United States District Court, D. Connecticut
VICTOR C. ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
ANGEL QUIROS, et al. Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Michael P. Shea United States District Judge
2, 2018, the plaintiff, Victor C. Anderson, an inmate
currently confined at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution (“MWCI”) in Suffield, Connecticut,
brought a civil action pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against five employees of the Connecticut Department of
Correction for violating his constitutional rights. Compl.
(ECF No. 1). The five defendants are District Administrator
Angel Quiros, Lieutenant Chevalur, Correction Officer
Bennett, Disciplinary Hearing Officer John Doe 1, and
Disciplinary Investigator John Doe 2. The plaintiff is suing
all five defendants for damages. On July 12, 2018, this Court
granted the plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (ECF No. 7). For the following reasons, the
complaint is dismissed without prejudice to amend.
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, 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. 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 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)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater,
623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules
of solicitude for pro se litigants).
7:00 p.m. on December 17, 2017, the plaintiff exited his cell
and entered the kitchenette area at MWCI to make a cup of
coffee. Compl. ¶ 1. While standing in the kitchenette,
another inmate asked the plaintiff to leave the area so that
he could cut a third inmate's hair. Id. at
¶ 2. He also asked the plaintiff to watch Correction
Officer Bennett. Id. The plaintiff agreed and moved
to a nearby railing to chat with another inmate named David
Kent. Id. at ¶ 3. There, the plaintiff had a
direct view of Bennett in the television room. Id.
chatting with Kent, the plaintiff discreetly watched Bennett,
who was in the nearby television room watching a sports game
and socializing with inmates. Compl. ¶ 4. The plaintiff
told the inmate in the kitchenette what Bennett was doing and
that he could proceed with the haircut. Id. at
continued to watch Bennett and chat with Kent, another inmate
named Jose Vazquez sneaked up behind the plaintiff and
punched him in the back of his leg. Compl. ¶ 6. The
strike caused the plaintiff to twist and fall to the ground,
spilling the cup of coffee he was holding. Id. at
¶ 7. The plaintiff then took three steps while holding
onto the railing and threw the remainder of his coffee at
Vazquez. Id. at ¶ 8. Afterward, the plaintiff
looked toward the television room and noticed Bennett looking
at him “with a confused look on his face.”
Id. at ¶ 9. Bennett came out of the television
room as the plaintiff began walking back up to his cell.
Id. at ¶ 10. Bennett saw Vazquez covered in
coffee and proceeded to lock down the block. Id.
Shortly thereafter, several correctional officials
apprehended the plaintiff and brought him to a restrictive
housing unit (“RHU”) for assaulting Vazquez.
Id. at ¶ 11.
January 11, 2018, correction officials called the plaintiff
for a disciplinary hearing on the incident with Vazquez.
Compl. ¶ 12. The plaintiff had not been given prior
notice of the hearing. Id. When he responded to the
call, the plaintiff learned from Officer Doe 1 that the video
from the incident had not yet been reviewed. Id. The
plaintiff told Doe 1 that inmate Kent could testify as a
witness on his behalf, but Doe 1 did not take note of
Kent's name. Id. at ¶ 13. Doe 1 suspended
the disciplinary hearing for one week to allow time to review
the video from the incident. Id. at ¶ 14.
week later, Doe 1 called the plaintiff and resumed the
hearing. Compl. ¶ 15. He informed the plaintiff that the
area where he had been standing when Vazquez allegedly
punched him was a “dead zone, ” meaning that it
was out of the view of the security cameras. Id. at
¶ 16. Thus, the camera did not capture Vazquez's
assault on the plaintiff. Id. The plaintiff
expressed concern that there were “dead zones” in
a “medium/high level facility” like MWCI.
Id. at ¶ 17. He also asked about producing Kent
as a witness to the incident. Id. Doe 1 told him
that “it is not worth the time to speak with the
witness” and then found him guilty of assaulting
Vazquez. Id. at ¶ 18.
plaintiff appealed the disciplinary finding on January 22,
2018. Compl. ¶ 19. He received a response from District
Administrator Quiros affirming the finding. Id.
Quiros did not speak with the plaintiff's witness.
date, the plaintiff suffers from ongoing medical issues from
the incident with Vazquez, including sciatic nerve damage and
pain in his hip and knee. Compl. ¶ 20. He experiences
pain when he walks long distances or stands for long
durations. Id. III. Analysis The plaintiff
does not specify which constitutional rights he claims the
defendants violated. Based on the Court's reading of the
allegations, the only conceivable claims the plaintiff could
raise in this instance would be an Eighth Amendment claim
against Bennett for failing to protect him from the assault
by Vazquez and a Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process
claim against Doe 1 for failing to investigate the incident
with Vazquez or to permit the plaintiff an opportunity to
present Kent as a witness.
Failure to Protect
Eighth Amendment requires prison officials to “take
reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of . . .
inmates.” Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517,
526-27 (1984). “[P]rison officials have a duty . . . to
protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other
prisoners.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
833 (1994) (internal quotations omitted). However, not every
injury suffered by one ...