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Brown v. Rose

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 31, 2018

ERIC BREEZE BROWN, Plaintiffs,
v.
ROBERT ROSE ET AL., Defendants.

          RULING RE: MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NO. 60)

          Janet C. Hall United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Eric Breeze Brown (“Brown”) brings this action pursuant to section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code against the defendants, Correctional Officer Robert Rose (“Officer Rose”) and Captain Dino Cichetti (“Captain Cichetti”) of the State of Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”). See generally Amended Complaint (“Am. Compl.”) (Doc. No. 31). Brown alleges that Officer Rose sexually assaulted him when he was an inmate at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution, and that Captain Cichetti failed to adequately investigate the incident. Id. at ¶¶ 1, 47. Brown sues both defendants in their individual capacities for money damages for violating his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Id. at ¶¶ 30, 47. In addition, Brown brings several state law claims against Officer Rose for battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress. Id. at ¶¶ 32-46.

         Officer Rose and Captain Cichetti now move for summary judgment. See generally Motion for Summary Judgment (“Defs.' Mot.”) (Doc No. 60). They argue, inter alia, that (1) Brown failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies; (2) Officer Rose did not sexually assault Brown, but instead conducted a lawful pat-down search; and (3) both Officer Brown and Captain Cichetti are entitled to qualified immunity. See generally Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Their Motion for Summary Judgment (“Defs.' Mem.”) (Doc. No. 60-1).

         For the following reasons, the defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 60) is granted.

         II. FACTS

         Brown was an inmate at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution from March 30, 2011, until February 25, 2015, when he was transferred to Osborn Correctional Institution. Defendants' Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement (“Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1”) (Doc. No. 60-2) at ¶¶ 2, 81; Plaintiff's Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement (“Pl.'s L.R. 56(a)2”) (Doc. No. 64-2) ¶¶ 2, 81. On the morning of February 19, 2015, Brown was working in the kitchen. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶ 16; Pl.'s L.R. 56(a)2 at ¶ 16. That same morning, Officer Rose was posted at the kitchen door, where he searched inmates before they left the kitchen area. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶¶ 16, 42; Pl.'s L.R. 56(a)2 at ¶¶ 16, 42.

         At approximately 7:10 a.m., Brown was stocking gloves in the kitchen. Plaintiff's L.R. 56(a)2 Statement of Additional Facts (“Pl.'s Additional Facts”) (Doc. No. 64-2) at ¶ A. Officer Rose came up behind Brown while he was crouched down and said in a suggestive tone: “Wow, do you work out?” Id. at B. Brown responded: “Can I help you?” Id. Officer Rose replied in the negative and then left. Id.

         At approximately 7:30 a.m., Brown joined a line of inmate workers who were waiting to be searched by Officer Rose before exiting the kitchen area. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶¶ 42, 43; Pl.'s L.R. 56(a)2 at ¶¶ 42, 43. Inmates who left the kitchen were searched in order to prevent them from transporting contraband. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶ 46; Pl.'s L.R. 56(a)2 at ¶ 46. Brown was in line to leave the kitchen because he needed to retrieve sanitizer buckets from the chow hall and bring them back to the kitchen. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶ 43; Pl.'s L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶ 43.

         Officer Rose claims that he performed a pat-down search of Brown in accordance with the appropriate prison procedures. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶¶ 22, 48. Brown states that Officer Rose did not engage in a routine pat-down search. Additional Facts at ¶¶ D, E, F. Instead, Officer Rose ordered Brown to face the wall and then proceeded to sexually assault Brown by (1) “vigorously massaging Brown's shoulders”; (2) “pushing Brown up against the wall”; (3) “kicking Brown's feet apart”; (4) “continuously and wildly fondling Brown's chest under Brown's shirt”; (5) “pulling and bending Brown's leg backwards up into the air so [Officer] Rose was in a dominating position”; (6) “grabbing, raising, and squeezing Brown's buttocks”; and (7) “bringing his hands around to the front of Brown's groin area and to the sides of Brown's penis.” Id. at ¶ D. Another DOC Correctional Officer, who was in the kitchen at the time of the alleged assault, intervened and pulled the two men apart. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶ 62; Additional Facts at ¶ H.

         Brown states that Officer Rose sexually harassed him again, after Brown finished his shift in the kitchen at 11 a.m. Id. at ¶¶ K, L. Specifically, Officer Rose asked Brown in a suggestive tone: “What, you don't like the way I feel you up?” Id. at ¶ L.

         Brown reported the incident to various DOC employees, including Captain Cichetti. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶ 69; Additional Facts at ¶¶ M, N. Brown also submitted several written complaints to DOC and contacted the Connecticut State Police. Additional Facts at ¶ O.

         On February 24, 2015, Brown met with Captain Cichetti and State Police Trooper Stebbins (“Trooper Stebbins”). Additional Facts at ¶¶ P, Q. At the meeting, Brown attempted to tell his story of the sexual assault. Id. at ¶ Q. However, he was stopped short, told that “nothing happened, ” and informed that the State Police would not investigate the matter further. Id.

         On February 25, 2015, Brown called the State Police again to report the incident. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ¶ 73; Id. at ¶ S. On the same day, Brown met with Captain Cichetti for a second time. Id. According to Brown's sworn Affidavit, Captain Cichetti said during this conversation: (1) “Why are you so agitated?”; and (2) “Mr. Brown, everybody gets their ass felt up once in a while.” Id. Later that day, Brown was transferred to Osborn Correctional Institution. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)1 at ΒΆ 81; Pl.'s L.R. ...


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