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Tyson v. McCrystal's

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 14, 2018

DESHAWN TYSON, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN McCRYSTAL'S, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          Janet C. Hall United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         The plaintiff, Deshawn Tyson (“Tyson”), incarcerated at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, has filed a Complaint (Doc. No. 1) pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Tyson sought leave to proceed in forma pauperis. See Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. Nos. 2, 7). On October 18, 2018, the court granted Tyson's application. Order (Doc. No. 8).

         The Complaint names four defendants: PA Kevin McCrystal, [1] Warden William Mulligan, Lieutenant Jane Davis, and Correctional Officer John Doe. Tyson contends that the defendants required him to walk about the facility for over a week without shoes, thereby violating his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and also denied him proper medical treatment for a fall sustained while he was without shoes.

         Under section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, the court 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. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest[ ].” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). Although detailed allegations are not required, a 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 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 se litigants). However, notwithstanding this liberal interpretation, a pro se complaint will not survive dismissal unless the factual allegations meet the plausibility standard. See, e.g., Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local 40, 790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015).

         II. ALLEGATIONS

         On September 26, 2017, Tyson was strip searched and removed from his cell for a cell search. Compl. at 8. Defendant Davis ordered a correctional officer to confiscate Tyson's shoes under the “false pretense that the shoes were fome [sic].” Id. Tyson had no other sneakers and was forced to wear his shower shoes at all times. Exhibit 2, Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 18. On October 1, 2017, after a week without his sneakers, Tyson slipped and fell. Compl. at 8; Exhibit 11, Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 50. He was injured seriously enough to require medical assistance and a wheelchair for transport to the medical unit. Compl. at 8. Tyson was issued Motrin 200mg for three days and told to stay in bed. Id.; Exhibit 3, Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 21. His shoes were not returned. Compl. at 8.

         In response to many grievances and requests, the Warden, defendant Mulligan, stated that Tyson had signed a form agreeing that the shoes were contraband. Id. at 9. Tyson disagrees with this statement. Id. After several more communications, Tyson's shoes were returned to him on January 9, 2018. Id. at 10; Exhibit 12, Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 54. Tyson has attached to his Complaint medical grievances complaining about severe back pain as a result of the fall. Exhibit 11, Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 44, 45, 47, 48, 50. He also attached reports indicating that defendant McCrystal saw him the day of the incident and also on several other occasions. Exhibit 3, Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 25; Exhibit 11, Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 45.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Tyson alleges that defendants Mulligan, Davis, and Doe violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process by depriving him of his shoes and subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment for requiring him to walk without shoes for a period of time.[2] See Compl. at 2, 11. Tyson also alleges that defendant McCrystal was deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need by failing to properly treat his injury from the fall. See id. at 11.

         A. Fourteenth Amendment

         Tyson argues that defendants Mulligan, Davis, and Doe deprived him of property without due process of law when they confiscated his sneakers. See id. at 2, 11. The Due Process Clause protects against the deprivation of a protected property interest. See Harrington v. Cty. of Suffolk, 607 F.3d 31, 34 (2d Cir. 2010). A prisoner can state a due process claim for loss or destruction of property, however, only if the state has not created adequate post-deprivation remedies. See Edwards v. Erfe, 588 Fed.Appx. 79, 80 (2d Cir. 2015) (citing Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984)).

         Connecticut provides a remedy for lost or destroyed property. Under Connecticut General Statutes § 4-141, et seq., a prisoner may bring a claim against the Connecticut Claims Commission unless there is another administrative remedy for his claim. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4-142. The Department of Correction has established an administrative remedy for lost or destroyed property. See Department of Correction Administrative Directive 9.6(16)(B), http://portal.ct.gov/DOC/AD/AD-Chapter-9 (last visited Oct. 22, 2018). Thus, a prisoner first must utilize the administrative remedy and then can proceed to the Claims Commission if his claim is denied. See Riddick v. Semple, 731 Fed.Appx. 11, 13 (2d Cir. 2018).

         Tyson's sneakers were confiscated. Compl. at 8. After a time, however, the sneakers were returned to him. Id. at 10. Thus, his sneakers were not lost or destroyed. In addition, the Department of Correction and State of Connecticut provide adequate post-deprivation remedies. Indeed, Tyson utilized the Department of Correction remedies while seeking the return of his sneakers. See generally Exhibit 7, Compl. (Doc. No. 1) (lost/damaged property investigation form). Thus, the state and institutional remedies were adequate. The court concludes that ...


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