United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. Dooley, United States District Judge
se plaintiff, Charles Christopher Fonck III
(“Fonck”), a former inmate of the Department of
Correction, brings this civil rights complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against six defendants, Lieutenant Carlos
Allen, Officer Smith, Officer Escobar, Nurse John Doe, Dr.
Riccardo Ruiz, and Dr. James Elderkin. He alleges that the
defendants, all DOC employees, used excessive force against
him and/or provided inadequate treatment for his resulting
injuries. Fonck seeks damages from the defendants in their
individual capacities. The complaint was received on October
22, 2019, and Fonck's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis was granted on October 24, 2019.
section 1915(e)(2)(B) of title 28 of the United States Code,
the Court must dismiss a case if the action is frivolous or
malicious, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or the plaintiff seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id.
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). see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623
F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of
solicitude for pro se litigants). 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
October 23, 2016, Fonck was incarcerated at Bridgeport
Correctional Center. During morning “chow call”
he requested a roll of toilet paper. Defendant Smith denied
the request. While Fonck was waiting outside his cell to
“lock in, ” defendants Allen, Escobar, and Smith
approached and began to harass Fonck. At about 5:30 a.m., the
officers deployed pepper spray and physically assaulted
Fonck. The incident was not recorded on a hand-held camera as
required when a planned use of force is conducted. Nor were
medical personnel present. Doc. No. 1 at 4.
result of the incident, Fonck sustained broken ribs and
multiple contusions and lacerations. After minimal medical
attention, he was confined in four-point restraints. Prior to
being restrained, an unknown officer squeezed Fonck's
testicles. Id. While wrist restraints were being
applied, defendant Allen “dropped his knee” to
the back of Fonck's neck. Fonck alleges that this action
caused severe cervical complications which were not treated
despite numerous requests for medical attention. Id.
at 6. After four-point restraints were applied, Nurse Doe,
without Fonck's consent, administered medication to
“shut up” Fonck. Id.
of the incident falsely stated that Fonck was aggressive and
hostile and had assumed a fighting stance. Fonck alleges that
video surveillance footage shows otherwise. Id.
of Excessive Force
asserts that defendants Allen, Escobar, and Smith violated
his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment by using excessive force against him and by
confining him in four-point restraints. The use of excessive
force against a prisoner can constitute cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Hudson
v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 4 (1992); accord Wilkins
v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 34, 36 (2010) (per curiam). The
“core judicial inquiry” is not “whether a
certain quantum of injury was sustained, but rather whether
force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or
restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause
harm.” Wilkins, 559 U.S. at 37 (quoting
Hudson, 503 U.S. at 7).
state such a claim, Fonck must allege that, subjectively, the
defendants acted maliciously or sadistically to cause harm
rather than in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore
discipline. Hudson, 503 U.S. at 7. In
evaluating the defendants' conduct, the court considers
multiple factors including: the extent of the injuries; the
mental state of the inmate; “the need for application
of force; the correlation between that need and the amount of
force used; the threat reasonably perceived by the
defendants; and any efforts by the defendants to temper the
severity of a forceful response.” Scott v.
Coughlin, 344 F.3d 282, 291 (2d Cir. 2003) (quoting
Romano v. Howarth, 998 F.2d 101, 105 (2d Cir. 1993)
(internal quotation marks omitted).
addition, Fonck must allege, objectively, that the
defendants' actions violated “contemporary
standards of decency.” Blyden v. Mancusi, 186
F.3d 252, 262-63 (2d Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks
omitted) (citing Hudson, 503 U.S. at 8). A de
minimis use of force will rarely be sufficient to
satisfy the objective element unless that force is also
“repugnant to the conscience of mankind.”
Wilkins, 559 U.S. at 38 (quoting Hudson,
503 U.S. at 9-10 (internal quotation marks omitted)).
However, it is the force used, not the injury sustained, that
“ultimately counts.” Id. A malicious use
of force ...