United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Robert Chambers, is currently incarcerated at Cheshire
Correctional Institution in Cheshire, Connecticut
(“Cheshire”) and filed this action against Deputy
Commissioner Scott Semple, Warden Jon Brighthaupt, Deputy
Wardens Iweka and Walker, Correctional Officers
Johnpiere and Watson, Counselor Supervisor Peterson,
Lieutenant Mollin and Administrative Remedies Coordinator
August 11, 2015, the Court dismissed Chamberes' claim for
injunctive relief regarding the conditions of his confinement
at Corrigan Correctional Institution, the official capacity
claims for money damages, the failure to protect claim
against defendant Brighthaupt in his individual capacity, and
all claims against defendants Peterson, Semple and Fitzner in
their individual capacities. See Initial Review Or.
at 14-15, ECF No. 11. The Court concluded that Chambers'
official capacity claim seeking injunctive relief regarding
policies governing grievances and property claims and the
request for declaratory relief against defendants would
proceed against defendants Brighthaupt, Walker, Iweka,
Watson, Mollin, and Johnpiere. See Id. at 8, 15. In
addition, the following individual capacity claims would
proceed: (a) the retaliation claim against defendant
Johnpiere regarding the destruction of Mr. Chambers's
property; (b) the retaliation claim regarding the transfer of
Mr. Chambers to a different facility against defendants
Brighthaupt, Iweka, and Walker; (c) the failure to protect
claims regarding the destruction of Mr. Chambers's
property and the allegedly retaliatory transfer against
defendants Brighthaupt, Walker, Iweka, and Watson, and (d)
the claims of improper confiscation and reading of privileged
legal materials against defendant Mollins. Id. at
have moved for summary judgment on all claims. For the
reasons that follow, defendants' motion is GRANTED.
Factual Allegations 
January 2010, Mr. Chambers arrived at Cheshire. In April
2013, he filed a civil rights action against seven employees
of the Department of Correction, including a deputy warden
from Cheshire. See Chambers v. Ruiz, et al., Case
No. 3:13cv565 (AWT) (Complaint filed on April 19, 2013;
judgment for defendants entered on July 9, 2015), ECF No.
22-10. None of the defendants in that action are defendants
in this action.
February 19, 2014, correctional officials at Cheshire
transferred Mr. Chambers to the restrictive housing unit
(“RHU”). On that date, Officer Barriault was the
Property Officer at the RHU. Defs.' L. R. 56(a) Stmt.
¶19, ECF No. 22-11. He inventoried Mr. Chambers's
personal property and completed an Inmate Property Status and
Receipt form indicating that he planned to discard
Chambers's Koss headphones because he did not believe
that they belonged to him, that he planned to discard
Chambers's digital antenna because it was broken, and
that he planned to discard Chambers's photo album cover
because it was in excess of the number of photo album covers
that an inmate was permitted to possess. Barriault Aff.
¶6, ECF No. 22-7 (Ex. F). On February 26, 2014, Mr.
Chambers allegedly signed the Inmate Property Status and
Receipt form completed by Officer Barriault regarding the
destruction of his three property items. Id. at
February 26, 2014, prison officials released Mr. Chambers
from the RHU. Later that day, Mr. Chambers visited the
property room to collect his personal property items.
Pl.'s Aff. ¶14-15, ECF No. 23-1 (Ex. A). Officer
Johnpiere was working in the property room and informed Mr.
Chambers about the three items that had already been
discarded by Officer Barriault. Officer Johnpiere told Mr.
Chambers that he had too many non-legal books and that any
books in excess of the number permitted by the Department of
Correction would be discarded. Id. at
¶¶22-25. Officer Johnpiere completed an Inmate
Property Status and Receipt Form indicating that
miscellaneous books possessed by the plaintiff had been
discarded as excess items. The plaintiff signed this form,
allegedly because Officer Johnpiere threatened to return him
to the RHU if he did not. Id. at ¶¶19-20.
March 2, 2014, Mr. Chambers sent an Inmate Request to
Counselor Supervisor Garcia about the incident involving the
destruction of his personal property by Officer Johnpiere on
February 26, 2014. Pl.'s Aff. ¶31. He informed
Counselor Supervisor Garcia that he felt Officer Johnpiere
had destroyed his property in retaliation for his 2014
lawsuit against correctional officials. Id. On March
4, 2014, Supervisor Garcia responded to Mr. Chambers's
request and suggested that he write to the property office
regarding his claim. Id. at ¶32. Mr. Chambers
allegedly made written and verbal complaints to defendants
Iweka and Walker about the retaliatory destruction of his
property. Id. at 41-42. However, Mr. Chambers did
not file a claim with Cheshire's Lost Property Board.
See Defs.' L. R. 56(a) Stmt. ¶7. See
also Rivera Aff. ¶¶ 4-6, ECF No. 22-4 (Ex. C).
August 1, 2014, Counselor Supervisor Garcia submitted a
request to the Office of Population and Management to
transfer Mr. Chambers from Cheshire to another prison
facility, allegedly because he “had been incarcerated
at Cheshire for an extended period of time” and risked
becoming “too comfortable with other inmates at the
facility.” Garcia Aff. ¶¶4-5, ECF No. 22-5
(Ex. D). On August 8, 2014, prison officials at Cheshire
transferred Mr. Chambers to Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional
Institution (“Corrigan”). On September 11, 2014,
Counselor Hannon, an employee at Corrigan Correctional
Center, allegedly requested that Mr. Chambers be transferred
the back to Cheshire. Defs.' L. R. 56(a) Stmt. ¶16.
See also Vazquez Affidavit, ¶¶7-10, ECF
No. 22-6 (Ex. E). On September 17, 2014, prison
officials at Cheshire transferred Mr. Chambers back to
Corrigan, allegedly at the request of Population Management
Counselor John Creamp. Id. at ¶17.
Chambers allegedly wrote a written complaint to
“Administration/Intelligence” about the
confiscation of his privileged mail. Pl.'s Aff.
¶¶50-53. He does not allege that he filed a
grievance regarding either transfer to Corrigan or his brief
transfer back to Cheshire. He also does not claim to have
submitted a grievance regarding the conduct of defendant
Mollin, who allegedly confiscated and read his legal papers
upon his transfer back to Cheshire on September 11, 2014.
Grievances Procedures in the Connecticut Department of
inmate at a Connecticut Department of Correction facility who
wishes to file a grievance must follow the procedure
established in Connecticut Department of Correction
Administrative Directive 9.6 (“Directive”).
See Administrative Directive 9.6, ECF No. 22-2 (Ex.
A), Conn. Dep't of Corr. Admin. Directive 9.6, effective
August 15, 2013). Under the Directive, full administrative
review generally occurs in three steps. First, an inmate must
seek to resolve his or her complaint informally by depositing
an Inmate Request Form (CN 9601) in a designated collection
box. If the inmate is dissatisfied with the response to his
or her Inmate Request Form or does not receive a response
within fifteen days, the inmate may proceed to the second
step, which is termed “Level One Review.” To
initiate Level One Review, an inmate completes the Inmate
Administrative Remedy Form (CN 9602). At this point, the
inmate is required to provide evidence that he or she
attempted to informally resolve his or her grievance by
attaching the Inmate Request Form (CN 9601) to CN 9602.
Id. at 9.6(6)(C). The inmate also has the option of
submitting CN 9602 without attaching CN 9601 and providing a
“valid reason” why he or she could not obtain the
form. Id. In the Administrative Directive, the
Department of Correction indicates that not receiving a
“timely response” to an inmate request would be a
“valid reason” for not attaching the CN 9601
form. Id. Level One Review is undertaken by the Unit
Administrator, who must respond to the grievance in writing
within thirty days. Id. at 8. An inmate may proceed
to the third step, Level Two Review, if he or she disagrees
with the Unit Administrator's judgment or does not
receive a timely response. Id. Generally, Level Two
Review takes place before a District Administrator and is the
final stage of appeal. Level Three appeals are restricted to
challenges to department policy or the integrity of the
grievance procedure, or to appeals of Level Two grievances to
which the District Administrator has failed to respond in a
timely manner. See Id. at 9.6(6)(L).
Special Grievance ...