United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Michael P. Shea United States District Judge.
February 1, 2019, the plaintiff, Clarence Patterson, a
pro se inmate currently confined at the
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution
(“Corrigan”) in Uncasville, Connecticut, brought
a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Angel Quiros, the District Administrator for the Department
of Correction (“DOC”). ECF No. 1. This Court
ordered the plaintiff to file an amended complaint because
the allegations stated in the initial complaint related to
other DOC officials not listed as defendants. See
ECF No. 7. On March 5, 2019, the plaintiff filed a document
entitled, “Status Report, ” which the Court
construed as his amended complaint. ECF No. 8. The amended
complaint listed fifteen DOC officials as defendants. One
month later, the plaintiff filed a document entitled,
“Memorandum: Motion for Attachment and Status Report,
” which the Court construed as an addendum to his
amended complaint. ECF No. 9. The Court dismissed both
pleadings without prejudice because they joined multiple
unrelated causes of action based on events that occurred at
two different correctional facilities over a two-year period.
See ECF No. 10. The Court instructed the plaintiff
to file a “Second Amended Complaint, ” alleging
facts in support of one set of constitutional claims and
showing how each defendant was personally involved in those
constitutional deprivations. See id.
22, 2019, the plaintiff filed a second amended complaint
against seventeen defendants: District Administrator Angel
Quiros, District Administrator Scott Erfe, Warden Wright,
Nurse Samantha Doe, Officer Paolini, Nurse Rick Doe,
Counselor Supervisor Moore, Counselor John Doe, District
Administrator Mulligan, Medical Supervisor Jeff Stamp, Deputy
Warden Peterson, Dr. Ricardo Ruiz, Grievance Coordinator
Stephanie Doe, Unit Manager Molina, Correctional Treatment
Officer Tross, Phone Monitor Peracchio, and Deputy Warden
Guadarrama. ECF No. 12, pp. 2-3, 95-97. The plaintiff is
suing all seventeen defendants for violating his First,
Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. For the
following reasons, the second amended complaint is dismissed
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review prisoner civil
complaints and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is
frivolous or malicious, that 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. Although
detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must
include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice
of the claims and the grounds upon which they are based and
to demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atlantic v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory
allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic, 550
U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the [C]ourt to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft, 556
U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 556).
Nevertheless, it is well-established that
“[p]ro se complaints ‘must be
construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of
America, 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting
Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471,
474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater,
623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules
of solicitude for pro se litigants).
February 13, 2018, the plaintiff received an epidural shot in
his back for his effaced L4/L5 nerve root. ECF No. 12, p.5.
Two days later, he returned to Osborn Correctional
Institution (“Osborn”) and was taken to the
intake area to retrieve his personal property and receive his
housing assignment. Id. Nurse Samantha evaluated the
plaintiff in a storage area of the intake unit, noted where
he had received his epidural shot, and told him that he
needed to see a physician for an immediate follow-up.
Id. at 6. She also told him that he needed a bottom
bunk pass, but the admissions officers had already assigned
him to a top bunk. Id. Samantha issued the plaintiff
a thirty-day bottom bunk pass and told him that he would be
seeing a physician in a few days. Id.
administering the intake screening, Samantha said that it was
getting late, that she still had a lot of work to do in the
medical unit, and that she wanted to get out on time. ECF No.
12, p. 7. She then walked with the plaintiff to a table where
Supervisor Moore and Officer Paolini were screening other
inmates into Osborn. Id. Samantha asked Paolini to
have the plaintiff's bunk assignment switched to a bottom
bunk, and Paolini agreed. Id. After Samantha left
the unit, Paolini refused to make the switch. Id. at
8. He told the plaintiff that he had to use the top bunk in
B-Block that was assigned to him. Id. The plaintiff
then filed grievances against Samantha and Paolini.
Id. However, inmates who are not kitchen workers are
not permitted to live or even visit the B-Block unit.
Id. The plaintiff struggled up the stairs to the
B-Block unit carrying his property because of his back pain.
reached the B-Block unit, he was met by two officers working
the evening shift. ECF No. 12, p. 9. Another inmate
approached the plaintiff and told the officers to call a
lieutenant and put him in segregation because he was
“not living . . . with no faggot.” Id.
One of the officers told the plaintiff to go lock up because
the lieutenant was coming to the unit and called another
officer to assist the plaintiff in carrying his property.
following morning, the plaintiff called a nurse over to his
cell. ECF No. 12, p. 10. He explained to the nurse that he
had just received an epidural shot to his back and was
wrongfully assigned to a top bunk. Id. The nurse
told the plaintiff to explain the situation to the officials
working the next shift. Id. Later, when the
plaintiff was let out of his cell to receive his medication,
he spoke to Officer Feldott about his bunk assignment.
Id. at 10-11. Feldott informed Captain Griffith
about the bunk issue, who told the plaintiff that he did not
switch bunk assignments under any circumstances. Id.
at 11. Griffith told him that, if he wanted his bunk
switched, he would have to write a request to the operations
unit. Id. The plaintiff wrote numerous requests to
the medical unit to be moved to a bottom bunk and complained
of persistent back pain. Id.
March 7, 2018, the plaintiff was told that he was moving to
the D-Block unit. ECF No. 12, p. 14. Officers Quinones and
Feldott were rushing the plaintiff to pack his belongings.
Id. As he was trying to retrieve his television from
his top bunk, the plaintiff's right leg gave out, causing
him to fall backwards and hit his head on the metal locker in
his cell. ECF No. 12, p. 15. The plaintiff's cellmate
immediately ran out of the cell and yelled for officials to
call a Code White, which signifies a medical response.
Id. When a Code White is called, officials must
preserve video footage, write an incident report, and record
the incident in the unit log book. Id. at 16.
Officer Feldott came to the cell, saw the plaintiff on the
floor in pain, and then asked Quinones whether they should
call a Code White. Id. at 15. Quinones told Feldott
not to call a Code White and that he would send for a
wheelchair. Id. The plaintiff later filed a
grievance against Quinones and Feldott based on their refusal
to call a Code White and get him a bottom bunk. Id.
at 16. He also filed several requests to Health Services
Administrator (“HSA”) Furey. Id.
to thirty minutes after the fall, Nurse Rick came to the unit
with a wheelchair for the plaintiff. ECF No. 12, p. 17. He
and Feldott lifted the plaintiff off the ground and walked
him down the stairs to where the wheelchair was positioned.
Id. While walking down the stairs, the
plaintiff's leg gave out again, and he started to fall
again, but Rick caught him. Id.
plaintiff waited in the medical unit for ten to twenty
minutes before being evaluated. ECF No. 12, pp. 17-18. Rick
did not review the plaintiff's intake screening, which
called for a physician's assessment shortly after his
admission to Osborn. Id. at 18. Rick performed a
“routine” assessment of the plaintiff's
injuries. Id. The plaintiff explained to him that he
was in severe pain and did not feel like he could ambulate
without a cane or crutch. Id. at 18. While reviewing
the plaintiff's history, Rick noticed that he had been
issued a temporary bottom bunk pass. Id. at 19. He
called Feldott and Quinones and asked them why he had been
assigned to a top bunk. Id. The plaintiff later
heard Rick say over the phone, “I got this, don't
worry about it, I'll take care of everything.”
Id. Rick then examined the plaintiff, who had a
large “knot” on the back of his head.
Id. He told the nurse in the unit that the plaintiff
had no “knot” or blood. Id. Rick told
the plaintiff that he believed his story of falling off the
bunk, but he refused to order x-rays, issue him a cane or
crutch, or give him any pain medication. Id. He did,
however, pick up the phone and tell officials that he was
giving the plaintiff a bottom bunk pass in the East-4 unit
and a three-day “feed back card” so that the
plaintiff did not have to walk to the chow hall for his food.
Id. at 20. Rick ordered the “feed back
card” but erroneously sent it to the plaintiff's
previous cell. Id.
April 2, 2018, the plaintiff saw Dr. Wright at Osborn. ECF
No. 12, p. 44. Dr. Wright referred him to the UConn Medical
Center (“UConn”) for an MRI in order to determine
whether the fall on March 7 caused any new injuries to his
April 26, 2018, Warden Wright denied the plaintiff's
grievance against Quinones. ECF No. 12, p. 37. Wright stated
that, although the medical unit had issued the plaintiff a
temporary bottom bunk pass, the plaintiff opted for a top
bunk. Id. However, the plaintiff never opted for a
top bunk. Id. He appealed Wright's decision to
District Administrator Quiros. Id. at 38. Quiros
falsely stated that he had previously rejected the level-2
appeal from the grievance against Quinones. Id.
plaintiff later filed a level-3 appeal against Quiros to the
Commissioner's Office. ECF No. 12, p. 38. When Quiros
discovered that the plaintiff had complained to the
Commissioner's Office, he instructed Boyd Carter, the
grievance coordinator at Cheshire Correctional Institution
(“Cheshire”), to send all level-3 appeals filed
by the plaintiff directly to him as opposed to the Deputy
Commissioner so that he could “destroy them”
without disposition. Id. at 39. Carter complied and
sent three of the plaintiff's level-3 appeals directly to
Quiros. Id. at 39-40. The plaintiff filed a
grievance against Quiros, claiming that he was falsifying
dates on his appeals. Id. at 40. District
Administrator Erfe never answered the grievance against
Quiros and refused to send it to the Deputy Commissioner for
adjudication. Id. at 41. The plaintiff continued to
file numerous grievances and appeals against Quiros, but they
were all confiscated and/or destroyed by Erfe. Id.
the next several weeks, the plaintiff was forced to ambulate
long distances to the chow hall and medication window in his
painful condition. ECF No. 12, p. 21. He filed a grievance
against Rick for refusing to properly treat his condition.
Id. He argued that Rick could have transferred him
to the J-1 Unit, which is designed for inmates with limited
mobility because it has a chow hall, religious services,
school, medical unit, library, and gymnasium all near each
Doe was the counselor for the D-Block unit. ECF No. 12, p.
24. One of the responsibilities of the unit counselor is to
make legal copes for the inmates in the unit. Id.
Doe made legal copies for the plaintiff on April 16, 26, and
30, 2018. Id. He also made a legal phone call for
the plaintiff on April 30. Id. On May 2, the
plaintiff wrote a request to Doe explaining that Warden
Wright had predated his grievance disposition to prevent him
from filing a timely level-2 appeal. Id. at 25-26.
He also requested the copies that Doe had made for him days
earlier. Id. at 26. Doe denied the plaintiff the
legal copies and explained to him that any additional copies
would have to be made in the library. Id. The
plaintiff explained to Doe that the inmates in the D-Block
were housed in the gymnasium and that the library would be
closed during the entire week, but Doe refused to issue the
copies. Id. at 26-27. Doe also told the plaintiff
that he was on the list to make a legal call, but the
plaintiff never received his legal call at Osborn.
Id. at 27. The plaintiff filed numerous grievances
against Doe for denying him access to courts. Id.
4, 2018, Supervisor Moore and Captain Colon came to the
plaintiff's cell. ECF No. 12, p. 28. Moore told the
plaintiff that Doe did not have to make legal copies for him.
Id. The plaintiff told Moore that his unit was
housed in the gymnasium and that library privileges had been
suspended for the week, but Moore just told him to make
copies the next time he was permitted access to the library,
which was not for six days later. Id. The plaintiff
also explained to Moore that Warden Wright consistently
predated grievance dispositions to prevent timely appeals.
Id. at 29. He showed Moore a law book indicating
that Wright was violating the law and argued that Moore would
be personally liable for the violation, but Moore just said
that “he and the warden w[ere] the law.”
Id. The plaintiff later filed a grievance against
Doe for refusing to make copies of a time-sensitive
grievance. Id. at 30. Wright later rejected the
grievance as repetitive. Id. He also filed a
grievance against Moore for refusing to order Doe to make
copies of his initial grievance, which became time-barred.
Id. at 34. Wright responded to the grievance against
Moore, stating that “counselors are not required to
make inmate copies” and that it was “a
courtesy.” Id. at 35. However, the unit
counselor is the only resource the plaintiff had for making
legal copies. Id. at 36.
9, 2018, the plaintiff went to UConn for the MRI ordered by
Dr. Wright. ECF No. 12, p. 45. The MRI showed a large
paracentral disc protrusion which abuts the descending L-4
nerve root. Id. As a result, Dr. Wright requested a
ortho-spinal consultation and a cane for the plaintiff.
Id. The expert with whom the plaintiff consulted
recommended that the plaintiff receive two epidural shots in
his back by the end of the year. Id.
22, 2018, HSA Furey called the plaintiff to his office and
issued him a cane, which he admitted should have been issued
on the day of his injury in the B-Block unit. ECF No. 12, p.
22. Furey also agreed to “chastise” Nurse Rick
for not issuing a cane on the day of the incident and placing
him in a cell one hundred yards from the chow hall and thirty
yards from the medication window when there were open beds in
the J-1 Unit. Id. During the meeting, Furey also
confirmed that the only way an inmate, who was issued a
bottom bunk pass, could be assigned to a top bunk is if he
signed a medical refusal. Id. at 23. The plaintiff
never signed a refusal for a top bunk. Id.
23, 2018, the plaintiff was transferred from Osborn to
Cheshire. ECF No. 12, p. 38. Upon his arrival, the plaintiff
wrote to the medical unit, explaining that he had not
received the two epidural shots prescribed by the orthopedist
and that he needed to see a physician. Id. at 46.
The next injection was supposed to be administered on June
13, but the plaintiff was not seen by a medical official
until June 16. Id. At that meeting, Nurse Mark put
the plaintiff on the list to see Dr. Ruiz, but Ruiz said that
the epidural shots “w[ere] not important” and
removed the plaintiff from his list of patients to be
evaluated. Id. When the plaintiff asked Ruiz why he
had refused to give him the two epidural shots in a timely
manner, Ruiz said that he did not “believe in back
surgery, ” that epidural shots are not safe unless
there is pain in the patient's leg, and that he has seen
other inmates respond with worse conditions. Id. at
47. However, the plaintiff's medical file showed that he
had a prominent limp in ...