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Conquistador v. Adimitis

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 15, 2018




         The plaintiff, Jean K. Conquistador, is confined at the Hartford Correctional Center. He has filed a civil complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Correctional Lieutenant Adimitis. For the reasons set forth below, the court dismisses the complaint in part and directs the plaintiff to show cause why the remaining claims in the complaint should not be dismissed for failure to fully exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing this action.

         I. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss ... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or 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.” Id. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when a plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement, '” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Despite the requirement that a plaintiff plead sufficient facts to state a plausible claim for relief, courts still have an obligation to construe “[p]ro se complaints . . . ‘liberally and interpret[] [them] 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).

         II. Facts

         The plaintiff states that on July 2, 2018, at Hartford Correctional Center, he informed Lieutenant Adimitis that gang members had threatened to attack him as soon as correctional staff opened his cell door. See Compl., ECF No. 1, at 3 ¶¶ 1-2. The plaintiff requested to be moved to another unit for his own safety. See Id. ¶¶ 3-4. In response to this information and request, Lieutenant Adimitis stated “we are all men here” and walked away from the plaintiff. See Id. ¶ 5.

         Later that day, an inmate entered the plaintiff's cell and stabbed the plaintiff in the head and punched the plaintiff in the face. See Id. at 4 ¶¶ 6-7. An officer escorted the plaintiff to the medical unit and medical staff members treated the plaintiff's injuries. See Id. ¶ 8. Medical/Mental Health staff members placed the plaintiff on behavior observation status/suicide watch. See Id. at 5 ¶ 12. Prison officials charged the inmate who had attacked the plaintiff with assault and transferred the inmate to the restrictive housing unit. See Id. at 4 ¶ 11.

         On July 3, 2018, medical/mental health staff members discharged the plaintiff to general population. See Id. at 5 ¶ 13. Later that day, the plaintiff confronted Lieutenant Adimitis about the decision not to transfer him to another unit for his safety. See Id. ¶ 14. Lieutenant Adimitis stated that he did not like the plaintiff because the plaintiff had filed lawsuits against the Department of Correction in the past. See Id. ¶ 15. Lieutenant Adimitis refused to answer further questions posed by the plaintiff and told the plaintiff to “get out of [my] face.” See Id. ¶ 16.

         III. Discussion

         The plaintiff claims that the defendant violated his First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In addition, he contends that the conduct of the defendant constituted negligence. He sues the defendant in his official and individual capacities for monetary damages.

         A. Eighth Amendment Claim

         As a preliminary matter, the court notes that Department of Correction records reflect that the plaintiff had not been convicted or sentenced at the time of the incidents that occurred at Hartford Correctional Center in July 2018.[1] The Second Circuit has recently confirmed that a pretrial detainee's claim of deliberate indifference to conditions of confinement, including health and safety, is “governed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, rather than the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment . . . because “[p]retrial detainees have not been convicted of a crime and thus may not be punished in any manner- neither cruelly and unusually nor otherwise.” Darnell v. Pineiro, 849 F.3d 17, 29 (2d Cir. 2017) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Because the plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the time of the incidents that form the basis of his claims against the defendant, the Eighth Amendment claim is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).

         B. First and ...

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