United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
MICHAEL P. SHEA, U.S.D.J.
October 2014, when she was an inmate at Connecticut's
only women's prison, Cara Tangreti reported that four
Department of Corrections (“DOC”) officers had
sexually assaulted or abused her. After an investigation, the
four officers were terminated, and three were criminally
prosecuted. In March 2015, Tangreti filed an action, arising
from the sexual misconduct, against the State of Connecticut
with the Office of the Claims Commissioner, as permitted by
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4-142. In 2017, Tangreti filed this
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that eight DOC
supervisory employees-ranging from the Commissioner to a
counselor supervisor in the building in which the misconduct
occurred-violated her Eighth Amendment rights by exhibiting
deliberate indifference to the substantial risk of sexual
assault and abuse inflicted on her by the four officers; she
also alleged state law causes of action for recklessness and
intentional infliction of emotional distress. I granted Ms.
Tangreti leave to file an amended complaint in October 2018.
discovery was completed, all eight defendants filed a motion
for summary judgment, ECF No. 48, as to all counts of
Tangreti's amended complaint, ECF No. 37-1. For the
reasons that follow, Defendants' motion for summary
judgment is denied as to the Eighth Amendment claim against
Defendant Bachmann, denied as to the recklessness claim
against all Defendants, and denied as to the intentional
infliction of emotional distress claim against Defendant
Johnson. On all other claims, the motion for summary judgment
following facts, which are taken primarily from the
parties' Local Rule 56(a) statements and supporting
exhibits, are undisputed unless otherwise indicated.
York Correctional Institution (“York”)
one of 14 prisons operated by the Connecticut DOC, is the
state's only prison for female offenders. Local Rule
56(a)(1) Statement of Facts (“56(a)(1) Stmt.”),
ECF No. 60 ¶ 1. York is composed of numerous buildings,
situated on 425 acres. Id. ¶ 2. The Davis
Building (“Davis”), where the sexual misconduct
against Ms. Tangreti occurred, is a stand-alone,
minimum-security building on the east side of the property,
with an approximate capacity of 85 inmates. Id.
¶ 3. During all shifts each day, there were 3
correctional officers assigned to Davis- one upstairs, one
downstairs, and one “rover.” Id. ¶
7. On weekdays from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, there were
“numerous counselors and a counselor supervisor”
also in Davis. Id. Supervisory staff at York also
conducted tours of Davis; the parties dispute the frequency
and nature of these tours. Id. ¶ 8. Lieutenant
Modikiah Johnson testified that lieutenants toured Davis
twice a day: the “morning tour” took
approximately 10 minutes to “walk through the two
floors and field any complaints or issues from the inmates,
” and the “afternoon tour” took “a
couple of minutes” to “look into the day rooms
and speak with the correctional officers about any
issues.” Id. ¶¶ 94-96.
Scott Semple became the interim Commissioner of the DOC in
September 2014 and was officially appointed to that position
in March 2015. Id. ¶ 28. His office was located
at the DOC Central Office in Wethersfield, CT. Id.
David McNeil was hired as the DOC's first PREA Director
in September 2013, id. ¶ 53, and remained in
that position at all pertinent times, Answer, ECF No. 18
¶ 5. His office was located at the DOC Central Office in
Wethersfield, CT. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 54.
Stephen Faucher became the Warden of York in December 2012,
id. ¶ 16, and remained in that position at all
pertinent times, Answer, ECF No. 18 ¶ 7.
Stephen Bates served as the Deputy Warden of Administration
at York from December 2013 until September 2016. Id.
¶ 100. He also served as the PREA Coordinator at York
from January 2014 through February 2015. Id. ¶
Christine Bachmann was, at all pertinent times, a Counselor
Supervisor at York and oversaw the “day-to-day
operations of the Marilyn Baker Substance Abuse Program,
which is based in the Davis Building.” Id.
¶ 123; Answer, ECF No. 18 ¶ 9.
Douglas Andrews was the Administrative Operations Lieutenant
at York from January 2014 through May 2015. 56(a)(1) Stmt.,
ECF No. 60 ¶ 76. His office was located in “York
building #6 and it was not part of his responsibilities to
tour other buildings” such as Davis. Id.
Modikiah Johnson worked as a Lieutenant at York from
September 2010 through January 2015. Id. ¶ 92.
His responsibilities included tours of various buildings,
including Davis, which he typically toured once a day.
Id. ¶¶ 93-94.
Officer Jeffrey Bromley was hired in 1999, id.
¶ 68; Correctional Officer Daniel Crowley was hired in
2012, id. ¶ 67; Correctional Officer Matthew
Gillette was hired in 2010, id. ¶ 66; and
Correctional Officer Kareem Dawson was hired in 2005,
id. ¶ 65. All four were terminated from their
employment with the DOC following the DOC Security Division
Investigation of Ms. Tangreti's allegations. Id.
Sexual Assaults Against Ms. Tangreti
Tangreti was incarcerated in York beginning in August 2013.
Id. ¶ 147. She was initially housed in a
building on the West side of the facility but was transferred
to Davis on February 27, 2014. Id. ¶¶
Assaults by CO Jeffrey Bromley
Ms. Tangreti does not “remember the dates exactly,
” see Tangreti Dep., ECF No. 59-1 at 201, she
estimates that the first overtly sexual interaction with CO
Bromley occurred in approximately May 2014, when CO Bromley
asked her to lift her shirt up, which she did. 56(a)(1)
Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 152. After that incident and through
approximately September 2014, CO Bromley sexually assaulted
Ms. Tangreti numerous times: she performed oral sex on him
twice, he performed oral sex on her, and he vaginally raped
her on one occasion. Id. ¶¶ 152- 55;
Tangreti Dep., ECF No. 48-16 at 73, 77 (testifying that she
“felt uncomfortable saying no to [the sex acts with CO
Bromley]. . . . You don't normally say no to a
correctional officer”); see also Id. at 73-76
(describing additional assaults involving kissing, hugging,
“him groping me and him putting my hand on his genitals
on the outside of his pants, ” and CO Bromley
videotaping Ms. Tangreti performing oral sex on him and then
“making [her] watch the video” repeatedly). Many
of these assaults occurred in the laundry room, where Ms.
Tangreti was assigned to work and where CO Bromley came to
meet her every morning at 7:00 AM. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60
¶ 153. Others occurred in CO Bromley's office.
Tangreti Dep., ECF No. 59-1 at 205.
October 24, 2014, Ms. Tangreti handed CO Crowley a note
stating that she was in a relationship with a Correctional
Officer. CO Crowley talked to Ms. Tangreti about her note and
guessed that she was in a relationship with CO Bromley, but
did not report this information to any supervisor and threw
away the note. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 165; DOC
Security Division Report, ECF No. 59-2 at 118-19 (summarizing
interview with CO Crowley). Ms. Tangreti formally reported
the sexual assaults by CO Bromley on October 31, 2014, when
she was interviewed by Captain Alex Smith-a York
Administrative Captain at the time-and Defendant Christine
Bachmann. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶¶ 137, 162;
DOC Security Division Report, ECF No. 59-2 at 102-03; Smith
Aff., ECF No. 48-15 at 2. Following the DOC Security Division
Investigation, CO Bromley was terminated from his employment
with the DOC and criminally prosecuted. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF
No. 60 ¶¶ 35, 37.
Assaults by CO Matthew Gillette
Gillette sexually assaulted Ms. Tangreti on two occasions in
September 2014. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 167;
Tangreti Dep., ECF No. 48-16 at 106. On the first occasion,
he kissed her in the laundry room, “pushed” her
into a side room and “told [her] to give him oral
sex.” Tangreti Dep., ECF No. 48-16 at 108; 56(a)(1)
Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 168. The next day, in a closet in
the Davis basement, CO Gillette “asked [her] to bend
over, [she] pulled [her] pants down like he asked [her] to
do, and he had sex with [her].” Tangreti Dep., ECF No.
48-16 at 111. Later that day, “[h]e kissed [her]”
in the laundry room.” Id. at 117. CO Gillette
denied these allegations, DOC Security Division Report, ECF
No. 59-2 at 113-14, but Defendants admit that “[t]he
plaintiff had 2 sexual encounters with CO Gillette in early
September of 2014, ” 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶
Tangreti asserts that she told CO Bromley that she had kissed
CO Gillette. DOC Security Division Report, ECF No. 59-2 at
103. She officially reported these assaults on October 31,
2014 when she was interviewed by Captain Alex Smith and
Defendant Bachmann. Id.; 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60
¶ 139. Following the DOC Security Division
Investigation, CO Gillete was terminated from his employment
with the DOC and criminally prosecuted. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF
No. 60 ¶¶ 35, 37.
Assaults by CO Kareem Dawson
in March 2014, CO Dawson kissed and groped Ms. Tangreti
approximately five times in his office. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF
No. 60 ¶ 173; Tangreti Dep., ECF No. 48-16 at 119- 20.
Also in approximately March 2014, CO Dawson approached Ms.
Tangreti while she was in the shower and digitally penetrated
her vagina and her mouth. Id. at 121. At CO
Dawson's request, Ms. Tangreti also wrote him sexual
notes. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 174. On another
occasion, CO Dawson forced Ms. Tangreti to give him oral sex
in the Davis basement. Tangreti Dep., ECF No. 48-16 at
125-26. CO Dawson denied these allegations, DOC Security
Division Report, ECF No. 59-2 at 116, but Defendants admit
that “[t]he plaintiff had 2 sexual encounters with CO
Dawson: One in the laundry room and one in the basement,
” 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 175).
the second assault, Ms. Tangreti told her roommate about the
incident. Tangreti Dep., ECF No. 48-16 at 127-28. She
officially reported the assaults on October 31, 2014 when she
was interviewed by Captain Alex Smith and Defendant Bachmann.
56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 142; DOC Security Division
Report, ECF No. 59-2 at 111-12. Following the DOC Security
Division Investigation, CO Dawson was terminated from his
employment with the DOC and criminally prosecuted. 56(a)(1)
Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶¶ 35, 37.
Assault by CO Daniel Crowley
discussed above, Ms. Tangreti wrote a note to CO Crowley on
or about October 24, 2014, stating that she was in a
relationship with a Correctional Officer. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF
No. 60 ¶ 165; DOC Security Division Report, ECF No. 59-2
at 118-19. Ms. Tangreti testifies that, as she was about to
hand him the letter, CO Crowley “grabbed [her] face and
kissed [her].” Tangreti Dep., ECF No. 48-16 at 99. CO
Crowley denied this allegation. DOC Security Division Report,
ECF No. 59-2 at 119. Ms. Tangreti officially reported the
assault by CO Crowley on October 31, 2014, when she was
interviewed by Captain Alex Smith and Defendant Bachmann.
Id. at 104. Following the DOC Security Division
Investigation, CO Crowley was terminated from his employment
with the DOC. 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 36.
passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 15601 et seq. (“PREA”), in
2003. The Department of Justice then issued rules, effective
August 20, 2012, “adopting national standards to
prevent, detect, and respond to prison rape, as required by
the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.” 77 Fed. Reg.
37105 (June 20, 2012) (codified at 28 C.F.R. § 115);
Answer, ECF No. 18 ¶ 25.
2013, the DOC created a PREA unit. 56(a)(1) Stmt, ECF No. 60
¶ 52. After that point, PREA investigations were
conducted either by the PREA unit or by the DOC Security
Division. Id. ¶ 102. Deputy Warden Bates,
York's PREA Coordinator from January 2014 through
February 2015, “would not be involved in the actual
investigations, but he would ensure that the investigations
were assigned, conducted and completed.” Id.
Prior Incidents of Sexual Misconduct at York
2009 to 2012, there were no “substantiated
incidents” of “sexual contact between staff and
inmates” at York. Id. ¶ 72, 75. Between
June 2010 and October 2014, there were 27 total allegations
of PREA-related misconduct against DOC staff at York: the PREA
Investigations Unit handled 7 investigations, and the DOC
Security Division handled 19. Id. ¶¶
69-70. The PREA Investigations Unit substantiated 3 of the 7
allegations it investigated. Id. ¶ 70. One case
involved a “York maintenance officer having a physical
relationship with a former inmate, who had been released on
parole, ” and the other two involved sexual
correspondence between an inmate and a correctional officer.
Id. All three officers resigned or were removed from
state service following these investigations. Id.
The Security Division substantiated one case involving a
correctional officer who had a sexual phone conversation with
an inmate. Id. ¶ 69. The officer resigned prior
to implementation of any employment penalty. Id.
Gillette was the subject of one other complaint in September
2014, which alleged “undue familiarity between CO
Gillette and an inmate, ” who was not Ms. Tangreti.
Id. ¶ 66. That investigation was “closed,
without a finding” because CO Gillette was soon
thereafter arrested and terminated in response to Ms.
Tangreti's complaint. Id.
Bromley was the subject of two other PREA-related complaints.
A 2013 complaint by a male inmate alleged sexual harassment;
following investigation, “that complaint was found to
be unsubstantiated.” Id. ¶ 68. On October
2, 2014, a complaint was raised regarding “possible
undue familiarity between CO Bromley [and] an inmate, ”
who was not Ms. Tangreti. Id. That investigation was
“closed, without a finding” because CO Bromley
was soon thereafter arrested and terminated in response to
Ms. Tangreti's complaints. Id.
produced in discovery show two additional prior incidents not
mentioned in the Local Rule 56(a)(1) Statement. On November
19, 2013, York investigated and substantiated allegations
that one inmate “grabbed and pinched [another
inmate's] right breast in the hallway of the Davis
Building.” Post-Investigation Facility Review, ECF No.
59-3 at 10-11. On January 23, 2014, York investigated and
substantiated allegations of an inmate and a CO
“engaging in [s]exually harassing activities”
within a “housing common area and cell” in a York
building. Post-Investigation Facility Review, ECF No. 59-3 at
Video Surveillance at York
at least 2007, York has utilized video cameras for
surveillance in some but not all parts of its buildings.
Id. ¶ 114. Up until at least October 31, 2014,
there were no video cameras in Davis. DOC Incident Report,
ECF No. 59-2 at 68.
2014, David McNeil, PREA Director for the DOC, was
“involved in a DOC grant request for federal funds to
cover a number of PREA-related items, including video cameras
at some of the buildings at York. That grant was not
approved.” Id. ¶ 64.
itself also requested video cameras from the DOC in 2014. To
receive “authorization, funding, and
installation” of video cameras in the DOC, a
“requesting facility initially submits a proposal,
which is then forwarded ‘up the chain of command'
and ultimately to the supervisors at the DOC Central Office,
who evaluate and act on the proposal, and then to the DOC
Facilities and Construction Departments for funding.”
56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF No. 60 ¶ 19. “On January 29,
2014, Warden Faucher requested that his staff at York prepare
a camera proposal for the installation of surveillance
cameras” in Davis and another building. Id.
¶ 20. This January 2014 request was the “first
camera proposal” that Warden Faucher “was
involved with during his tenure at York.” Id.
¶ 23. His staff, including Lieutenant Douglas Andrews,
prepared a camera plan proposal on February 19, 2014 and a
“supplemental proposal for the installation of video
cameras at two additional York buildings” on May 9,
2014. Id. ¶¶ 24-25. These proposals were
combined, signed by Warden Faucher on July 2, 2014, and
submitted “up the chain of command” in DOC.
Id. ¶¶ 25-26. The estimated cost for the
project was $450, 000. Id. ¶ 41. Lieutenant
Andrews had no further involvement in the request process
after preparing the proposal, id. ¶ 83; Warden
Faucher had no further involvement in the approval process
after signing the proposal, id. ¶ 27. Deputy
Warden Bates was “involved in the proposal, early in
2014, ” but had no further involvement in the process
after that point. Id. ¶¶ 106-07.
Semple approved the camera plan proposal on August 14, 2014,
while he held the position of Deputy Commissioner, but had no
further involvement after that point. Id.
¶¶ 42-43. Deputy Commissioner Cepelak, “who
approves all DOC project requests, ” approved the
camera plan proposal on October 8, 2014. Id. ¶
47. Stephen Link, DOC Director of Facilities, then approved
the request on October 20, requested approval from the
Department of Construction Services on October 21, and
received approval from that department on October 27.
Id. ¶¶ 48-49. However, York did not secure
funding for the project at that time; Director Link states
that the “project, along with others, was put on hold
because of a budget shortfall memorandum received by State
Budget Secretary Ben Barnes” on November 12, 2014.
Id. ¶ 50; see also Barnes Memorandum,
ECF No. 48-14 at 9 (asking all state agency heads to
“review your agency's planned spending in order to
eliminate, minimize or delay those expenditures that are not
absolutely critical in nature, ” including spending on
“contractual services and purchased
resubmitted its camera plan proposal to the DOC on April 22,
2015, received approval on April 24, and installed the
cameras “shortly thereafter.” 56(a)(1) Stmt., ECF
No. 60 ¶ 51.
Clymer, an Electrical Design Engineer for the DOC, states
that in November 2013, York had a “ratio of .18 cameras
per inmate.” Id. ¶ 118; see also
Id. ¶¶ 119-21 (noting ratios of .05 and .03 at
“similar-type facility[ies] to York” and an
average ratio of .138 for all non-maximum-security DOC
facilities). Ms. Tangreti disputes whether Mr. Clymer is
“competent” within the meaning of Local Rule
56(a)(3) to testify to the size of these inmate populations.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
judgment is appropriate only if the movant shows that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Tolan v.
Cotton, 572 U.S. 650, 656-57 (2014) (internal quotation
marks and citations omitted). “In making that
determination, a court must view the evidence in the light
most favorable to the opposing party.” Id. at
657 (quotation marks omitted). On summary judgment a court
“must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable
inferences against the movant.” Caronia v. Phillip
Morris USA, Inc., 715 F.3d 417, 427 (2d Cir. 2013). If
the moving party carries its burden of demonstrating that
there is no genuine issue of material fact, “the
opposing party must come forward with specific evidence
demonstrating the existence of a genuine dispute of material
fact.” Brown v. Eli Lilly & Co., 654 F.3d
347, 358 (2d Cir. 2011). If “the burden of persuasion
at trial would be on the non-moving party . . . the party
moving for summary judgment may satisfy his burden of
production under Rule 56 in either of two ways: (1) by
submitting evidence that negates an essential element of the
non-moving party's claim, or (2) by demonstrating that
the non-moving party's evidence is insufficient to
establish an essential element of the non-moving party's
claim.” Nick's Garage, Inc. v. Progressive
Casualty Ins. Co., 875 F.3d 107, 114 (2d Cir. 2017).
Eighth Amendment Violations (Count One)
Count One of her First Amended Complaint, Ms. Tangreti
alleges that each of the Defendants violated her rights under
the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth
Amendment by exhibitng “deliberate indifference to the
substantial risk of sexual assault and harassment.” ECF
No. 37-1 at 20. The Eighth Amendment imposes an affirmative
duty on prison officials to “take reasonable measures
to guarantee the safety of the inmates.” Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). To prove a claim
“based on a failure to prevent harm, ” the
plaintiff must show (1) “that [s]he is incarcerated
under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm,
” and (2) that the defendants' state of mind was
“one of deliberate indifference to inmate health or
safety.” Id. at 834. The second element,
“deliberate indifference[, ] describes a state of mind
more blameworthy than negligence, ” but
“something less than acts or omissions for the very
purpose of causing harm or with knowledge that harm will
result.” Id. at 835. To be deliberately
indifferent, the defendant prison official must “know
of and disregard an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety; the official must both be aware of facts from which
the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of
serious harm exists, and he must also draw the
inference.” I ...