United States District Court, D. Connecticut
FORTUNATO K. FEBUS, Plaintiff,
OFFICER ROBERT SOMODY et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Fortunato K. Febus was a prisoner in the custody of a
correctional facility in New York when he filed this
complaint pro se and in forma pauperis
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Febus alleges in principal part
that police officers used excessive force on him, falsely
arrested him, and were deliberately indifferent to his safety
and medical care. For the reasons stated below, I will allow
some of Febus's claims to proceed and for his complaint
to be served on some of the named defendants.
following allegations from Febus's complaint are assumed
to be true solely for purposes of this initial ruling. On
July 3, 2016, at approximately 10:20 p.m., plaintiff
Fortunato Febus and his attorney were at the Crabshell
Restaurant and Bar in Stamford, Connecticut. Doc. #1 at 2.
Defendant Officer Robert Somody, who was wearing his police
uniform, approached Febus and asked him whether he was Mr.
Febus. Ibid. Febus acknowledged his identity, and
Somody directed Febus to follow him. Ibid. Febus
became confused. Id. at 2-3. Somody began to ask
Febus questions, but Febus could not hear him due to the
volume of the music playing in the restaurant. Id.
at 3. Febus requested that Somody speak to his attorney who
was purchasing food in another part of the restaurant at the
then grabbed Febus by the shirt, pulled him to his feet and
directed him to the front of the restaurant. Ibid.
Febus noticed his attorney, pointed to him, and requested
that Somody speak to him. Ibid.
then grabbed Febus's arm and tried to twist it behind his
back. Ibid. Febus pulled his arm away and asked why
he was being subjected to “this kind of
treatment.” Ibid. Somody did not respond.
Instead, he grabbed Febus's arm, twisted it behind his
back again, and used his foot to sweep Febus off his feet and
onto the ground. Ibid. Febus broke five of his ribs
during his fall to the ground. Ibid. Somody fell on
top of him, pinned him to the ground, and put him in a
Officer Joseph Rainone then arrived at the scene to assist
Somody. Id. While Somody was choking Febus, Rainone
grabbed Febus's arm, which was pinned under his body, and
twisted it. Ibid. Febus complained that he could not
breathe. Ibid. Rainone and Somody then re-positioned
themselves and grabbed both of Febus's arms and pulled
them over his head in a twisting motion. Ibid. In
doing so, they tore both of his rotator cuffs. Ibid.
police cars full of Stamford officers arrived at the scene,
and the officers began to punch and kick Febus and bash his
head into the ground to subdue him. Id. at 3-4. This
use of force caused him to suffer a concussion; ear, neck,
and back injuries; a hernia; difficulty breathing; and torn
cartilage in his right knee. Id. at 4.
being handcuffed, Febus was placed in a police car and
transported to the Stamford Police Department. Ibid.
Upon his arrival at the station, it became clear to police
officials that Febus required immediate medical attention.
Ibid. Officials arranged for an ambulance to
transport him to Stamford Hospital for treatment.
hearing on July 5, 2016, a judge found probable cause to
arrest Febus on charges of breach of peace in the second
degree and interference with a police officer. Ibid.
An officer from the Stamford Police Department attended the
hearing but did not inform the judge that Febus was in the
custody of the Stamford Police Department and confined at
Stamford Hospital for treatment of his injuries.
6, 2016, an officer from the Stamford Police Department spoke
to Febus's doctors to convince them that Febus needed to
be returned to the police station. Ibid. The doctors
indicated that his injuries precluded his release from the
then on July 7, 2016, Sergeant Doe spoke to Febus's
doctors. Ibid. Sergeant Doe removed Febus from the
hospital against the orders of the doctors and transported
him back to the police station. Ibid. Febus's
injuries prevented him from completing intake at the police
station, and before he was finished being processed at the
station, the officers had to return him to the hospital to
receive medication to manage his pain. Id. at 4-5.
8, 2016, Febus appeared in Connecticut Superior Court and was
arraigned on charges of breach of peace and interfering with
an officer. Id. at 5. Febus states that he pleaded
guilty to the criminal offenses with which he had been
charged, and a judge sentenced him to an unconditional
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review a
prisoner's civil complaint against a governmental entity
or governmental actors and “identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint-(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” If the prisoner is proceeding pro se,
the allegations of the complaint must be read liberally to
raise the strongest arguments that they suggest. See
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir.
recent years, the Supreme Court has set forth a threshold
“plausibility” pleading standard for courts to
evaluate the adequacy of allegations in federal court
complaints. A complaint must allege enough facts-as distinct
from legal conclusions-that give rise to plausible grounds
for relief. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Notwithstanding the
rule of liberal interpretation of a pro se
complaint, a pro se complaint may not survive