Quint v. Semple et al
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER: The Court DISMISSES this case pursuant to the attached document. The Clerk is directed to close this case. Signed by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on 08/09/2017. (Lee, E.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
RICHARD R. QUINT,
COMMISSIONER SEMPLE, ET AL.,
Case No. 3:17cv1244 (VLAB)
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Plaintiff Richard R. Quint is incarcerated at the MacDougall Correctional
Institution in Suffield, Connecticut. He has filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Commissioner Semple, Warden Mulligan, Deputy Warden Hines,
Captain Rivera, Counselor Supervisors Weldon and Calderon, Dr. Coleman,
Lieutenant John Doe and Correctional Officers John Doe. For the reasons set
forth below, the complaint is dismissed with leave to amend.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must review prisoner civil
complaints against governmental 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.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
Although 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 Plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that 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 still include sufficient factual
allegations to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d
66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).
Plaintiff claims that prison officials at MacDougall placed him in a cell with
an inmate who smelled strongly of Bengay. When Plaintiff asked to be moved to
another cell, officers moved him to the restrictive housing unit.
While in the
restrictive housing unit, Plaintiff suffered a nervous breakdown.
Plaintiff tried to hang himself.
When Lieutenant John Doe arrived, he
sprayed Plaintiff in the face with mace. After officers gained control over Plaintiff,
they put him in the shower for several minutes to rinse his face, but this only
further activated the residue of mace that was left on his face.
Officers then escorted Plaintiff to a cell in the medical unit for observation.
During his confinement in the medical unit cell, officials removed Plaintiff’s shoes
and forced him to wear a gown and eat meals with his hands. At some point,
Plaintiff stopped eating for thirteen days. When Commissioner Semple became
aware of the potential dangers to Plaintiff’s health due to plaintiff’s refusal to eat
or drink, he sought an order in state court to force feed Plaintiff.
Before officers transferred Plaintiff to a cell in the restrictive housing unit,
Plaintiff suffered a cut to his head when he hit his head on a cell door. After he
arrived in the restrictive housing unit, officers sprayed him with mace.
Officers then escorted Plaintiff back to the medical unit, placed him on a
bed in a cell and applied restraints to his ankles and wrists. Hours later, officials
downgraded Plaintiff to in-cell restraints. Officers applied restraints to Plaintiff’s
ankles and wrists too tightly. Plaintiff was unable to fully stand up because the
tether chain around his waist was so short. He remained in restraints for over
eighteen hours. The restraints caused Plaintiff’s right ankle to become swollen
and painful. At some point, Lieutenant John Doe loosened the restraints.
Official Capacity Claims
Plaintiff seeks seeks monetary damages and declaratory and injunctive
relief. To the extent that he seeks monetary damages from Defendants in their
official capacities, those claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985) (Eleventh Amendment, which protects
the state from suits for monetary relief, also protects state officials sued for
damages in their official capacity); Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979)
(Section 1983 does not override a state’s Eleventh Amendment immunity). All
claims for monetary damages against Defendants in their official capacities are
dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).
Commissioner Semple and Lieutenant John Doe
Plaintiff claims that he refused to eat for thirteen days. In response to this
behavior and the potential impact of this behavior on Plaintiff’s health,
Commissioner Semple filed an action in state court seeking a court order to
The allegations suggest that Commissioner Semple sought the court order
regarding feeding Plaintiff because Plaintiff’s health was in jeopardy. In the state
court action, Semple v. Quint, HHD-CV17-6079477-S, the judge granted the
application for an immediate ex parte temporary injunction to prevent Quint from
nourishment, nasal-gastric feeding and any other health care measures
necessary to preserve Quint’s life or prevent physical harm to him. See Appl. Ex
Parte Rest. Order, Entry No. 101.00 (June 14, 2017) & Order on Appl. Ex Parte
Temp. Rest. Order, Entry No. 102.00 (June 14, 2017).1
The court concludes that the facts as alleged do not state a plausible claim
that Commissioner Semple was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff’s health or
safety. See In re: Grand Jury Subpoena John Doe v. United States, 150 F.3d 170,
172 (2d Cir.1998) (upholding district court’s order to force-feed a civil contemnor
who had engaged in a hunger strike for political and religious reasons); Martinez
v. Turner, 977 F.2d 421, 423 (8th Cir. 1992) (federal prisoner’s allegation of forcefeeding by prison authorities did not state constitutional claim when attachments
The court docket and documents filed in this civil case may be found at
http://www.jud.ct.gov/jud2/htm under Civil/Family/Housing Case Look-up, using
to pleadings reflected a medical determination that force-feeding was necessary
to the inmate’s health, and that regulations authorized the force-feeding of
hunger-striking inmates); In re Soliman, 134 F. Supp. 2d 1238, 1254 (N.D. Ala.
2001) (finding that force-feeding a hunger-striking inmate did not violate inmate's
First Amendment rights); In re Sanchez, 577 F. Supp. 7, 8 (S.D.N.Y. 1983) (district
court upheld force-feeding a civil contemnor engaged in a hunger strike to
protest his continued imprisonment and that of other civil contemnors). Thus,
the claim against defendant Semple is dismissed as lacking an arguable legal or
factual basis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
Plaintiff alleges that Lieutenant John Doe sprayed him in the face as he
was attempting to hang himself and that corrections officers did not get control
of him at a later point in time. This allegation does not state plausible claims of
deliberate indifference to health or safety and the use of excessive force against
See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832–33 (1994) (prison
officials’ duty to provide adequate conditions of confinement includes duty to
take “reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of inmates”); Hudson v.
McMillan, 503 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1992) (finding that to state claim of excessive force an
inmate must allege that “force was applied . . . maliciously and sadistically to
cause harm” rather than “in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline”)
(citation omitted); Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 98 (2d Cir. 2010) (concluding
that “a reasonable juror could find that the use of pepper spray deployed mere
inches away from the face of a defendant already in handcuffs and offering no
Docket Number HHD-CV17-6079477-S (Last visited August 4, 2017).
further active resistance constituted an unreasonable use of force”); Al-Bukhari
v. Semple, No. 16-CV-1428, 2017 WL 2125746, at *4 (D. Conn. May. 16, 2017)
(finding that a prisoner stated an Eighth Amendment excessive force claim
because he alleged that the officers, inter alia, “sprayed him with a harmful
chemical agent, even though [he] had not been resisting their efforts to escort
him out of the cell”). Unlike the inmates in Tracy and Al-Bukhari, Plaintiff was not
compliant. Here, Plaintiff admits that he was attempting to harm himself and that
corrections officers were unable to control him. Thus, he admits that a degree of
restraint was necessary to control him and prevent him from harming himself.
The claims against Lieutenant John Doe are DISMISSED.
There are no allegations in the body of the complaint with regard to Warden
Mulligan, Deputy Warden Hines, Captain Rivera, Counselor Supervisors Weldon
and Calderon, Dr. Coleman or the John Doe Correctional Officers. Thus, Plaintiff
has not alleged that any of these defendant violated his federally or
constitutionally protected rights. The claims against Warden Mulligan, Deputy
Warden Hines, Captain Rivera, Counselor Supervisors Weldon and Calderon, Dr.
Coleman and the John Doe Correctional Officers are dismissed as lacking an
arguable factual or legal basis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
Accordingly, this case is DISMISSED and the Clerk is directed to close this
SO ORDERED at Hartford, Connecticut this 9th day of August, 2017.
Vanessa L. Bryant
United States District Judge
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