Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Lockhart v. Semple

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 4, 2019

SCOTT SEMPLE, et al. Defendants.



         On September 6, 2018, the plaintiff, Julian Lockhart (“Lockhart”), an inmate currently confined at Garner Correctional Institution (“Garner”) in Newtown, Connecticut, filed a complaint pro se, pursuant to title 42, section 1983 of the United States Code, against eight Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”) employees in their individual and official capacities for violating his rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and for negligence. Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 9, 15. The eight defendants are Commissioner of Correction Scott Semple, Warden Falcone, Deputy Warden Dilworth, Deputy Warden Kim Jones, Correction Officer Camacho, Correction Officer Hancock, Correction Officer Labbe, and Dr. John Doe (unidentified). Id. at 2-4.

         On November 7, 2018, this court issued its Initial Review Order dismissing the Complaint without prejudice to replead. Initial Review Order (Doc. No. 9) at 1. The court ruled that Lockhart failed to state a plausible claim for relief under title 28, section 1915A of the United States Code, but gave him an opportunity to submit an amended complaint with additional factual allegations to support his First and Eighth Amendment claims. Id. at 12. On November 20, Lockhart filed an Amended Complaint restating his constitutional and state law claims. Am. Compl. (Doc. No. 10). For the following reasons, the Amended Complaint is dismissed in part.


         Pursuant to title 28 section 1915A of the United States Code, this court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any portion of a 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. 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.” Bell Atlantic, 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. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)).


         DOC policy does not permit inmate access to outdoor recreation during the winter months. Am. Compl. at ¶ 19. In late 2016, a leak in the roof resulted in damage to the tiled floor in the Garner gymnasium. Id. at ¶ 15. Defendants Falcone, Jones, and Dilworth thereafter decided to have the floor tiles in the gymnasium torn up and removed pending contract approval for resurfacing. Id. at ¶ 16. Over the next several weeks, maintenance workers under the direction of defendant Labbe removed the tiles in the gymnasium. Id. at ¶ 17. The project resulted in a rough, uneven floor, which condition continued until the summer of 2017. Id. at ¶¶ 17-18. However, the gymnasium remained open during that time. Id. at ¶ 20.

         When the tiles were removed, defendants Semple, Falcone, Jones, and Dilworth knew that the gymnasium floor at Garner was not suitable for inmate recreation. Id. at ¶ 21. Nevertheless, they refused to close the gymnasium during that time. Id. Lockhart has received information that there have been at least four inmate injuries on the recreation yard or in the gymnasium at Garner during 2016 and 2017. Id. at ¶ 23. Moreover, prior to tearing up the Garner gymnasium's floor, the defendants had spent more than $100, 000 to repair the floor in the Echo Unit housing block at Garner and more than $100, 000 to repair the roof of the gymnasium. Id. at ¶ 22.

         On May 25, 2017, Lockhart attended recreation in the gymnasium. Id. ¶ 24. At approximately 9:15 a.m., while playing basketball on the uneven and damaged floor, Lockhart tripped and fell, tearing his Achilles tendon. Id. at ¶¶ 25-26. The injury caused him significant pain and limited mobility. Id. at ¶ 26. Defendants Labbe, Camacho, and Hancock were all present during the incident. Id. at ¶ 35. None of them called a medical code over the radio, in accordance with standard operating procedure, or offered Lockhart any assistance in going to the medical unit. Id. at ¶¶ 38, 40.

         Lockhart went to the Outpatient Medical Area at Garner where he was evaluated by Dr. Valletta. Id. at ¶ 28. Valletta referred Lockhart for emergency treatment at the UConn Health Center (“UConn”). Id. However, Lockhart was not sent to UConn until 4:30 p.m., seven hours after the injury. Id. During that time, he was ordered to remain in his housing unit. Id. at ¶ 29. Medical staff at Garner provided him with crutches and ibuprofen. Id. A medical incident report was also generated. Id. at ¶ 30. Despite having “specific knowledge” of Lockhart's injury, Semple, Falcone, Jones, and Dilworth failed to take any action “that would have lessened the risk of additional pain and suffering and aided in [Lockhart's] treatment/recovery, ” such as housing him in the infirmary or a handicap-accessible cell or immediately sending him to a hospital for treatment. Id. at ¶¶ 31-32.

         Lockhart arrived at UConn at approximately 4:30 p.m. Id. at ¶ 44. After being briefed on the incident, Dr. Doe performed a “cursory exam[ination]” of Lockhart's injury. Id. at ¶¶ 45-46. Dr. Doe did not order any imaging tests or diagnostic procedures. Id. at ¶ 46. Afterward, he informed Lockhart that his options were to either undergo surgery to reattach his Achilles or medicate the injury without surgery. Id. at ¶ 47. However, Dr. Doe assured Lockhart that medicating the injury without surgery would ultimately heal the tendon and that undergoing surgery would expose him to possible infection. Id. Lockhart ultimately declined the surgery. Id. at ¶ 48. Dr. Doe then ordered Lockhart to wear a hard cast on his foot for two weeks, followed by a medical boot for six months. Id. at ¶ 50.

         Lockhart adhered to Dr. Doe's instructions over the next six months. Id. at ¶ 50. During that time, Dr. Doe was “periodically apprised of [his] condition.” Id. at ¶ 52. When the medical boot was removed six months later, Lockhart discovered that his tendon did not fully heal and that he had lost significant mobility in his foot. Id. at ¶ 51. He specifically requested additional treatment and corrective surgery, but such treatment was never provided. Id. at ¶¶ 53-54. As a result, the plaintiff sustained a “permanent debilitating injury.” Id. at ¶ 55.

         III. ANALYSIS

         In his Amended Complaint, Lockhart is suing Semple, Falcone, Dilworth, Jones, Camacho, Hancock, and Labbe (collectively “DOC defendants”) for negligence[1] and acting with deliberate indifference to his safety, in violation of his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment, by exposing other inmates and him to the unfinished gymnasium floor at Garner. Id. at ΒΆΒΆ 62-63, 65. He is suing Dr. Doe for acting with deliberate ...

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.