United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
George Morgan, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), has sued Warden
Carol Chapdelaine, Captain Kyle Godding, Officer Maritza
Maldonado and Officer Jeremy Lindsay (collectively
“Defendants”), who are employed by the
Connecticut State Department of Correction
(“DOC”), under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
violations of rights guaranteed to him under the Eighth
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While incarcerated at
Osborn Correctional Institute in Somers, Connecticut, Mr.
Morgan was violently assaulted by a fellow inmate. He now
seeks to hold Defendants responsible for acting with
deliberate indifference to his safety and security. Mr.
Morgan also alleges a state law claim of intentional
infliction of emotional distress.
have moved for summary judgment.
following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
December 2017, Mr. Morgan finished serving a term of
imprisonment and became free. Morgan Aff. ¶ 5, ECF No.
136-2. Before then, he had been incarcerated at various DOC
facilities, including Garner Correctional Institution
(“Garner”), Carl Robinson Correctional
Institution (“Carl Robinson”), and Osborn
Correctional Institution (“Osborn”). Id.
¶ 6. This lawsuit involves an incident that occurred
during the second time Mr. Morgan had been placed at Osborn.
purposes of this motion, all facts are undisputed, unless
The January 5, 2014, Assault
January 5, 2014, Mr. Morgan reported an assault that happened
in the shower to Officer Maldonado, who had been undergoing a
tour of the facility. Pl.'s Statement of Material Fact
(“SMF”) ¶¶ 1, 30, ECF No. 136-1.
Officer Maldonado claims to have heard nothing out of the
ordinary during her shift, but reported the alleged assault
to her supervisor. Id. ¶ 31. Mr. Morgan
contends that, before the alleged assault, he had verbally
informed Officers Maldonado and Lindsay that a Mr. Rodriguez
had threatened him and he feared for his life. Morgan Aff.
¶ 29. He explained that he was particularly concerned
about recreation time. Id. Mr. Morgan testified
that, as Mr. Rodriguez beat him, Mr. Morgan cried out
“C.O.! C.O.!” in hopes that someone would come
intervene. Id. ¶ 35. He further testified that,
after the assault, he told Officer Maldonado that he had been
beaten by Mr. Rodriguez, the very person about whom he had
warned her. Id. ¶ 37.
Morgan feels that Officer Maldonado was dismissive of the
fact that he had just been assaulted. Id. ¶ 38.
He explained that she did not call an emergency code, stop
recreation, or lock down the unit. Id. Rather, she
allegedly allowed Mr. Rodriguez to walk unaccompanied to his
cell, while locking Mr. Morgan in the shower for
approximately fifteen minutes, treating him as the aggressor.
January 5, 2014, the day of the assault, Mr. Morgan met with
Lieutenant Blair as part of an investigation into the
incident. Pl.'s SMF ¶ 32. Lieutenant Blair reported
that Mr. Morgan made no mention of having informed Warden
Chapdelaine, Captain Godding, Officer Maldonado, or Officer
Lindsay that Mr. Rodriguez posed a heightened risk to Mr.
Morgan's safety. Id. ¶ 33; see
also Incident Rep. No. OCI-14-01-006 at 5 (“006
Incident Rep.”), Defs.' SMF, Ex. C, ECF No. 129.
Mr. Morgan, however, has testified that he explained to
Lieutenant Blair that he had been “constantly”
threated by Mr. Rodriguez and that he had told anyone at
Osborn who would listen that he had concerns regarding his
personal safety, including Warden Chapdelaine, Captain
Godding, and Officers Maldonado and Lindsay. Morgan Aff.
Morgan also spoke with Lieutenant Lizon from the Intelligence
Office, which Lieutenant Lizon memorialized in an Incident
Report dated January 9, 2014. Pl.'s SMF ¶ 38; 006
Incident Rep. at 4. The incident report indicated that Mr.
Morgan feared for his safety and believed that he should be
placed in protective custody. 006 Incident Rep. at 4. Mr.
Morgan explained that he had been working with the
Intelligence Team at another correctional facility, Carl
Robinson, and gang members discovered his cooperation.
Id. Mr. Morgan also identified Mr. Rodriguez as a
Security Risk Group member of the Los Solidos. Id.
Lieutenant Lizon noted that Mr. Morgan had written several
requests asking for protective custody based on Inmate
Rodriguez's reputation as a possible Los Solidos.
Id. Mr. Morgan submitted requests for protective
custody on January 7 and 9, 2014. Id. at 36-38.
The Grievance Procedure
about other inmates, staff, and safety can be grieved.
Pl.'s SMF ¶ 20. The DOC administrative grievance
procedure, also known as Administrative Directive 9.6,
requires that an inmate first seek informal resolution of a
complaint, in writing, through the use of an Inmate Request
Form, before filing a grievance. Pl.'s SMF ¶ 2. The
inmate must “clearly state the problem and the action
requested to remedy the issue.” Id. ¶ 4.
The appropriate department is required to respond within
fifteen days. Id. ¶ 2.
issue is not resolved at this stage of the process, within
thirty days of the occurrence or discovery of the cause of
the grievance, the inmate is required to file a grievance
using a CN 9602 form, which must be attached to the Inmate
Request Form, containing the appropriate staff member's
response, among other requirements. Id. ¶¶
5-6, 8. Failure to seek an administrative remedy by using a
CN 9602 form is a ground for returning the grievance without
a disposition. Id. ¶ 7. The Administrative
Remedies Coordinator has thirty days from the filing of the
grievance to respond to it. Id. ¶ 9. If the
response proves unsatisfactory, an inmate may appeal to the
second level of review within five days after receipt of the
determination. Id. ¶ 10, 27.
Mr. Morgan's Inmate Request Forms
November 14, 2013, Mr. Morgan has testified that he submitted
an Inmate Request Form to Captain Godding, notifying Captain
Godding that Mr. Morgan had been working with intelligence
officials at Carl Robinson. Morgan Aff. ¶ 19. He
explained that a fellow inmate at Osborn, Gabriel Rodriguez,
who Mr. Morgan alleged was gang affiliated, had threated to
“snap [his] neck” for being a
“snitch” and a “homo, ” and Mr.
Morgan feared for his safety. Id.; see also
Nov. 14, 2013, Inmate Request Form, Pl.'s SMF, Ex. 4, ECF
No. 136-5. Mr. Morgan claims that he verbally expressed to
Captain Godding his safety concerns on no fewer than three
occasions, before he was assaulted. Morgan Aff. ¶¶
Morgan testified that, in response to Captain Godding's
indifference, Mr. Morgan submitted an Inmate Request Form to
Warden Chapdelaine on December 2, 2013. Id. ¶
25. In it, he explained that Mr. Rodriguez had
“constantly threatened [him] with bodily harm.”
Dec. 2, 2013, Inmate Request Form, Pl.'s SMF, Ex. 5, ECF
No. 136-6. He noted that he had written to Captain Godding
but that Captain Godding had responded by telling Mr. Morgan
to “fight like a man” and stop being a
“snitch.” Id.: Mr. Morgan claims that,
in advance of January 5, 2014, he verbally repeated these
concerns to Warden Chapdelaine at least once and she
acknowledged receiving and reading his request form, but
failed to act. Morgan Aff. ¶ 26.
Mr. Morgan's Grievances
Morgan filed six CN 9602 grievances between November 2013 and
June 2014. Id. ¶ 22; Defs.' SMF, Exs. F, G,
H, I, J, K, ECF Nos. 127-8-127-13. Two of the six are
relevant here. See generally March 4, 2014,
Grievance No. 115-14-131 (“Grievance 131”),
Defs.' SMF, Ex. F, ECF No. 127-8 (regarding being denied
protective custody); March 4, 2014, Grievance No. 115-14-132
(“Grievance 132”), Defs.' SMF, Ex. g, ECF No.
127-9 (regarding the January 5, 2014, incident).
Morgan submitted a grievance regarding the January 5, 2014,
assault. Grievance 132. In it, Mr. Morgan notes that he had
filed a CN 9601, dated January 6, 2014, with Restrictive
Housing Unit Manager Lieutenant Lizon. Id. He also
stated that he had “ongoing problems with many SRG gang
members threating [his] life to assault or kill [him],
” and that this request for protective custody had been
recounted the January 5, 2014 incident. He explained that,
during second shift, he had informed Officers Maldonado and
Lindsey that he was having problems with Gabriel Rodriguez,
he feared for his safety, and Mr. Rodriguez had threatened
him. Id. The officers offered no response, and,
hours later, Mr. Rodriguez assaulted Mr. Morgan while he was
taking a shower. Id. Mr. Morgan claims he called out
for help, but Officers Maldonado and Lindsey did not respond.
Id. Once the officers did intervene, Mr. Morgan
reports that they did not “call a code” and
appeared to treat Mr. Rodriguez favorably. Id. He
notes that he had been informing Captain Godding about the
“big gang problem in [Mr. Morgan's unit] in [his]
complaint of January 6, 2014 to Lieutenant Lizon.”
Id. Mr. Morgan made no allegations involving Warden
Chapdelaine in this level one grievance or in any other level
one grievance. Mr. Morgan's administrative remedy was
Morgan appealed. Id. It was on appeal that, for the
first time, Mr. Morgan referenced Warden Chapdelaine.
Id. Specifically, he made reference to his December
2, 2013 Inmate Request Form. Id. The Level 2 Review
was denied with an indication that Mr. Morgan had exhausted
his administrative remedies. Id.
February 22, 2014, Mr. Morgan submitted a grievance that was
denied on March 14, 2014. Grievance 131. In it, he stated
that he had “written letters to many prison officials
seeking urgent needed remedy regarding to my safety and
security and fear regarding to my safety due to gang hits and
threats to my safety.” Id. He explained that
he had been labeled a “big snitch again” and had
been experiencing “ongoing problems and threats of
bodily harm by various inmates.” Id. In
particular, he stated that a fellow inmate, De'Angelo D.
Gilbert, had been making threats against his life, about
which he had purportedly informed Captain Godding.
Id. Mr. Morgan claimed he did so through the proper
channels. Id. Mr. Morgan alleged discrimination,
stating that white inmates were granted requests for
protective custody, while he was “like a sitting duck
waiting to be assaulted or killed.” Id. His
request for protective custody was denied. Id.
Morgan, then incarcerated and proceeding pro se,
sued twenty-one officials or officers employed by the
Connecticut State Department of Correction as Defendants
alleging various claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(“Section 1983”) and Title II of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). ECF No. 1.
initial review, the Court dismissed Mr. Morgan's Section
1983 claims alleging violations of the Fifth, Sixth, and
Fourteenth Amendments, as well as the ADA claims against all
Defendants and the prison transfer claims against certain
Defendants under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). ECF No. 11.
The Court also dismissed the claims for monetary damages
against all Defendants in their official capacities.
Court concluded that the Eighth Amendment claims of failure
to protect and deliberate indifference to safety, the First
Amendment retaliation claims and the state law claims of
negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress
would proceed but only to the extent that Mr. Morgan sought
declaratory and injunctive relief. Id.
September 2015, the Court denied in part and granted in part
the Defendants' motion to dismiss, allowing Mr. Morgan to
seek discovery on the following claims: (1) the January 2014
failure to protect claim; (2) the claim that certain
Defendants were deliberately indifferent to Mr. Morgan's
safety when they called him a snitch in front of other
inmates; (3) the claim that Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to Mr. Morgan's safety because they failed to
take any action to protect Mr. Morgan from potential harm
when they learned of the conduct of those Defendants who had
called Mr. Morgan a snitch; (4) the specific claims of
retaliation; and (5) the state law claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress. ECF No. 53.
March 2017, the Court granted in part and denied in part
Defendants' motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 107. The
Court denied summary judgment of Mr. Morgan's Eighth
Amendment failure to protect claim against Warden
Chapdelaine, Captain Godding, Officers Maldonado and Lindsay
arising from the assault by Mr. Rodriguez on Mr. Morgan and
as to Mr. Morgan's ...