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Kiniry v. Carroll

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

August 17, 2017

Aaron Kiniry
v.
Lt. Carroll et al.[1]

          Aaron Kiniry, pro se

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Andrea K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the court is plaintiff Aaron Kiniry's complaint (Doc. No. 1), filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that defendants, employees of the New Hampshire State Prison ("NHSP"), have violated Kiniry's constitutional rights during his incarceration at that facility. The complaint is before this magistrate judge for preliminary review, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(a) and LR 4.3(d)(1). Kiniry's complaint also contains a request for preliminary injunctive relief, which has been referred to this magistrate judge for a report and recommendation as to disposition. See Mar. 20, 2017 Order.

         Background

         In his complaint, Kiniry alleges that he suffers from a number of mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anger-management issues, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Kiniry alleges that on more than one occasion, corrections officers have "become provocative" "to the point where [Kiniry] would cut [him]self severely enough to actually attempt suicide." Compl. (Doc. No. 1). Kiniry states that on several occasions officers knew he was "cutting up" and did nothing about it. Id. Kiniry suggests that defendants knew he was suicidal as he has, more than once, overdosed on aspirin, resulting in his hospitalization.

         Kiniry alleges that on one occasion, NHSP Sgt. Marshall took pictures of Kiniry's wrist when it was "slit wide open, " without Kiniry's consent. Id. Kiniry states that he is "going through channels to hold [Marshall] accountable" for taking pictures of Kiniry's wrist. Kiniry alleges that, as a result of his complaints about Marshall's conduct, one or more officers have retaliated against him by discarding his property, including sentimental items that cannot be replaced, and his DD- 214 Form.[2] Kiniry further asserts that the named defendants retaliate against him "any way they can, " and that he does not feel safe around them.

         Discussion

         I. Preliminary Review

         A. Standard

         The court reviews complaints filed by pro se incarcerated plaintiffs to determine, among other things, whether plaintiff has asserted any claim upon which relief might be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(a), LR 4.3(d)(1). In determining whether a pro se pleading states a claim, the court construes the pleading liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) . Disregarding any legal conclusions, the court considers whether the factual content in the pleading and inferences reasonably drawn therefrom, taken as true, state a claim to relief. Hernandez-Cuevas v. Taylor, 723 F.3d 91, 102-03 (1st Cir. 2013) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         B. Eighth Amendment Claims

         Kiniry alleges that the defendant corrections officers violated his Eighth Amendment rights when they: 1) engaged in conduct that provoked Kiniry to harm himself and/or to attempt suicide; and 2) failed to respond when they knew that Kiniry was engaged in self-harm and suicidal behavior. Kiniry's claims concerning this conduct allege violations of his Eighth Amendment rights.

         The Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause requires prison officials to take "reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832-33 (1994) . To establish unconstitutional endangerment, an inmate must assert facts to demonstrate that, objectively, he was incarcerated "under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm, " and that the involved prison officials knew of and disregarded the excessive risk to the inmate's safety. Id. at 834.

         In order to state a claim for the denial of adequate medical care under the Eighth Amendment, an inmate must allege that defendants committed "acts or omissions . . . sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs." Leavitt v. Corr. Med. Servs., 645 F.3d 484, 497 (1st Cir. 2011). At a minimum, the plaintiff must allege facts showing that the defendant(s) possessed a purposeful, knowing, or reckless state of mind, as " 'liability for negligently inflicted harm is categorically beneath the threshold of ...


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