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Riddick v. Semple

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

April 6, 2016

JEROME RIDDICK, Plaintiff,
v.
SEMPLE, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          STEFAN R. UNDERHILL, District Judge.

         The plaintiff, Jerome Riddick, currently incarcerated at the Cheshire Correctional Institution in Cheshire, Connecticut, commenced this action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court received the complaint on March 4, 2015. Riddick's motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted the following day. Riddick names six defendants in the case caption: Commissioner Semple, Warden Falcone, Deputy Wardens Hein and Dilworth, McDaniel and Calderon. All defendants are named in their individual and official capacities. Riddick challenges his continued placement on Administrative Segregation status as a violation of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and contends that the placement has prevented him from practicing his religion in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq. ("RLUIPA").

         I. Standard of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that 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. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to "raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest[]." Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon which they are based and to demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atl. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. However, pro se documents are liberally construed and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments they suggest. See Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013).

         II. Background

         Riddick was transferred to Garner Correctional Institution on March 17, 2014. Since that date, he has been confined on Administrative Segregation status. Riddick completed all three phases of the Administrative Segregation Program on October 14, 2014, but was not permitted to leave the program.

         III. Discussion

         Riddick challenges his continued placement on Administrative Segregation status without meaningful review as violating his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. He also contends that confinement in segregation prevented him from practicing his religion in violation of his rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc, et seq.

         A. Claims Against Nurse Savioe and Dr. Wright

         In addition to the defendants listed in the case caption, Riddick identified Nurse Barbara Savoie and Dr. Carson Wright as defendants in the body of his complaint. Riddick states that Nurse Savoie and Dr. Wright work at Northern Correctional Institution. The claims in this case concern Riddick's confinement in Administrative Segregation at Garner Correctional Institution. He includes no factual allegations concerning his prior confinement at Northern Correctional Institution and no claims concerning medical treatment. Accordingly, any possible claims against Nurse Savoie and Dr. Wright are dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because Riddick fails to allege a plausible claim against them.

         The Court will not permit Riddick to amend his complaint to include allegations against Nurse Savoie and Dr. Wright. This action concerns Riddick's confinement at Garner Correctional Institution. Any claims against Nurse Savoie and Dr. Wright would not be related to that confinement and should be pursued in a separate action.

         B. Claims against Defendants Semple, Falcone, Hein and Dilworth

         Riddick has named as defendants Commissioner Semple, Warden Falcone, and Deputy Wardens Hein and Dilworth. He describes these defendants as being responsible for creating and enforcing policies, training and supervising employees and the general custody and care of inmates. Riddick alleges that defendants Falcone, Hein and Dilworth were "aware" that he had completed the Administrative Segregation Program and refused to remove him from Administrative Segregation status. He alleges that he repeatedly informed the defendants of his conditions of confinement in segregation.

         Although these allegations might be insufficient at trial or on summary judgment, the Second Circuit has held that allegations that a prisoner informed supervisory officials of his claims can be sufficient to state a claim for supervisory liability. SeeGrullon v. City of New Haven,720 F.3d 133, 141 ...


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