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Martin v. Pelletier

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 14, 2019

DOUGLAS GEORGE MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER PELLETIER, ET AL. Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          Kari A. Dooley, United States District Judge.

         Preliminary Statement

         The plaintiff, Douglas George Martin (“Martin”), was confined at the Cheshire Correctional Institution when he filed this action against Correctional Officers Pelletier and Doccio. He alleges that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his safety when they reassigned an inmate, who had previously threatened to harm him, to be his cellmate. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint is dismissed in part.

         Standard of Review

         Pursuant 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).

         Although 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 omitted).

         Allegations

         On May 20, 2018, Martin was confined in B-Block at Garner Correctional Institution. See Compl. at 5 ¶ 1. Between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m. on that date, Martin informed Correctional Officers Pelletier and Doccio that he was having problems with his cellmate, Jeffrey Thominson. See Id. After eating dinner, Martin informed Officers Pelletier and Doccio that the issues with his cellmate had escalated, his cellmate had threatened him, and he did not feel safe in the cell with his cellmate. See Id. ¶ 2 & at 9. Officers Pelletier and Doccio directed Mr. Cosano to speak to Martin regarding his concerns about his cellmate. See Id. ¶ 3. After Mr. Cosano spoke to Martin, Officers Pelletier and Doccio moved Martin's cellmate to another cell because of the problems that Martin had described between himself and his cellmate. See id.

         On May 23, 2018, Officers Pelletier and Doccio moved Inmate Thominson back into Martin's cell. See Id. at 6 ¶ 4. Within minutes of being placed in the cell, Inmate Thominson assaulted Martin by kicking his head against the wall. See Id. ¶ 5. Inmate Thominson later confirmed that Officers Pelletier and Doccio had moved him from Martin's cell on May 20, 2018 because he had threatened to harm Martin. See Id. ¶¶ 6-7.

         Discussion

         Martin contends that Officers Pelletier and Doccio violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to protect him from harm from his cellmate. For relief, he seeks monetary damages.

         Official Capacity Claims

         Martin does not indicate whether he sues the defendants in their individual capacities or their official capacities or both capacities. To the extent that he seeks money damages from the defendants in their official capacities, such a request for relief 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). Accordingly, the claims for monetary damages against the defendants in their official capacities are dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).

         Eighth Amendment Claim - ...


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