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Shand v. Chapdelaine

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 2, 2018

WARDEN CHAPDELAINE, et al. Defendants.



         On November 27, 2017, the plaintiff, Christopher Shand (“Shand”), an inmate currently housed at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MWCI”) in Suffield, Connecticut, filed a complaint pro se pursuant to title 42, section 1983 of the United States Code against Warden Chapdelaine, Deputy Warden Hines, Deputy Warden Guadarrama, Captain Rivera, Correction Officer Mancini, Correction Officer Raines, and four other unidentified correction officers[1] at MWCI in their individual capacities for monetary relief. Complaint (Doc. No. 1). On November 30, 2017, this Court granted Shand's Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. No. 2). See Order (Doc. No. 6). For the following reasons, his Complaint is dismissed in part.


         Pursuant to title 28, section 1915A of the United States Code, this 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. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the defendant 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.” Bell Atlantic, 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)).

         II. FACTS[2]

         On January 25, 2015, Captain Rivera assembled a “cell extraction team” after Shand's cellmate refused to take down a sheet covering the cell window. Compl. at ¶ 18. Shand had nothing to do with his cellmate's decision to cover the window. Id. at ¶ 24. The “cell extraction team” included Rivera and correction officers Mancini, Raines, and John Does 1-4. Id. at ¶ 19. Upon opening the cell, the team members immediately attacked Shand. Id. Raines and Mancini punched Shand several times in the head, causing his left ear drum to burst and permanently damaging his hearing. Id. at ¶¶ 19- 20. John Does 2-4 also participated in beating Shand. Id. at ¶ 21. The officers yelled at Shand to “stop resisting!, ” despite the fact that Shand was not resisting, but was rather lying prone on the floor of the cell. Id. at ¶¶ 22-23.

         While the other team members were beating Shand, Rivera sprayed him with a chemical agent causing Shand to experience pain in his eyes and lungs and difficulty breathing. Compl. ¶ 10. John Doe 1 stood by and permitted Rivera to spray Shand even though both Doe 1 and Rivera knew that Shand suffered from asthma. Id. at ¶¶ 11-12. After using the pepper spray, Rivera ordered that Shand be placed in in-cell body restraints--including handcuffs, leg irons, and a tether chain connecting his hands to his legs--for three days. Id. at ¶¶ 14-16. All members of the “extraction team” denied Shand any medical care for his damaged ear after he was beaten. Id. at ¶ 25.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Shand is suing Rivera, Raines, Mancini, and John Does 1-4 for using excessive force, placing him in in-cell restraints, and denying him medical care, in violation of his Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Compl. at ¶¶ 30-34, 39-42, 46-47. He is also raising state law claims of assault and battery against those defendants. Id. at ¶¶ 36-38.[3] Shand is suing Chapdelaine, Hines, and Guadarrama for failing to train and failing to supervise correctional officers at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, based on the actions of Rivera, Raines, Mancini, and John Does 1-4. Id. at ¶¶ 43-45.

         A. Fifth Amendment Claims

         The Fifth Amendment applies to the federal government, not to the states. See Dusenbery v. United States, 534 U.S. 161, 167 (2002) (Fifth Amendment due process applies to federal government actors whereas Fourteenth Amendment due process applies to state actors); Ambrose v. City of New York, 623 F.Supp.2d 454, 466-67 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (due process claim against city properly brought under Fourteenth Amendment, not Fifth Amendment). Shand has not raised any claim against a federal government actor. Therefore, his Fifth Amendment claims are dismissed.

         B. Eighth Amendment Claims Against Rivera, Raines, Mancini, and Does 1-4

         1. Excessive Force

         To establish a claim of excessive force under the Eighth Amendment, the prisoner must satisfy a subjective and objective component. See Sims ...

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