United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. Underhill, United States District Judge.
September 13, 2018, Mark Anthony Henderson, an inmate
currently confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution (“MWCI”) in Suffield, Connecticut,
brought a complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C.
§1983 against Captain James Watson for damages. Compl.
Doc. No. 1. Henderson claims that Watson retaliated against
him, in violation of his First Amendment right to free
speech, and subjected him to inhumane conditions of
confinement, in violation of his Eighth Amendment protection
against cruel and unusual punishment, in the early months of
2018 while he was incarcerated at Cheshire Correctional
Institution (“Cheshire”). Id. at 13-14.
On September 21, 2018, Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel
granted Henderson's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. See Order, Doc. No. 6. For the
following reasons, the complaint is dismissed in part.
Standard of Review
section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, 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 defendant 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 January 5, 2018, Henderson
spoke with Watson, the manager of the East 3 housing unit at
Cheshire, about closing the four windows in the shower area
because of the extremely cold temperature outside. Compl.
¶ 1. The cold winter air had been blowing into the
shower area while Henderson and the other inmates in the unit
were bathing. Id. at ¶ 2. Henderson wrote a
follow-up request to Watson three days later but received no
response. Id. He spoke with Watson again on January
9 during Watson's unit inspection tour and told him that
the shower windows were still open. Id. at
January 30, Henderson became ill with cold and flu symptoms.
Compl. ¶ 5. He filed a grievance against Watson and
requested medical attention from clinical personnel.
Id. On March 20, Henderson received medical
treatment for his symptoms. Id. at ¶ 6. His
grievance was later returned with a “compromised
disposition.” Id. at ¶ 9. On March 20,
the first day of Spring,  after months of cold temperatures and
winter storms, Watson ordered maintenance personnel to close
the four windows in the East 3 shower area. Id. at
¶¶ 7-8. The next morning, Henderson saw Watson in
the East 3 housing unit enter the shower area and leave the
unit shortly thereafter. Id. at ¶¶ 10-11.
A few hours later, an East 3 correction officer instructed
Henderson to pack up his property because he was being
transferred to the East 2 housing unit. Id. at
¶ 12. When Henderson went to shower in the East 2 unit
later that evening, he noticed that the windows in front of
the first and second shower stalls were open. Id. at
March 24, 2018, Henderson filed another grievance alleging
retaliation against Watson. Compl. ¶ 14. His grievance
was initially returned without disposition because Henderson
had not submitted and attached a written inmate request per
administrative regulations. Id. at ¶¶
15-16. On April 3, Henderson wrote a request to Watson asking
why he had been transferred to the East 2 unit, but he
received no response. Id. at ¶ 17. He later
refiled his grievance against Watson for retaliation.
Id. at ¶ 19.
April 13, 2018, Henderson was transferred from Cheshire to
MWCI. Compl. ¶ 18. After waiting thirty days for a
response to his retaliation grievance, Henderson filed a
Level 2 appeal, which was ultimately sent back to Cheshire
and rejected. Id. at ¶¶ 22-26.
claims that Watson violated his Eighth Amendment protection
against cruel and unusual punishment and First Amendment
right to free speech by subjecting him to cold temperatures
while showering from January to March 2018 and then
transferring him to another unit with the same conditions
after he complained about the issue. I will permit
Henderson's Eighth Amendment claim to proceed against
Watson in his individual capacity but dismiss the First
Claims Against Watson in his Official Capacity
does not specify whether he is suing Watson in his individual
capacity, his official capacity, or both. Nevertheless, it is
well-established that a plaintiff may not sue a defendant in
his or her official capacity for money damages. See
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985); Quern v.
Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979). Because Henderson only
seeks damages and no equitable relief, I will dismiss any and
all claims against Watson in his official capacity. See
Watson v. Doe, No. 1:15-CV-1356 (BKS) (DEP), 2016 WL
347339, at *41 n.5 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 28, 2016) (dismissing all
claims against defendants in official capacities when
plaintiff does not seek declaratory or injunctive relief).
Eighth Amendment ...