United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JOHN S. KAMINSKI, Plaintiff,
LUIS COLON, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
December 20, 2018, John S. Kaminski, an inmate currently
confined at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in
Suffield, Connecticut, brought a complaint pro se
and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against several state officials for constitutional and
state law violations. Compl., Doc. No. 1. He is suing Captain
Luis Colon, Correction Officer Philip Alexander, Warden Edwin
Maldonado, Deputy Warden Gary Wright, Deputy Warden Scott
Vanoudenhove, Captain Jeanette Maldonado, State's
Attorney Matthew Gedansky, Connecticut State Police Sergeant
Gershowitz, and Assistant Attorney General DeAnn Varunes in
their individual capacities for damages and Commissioner of
Correction Scott Semple and Director Karl Lewis in their
official capacities for declaratory relief. Id. He
appears to be suing the defendants for acting with deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs, in violation of
the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and
unusual punishment, depriving him of procedural due process
under the Fourteenth Amendment, and spoliation of evidence.
Id. at 25, 31-34.
brought this action after both of his state court civil
actions against the defendants based on the same claims were
dismissed. Compl. at 19; Kaminski v. Alexander, No.
HHB-CV15-5016640-S, Judicial District of New Britain (Conn.
Super. Ct. Apr. 23, 2018); Kaminski v. Semple, No.
HHB-CV17-5018219-S, Judicial District of New Britain (Conn.
Super. Ct. Oct. 31, 2018). He contends that the
“Connecticut administrative officers and their
superiors, along with the [Connecticut] Superior [sic] Court
are unable, unwilling to police their own staff and courts,
which has forced [him] to seek recourse through the [f]ederal
[c]ivil [r]ights [s]ystem available as a [section] 1983
complaint.” Compl. at 19. For the following reasons,
the complaint is dismissed.
Standard of Review
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 defendants 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
complaint sets out the following factual allegations. On
November 18, 2014, Kaminski underwent major lumbar spinal
surgery at the UConn Health Center. Compl. at 8. A titanium
brace was placed on him following the surgery. Id.
Two days later, Captain Colon assigned Correction Officer
Alexander to transport Kaminski from the UConn Health Center
back to his assigned housing unit at Osborn Correctional
Institution (“Osborn”). Id. Alexander
had not been trained in medical transports and was unable to
operate the wheelchair-equipped transport van. Therefore, he
opted for a four-door compact sedan to transport Kaminski.
Id. When he attempted to enter the backseat of the
sedan, Kaminski, who was in full-body restraints, fell onto
his back. Id. Alexander then pulled Kaminski by his
shirt across his chains into the backseat. Id. When
they arrived at Osborn, Alexander instructed Kaminski to walk
into the Admitting & Processing area and wait for a
wheelchair. Id. Alexander did not provide Kaminski
with a foot rest. Id.
follow-up appointment, Kaminski learned that a screw in his
titanium brace had broken. Compl. at 8. An attempt to fix the
broken screw did not occur until March of 2016, but a
determination was made that the screw could not be removed.
Id. at 9. The broken screw remains embedded in
Kaminski's spine. Id.
December 1, 2014, Kaminski attempted to file a complaint with
the state police. Compl. at 11. He asked his unit manager,
Captain Jeanette Maldonado how to go about filing a criminal
complaint with the state police against Alexander, Colon, and
Director Lewis for assault, reckless endangerment, and abuse
of the elderly. Id. Maldonado responded that
Kaminski could write to the state police and request to set
up a meeting with them. Id. Kaminski thereafter
wrote a complaint to the state police and sent a copy to
Warden Edwin Maldonado. Id. at 12. The complaint
contended that Alexander and/or other state officials,
including Assistant Attorney General Varunes, failed to
secure video footage related to the incident on November 20,
2014. See id.
January 7, 2015, Kaminski was summoned to Deputy Warden
Wright's office and met with Wright and Deputy Warden
Vanoudenhove. Compl. at 12. Wright and Vanoudenhove escorted
Kaminski to another office where he met with Sergeant
Gershowitz from the Connecticut State Police. Id.
Gershowitz had Kaminski sign a form indicating that he had
“acknowledged his rights” and then listened to
his complaint about the medical transport incident on
November 20, 2014. Id. at 13. Kaminski was not
permitted to file a complaint regarding the incident and was
escorted out of the office. Id. As Kaminski was
leaving the office, Wright and Vanoudenhove asked Gershowitz
if the matter had been settled, to which Gershowitz responded
in the negative. Id.
that day, Kaminski filed a complaint with the Chief
State's Attorney's Office requesting an investigation
into the incident. Compl. at 13. The matter was assigned to
State's Attorney Gedansky. Id. In a letter
addressed to Kaminski dated February 11, 2015, Gedansky
stated that, “after reviewing the material sent to
[him] . . . there [was] no violation of criminal law, ”
and he urged Kaminski “to pursue any civil remedies
available to him to resolve harm done to him.”
Id. at 15.
concluding that defendants Lewis, Semple, Edwin Maldonado,
Jeanette Maldonado, Wright, Vanoudenhove, Gedansky,
Gershowitz, and Varunes were “involved in [a]
cover-up” by destroying “video evidence, ”
Kaminski filed two civil actions in state court. Compl. at 9;
Kaminski v. Alexander, No. HHB-CV15-5016640-S;
Kaminski v. Semple, No. HHB-CV17-5018219-S. After
hearing both motions, the state court dismissed both cases
via written decisions on the ground of statutory immunity
pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4-165.Compl. at 15.
Kaminski argues that the state court's decisions mirrored
the defendants' motions to dismiss and “wholly
ignored” Kaminski's arguments. Id.
Kaminski's appeals from both rulings remain pending.
Id. at 9; Kaminski v. Alexander, No.
AC41694 (Conn.App. May 24, 2018); Kaminski v.
Semple, No. AC42288 (Conn.App. Nov. 16, 2018).
takes issue with the state court's dismissal orders,
particularly with its conclusion that State's Attorney
Gedansky was immune for liability based on his refusal to
investigate and/or prosecute the Osborn officials for
reckless endangerment and abuse of the elderly. Compl. at 16.
After losing both cases in state court, “it became
clear [to Kaminski] that [the] Connecticut ...