Summons OK’d for DOC personnel named in inmate’s lawsuit
The U.S. District Court for the NMI has ordered the U.S Marshals Service to summon Department of Corrections officers who are named in a lawsuit filed by an inmate who alleges that his Eighth Amendment right was violated.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has approved Lin Zhou You’s application to proceed with his complaint against DOC officers who allegedly subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment, leading to his assault in the hands of another inmate. Lin submitted his application as an indigent (forma pauperis).
The court also ordered the U.S Marshals Service to issue the summons for the named defendants in Lin’s suit.
“Having reviewed Lin’s application, the court grants Lin’s application to proceed in forma pauperis. Moreover, because Lin states a claim upon which relief may be granted, the court directs that the complaint be served with summonses by the U.S. Marshals Services,” she said.
Lin, who is serving time for assaulting his girlfriend in 2020, named Corrections Commissioner Wally Villagomez, DOC director Georgia Cabrera, and prison guard Peter Lieto as defendants in his lawsuit.
According to the complaint, Lin said he was sitting on a chair by a table in Pod 2 Section F on Dec. 5, 2020, when inmate Peter Blas assaulted him by choking him on the neck for about 10 seconds during which he was unable to breathe. He said he was a pretrial detainee at the time of the incident but was placed with sentenced inmates.
He also alleged that at the time of the incident, Peter Lieto, who was the section officer, was not at the duty station. Lin said this violated Corrections regulations requiring a duty officer to be present at all times during an activity.
“The defendants were acting under the color of law when they violated [my] Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment,” said Lin.
Lin also alleged that the defendants’ actions violated the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners and violated his rights under the CNMI Constitution.
He said that, as a result of the incident, he suffered trauma and was often taken to the hospital for pain on his hands, head, and fingers. He said he also continues to suffer depression, severe pain, and excruciating headaches.
Lin is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for his injuries and pain and suffering, including emotional distress, in a total amount of $100,000.