United States District Court, D. Connecticut
CHAZ O. GULLEY, Plaintiff,
WARDEN WILLIAM MULLIGAN, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
22, 2018, Chaz O. Gulley, an inmate currently confined at
Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut,
brought a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Warden William Mulligan, District Administrator Angel
Quiros, Deputy Warden Guadarrama, Correction Officer Cashman,
Correction Officer Rodriguez, and Correction Officer
Gonzalez, all of whom are employees of the Connecticut
Department of Correction (“DOC”). Gulley claims
that the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment protection
against cruel and unusual punishment by using excessive force
or acting with deliberate indifference to his safety while he
was confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“MWCI”) in Suffield, Connecticut. He is also
raising state law claims of assault and battery. He is suing
all six defendants in their individual capacities for
damages. On June 8, 2018, Magistrate Judge William I.
Garfinkel granted Gulley's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. See Order #8. For the following
reasons, I will permit his complaint to proceed, in part.
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I 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. 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
alleges the following facts. On October 20, 2017,
approximately one week before the start of Gulley's civil
trial in the United States District Court at Hartford,
Connecticut, United States District Judge Michael P. Shea
sent a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum to
Warden Mulligan at MWCI to bring Gulley to the district court
in Hartford on October 25, 2017 and November 8, 9, 13, 14,
15, 16, and 17, 2017. Compl. [Doc.#1] ¶ 6. Judge Shea also
sent a notice to DOC officials stating that inmates were
expected to appear on time for their scheduled court
proceedings and that the officials needed to take steps to
ensure that the inmates appeared on time. See Id. at
¶¶ 10, 17.
morning of November 8, 2017, Gulley asked multiple correction
officers at MWCI why they were not preparing him for his
scheduled transport to court. Compl. ¶ 7. The officers
repeatedly told him that they “had nothing to do
with” his situation and that it was Officer
Cashman's fault because he oversees court transports for
MWCI inmates. Id. at ¶ 8. At 8:20 a.m.,
twenty-five minutes before his scheduled time to appear in
court, Officers Rodriguez and Gonzalez removed Gulley from
his cell and brought him to the Admitting and Processing
(“A&P”) area for transport. Id. at
¶¶ 9-10. Gulley was frustrated because, by the time
he arrived at the courthouse, he would not have time to speak
with his attorneys before his court proceedings began.
Id. at ¶ 10.
arrived at the A&P area, Gulley asked Cashman why DOC
officials were deliberately making him late for his court
appearances, and the two began arguing about the situation.
Compl. ¶¶ 10-11. During the argument, Cashman
grabbed Gulley's arm and Gulley pulled his arm out of
Cashman's grasp. Id. at ¶ 12. At that
moment, Cashman, Rodriguez, and Gonzalez starting pushing,
pulling, punching and choking Gulley. Id. at ¶
13. Other correction officers responded and ultimately
restrained Gulley in handcuffs and shackles. Id. at
¶¶ 14-15. Gulley was then transported to the
district court in Hartford. Id. at ¶ 16. Gulley
suffered facial bruising, constant pain, fear, anxiety, and
emotional distress from the incident. Id. at ¶
21. He was not issued a disciplinary report for the incident.
Id. at ¶ 17.
point, Warden Mulligan and Deputy Warden Guadarrama became
aware of the incident. See Compl. ¶ 17. They
told Gulley that “they messed up” and that
“it won't happen again.” Id. at
¶ 18. Gulley believes that they made those statements
because they received a notice from Judge Shea about the
failure of DOC officials to ensure that inmates appear on
time for scheduled court proceedings. Id. at ¶
filed a grievance regarding the incident with Cashman,
Rodriguez, and Gonzalez. Compl. p. 7. When the grievance was
denied, he appealed to District Administrator Quiros, but
Quiros denied his appeal. Id. at pp. 5, 8. Gulley
also wrote a separate letter to Quiros regarding the
incident, and Quiros wrote an “inaccurate”
response months later. Id. at p. 5.
claims that Mulligan, Quiros, Guadarrama, Cashman, Rodriguez,
and Gonzalez violated his Eighth Amendment protection against
cruel and unusual punishment either by using excessive force
or acting with deliberate indifference to his safety. Compl.
¶ 1. He also brings state law claims of assault and
battery. Id. at ¶ 2. I will permit his section
1983 action to proceed against all six defendants at
use of excessive physical force against a prisoner may
constitute cruel and unusual punishment [even] when the
inmate does not suffer serious injury.” Wilkins v.
Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 34 (2010) (quoting Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 US. 1, 4 (1992)). To establish a claim of
excessive force under the Eighth Amendment, the prisoner must
satisfy a subjective and objective component. See Sims v.
Artuz, 230 F.3d 14, 20-21 (2d Cir. 2000). The subjective
component requires a showing that the official's use of
physical force was “malicious and sadistic rather
than as part of a good faith effort to maintain or restore
discipline.” Wilkins, 559 U.S. at 40 (quoting
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 9). The objective component . .
. focuses on the harm done in light of contemporary standards
of decency, but the amount of harm that must be shown depends
on the nature of the claim. Sims, 230 F.3d at 21;
Banks v. Cty. of Westchester, 168 F.Supp.3d 682, 688
(S.D.N.Y. 2016). Although some degree of injury ordinarily
will be required; Banks, 168 F.Supp.3d at 688; the
prisoner does not have to show that he sustained a
significant injury in order to prevail on an excessive ...