United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
MICHAEL P. SHEA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff, Dustin Granger, is incarcerated at the
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution in Uncasville,
Connecticut (“Corrigan”). He has filed a
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden
Santiago, Lieutenants Conger and Tosses, and Correctional
Officer Evans. The plaintiff alleges that Lieutenant Tosses
and Correctional Officer Evans subjected him to excessive
force and an unreasonable strip search on August 26, 2016 at
Corrigan. For the reasons set forth below, the court will
dismiss the complaint in part.
Standard of Review
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the court must review prisoner
civil complaints against governmental actors and
“dismiss ... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is
frivolous, malicious, or 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. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A
claim has facial plausibility when a plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A
complaint that includes only “‘labels and
conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement, '” does not meet the facial
plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)).
Although courts still have an obligation to interpret
“a pro se complaint liberally, ” the
complaint must include sufficient factual allegations to meet
the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v.
Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations
the plaintiff's arrival at Corrigan on August 26, 2016,
he learned that he would have to undergo a strip search.
See Compl., at 4 ¶ 1. Correctional Officer
Evans ordered the plaintiff to bend at the waist and to
spread his buttocks. See Id. ¶ 2. The plaintiff
refused to follow this order because he preferred “the
normal [strip search] procedure” which only required
him to “squat and cough.” See Id. The
plaintiff felt that the procedure requiring him to bend at
the waist and to spread his buttocks was “derogatory
and excessive and unsettling.” See Id.
Correctional Officer Evans threatened to “take [his]
bare hands and dig up inside of [the plaintiff]
forcefully” if the plaintiff did not comply with his
order. See id.
plaintiff then admitted that he had swallowed drugs and asked
to be placed in a dry cell “rather than be molested
by” Officer Evans. See Id. ¶¶ 4-5.
The plaintiff stated that he was “ready to discharge
through bowel movements.” See Id. ¶5.
Officer Evans called a code due to the plaintiff's
refusal to submit to a strip search. See Id. at 5
¶ 8. In response to the code, Correctional officers and
Lieutenant Tosses slammed the plaintiff to the floor and
chipped the plaintiff's tooth. See Id. The
plaintiff again admitted that he had swallowed drugs. See
Id. ¶ 7. Lieutenant Tosses and Correctional Officer
Evans and another officer grabbed the plaintiff, kneed the
plaintiff in his thighs, and dropped him to the floor.
See Id. Lieutenant Tosses “placed a glove on
his hand and forcefully entered [the plaintiff's]
rectum.” See Id. ¶ 8. The plaintiff could
hear another officer in the background state: “Why
didn't we just put the dude in a dry cell.” See
Id. The plaintiff begged and pleaded with Lieutenant
Tosses to stop the search. See Id. ¶ 9. The
plaintiff could see the face of Lieutenant Tosses as he
performed the search and noticed that he was smirking.
as Lieutenant Tosses completed the search, the plaintiff
asked to be transferred or transported to a “medical
emergency unit” and to call the Prison Rape Elimination
Act (“PREA”) unit and the Inmates Legal Aid
Program (“ILAP”). See Id. ¶ 10. All
requests were denied. See Id. Since undergoing the
body cavity search, the plaintiff has been impotent. See
plaintiff does not identify the basis for his claims against
the defendants. At the time of the incidents on August 26,
2016, the plaintiff was a pretrial detainee. In DeShaney
v. Winnebago Cnty. Dept. of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189
(1989), the Supreme Court made clear that “when the
State takes a person into its custody and holds him there
against his will, the Constitution imposes upon it a
corresponding duty to assume some responsibility for his
safety and general well-being.” Id. at
regard to conditions of confinement, the Eighth Amendment
protects the rights of a convicted prisoner while the
Fourteenth Amendment protects the rights of a pretrial
detainee. See Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535
n.16 (1979) (in contrast to a sentenced prisoner, whose
conditions of confinement are analyzed under the Cruel and
Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment, “the
proper inquiry [for a pretrial detainee] is whether
conditions [of confinement] amount to punishment of the
detainee” under the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment); Darnell v. Pineiro, 849 F.3d
17, 29 (2d Cir. 2017) (acknowledging that the claim of
deliberate indifference to conditions of confinement,
including health and safety, that is asserted by a pretrial
detainee in state custody is “evaluated under the Due
Process Clause [of the Fourteenth Amendment] because pretrial
detainees have not been convicted of a crime and thus may not
be punished in any manner-neither cruelly and unusually nor
otherwise.”) (internal brackets, quotation marks and
citations omitted). The Fourteenth Amendment also protects a
detainee against deliberate indifference to his or her
medical needs and the use of excessive force by prison
officials. See Edrei v. Maguire, 892 F.3d 525, 533
(2d Cir. 2018) (“pretrial detainees . . . rely on the
[Fourteenth Amendment's] constitutional guarantee of
“due process” as the source of an excessive force
claim); Darnell, 849 F.3d at 33 n.9
(“deliberate indifference means the same thing for each
type of claim under the Fourteenth Amendment”).
Walker v. Wright, No. 3:17-CV-425 (JCH), 2018 WL
2225009, at *5 (D. Conn. May 15, 2018) (noting that
“District courts in this Circuit have therefore applied
. . . [the] objective “mens rea” prong
[described in Darnell] to claims of deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs under the Fourteenth
Amendment”) (collecting cases).
the court liberally construes the plaintiff's allegations
as asserting Fourteenth Amendment excessive force and sexual
abuse claims against Lieutenant Tosses and Correctional
Officer Evans and a Fourth Amendment unreasonable search
claim against Lieutenant Tosses and Correctional Officer
Evans. The court will also address the allegations regarding
the plaintiff's requests to contact the PREA unit and
ILAP and his request to be transferred to a medical unit.
Compl. at 5.
Official Capacity Claims
plaintiff sues the defendants in their individual and
official capacities. For relief, the plaintiff seeks 1.8
million dollars. To the extent that the plaintiff sues the
defendants in their official capacities for monetary damages,
that claim is barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985) (Eleventh
Amendment, which protects the state from suits for monetary
relief, also protects state officials sued for damages in
their official capacity); Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S.
332, 342 (1979) (Section 1983 does not override a state's
Eleventh Amendment immunity). The claim for 1.8 million
dollars from the defendants in their official capacities is
dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).
Warden Santiago and Lieutenant Conger
plaintiff does not mention Warden Santiago or Lieutenant
Conger other than in the caption and the description of the
parties. Thus, he has not alleged that either defendant
violated his federally or constitutionally protected rights.
The claims against Lieutenant Conger and Warden Conger are
dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).
Fourth Amendment - Search
plaintiff alleges that Lieutenant Tosses and Correctional
Officer Evans performed an unreasonable manual body cavity
search of his rectum on August 26, 2016. The Fourth Amendment
to the United States Constitution states that “[t]he
right of the people in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall
not be violated.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. In the prison
context, the Fourth Amendment proscribes unreasonable
searches of both pretrial detainees and sentenced inmates.
See Bell, 441 U.S. at 558.
Supreme Court has recognized that “correctional
officials must be permitted to devise reasonable search
policies to detect and deter the possession of contraband in
their facilities.” Florence v. Bd. of Chosen
Freeholders,566 U.S. 318, 328 (2012) (citation
omitted). Furthermore, correctional officials possess the
professional expertise and experience to undertake
“[t]he task of determining whether a policy is
reasonably related to legitimate security interests.”
Id. (citation omitted). Thus, “courts should
ordinarily defer to” the professional expertise of
correctional officials in matters involving legitimate
security concerns unless ...