United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
HAIGHT, SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff Christopher Shand, currently incarcerated
at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut,
has filed a complaint pursuant 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
names as defendants Warden Chapdelaine; Deputy Wardens Hines,
Guadarrama, and Mudano; Captains Salius and Rivera; Counselor
Supervisor John Aldi; Lieutenant White; Correctional Officers
Michaud, Aubert, Bard, Chylinski, Vanostrand, Brysgel,
DeJoinville, St. Clair, and Irrizary; and Unit Counselors
Skribiski and Maiorana (the “Defendants”). Shand
contends that Defendants have acted with deliberate
indifference to his health and safety. As a result of the
alleged violation, Shand seeks damages and declaratory relief
from Defendants in their individual capacities.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review prisoner civil
complaints against governmental actors and dismiss any
portion of the complaint that is “frivolous, malicious,
or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted;
or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2).
“[T]he district judge's § 1915A review of
whether a complaint ‘fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted' is guided by the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, as interpreted by [United States] Supreme
Court and Second Circuit decisions whose principles have
become familiar.” Green v. Martin, 224
F.Supp.3d 154, 160 (D. Conn. 2016). Although detailed
allegations are not required, a complaint must “must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim that is plausible on its
face.'“ Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the Court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. This plausibility standard is not simply a
“probability requirement, ” but imposes a
standard higher than “a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.
undertaking this analysis, the Court must “draw all
reasonable inferences in [the plaintiff's] favor, assume
all well-pleaded factual allegations to be true, and
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Faber v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 648
F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks
omitted). However, the Court is “not bound to accept
conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as
factual conclusions, ” id., and “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Ultimately, “[d]etermining whether a complaint states a
plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific
task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its
judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at
se submissions “are reviewed with special
solicitude, and ‘must be construed liberally and
interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest.'” Matheson v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l
Tr. Co., 706 Fed.Appx. 24, 26 (2d Cir. 2017) (quoting
Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471,
474 (2d Cir. 2006) (per curiam)). See also Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“A document filed
pro se is ‘to be liberally construed,' and ‘a
pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.'” (internal citations omitted)). This
liberal approach, however, does not exempt pro se
litigants from the minimum pleading requirements described
above: A pro se plaintiff's complaint still must
“‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Mancuso v. Hynes, 379
Fed.Appx. 60, 61 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678). Therefore, even in a pro se case,
“threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice, ” Chavis v. Chappius, 618 F.3d 162,
170 (2d Cir. 2010) (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted), and the Court may not “invent factual
allegations” that the plaintiff has not pleaded.
factual allegations contained in the Complaint are recounted
below, recited in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
March 14, 2014, Shand was housed in the B2 Housing Unit at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“MacDougall-Walker”). Doc. 1
(“Compl.”) ¶ 15. Security Risk Group
(“SRG”) inmates at MacDougall-Walker are assigned
to the B1 and B2 Housing Units. Id. ¶¶
in the B2 Housing Unit, Shand received numerous threats from
other inmates. Id. ¶ 18. Inmates told Shand
that other inmates were “going to get him” and he
received similar threats in written notes. Id.
¶¶ 19-20. Shand immediately reported all threats to
Captains Salius and Rivera and told them he feared for his
life. Id. ¶ 21. They ignored the threats.
Id. ¶ 22.
September 7, 2014, Shand was assaulted by his cellmate. He
was escorted to the Restrictive Housing Unit
(“RHU”) and then transferred to the B1 Housing
Unit. Id. ¶ 23. Shand received similar notes
and verbal threats from the inmates in the B1 Housing Unit.
Id. ¶ 24. He told Captain Rivera, the custody
supervisor, the correctional officers assigned to the unit,
the deputy wardens and the warden about the threats.
Id. ¶ 25. He provided staff with the notes and
the names of the inmates who were threatening him.
Id. ¶ 26. No. action was taken. Id.
January 5, 2015, Shand was transferred to Northern
Correctional Institution (“Northern”).
Id. ¶ 28. On April 13, 2016, Shand sent a
letter to John Aldi regarding his safety concerns.
Id. ¶ 29. The letter was followed by a legal
call with John Aldi. Id. ¶ 30. Aldi dismissed
Shand's concerns for his safety and refused to transfer
him to a different housing unit. Id. ¶ 31. He
did say that he would relay Shand's concerns to Captain
Rivera. Id. ¶ 32.
16, 2016, Shand was returned to MacDougall-Walker.
Id., ¶ 33. While in the Admitting and
Processing Room, Shand told Officer Michaud and Lieutenant
White that his life was in danger and he was concerned for
his safety if he returned to the B1 or B2 Housing Units.
Id. ¶ 34. They ignored his complaints.
Id. ¶ 35.
was escorted to the B1 Housing Unit. Id. Upon
arrival, Shand told correctional staff that he felt suicidal.
Id. ¶ 36. The officers called mental health
staff and Shand was escorted to RHU. He was placed in a
Ferguson gown under observation for several days.
Id. ¶ 37. When he was cleared by mental health