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Townsend v. Sterling

Appellate Court of Connecticut

June 9, 2015

TIMOTHY TOWNSEND, JR.
v.
YADIRA STERLING ET AL

Argued February 20, 2015.

Page 874

Action to recover damages for, inter alia, the alleged violation of the plaintiff's due process rights, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where the court, Wahla, J., granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment thereon, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court.

Reversed in part; further proceedings.

SYLLABUS

The plaintiff, an inmate in a correctional institution, sought to recover damages from certain defendant employees of the Department of Correction in their individual and professional capacities for the alleged violation of his due process rights. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants had violated his due process rights by, inter alia, issuing him a disciplinary ticket in retaliation for having exercised his right to free speech by filing a grievance, placing him in punitive segregation, confining him to quarters, denying him telephone privileges, and destroying certain of his personal property. The plaintiff also sought injunctive relief compelling the defendants to create an independent oversight board to review disciplinary tickets and institutional due process. The trial court concluded, inter alia, that the defendants did not violate the plaintiff's rights to due process because he had no liberty interest that was infringed by the issuance of the disciplinary tickets, which did not result in the loss of good time credit. The court further concluded that it did not have the authority to create an oversight board to ensure that the department provides prisoners due process. That court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment thereon, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court.

Held:

1. The trial court improperly granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment as to the plaintiff's due process claims, that court having improperly determined that the plaintiff did not have a liberty interest with respect to the prison disciplinary sanctions imposed against him: the plaintiff alleged sufficient facts in his complaint to establish that the defendants' retaliation for his having filed a grievance had a chilling effect on his first amendment right to free speech, which is a protected liberty interest; furthermore, the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment on the entire complaint, as the court failed to address the plaintiff's claims for damages with respect to retaliation, free speech, and loss of property.

2. The trial court properly rendered summary judgment as to the plaintiff's request for injunctive relief, that court having properly determined that it had no jurisdiction to appoint an independent board to oversee the department.

Timothy Townsend, Jr., self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).

Neil Parille, assistant attorney general, with whom, on the brief, was George Jepsen, attorney general, for the appellees (defendants).

Lavine, Mullins and Bishop, Js. LAVINE, J. In this opinion the other judges concurred.

OPINION

Page 875

[157 Conn.App. 709] LA ...


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