United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. Dooley, United States District Judge
Jean Karlo Conquistador (“Conquistador”),
currently confined at Bridgeport Correctional Center in
Bridgeport, Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Conquistador asserts claims for
retaliation, harassment, deliberate indifference, cruel and
unusual punishment, and denial of due process against
fourteen defendants who work at Bridgeport Correctional
Center (“Bridgeport”): Warden Robert Martin;
Deputy Warden Nathan Klein; Counselor Supervisor Maria Alves;
Counselors Moore-DeCaito and McCarthy; Officers Massaro,
Sullivan, Serrano, and Lee; Lieutenants Roman, Grady, McNeil,
and Finuccan; and Captain Allen. He seeks damages and
unspecified declaratory and injunctive relief against the
defendants in their individual and official capacities. The
complaint was received on December 13, 2019, and
Conquistador's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis was granted on December 20, 2019.
December 24, 2019, Conquistador filed a motion to amend
seeking to add a failure to protect claim and five additional
defendants: Lieutenants Washington and Hernandez, and
Officers Guerrera, Daniels, and John Doe 1. For relief,
Conquistador seeks increased damages, a change in department
policy and a transfer to a different facility. As the
defendants have not yet responded to the complaint,
Conquistador may file an amended complaint as of right.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1)(B). Thus,
Conquistador's motion to amend is granted. The court will
review the claims in the amended complaint in this order.
section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, 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. 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 570.
August 30, 2019, Conquistador was admitted to Bridgeport
Correctional Center (“Bridgeport”) as a pretrial
detainee. Doc. No. 8 ¶ 1. Conquistador asked defendants
McCarthy and Moore-DeCaito for a toothbrush and toothpaste,
shampoo, deodorant, and soap on multiple occasions, but did
not receive them. Id. ¶ 2. Defendants McCarthy
and Moore-DeCaito told Conquistador that their supervisor,
defendant Alves, had instructed them not to give him any
toiletries. Id. ¶ 3.
multiple occasions, Conquistador's legal documents were
not filed because they were double-sided. Id. ¶
defendant Massaro entered Conquistador's cell and placed
some of his legal files in the toilet. Id. ¶ 5.
He then left the cell stating that he was doing “spring
cleaning.” Id. This occurred immediately after
Conquistador threatened to sue defendant Massaro.
p.m. on November 7, 2019, defendant Roman yelled in the 37B2
corridor that Conquistador “was telling on other
inmates.” Id. ¶ 6. At 10:15 p.m. on
November 2, 2019, defendant Sullivan approached Conquistador
and stated, “what you wanna do” and “do
something.” Id. ¶ 7. Defendant Sullivan
waited a moment and then called Conquistador a
“bitch” and a “rat.” Id.
After these statements were made, Conquistador was threatened
and confronted by several gang members. Id. ¶
8. Several correctional employees witnessed the interactions
with gang members. Id. ¶ 9.
days after Conquistador threatened to sue her, defendant
Serrano, the disciplinary investigator at Bridgeport, refused
to record Conquistador's statement and witness
information for a disciplinary hearing. Id. ¶
10. Conquistador told defendant Serrano that her actions
violated his right to due process and again threatened to sue
her. Id. ¶ 11. On one occasion, defendant
Serrano told Conquistador that he was “all set for
making his little threats.” Id. ¶ 12.
November 6, 2019, defendant Lee issued Conquistador a
disciplinary report for being out of place. Id.
¶ 14. Conquistador asked defendant Serrano to arrange
for him to view the relevant video footage. Id.
¶ 15. She refused to do so. Id. ¶ 16.
Conquistador has not viewed the footage. Id. ¶
17. At the hearing, defendant McNeil said, “since you
want to run around here threatening to sue my staff, I'm
finding you guilty.” Id. ¶ 18. Defendant
McNeil told Conquistador that he would impose the maximum
recommended sanctions. Id. Conquistador received
sanctions of fifteen days confinement to quarters and ninety
days loss of phone privileges. Id. ¶ 19.
times, Conquistador told defendants Martin, Klein, Alves,
Grady, Finuccan, and Allen about his concerns regarding the
threats and confrontations with gang members. Id.
¶ 20. They ignored his concerns. Id.
Conquistador also expressed his concerns about the refusal to
move him to a different housing unit at Bridgeport.
Id. ¶ 21. Defendants Martin, Klein, Alves,
Grady, Finuccan, and Allen ignored these concerns also.
times, Conquistador asked defendants Martin, Klein, and Alves
about the denial of toiletries. Id. ¶ 22. His
concerns were ignored. Id. Conquistador threatened
to sue defendants Martin, Klein and Alves. Id.
¶ 23. Defendant Martin replied that Conquistador would
be “put somewhere where he would be trying to figure it
time, Conquistador complained to defendants Martin, Klein,
and Alves that it was cold outside, the ventilation system
was blowing cold air, and cold air was coming in through the
window in his cell. Id. ¶ 24. The defendant
disregarded his concerns. Id. Conquistador requested
an additional blanket because of the cold. Id.
¶ 25. The request was denied. Id. ¶ 26.
several occasions, defendants McCarthy and Moore-DeCaito told
Conquistador that defendant Alves instructed them to charge
him $.25 per page before electronically filing documents for
him. Id. ¶ 27.
December 19, 2019, Conquistador told defendants Washington
and Hernandez that he had been threatened by several inmates.
Id. ¶ 28. He told them he would be assaulted if
he returned to the housing unit. Id. Defendant
Hernandez said “good, we'll have a reason to put
you in seg.” Id. Defendant Washington stated
they could do nothing for him. Id. Defendant
Guerrera was present during this conversation. Id.
Conquistador expressed his concerns to defendants Daniels and
Doe 1 but they did nothing. Id. ¶ 29. That
afternoon, between 12:00 p.m. and 12:20 p.m., an inmate
entered Conquistador's cell and assaulted him.
Id. ¶ 30. Later in the afternoon, Conquistador
was moved to a different housing unit. Id. ¶
34. Conquistador asked defendant Martin to preserve the video
footage of him speaking to defendants Washington and
Hernandez and the inmate entering his cell. Id.
¶ 30 & Ex. Z.
purports to bring constitutional claims for retaliation,
“harassment, ” denial of due process, and
deliberate indifference to his safety/failure to protect him.
He seeks damages and injunctive relief against the defendants
in their individual and official capacities.
alleges that defendants McCarthy and Moore-DeCaito denied him
toiletries at the direction of defendant Alves. As he does
not indicate the length of the deprivation, the court assumes
that Conquistador was denied toiletries for approximately
four months, from August 30, 2019, until December 22, 2019,
the date he signed the Amended Complaint. Conquistador also
alleges that he complained to defendants Martin, Klein, and
Alves about cold temperatures in his cell and requests an
additional blanket, but his concerns were ignored.
pretrial detainee may not be punished at all under the
Fourteenth Amendment” whether by being subjected to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement or otherwise.
Darnell v. Piniero, 849 F.3d 17, 35 (2d Cir. 2017);
see also Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979)
(“[U]nder the Due Process Clause, a detainee may not be
punished prior to an adjudication of guilt in accordance with
due process of law.”). When considering whether the
conditions imposed on a pretrial detainee violate due
process, the “court must decide whether the [condition]
is imposed for the purpose of punishment or whether it is but
an incident of some other legitimate governmental
purpose.” Bell, 441 U.S. at 538. If the
plaintiff cannot show an “expressed intent to punish on
the part of detention facility officials, that determination
generally will turn on ‘whether an alternative purpose
to which [the condition] may rationally be connected is
assignable for it, and whether it appears excessive in
relation to the alternative purpose assigned'”
Id. “[I]f a restriction or condition is
reasonably related to a legitimate governmental objective, it
does not, without more, amount to
‘punishment.'” Id. at 539. On the
other hand, if the condition “is not reasonably related
to a legitimate goal-if it is arbitrary or purposeless-a