United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Anthony Bowden is a prisoner in the custody of the
Connecticut Department of Correction at McDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut. He has
filed a complaint pro se and in forma
pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that
prison officials were deliberately indifferent to his safety
and serious needs, all stemming from an assault on Bowden by
another prison inmate. For the following reasons, I will
dismiss Bowden's complaint without prejudice to filing an
following facts are alleged in the complaint and are accepted
as true only for purposes of this initial ruling. On January
13, 2016, Bowden was placed in a cell with restraints on his
hands, and then another inmate Deleo, who was a white racist
gang member, was put in the cell without restraints. Doc. #1
at 7 (¶ 1). Deleo assaulted Bowden, who sustained
numerous injuries to his eyes, face, mouth, wrists, and
fingers. Ibid. (¶¶ 1-2). Bowden now
experiences head pain, cannot feel his fingers, and undergoes
significant mental anguish. Id. at 7-8 (¶¶
2, 4). Bowden alleges that all the defendants who placed him
in the cell with Deleo did so “knowing that the
plaintiff faced a substantial risk of serious harm and
[disregarding] that risk by failing to take reasonable
measures to abate it, ” ibid. (¶ 4),
while acting “rashly, recklessly and with wanton
disregard of the plaintiff's rights, ” id.
at 8 (¶ 6). In his prayer for relief, Bowden discusses
the need to see an eye specialist and orthopedist for his
ongoing pain, and appears to mention that he has been moved
to other institutions instead of receiving medical care.
Id. at 9 (¶¶ H-K).
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a
prisoner's civil complaint against a governmental entity
or governmental actors and “identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint-(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” If the prisoner is proceeding pro se,
the allegations of the complaint must be read liberally to
raise the strongest arguments that they suggest. See
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010).
recent years, the Supreme Court has set forth a threshold
“plausibility” pleading standard for courts to
evaluate the adequacy of allegations in federal court
complaints. A complaint must allege enough facts-as distinct
from legal conclusions-that give rise to plausible grounds
for relief. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Notwithstanding the
rule of liberal interpretation of a pro se
complaint, a pro se complaint may not survive
dismissal if its factual allegations do not meet the basic
plausibility standard. See, e.g., Fowlkes v.
Ironworkers Local 40, 790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015).
indifference to safety
prison official's deliberate indifference to a
substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate violates the
Eighth Amendment.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 828 (1994). As the Supreme Court has explained, “a
prison official cannot be found liable under the Eighth
Amendment for denying an inmate humane conditions of
confinement unless the official knows of and disregards an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the official must
both be aware of facts from which the inference could be
drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he
must also draw the inference.” Id. at 837. A
claim of deliberate indifference to a prisoner's health
or safety requires a showing of more than mere negligence;
instead, the prison official must be shown to have known of
and disregarded an excessive risk to inmate health or safety.
See Jabbar v. Fischer, 683 F.3d 54, 57 (2d Cir.
2012) (per curiam).
Bowden's allegations of severe injuries from the attack
by Deleo, Bowden has not alleged any facts-as distinct from
legal conclusions-to show that any of the defendants
knew about the risk that Deleo posed to Bowden.
Indeed, the incident reports that Bowden attaches to his
complaint describe how correctional officers on the scene
immediately intervened to help Bowden. Doc. #1 at 19-21, 28.
Absent more facts concerning defendants' prior knowledge
of any risk that Deleo would attack Bowden, Bowden's
conclusory and “[t]hreadbare recital of the elements of
[the] cause of action” for deliberate indifference to
safety cannot sustain his claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
indifference to serious medical needs
many of the relevant facts appear to be alleged in the prayer
for relief, it may also be the case that Bowden is attempting
to state an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs. Bowden alleges
that he has serious and ongoing injuries, and rather than
receive medical care for those injuries, he has been moved
between institutions. Doc. #1 at 7, 9 (¶¶ 2, H-K).
A prison official's deliberate indifference to the safety
or serious medical needs of a prisoner violates the Eighth
Amendment. See Spavone v. N.Y. State Dep't of Corr.
Servs., 719 F.3d 127, 138 (2d Cir. 2013). But in order
for a deliberate indifference claim to succeed, there must be
a prison official who acted deliberately indifferently.
See ibid. While Bowden alleges injuries and a lack
of care that might be sufficient to support a claim for
deliberate indifference, he does not indicate who, if anyone,
knew about the medical risks to him and failed to act on them
as a result of deliberate indifference. Nor does he allege
facts to suggest deliberate indifference, rather than a
difference of opinion about treatment or simple medical
negligence. Accordingly, I will dismiss Bowden's claims
at this time because he has not alleged facts that give rise
to plausible grounds for relief against any of the defendants
he has named in this action.
the foregoing reasons, Bowden's complaint is DISMISSED
without prejudice. Bowden may file a motion to reopen along
with an amended complaint within 30 days by February
4, 2019 that cures the factual deficiencies
identified in this ruling and alleges facts sufficient to
show that each ...