United States District Court, D. Connecticut
EDWARD D. ASBERRY, Plaintiff,
CONNECTICUT DEP'T OF CORRECTIONS, COMMISSIONER ROLLIN COOK, WARDEN NICK RODRIGUEZ, NURSE ELLEN DOE, CAPTAIN ROBLES, CORRECTION OFFICER CARON, and LIEUTENANT BLACKSTOCK, Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Charles S. Haight, Jr., Senior United States District Judge.
Edward D. Asberry, a convicted prisoner currently
incarcerated at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, has filed a civil
rights complaint pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the Connecticut Department of Correction
(“DOC”) and six of its employees: Commissioner
Rollin Cook, Warden Nick Rodriguez, Nurse Ellen Doe (last
name unknown), Captain Robles, Correction Officer Caron, and
Lieutenant Blackstock. Doc. 1 (Compl.) at 2-3. Based on the
Court's review of the Complaint, Asberry appears to
allege that he was denied a safe living environment and
adequate medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Id. at 5-6. He seeks damages for “mental,
emotional, and physical injury.” Id. at 6. For
the following reasons, the complaint is dismissed in part.
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.
events giving rise to this complaint occurred while Asberry
was confined in cell 1 West 118 (“Cell 118”) at
the Northern Correctional Institution
(“Northern”) in Somers, Connecticut. Doc. 1 at
5-6. At some point during his confinement at Northern,
Asberry informed Lieutenant Blackstock that an inmate
confined in the cell above him had poured water in his vent,
which leaked into Asberry's cell. Id. at 6.
Asberry told Blackstock that the inmate would likely do it
again, and therefore requested to be moved to another cell.
Id. Asberry was temporarily moved out of Cell 118,
but Blackstock subsequently ordered him to return.
August 24, 2018, at approximately 1:30 a.m., after Asberry
had been returned to Cell 118, he slipped and fell as he was
attempting to use the bathroom. Id. at 5. When he
switched on the light, he noticed that the ground floor was
covered in water and what smelled like coffee. Id.
Asberry alerted Correction Officer Caron, told him that he
was in pain from having fallen in his cell, and requested
permission to see medical staff. Id. Caron saw the
liquid on the cell floor and walked away. Id. He
returned a short time later and told Asberry to pack his
belongings because he was being moved to another cell.
Id. He also told Asberry that medical staff would
see him shortly. Id.
about an hour, Asberry asked Caron when he would be evaluated
by medical staff. Id. at 6. Caron told him,
“Go to bed. It's not an emergency.”
Id. Asberry responded that his shoulder and hips
hurt badly, but Caron walked away. Id. Asberry
remained awake and in pain for the remaining hours of the
or 8:00 a.m., Nurse Ellen arrived at Asberry's unit to
administer morning medications to the inmates. Id.
at 6. Asberry tried to explain to her what had happened the
previous night, but she told him to write a “sick
call” request and continued walking through the unit.
Id. Asberry asked her for medication to treat his
pain, and Ellen told him to purchase it through commissary.
on these allegations, Asberry appears to be suing the
Defendants for acting with deliberate indifference to his
health and safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Specifically, he alleges that (1) Lieutenant Blackstock kept
him confined in Cell 118, despite knowing that the inmate in
the cell above him would endanger Asberry by pouring water
down his vent, and (2) Officer Caron and Nurse Ellen refused
to provide medical treatment following his injury. The
Complaint contains no specific allegations concerning the