United States District Court, D. Connecticut
CHAZ O. GULLEY, Plaintiff,
LIZON, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Gulley (“Gulley”), currently confined at Northern
Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut, filed this
complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging that certain defendants used excessive force and
other defendants were deliberately indifferent to his
injuries. He names eight defendants: Captain Lizon,
Lieutenant Blackstock, Correctional Officers Caron, Titus,
and Severance, Nurses Ellen Durko and Victoria Scruggs, and
D.H.O. Lieutenant Nicole Prior. Gulley seeks damages from the
defendants in their individual capacities. Gulley's
complaint was received on March 4, 2019, and his motion to
proceed in forma pauperis was granted on March 6,
section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, I 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. 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
April 16, 2018, Gulley was found guilty at a disciplinary
hearing of assault on a correctional employee. As a result of
the guilty finding, Gulley was returned to Phase One of the
Security Risk Group (“SRG”) Program. ECF No. 1,
¶ 7. Gulley believed that Hearing Officer Nicole Prior
had been pressured to find him guilty and covered his cell
door window in protest. Id., ¶¶ 8-9.
Blackstock deployed a chemical agent to get Gulley to remove
the covering. Id., ¶ 10. Lieutenant Blackstock
then ordered Gulley placed on in-cell restraints.
Id., ¶ 11. Fifteen minutes later, Gulley
covered the cell door window with his mattress in protest
over the in-cell restraints. Id., ¶ 12. Captain
Lizon supervised officers Caron, Titus and Severance in a use
of excessive force that left Gulley injured. Id.,
was experiencing severe pain. When Nurse Durko came to check
Gulley's injuries, Lieutenant Blackstock claimed that
Gulley was being defiant. Id., ¶ 14. Nurse
Durko finally ignored Gulley's complaints of pain and
left with the officers. Id., ¶ 15.
April 18, 2018, when the in-cell restraints were removed,
Gulley's ankles and wrists were swollen and bruised.
Gulley complained of pain to Nurse Scruggs. Id.,
¶ 16. Nurse Scruggs noted in Gulley's medical chart
that she saw no injuries. She did note Gulley's
complaints of pain. Id., ¶ 17. Gulley believes
that Nurse Scruggs deliberately fabricated her report.
Id., ¶ 18. The use of force caused Gulley to
experience pain, swelling, and limping. The incident has
caused him to suffer fear, anxiety, humiliation and emotional
distress. Id., ¶ 19.
asserts claims for use of excessive force against defendants
Blackstock, Lizon, Caron, Titus, and Severance and deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs against defendants
Durko and Scruggs.
Use of Excessive Force
describes two incidents that involve the use of force. First,
he alleges that Lieutenant Blackstock ordered placement in
in-cell restraints. Second, Gulley alleges that Captain Lizon
and Officers Caron, Titus and Severance used excessive force
when responding to Gully covering the cell door window with
state a claim for use of excessive force in violation of the
Eighth Amendment, Gulley must allege facts establishing
objective and subjective components. See Sims v.
Artuz, 230 F.3d 14, 20-21 (2d Cir. 2000). The objective
component focuses on the harm done to the prisoner in light
of contemporary standards of decency. The amount of harm
required depends on the nature of the claim. Id. at
21. Although some degree of injury is usually required, the
prisoner need not show that he suffered a significant injury
to state a claim for use of excessive force. See Wilkins
v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 34 (2010) (“[T]he use of
excessive physical force against a prisoner may constitute
cruel and unusual punishment [even] when the inmate does not
suffer serious injury.”) (quoting Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 4 (1992)). However, “not
‘every malevolent touch by a prison guard gives rise to
a federal cause of action.'” Id. at 37
(quoting Hudson, 503 U.S. at 9). The subjective
component of the excessive force standard requires a showing
that the use of force was “carried out
‘maliciously and sadistically' rather than as part
of ‘a good faith effort to maintain or restore
discipline.'” Id. at 40 (quoting
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 9).
extent of the inmate's injuries is one factor I may use
to determine whether correctional staff could
“plausibly” have considered the force necessary
in a particular situation. Hudson, 503 U.S. at 7.
Other factors include “the need for application of
force, the relationship between that need and the amount of
force used, the threat reasonably perceived by the
responsible officials, and any ...