United States District Court, D. Connecticut
CHAZ O. GULLEY, Plaintiff,
BUJNICKI, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Gulley (“Gulley”), currently confined at
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville,
Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 principally alleging that the defendants
used excessive force against him while he was confined at
Northern Correctional Institution. He names thirteen
defendants: Lieutenant Bujnicki, Lieutenant Blackstock,
Lieutenant Josephiak, Correctional Officer Buciour,
Correctional Officer Sanchez, Correctional Officer Ackerman,
Nurse Kay, Nurse Lisa Fryer, Lieutenant Hollister,
Administrative Remedies Coordinator Schold, Warden Nick
Rodriguez, Warden Mudano, and Correctional Officer Titus.
Gulley asserts a federal claim for use of excessive force and
state law claims for assault/sexual assault and battery. He
seeks damages from the defendants in their individual
capacities. Gulley's complaint is dated May 28, 2019. It
was received on June 11, 2019, and his motion to proceed
in forma pauperis was granted on June 17, 2019.
section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, I 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. 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
plausible 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.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. 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 Am., 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
Excessive Force / Cruel and Unusual Punishment / Sexual
February 4, 2019, Gulley covered his cell door window to
attract the attention of the unit manager. Gulley wanted to
know why he had been placed on “rec alone status”
in the Security Risk Group (“SRG”) unit. He felt
that the status made him an outcast and put him in danger.
ECF No. 1, ¶ 8.
Blackstock and Josephiak responded to the covered window and
decided to place Gulley in in-cell restraints. Id.,
¶ 9. Gulley spoke calmly to Mental Health Social Worker
Sarah and was respectful to all the officers. He did not
understand why he was put in in-cell restraints for an issue
that could have been resolved easily. Id., ¶
Gulley ignored several orders to be handcuffed, a chemical
agent was deployed into his cell. Id., ¶ 11. He
then submitted to being handcuffed. Id., ¶ 12.
Gulley was taken to the medical unit for decontamination and
escorted to cell 102 to be placed on in-cell restraints.
Id., ¶ 13. While the restraints were being
applied, Gulley was naked to the waist. The battery in the
handheld camera ran out of power for five minutes.
Id., ¶ 14.
that time, the officers and supervisors made lewd, sexual,
and disrespectful remarks while Officers Titus, Buciour, and
Sanchez brushed against and touched Gulley's genital area
and buttocks. Although they made the touching seem
accidental, Gulley believes the touching was intentional.
Gulley felt violated and extremely uncomfortable.
Id., ¶ 15. Lieutenant Josephiak, Nurse Kay, and
camera operator Officer Ackerman watched Gulley
indifferently. Id., ¶ 16.
the camera came on again, everyone acted professionally. When
Gulley asked to be taken to the medical unit to be checked
for bruising, Nurse Kay said that she had been there the
entire time and did not witness any officer assaulting
Gulley. Id., ¶ 17. Gulley asked Lieutenant
Blackstock for a Prison Rape Elimination Act
(“PREA”) complaint. Id., ¶ 18.
the restraints had been applied, Lieutenant Blackstock
ordered Officer Buciour to tighten the restraint on
Gulley's right hand. Gulley has been taking medication
since 2011 for nerve damage in his right hand. Id.,
¶ 9. Gulley complained to Nurse Kay. She approved the
application even though there was not enough space to insert
one finger between Gulley's wrist and the handcuff.
Id., ¶ 20. Gulley reported pain and numbness to
Social Worker Sarah and showed her his right hand. She
reported her observations and Gulley's complaints to the
custody officers. Id., ¶ 21. The restraints
were loosened slightly on the second shift when Nurse Bob
reported the tightness of the handcuff. Id., ¶
following day, Gulley was escorted to speak to the state
police regarding his PREA complaint. Id., ¶ 23.
After speaking to the state trooper and requesting an
attorney be present, the interview concluded. Gulley was
returned to cell 102. He remained on in-cell restraint
status. Id., ¶ 24.
the escort back to his cell, Lieutenant Bujnicki directed the
officers to “lie him face down on the bunk.”
Id., ¶ 25. Because plaintiff was wearing the
in-cell restraints, he was only able to lie sideways.
Id., ¶ 26. Lieutenant Bujnicki issued Gulley a
disciplinary report stating that he was being
passive/aggressive. He stated that Gulley showed Lieutenant
Bujnicki his penis and stated, “Do you want some of
this?” Id., ¶ 27. The disciplinary report
was dismissed based on camera evidence. Id., ¶
remained on in-cell restraint status until February 6, 2019,
even though he was calm and compliant. Id., ¶
30. While he was on in-cell restraints, Gulley complained to
Nurse Fryer and Lieutenant Hollister that the restraints were
tight. When the restraints were removed, Gulley showed Nurse
Fryer the severe bruising on his wrists. Nurse Fryer told
Lieutenant Hollister that everything was ...