United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. NO. 10)
C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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.
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.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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)).
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS IN AMENDED COMPLAINT
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.
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.
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,
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
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.
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
Amended Complaint, Lockhart is suing Semple, Falcone,
Dilworth, Jones, Camacho, Hancock, and Labbe (collectively
“DOC defendants”) for negligence 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
¶¶ 62-63, 65. He is suing Dr. Doe for acting with