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Cruz-Droz v. Marquis

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 16, 2018

JONATHAN CRUZ-DROZ, Plaintiff,
v.
LIEUTENANT MARQUIS, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER RE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

          Michael P. Shea United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Jonathan Cruz-Droz, currently incarcerated at the Cheshire Correctional Institution in Cheshire, Connecticut, filed this case pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting claims for violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. On February 26, 2018, with the assistance of counsel, the plaintiff filed this second amended complaint naming six defendants: Captain Manning, Mental Health Officer Rosado, Psychiatrist John Doe a/k/a WM Gillian, Dr. John Coleman, Medical Staff John Doe, and Nurse John Doe a/k/a Nurse Pannet.

         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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. 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.

         I. Allegations

         On April 20, 2017, the plaintiff was confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution. ECF No. 31 at 2, ¶ 11. On that day, inmate Ayala was assigned as the plaintiff's cellmate. Id. ¶ 12. Inmate Ayala wore a card or special designation on his person indicating that he had violent tendencies. Id. ¶ 13. The plaintiff asked Captain Manning if the plaintiff or inmate Ayala could be moved because of inmate Ayala's violent tendencies. Captain Manning denied the request. Id. ¶ 14.

         On April 24, 2017, inmate Ayala had a psychotic episode while in the cell with the plaintiff. Id. at 3, ¶ 15. The plaintiff tried to calm inmate Ayala but was unsuccessful. Id. ¶ 16. Inmate Ayala covered the cell door window so the guard could not see into the cell. Id. ¶ 17. He also pushed his mattress against the cell door to prevent guards from entering the cell. Id. ¶ 18. Captain Manning asked the inmates to stop what they were doing. Id. ¶ 19. The plaintiff told Captain Manning that he was complying with prison rules and that inmate Ayala was causing the disturbance. Id. ¶ 20. The plaintiff then sat on his bunk away from the disruption at the cell door. Id. ¶ 21.

         When inmate Ayala refused to comply with the orders, Captain Manning sprayed a chemical agent into the cell to subdue inmate Ayala. Id. ¶¶ 22-23. The plaintiff was exposed to the effects of the chemical agent. Id. ¶ 24. Inmate Ayala was restrained. Id. at 6, ¶ 25.

         The plaintiff was taken to another cell free from any chemical agent residue. Id. The plaintiff repeatedly asked Captain Manning and Medical Staff Doe for medical treatment for the effects of the chemical agent. Id. ¶ 26. They refused his requests. Id. ¶28. The plaintiff told Officer Rosado that he was experiencing severe anxiety and asked to speak with a psychiatrist or psychologist. Id. at 7, ¶ 26. Officer Rosado denied the request. Id. ¶ 27.

         On April 28, 2017, Dr. Coleman met briefly with the plaintiff to discuss the possibility of a consultation. Id. ¶ 28. He disregarded the plaintiff's complaints about increased anxiety. Id. ¶ 29. Following the incident, the plaintiff experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. His repeated requests for treatment by Dr. Coleman and Psychiatrist Doe were denied. Id. at 8, ¶ 30.

         Nurse Doe met with the plaintiff on May 2, 2017, but disregarded his complaints of anxiety and denied treatment by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Id. ¶ 31. On May 9, 2017, Psychiatrist Doe treated the plaintiff for anxiety and panic attacks. Id. ¶ 32.

         II. Analysis

         The plaintiff includes five counts in his complaint: (1) deliberate indifference to safety by Captain Manning; (2) use of excessive force by Captain Manning; (3) deliberate indifference to a serious medical need by Captain Rosado and Medical Staff Doe; (4) deliberate indifference to a serious mental health need by Dr. Coleman, Officer Rosado, Psychiatrist Doe, and Nurse Doe; and (5) harassment by Captain Manning and Officer Rosado.

         A. Deliberate Indifference to Safety

         The plaintiff first alleges that defendant Manning was deliberately indifferent to his safety when he placed inmate Ayala in the plaintiff's cell. Prison officials have a duty to make reasonable efforts to ensure inmate safety. To establish a constitutional violation for deliberate indifference to safety or failure to protect an inmate from harm, 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 when prison officials know of and disregard an excessive risk to inmate safety. See Id. at 837; Bridgewat ...


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