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Myles v. Quiros

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 18, 2019

DAVID MYLES, Plaintiff,
v.
ANGEL QUIROS et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

          Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge

         David Myles is a prisoner in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”). He has filed a complaint pro se and in forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several DOC officials stemming from an incident in which he was disciplined because of his failure to furnish a urine sample. For the reasons stated below, I will dismiss Myles's complaint without prejudice.

         Background

         Myles was a prisoner at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution when the relevant events as alleged in his complaint took place. He has named the following defendants in their individual and official capacities: Warden Murphy; Captain Rios; Lieutenants Martinez, Sheehan, and Perez; Officers Kirchmier, Betances, and Andrews; mental health clinician Kelly; Angel Quiros; and a defendant identified only as Burgmyer. Doc. #1 at 2-3.

         The following facts are alleged in the complaint and are accepted as true only for purposes of this ruling. On October 26, 2017, at approximately 8:50 a.m., another inmate woke Myles up because correctional officials had called for him. Doc. #1 at 4 (¶ 1). Myles stood up and went to the “bubble, ” where he was instructed to get dressed because he had to leave the unit. Id. (¶ 2). Myles asked the officer in the bubble where he was going, but the officer just told him that he would find out when he dressed and returned. Ibid. Myles then used the bathroom in his cell, washed up, dressed himself, and returned to the bubble. Ibid. (¶ 3). The officer in the bubble then instructed him to go to the operations unit. Ibid. (¶ 4).

         When he arrived at the operations unit, Officer Kirchmeir told him that he had to give a urine sample for drug testing because he was scheduled to go to a halfway house. Ibid. (¶ 5). Myles told Kirchmeir that he had just urinated and would need some water to urinate again, but Kirchmeir denied his request for water. Ibid. (¶¶ 6-7). Kirchmeir said that, if Myles did not provide a urine sample within three hours, he would not be released from the facility and he would be placed in segregation with a disciplinary report. Ibid. (¶ 7). Myles said that he was clean and that he just needed water to produce more urine. Ibid. (¶ 8). Kirchmeir told him that DOC regulations prohibited him from having water to help him urinate, despite the fact that he had just urinated. Id. at 4-5 (¶ 9). Myles asked Kirchmeir to show him the rule to which he was referring and to call a lieutenant supervisor. Id. at 5 (¶ 10). Kirchmeir told Myles to wait for the lieutenant who was touring the unit, but he could not find the DOC rule prohibiting water. Ibid. (¶ 11). Myles offered to provide a buccal swab, hair sample, or blood sample to show that he did not have drugs in his system, but Kirchmeir said that the testing must be done with urine. Ibid. (¶ 12). Myles pleaded with Kirchmeir for one cup of water, but Kirchmeir insisted that water was not permitted. Ibid. (¶ 13).

         While waiting for the lieutenant to arrive, Myles entered the restroom two different times under Kirchmeir's supervision to attempt to give a urine sample, but he was unable to do so. Ibid. (¶ 14). During that time, Officer Betances arrived at the unit, and Myles explained to him the situation. Ibid. (¶ 15). Betances refused to give Myles any water, also saying that it was prohibited by DOC regulations. Ibid. (¶ 16). Myles asked Betances to show him the rule, and Betances could not locate the specific rule. Ibid. (¶¶ 17-18). Nevertheless, Betances still denied him the opportunity to drink water. Ibid. (¶ 18). Myles made a third attempt to urinate but was unsuccessful. Id. at 6 (¶ 20).

         Shortly thereafter, Lieutenant Martinez arrived, and Myles explained the situation to her regarding his inability to urinate. Ibid. (¶ 21). Like Kirchmeir and Betances, Martinez denied Myles any water, stating that it was prohibited by DOC regulations. Ibid. (¶ 23). She also denied Myles the opportunity to provide hair, blood, or saliva samples. Ibid. (¶ 25). After looking at the regulations, Martinez later agreed with Myles that there was no such rule prohibiting inmates from drinking water prior to giving a urine sample, but she still refused, claiming that it was “under their own discretion.” Ibid. (¶ 26). Martinez then told Myles that, if he did not “squeeze something out soon, ” then he “must like jail” and “must not want to go home.” Ibid. (¶ 27). Myles made a fourth attempt to urinate but was unable to do so. Ibid. (¶ 28).

         At this point, Myles was halfway through his three-hour allotted time frame. Ibid. (¶ 29). He spotted Captain Rios in the area, called her over, and explained to her the situation. Ibid. (¶¶ 29-30). Rios looked for the rule referenced by Kirchmeir and Betances but agreed with Martinez and Myles that no such rule existed. Ibid. (¶ 31). Rios said that she was sorry, but because the other officials had already made their decision, she was not going to permit Myles to have any water. Ibid. (¶ 32). Myles tried two more times to urinate before his three-hour time limit expired, but he continued to be unable to do so. Id. at 6-7 (¶ 33).

         After the time expired, Lieutenant Sheehan called Myles to his office and asked him why he did not provide a urine sample. Id. at 7 (¶ 34). Myles explained the entire situation to Sheehan, but Sheehan told him that “he [did not] give a shit, ” that “it [was not] his problem, ” and that because Myles did not urinate he was going to segregation. Ibid. (¶ 35). Myles pleaded with Sheehan, but Sheehan responded, “[I]f you would have just peed, you would be on your way to a halfway house and I wouldn't have to do paperwork, but since you didn't, you're going to seg.” Ibid. (¶ 36). Myles then sat and waited for Sheehan and Officer Andrews to handcuff him and escort him to segregation. Ibid. (¶ 37). While waiting, correctional staff made comments such as “he can't get it up, ” “he couldn't perform, ” and “he must love jail.” Ibid. (¶ 38). A short time later, Myles was strip searched and placed in a restrictive housing unit (“RHU”). Ibid. (¶ 39).

         While in RHU, Myles became deeply stressed and spoke with Mental Health Clinician Kelly about the situation. Ibid. (¶ 40). Kelly, however, was very rude to Myles, telling him that he “fucked up, ” that “he did this to [him]self, ” and that if he continued “being emotional about th[e] situation, she [would] put [him] in a turtle suit” and keep him in segregation for longer. Ibid.

         A couple of days later, Myles attended his disciplinary hearing and explained the circumstances surrounding his drug test. Ibid. (¶ 41). Officials nevertheless found him guilty for refusing to submit to drug testing even though he had made six attempts to urinate. Ibid. As a result, Myles was sanctioned with seven days in RHU and fifteen days loss of good time credits. Id. at 7-8 (¶ 42). Betances later told him that he felt bad about the situation because it was wrong for officials to deny him water. Ibid. (¶ 42).

         After seven days in RHU, Myles provided a clean urine sample and was placed back into general population. Id. at 8 (¶¶ 43-44). He filed written grievances and appealed the disciplinary finding to Warden Murphy and District Administrator Quiros, but “[n]othing changed.” Ibid. (¶ 45). Because of the adverse disciplinary finding, Myles was forced to stay in prison until March 13, 2018, when he otherwise could have been sent to a halfway house on October 27, 2017. Ibid. (¶ 45). The situation also caused him to experience emotional distress and suicidal thoughts. Ibid. (¶ 46). When he was finally released from prison, Myles sought mental health treatment. Ibid. (¶ 47). He was officially diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) on March 22, 2018. Ibid.

         Discussion

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a prisoner's civil complaint against a governmental entity or governmental actors and “identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” If the prisoner is proceeding pro se, the allegations of the ...


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