United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. Dooley United States District Judge
Devon Dean (“Dean”), currently confined at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield,
Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 asserting claims for use of excessive
force, retaliation, and violation of his right to freely
exercise his religion. The named defendants are Lieutenant
Iozzia, Unit Manager John/Jane Smith, Captain Shabenas,
Warden Santiago, Deputy Warden Zegarzulski, Deputy Warden
Martin, Commissioner Scott S. Semple, and Unit Manager
Conger. Dean seeks medical treatment and damages from the
defendants in their individual and official capacities. The
complaint was received on November 13, 2018, and Dean's
motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on
November 29, 2018.
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. Id. 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). see also
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010)
(discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se
litigants). 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 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.
January 25, 2016, Dean was confined at Corrigan-Radgowski
Correctional Center. Lieutenant Iozzia and other officers
were escorting Dean to the restrictive housing unit
(“RHU”). The correctional officer on Dean's
right, John or Jane Smith, squeezed and twisted Dean's
wrist. Dean did not think that he was resisting the escort or
acting in a threatening manner, so he told the officer that
excessive force was not necessary.
his arrival in RHU, Dean asked Lieutenant Iozzia to tell his
officers to stop using excessive force. Lieutenant Iozzia
became loud and belligerent. He was both verbally and
physically aggressive. An altercation resulted. Dean spit at
the officers and was assaulted by them. Dean was punched,
kicked, and sprayed with a chemical agent. During this time,
Dean's hands were cuffed behind his back.
the assault ended, Dean was escorted to RHU cell 112. En
route, his head and face were smashed against walls and
doors. Dean was left naked in the cell for ten hours. His
injuries were not addressed. No. defendant provided any
next 72 hours, Dean remained in four-point restraints.
Captain Shabenas ordered that Dean receive only cheese and
bread sandwiches and orange juice, rather than the
common-fare tray required to address his Rastafarian
religious beliefs. On February 4, 2016, Lieutenant Tosses
arranged for Dean to receive medical attention.
February 15, 2016, Dean requested medical assistance for the
injuries sustained on January 25, 2016. His name was added to
the sick call waiting list. On February 26, 2016, a doctor
prescribed 600 mg Motrin for three months.
was transferred to MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“MCI”). On March 2, 2016, Dean requested medical
treatment at MCI. He was added to the MD sick call list. On
March 10, 2016, Dean was seen by a nurse for the injuries to
his left wrist. By this time, he was unable to move his arm.
On March 13 and 29, 2016, Dean was seen in the medical unit.
He complained of pain and numbness. Dean also complained that
he had not received his common fare meals.
argues that the defendants violated his rights under the
Second, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. In describing his
Second Amendment claims, however, Dean states that the
defendants violated his right to freely exercise his
religious beliefs by not serving him a common-fare tray, Doc.
No. 1 at 9, ¶ 19, and retaliated against him.
Id. at 8, ¶ 10. These rights are protected by
the First Amendment, not the Second Amendment. See
Washington v. Gonyea, 538 Fed.Appx. 23, (2d Cir. 2013)
(considering First Amendment retaliation and free exercise
claims). The Court will consider these claims as brought
under the First, rather than the Second, Amendment.
has named the defendants in individual and official
capacities. For relief, he seeks proper medical treatment for
his injuries, compensation for expenses associated with
outside treatment or physical therapy, and damages from the
defendants in official and individual capacities. The
Eleventh Amendment bars claims for damages against a state
official in his official capacity unless the state has waived
this immunity or Congress has abrogated it. Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 169 (1995). Section 1983 does not
abrogate state sovereign immunity, Quern v. Jordan,
440 U.S. 332, 343 (1979), and Dean has alleged no facts
suggesting that ...