Aguilar v. State
Personal involvement of the defendant official in an alleged constitutional deprivation is a required element, to obtain damages under §1983. Allegedly, the plaintiff was sexually assaulted by his new cellmate. Previously, the assailant allegedly had touched the back and legs of a girl. The alleged assailant, who had a security classification of four, was 17 years old, 72 inches and 155 pounds. After the alleged assault, his security classification was raised to five. The plaintiff, who had a security classification of three, was 16 years old, 67 inches and 165 pounds. Prison workers immediately separated the plaintiff and his cellmate, provided the plaintiff with mental health treatment, and cooperated with the prosecution of the assailant for assault. The plaintiff sued the warden, alleging that she failed to protect him from sexual assault, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. To prevail, the plaintiff is required to prove personal involvement. Personal involvement may exist if: 1.) the defendant participated in the alleged constitutional violation; 2.) the defendant failed to remedy a wrong; 3.) the defendant created a policy under which the alleged unconstitutional practice took place; 4.) the defendant's supervision was grossly negligent; or 5.) the defendant failed to act on information that indicated unconstitutional acts took place. There was no evidence the warden was responsible for selecting the assailant as the plaintiff's cellmate. A court can find supervisory liability "against a supervisory official in his individual capacity for his own culpable action or inaction in the training, supervision or control of his subordinates," pursuant to the Connecticut District Court's 2011 decision, Odom v. Matteo. The plaintiff failed to establish an underlying constitutional deprivation. Although he alleged that officials should have known that the assailant met the profile of a sexual predator, his claim that the warden was grossly negligent in managing and failed to follow a sexual assault prevention policy was conclusory. The plaintiff admitted that he had no reason to fear for his safety prior to the alleged sexual assault, and that he did not inform prison workers he was afraid. The court granted the warden's motion for summary judgment.