United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se Plaintiff, Richard Reynolds (“Reynolds”),
an inmate incarcerated at the Northern Correctional
Institution (“Northern”) brings this civil rights
complaint against Defendants Commissioner Scott Semple,
Lieutenants Parnishkul and Colella, Captain Guzman,
Correctional Officer Faryniarz, Nurse Birks, John Doe,
General Casualty Company of Wisconsin, Enviromental Site
Developer and Constitution State Services Insurance Company.
His claims arise out of an accident and injuries he suffered
when John Doe, a truck driver, rear-ended the van in which he
was being transported to federal court. For the reasons set
forth below, the complaint is dismissed.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the court must review prisoner
civil complaints against government actors and “dismiss
... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous,
malicious, or 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.
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that
a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A
claim has facial plausibility when a plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A
complaint that includes only “‘labels and
conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement, '” does not meet the facial
plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)).
Although courts still have an obligation to interpret
“a pro se complaint liberally, ” the
complaint must include sufficient factual allegations to meet
the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v.
Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations
August 25, 2017, officers at Northern applied restraints,
consisting of handcuffs, leg shackles and a belly chain that
connected the shackles to the handcuffs, to Reynolds in
preparation for his transport to federal court for a
conference or hearing in a civil case. Compl., ECF No. 1, at
6 ¶¶ 20-21. Correctional officers seated Reynolds
in the back of the transport van on the right side and
fastened a seat belt around his waist. Id. ¶
22. There were no hand-holds for Reynolds to grab onto to
brace himself when the van accelerated and decelerated.
Id. ¶ 23.
of the Department of Correction's Tactical Operations and
Correctional Transportation Unit (“CTU”),
including Lieutenants Parnishkul and Colella and Captain
Guzman and Correctional Officer Faryniarz, were responsible
for transporting Reynolds to the courthouse. Id. at
6 ¶¶ 20, 24; at 12-13 ¶¶ 62-63, 66.
Lieutenant Parnishkul drove the transport van and Lieutenant
Colella sat in the front passenger seat of the van.
Id. Correctional Officer Faryniarz drove a car
behind the prison van and Captain Guzman rode in the front
passenger seat of the car. Id.
the trip to the courthouse, Reynolds was able to observe that
Lieutenant Parnishkul drove between 75 and 95 miles per hour
as he darted in and out of rush hour traffic with van's
lights flashing and siren blaring. Id. at 6
¶¶ 24-26; at 16 ¶ 88. At one point, Lieutenant
Parnishkul had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting the
vehicle in front of him causing the upper part of
Reynolds' body to be thrown forward as he remained belted
into place. Id. at 8 ¶ 33. A truck driven by
John Doe then rear-ended the prison van causing Reynolds'
upper body to be thrown forward again as he remained belted
into place. Id. ¶ 34. The impact of the truck
hitting the van caused the glass in the rear window of the
van to shatter. Id. Immediately after the collision,
Lieutenant Colella turned to Reynolds and told him that he
was fine. Id. ¶ 35. Lieutenant Parnishkul did
not ask Reynolds if he was hurt and did not remain at the
scene of the accident. Id. ¶ 37. Instead, he
drove to the Bridgeport Correctional Center. Id. at
8-9 ¶¶ 38-39.
officer at Bridgeport Correctional Center removed Reynolds
from the van and placed him in a small holding cell.
Id. at 9 ¶¶ 39-40. Nurse Birks asked
Reynolds whether he was hurt. Id. ¶ 40. A CTU
officer informed Nurse Birks that Reynolds was fine.
Id. Reynolds asked Nurse Birks why she was examining
him in the presence of a non-medical staff member.
Id. ¶ 42. The CTU officer responded that he
must remain with Reynolds at all times. Id. Reynolds
requested that Nurse Birks respect his privacy and his rights
under the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability
Act (“HIPAA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1320d, et
seq. Id. ¶ 44. Nurse Birks ignored
Reynold's request and continued to ask him questions in
front of the CTU officer. Id. Reynolds informed
Nurse Birks that he would not answer any questions without
consulting with his attorney. Id. ¶ 45. Nurse
Birks completed a medical incident report which Reynolds
refused to sign. Id. ¶ 46. Prison officials at
Bridgeport Correctional located another van and officers
transported Reynolds to the federal courthouse for his
conference/hearing. Id. at 10 ¶ 49.
has experienced pain in his neck, right shoulder and lower
back since the accident. Id. ¶ 50. He has also
experienced numbness running from his right finger and thumb
through his arm to his right shoulder. Id. ¶
51. Upon his return to Northern, a physician prescribed
multiple medications to treat Reynolds' injuries.
Id. ¶¶ 53-54. X-rays of Reynolds'
back, neck and shoulder revealed no broken bones.
Id. at 11 ¶ 55.
alleges that Defendants Parnishkul, Semple, Guzman,
Faryniarz, John Doe and Enviromental Site Developer were
deliberately indifferent to his safety in violation of the
Eighth Amendment; that Defendant Nurse Birks was deliberately
indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth
Amendment; that Defendant Nurse Birks violated his right to
privacy and his right to equal protection of the laws under
the Fourteenth Amendment. He further alleges that Defendants
Parnishkul, Semple, John Doe and Enviromental Site Developer
1983 - John Doe, Eviromental Site Developer, Insurance
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must demonstrate
that the injury producing conduct is “fairly
attributable to the State.” Lugar v. Edmondson Oil
Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982). Conduct which deprives a
party of a federally protected right is fairly attributable
to the state when: (1) the deprivation is caused by the
exercise of a state-created right or privilege, by a
state-imposed rule of conduct, or “by a person for whom
the state is responsible, ” and (2) the party charged
with the deprivation may be fairly described as a state
Doe was the driver of the truck that rear-ended the prison
van. Eviromental Site Developer owned the truck driven by
John Doe. Neither are alleged to be (or appear to be) state
actors. Reynolds also claims that General Casualty Company of
Wisconsin insures Environmental Site Developer and
Constitution State Services insures the Department of
Correction. But the complaint contains no allegations against
either of these entities. Accordingly the claims against John
Doe, Environmental Site Developer, General Casualty Company
of Wisconsin and Constitution State Services are dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). See Curry v.
Fread, No. 5:10CV00154 JMM/BD, 2010 WL 2926039, at *2
(E.D. Ark. July 13, 2010) (“Because Plaintiff has
failed to allege that the Insurance Company deprived him of
any constitutional rights while acting under state law, his
claims against the Insurance Company must be
dismissed.”), report and recommendation
adopted, No. 5:10CV00154 JMM/BD, 2010 WL 2926029 (E.D.
Ark. July 21, 2010); Fiamengo v. Wadsworth, No. 3:04
CV 569 SRU, 2004 WL 1638235, at *3 (D. Conn. July 13, 2004)
(dismissing claims against Wadsworth, a private citizen who
had been involved in car accident with the plaintiff and the
company that insured Wadsworth because neither was a state
actor under section 1983), aff'd, 127 Fed.Appx.
564 (2d Cir. 2005).
1983 - Eleventh Amendment - Monetary and Declaratory Relief
Semple, Parnishkul, Colella, Guzman, Faryniarz,
sues Defendants Semple, Parnishkul, Colella, Guzman,
Faryniarz and Nurse Birks in their individual and official
capacities. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages and
declaratory and injunctive relief.