although a complaint may not survive unless its
factual recitations state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Mastafa v. Chevron Corp.,
770 F.3d 170, 177 (2d Cir. 2014) (same). To be sure,
“pro 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). Still, a pro se complaint may
not survive dismissal if its factual allegations do not meet
the basic plausibility standard. See, e.g.,
Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local 40, 790 F.3d 378, 387
(2d Cir. 2015).
Prison Litigation Reform Act requires prisoners to exhaust
administrative remedies before filing a federal lawsuit
relating to prison conditions. See 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(a) (“No action shall be brought with respect to
prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any
other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail,
prison, or other correctional facility until such
administrative remedies as are available are
exhausted.”). This exhaustion requirement applies to
all claims regarding “prison life, whether they involve
general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether
they allege excessive force or some other wrong.”
Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002).
Exhaustion of all available administrative remedies must
occur regardless of whether the administrative procedures
provide the relief that the inmate seeks. See Booth v.
Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 740-41 (2001). Furthermore,
prisoners must comply with all procedural rules regarding the
grievance process prior to commencing an action in federal
court. See Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90-93
inmate's failure to exhaust administrative remedies is
excusable if the remedies are in fact unavailable. See
Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1858 (2016). An
administrative remedy procedure is unavailable when it
operates as a simple dead end, with officers unable or
consistently unwilling to provide any relief to aggrieved
inmates. Id. at 1859. Unavailability may also be
found where an administrative scheme is so opaque that it
becomes incapable of use. Ibid. Finally, a grievance
process is rendered unavailable if prison administrators
thwart inmates from taking advantage of it through
machination, misrepresentation, or intimidation. Id.
at 1860. See also Sango v. VanWagner, 2017 WL 674035
(W.D. Mich.) (inmate's administrative remedies were
unavailable where a grievance was returned with “let it
go, or die” written on it), report and
recommendation approved, 2017 WL 661505 (W.D. Mich.
initial complaint did not allege that he exhausted his
administrative remedies before filing this action. Plaintiff
did however allege that he was transferred to a different
correctional facility within a day of the incident, seemingly
immediately upon his release from the infirmary. Doc. #8 at 6
(¶ 6). He further alleged that Lieutenants Squires and
Beebe prevented him from “press[ing] charges, ”
id. (¶ 7), and that Lieutenant Beebe told him
it was “a privilege to make a call to the Connecticut
state police” and refused to let him “call or
make a[n] incident report.” Id. (¶¶
7-8). Additionally, plaintiff's response to this
Court's order to show cause (Doc. #9) alleges that
plaintiff has made numerous attempts to pursue his
administrative remedies within the prison and has been
rebuffed. See Doc. #12 at 1. ...