United States District Court, D. Connecticut
PHILLIP D. AZOR, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER SCOTT SEMPLE, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge.
8, 2019, Phillip D. Azor, an inmate currently confined at the
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“MWCI”) in Suffield, Connecticut, brought a
complaint pro se and in forma pauperis
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against nine Connecticut
Department of Correction (“DOC”) officials in
their individual and official capacities: Commissioner Scott
Semple, Warden William Mulligan, Lieutenant Landolina,
Lieutenant Angelakapalao, Lieutenant McCreary, Nurse John
Doe, Nurse Hollie Good, Correction Officer Rivera, and
Correction Officer Davis. Compl., Doc. No. 1. Azor seeks
damages against the defendants for acting with deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs, in violation of
his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual
punishment, negligence, and supervisory liability.
Id. at 12-26. For the following reasons, the
complaint is dismissed in part.
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, 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
alleges the following facts. Sometime prior to May 24, 2018,
Azor tore his anterior cruciate ligament (“ACL”)
and suffered nerve damage to his right leg and foot while
playing basketball. See Compl. ¶¶ 1-3. On
May 24, 2018, he wrote a Utilization Review Committee request
to the medical unit at MWCI, asking that he be transported
via a wheelchair-equipped van for his upcoming medical
appointment at the UConn Health Center (“UConn”).
See Compl. ¶ 3. Nurse Good responded to his
request, stating that a wheelchair-equipped van would be
provided for him for his next scheduled physical therapy
session on July 31, 2018. Id. at ¶¶ 1, 3.
On that date, Azor was notified that he would be transported
to UConn in a regular van, without wheelchair accessibility.
Id. at ¶ 2. In order to avoid missing his
appointment, Azor agreed to ride in the van. Id. at
¶ 4. Officer Davis helped Azor onto the van.
his return to MWCI, Officer Davis opened the side door of the
van and attempted to assist Azor in exiting the vehicle.
Compl. ¶ 5. Because of his limited range of motion and
the fact that his legs were shackled, Azor's right leg
gave out, and he fell out of the van, hitting the concrete.
Id. Davis immediately went to the Admitting and
Processing (“A&P”) room to summon assistance.
Id. He returned a short time later with another
officer and a wheelchair for Azor. Id. Azor told the
officers that he was in excruciating pain and that he
believed he had suffered some nerve damage to his leg.
Id. He asked that he immediately be transported to
the hospital. Id. The officers then helped him into
the wheelchair and brought him to the infirmary in his
housing unit. Id. at ¶ 6.
in the infirmary, Azor informed the on-duty nurse that he was
in extreme pain and needed urgent care. Compl. ¶ 7. The
nurse told Azor that he had to wait for the on-call physician
to decide whether to send him to the hospital. Id.
Later that afternoon, the on-call physician prescribed 800 mg
of Ibuprofen for Azor's pain but did not order an x-ray.
Id. at ¶ 8. Azor also informed the shift
commander, Lieutenant McCreary, about his injury.
Id. at ¶ 9. McCreary stated that he was aware
of what had occurred and that Officer Rivera would be coming
to draft a formal incident report and take photographs of
Azor's injury, but Rivera never showed up. Id.
at ¶ 10.
approximately 9:20 p.m., Azor attempted to go to his cell
using crutches. Compl. ¶ 11. However, when he rose from
his wheelchair and attempted to lean on the crutches, his leg
gave out again, and he fell onto the floor. Id. Azor
was assisted back into his wheelchair and transported to the
A&P room and waited for an ambulance to arrive to take
him back to UConn. Id. at ¶ 12. There,
Lieutenants Landolina and Angelakapalao informed Azor that
there would be no ambulance and that he would again be
transported to UConn in a regular van. Id. They also
told him that, if he did not agree to be transported in the
van, he would be documented for refusing transport.
Id. Azor told both lieutenants that he was in
extreme pain and was unable to bend his knee or climb onto
the van. Id. The lieutenants told Azor to
“suck it up” and that he would be sent back to
his housing unit if he refused to get on the van.
Id. Because Azor was in desperate need of medical
care, he climbed onto the van while in pain and with the
assistance of several officers. Id.
August 29, 2018, Azor underwent surgery on his right knee.
Compl. ¶ 13. However, because of the events on July 31,
2018, he suffered physical and emotional injuries, including
“shock, anxiety, embarrassment, loss of dignity,
emotional distress, stress, loss of trust . . . extreme
physical discomfort, and limited functionality of [his] lower
extremities.” Id. at ¶ 14.
suing defendants Good, Davis, Rivera, Landolina, and
Angelakapalao for violating his Eighth Amendment protection
against cruel and unusual punishment by acting with
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Compl.
at 12-16. He is pursuing the same claim against McCreary,
Nurse John Doe, Warden Mulligan, and Commissioner Semple
under a supervisory liability theory. Id. at 21-27.
Finally, Azor is suing Good and Davis for negligence and
negligence per se. Id. at 17-20. For the
following reasons, I will permit Azor's Eighth Amendment
claim to proceed against Landolina and Angelakapalao in their
individual capacities but dismiss the remaining claims.
Official Capacity Claims
states that he is suing all nine defendants in their
individual and official capacities. Compl. at 1-2. To the
extent he seeks monetary damages from the defendants in their
official capacities, such claims are barred by the Eleventh
Amendment. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159
(1985); Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979).
Because Azor only seeks damages ...