Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Matias v. Chapdelaine

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 30, 2018

JOEL MATIAS, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN C. CHAPDELAINE, et al., Defendants.

          RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS

          STEFAN R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On January 3, 2018, Joel Matias, an inmate currently confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MWCI”) in Suffield, Connecticut, brought a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against four Department of Correction (“DOC”) employees (Warden Chapdelaine, Counselor Supervisor R. Weldon, Correction Officer Exelee Anderson, and Captain Ogando), and Mark Silver, another inmate at MWCI. After initial review, I permitted Matias' Eighth Amendment and negligence claims to proceed against Anderson in her individual and official capacities for failing to protect him from harm. See Initial Review Order, Doc. No. 7 at 4-5, 10. I also exercised supplemental jurisdiction over Matias' state law assault and battery claims and permitted them to proceed against Silver. Id. at 8-10. The claims against the other defendants were dismissed. Id. at 10.

         I. Motion to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 25, 26)

         On June 11, 2018, Silver filed the instant motion to dismiss the assault and battery claims against him. Mot. to Dismiss, Doc. Nos. 25, 26.[1] He makes several arguments countering Matias' allegations regarding the assault and contends that he should not be held liable for Matias' injuries. Although he does not state the specific legal grounds for his motion, I construe his motion as grounded in Matias' failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Matias filed his written opposition to Silver's motion on August 30, 2018. Pl.'s Mot. in Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss (“Pl.'s Opp'n”), Doc. No. 32. In it, Matias challenges the factual arguments raised in Silver's motion and makes new allegations regarding Silver's liability for the assault. Id. For the following reasons, Silver's motion to dismiss is DENIED.

         A. Standard of Review

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when . . . plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant[s] [are] liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The plausibility standard is not a probability requirement; the complaint must show, not merely allege, that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See id.

         “Although all allegations contained in the complaint are assumed to be true, this tenet is ‘inapplicable to legal conclusions.'” LaMagna v. Brown, 474 Fed.Appx. 788, 789 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678). See also Amaker v. New York State Dept. of Corr. Servs., 435 Fed.Appx. 52, 54 (2d Cir. 2011) (same). Accordingly, the Court is not “bound to accept conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual conclusions.” Faber v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting Rolon v. Henneman, 517 F.3d 140, 149 (2d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Consequently, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         “Where . . . the complaint was filed pro se, it must be construed liberally with ‘special solicitude' and interpreted to raise the strongest claims that it suggests.” Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 515 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Hill v. Curcione, 657 F.3d 116, 122 (2d Cir. 2011)). Nevertheless, a pro se plaintiff's complaint still must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Mancuso v. Hynes, 379 Fed.Appx. 60, 61 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678). Therefore, even in a pro se case, “threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Chavis v. Chappius, 618 F.3d 162, 170 (2d Cir. 2010) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         B. Factual Allegations

         As stated in my Initial Review Order, Matias makes the following factual allegations in his complaint against Anderson and Silver. At all relevant times, Matias was confined at MWCI. Compl., Doc. No. 1 at ¶ 3. On February 2, 2017, he was transferred from the M-Pod housing unit to the L-Pod housing unit. Id. at ¶ 10. Upon arrival, Anderson informed him that he would be placed in Cell 21. Id. As Matias attempted to enter Cell 21, Silver, the other inmate assigned to that cell, became belligerent and blocked Matias' entry. Id. at ¶ 11. Silver adamantly expressed to Anderson that he was unwilling to accept a cellmate because he had been granted single cell status and would only accept a cellmate of his choosing. Id. at ¶ 12. Silver showed Anderson documentation that his single cell status had been granted, but Anderson ignored his demands. Id. at ¶ 13.

         After Silver had threatened Matias several times, Matias “did not try to move into cell 21, ” but Anderson told him that, if he did not enter the cell, he would be taken to segregation. Compl. ¶ 15. Matias reluctantly entered the cell. See Id. Approximately ten minutes later, Silver assaulted Matias, rendering him unconscious and causing him severe injuries. Id. at ¶¶ 15-16. Matias was immediately transported to UConn Medical Center for treatment. Id. at ¶ 16.

         At the time of the incident, Matias was disabled and could barely walk without the assistance of medical staff or a walker and could not defend himself against Silver. Compl., Doc. No. 1 at ¶ 17-18. He continues to suffer headaches and neck and back pain as a result of the assault. Id.

         C. Analysis

         As I already ruled in my Initial Review Order, Matias' allegations state plausible claims of assault and battery, over which I exercised supplemental jurisdiction.[2] Initial Review Order, Doc. No. 7 at 8-9. “A civil assault is defined, [under Connecticut law], as ‘the intentional causing of imminent apprehension of harmful or offensive contact with another.'” Germano v. Dzurenda, No. 3:09-cv-1316 (SRU), 2011 WL 1214435, *22 (D. Conn. Mar. 28, 2011) (quoting Dewitt v. John Hancock Mutual Life Ins. Co., 5 Conn.App. 590, 594 (1985)). “[A]n actor is subject to liability to another for battery if (a) he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and (b) a harmful contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results.” Id. (quoting Alteiri v. Colasso, 168 Conn. 329, 334 n.3 (1975)). Matias has alleged that Silver objected to receiving Matias as a cellmate, and when Anderson placed Matias in the cell, Silver physically assaulted him, rendering him ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.