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Oh v. Jarrin

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 20, 2019

BAMM OH, Plaintiff,
v.
JARRIN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Bamm Oh, currently confined at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville, Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that defendants Jarrin and Batista use excessive force against him and Warden Corcella took no action when informed of the incident. Plaintiff seeks damages from the defendants in individual and official capacities.

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (2000), 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. Id. This requirement applies both when plaintiff pays the filing fee and when she proceeds in forma pauperis. See Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115, 116 (2d Cir. 1999) (per curiam).

         In reviewing a pro se complaint, the court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest[].” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). 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.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Nevertheless, it is well-established that “pro 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 se litigants).

         I. Allegations

         On March 20, 2018, plaintiff returned to the Golf-Unit day room at Garner Correctional Institution after visiting the medical unit. Doc. #1 ¶ 1. He asked Officer Jarrin if he could get the water jug for his C-PAP machine from his friend's cell. Officer Jarrin agreed and opened the inmate's cell. Id. ¶ 2. As plaintiff leaned into the cell to pick up the jug, Officer Jarrin asked plaintiff what he was doing in the cell and told him that he could not enter another inmate's cell. Id. ¶¶ 3-4. Plaintiff apologized. Id. ¶ 5.

         Plaintiff approached the control bubble and put out his hand. Officer Jarrin told plaintiff not to touch him and said that he could not touch a correctional officer. Id. ¶ 6. Plaintiff again apologized and told Officer Jarrin not to speak to him that way. Officer Jarrin asked why not and said that plaintiff was not going to do anything.[1] Id. ¶ 7. Plaintiff put down his water jug and came around to grab his ID card. Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiff characterizes the exchange as him apologizing and Officer Jarrin being verbally aggressive. Id.

         Officer Batista told plaintiff to lock up in his cell. Id. ¶ 9. As plaintiff turned, Officer Jarrin tackled him to the ground, handcuffed him and held him down. Id. ¶ 10. Plaintiff was not resisting and could not move. Officers Batista and Jarrin repeatedly punched plaintiff in the mouth and nose with closed fists and called a code orange. Id. ¶ 11.

         When other officers responded to the code, they got plaintiff up and brought him to a table in the day room. His nose and mouth were full of blood. Id. ¶¶ 12-13. When medical staff tried to clean his face, plaintiff told them not to touch him until pictures were taken of his injuries. Id. ¶¶ 14-15.

         Lieutenant Langenheim ordered that plaintiff be taken to restrictive housing in Fox Unit. Id. ¶ 16. At this time, blood was dripping from plaintiff's nose. When he tried to inhale the blood because it felt uncomfortable, he sneezed. Id. ¶ 17. Officers were ordered to put plaintiff to the wall and Lieutenant Langenheim ordered that a mask be put over plaintiff's face. Id.

         Plaintiff was shackled and escorted to restrictive housing. His handcuffs were very tight. Id. ¶ 18. In the restrictive housing cell, officers removed plaintiff's clothing. He was left in the cell, naked, for twenty minutes. Id. ¶¶ 18-20. Pictures were taken of plaintiff's face, hands, wrist, nose, and mouth. Medical staff asked routine questions and left the cell. Plaintiff was then given boxers and a t-shirt. Id. ¶ 20.

         Plaintiff received two disciplinary charges of threats on correctional employees, one for assault on staff, [2] and one for attempted assault on staff.[3] Id. ¶ 21. Plaintiff pleaded guilty to the threats charges and received fourteen days in restrictive housing. Id. He had a hearing on the assault charges. He was found guilty and received concurrent sanctions of thirty days in restrictive housing. Id. ¶ 22. The following day, plaintiff learned that he was being placed on chronic discipline status. Id. ¶ 23.

         Officer Jarrin and his brother both were assigned to restrictive housing while plaintiff was there. Id. ¶ 24. Unidentified persons would not respond to plaintiff's emergency call button. Id. Officer Jarrin and his brother intimated that they had tampered with plaintiff's food. Id. ¶ 25.

         Plaintiff reported these actions to Warden Corcella. The warden said that he was not going to transfer Officer Jarrin to another unit. Id. ¶ 26. Plaintiff remained in restrictive housing for 79 days, completing his sanctions and Phase 1 of the Chronic Discipline Program, before he was transferred to Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center. Id. ¶ 26-27.

         II. Discussion

         Plaintiff asserts a claim for use of excessive force. See Doc. #1 ¶ 32 (“If the officers and warden officer Jarrin officer Batista and Warden Corcella didn't physically assault me my prison time would have been different….”). Plaintiff was a sentenced inmate at all times relevant to this action.[4] Thus, his claims are considered under the Eighth Amendment. See Darnell v. Pineiro, 849 F.3d 17, 29 (2d Cir. 2017) (rights of pretrial ...


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