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Torres v. McGrath

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 9, 2017

CANDIDO TORRES, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT MCGRATH, et al. Defendants.

          RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, Candido Torres, is currently confined in Connecticut. He initiated this action by filing a complaint against Unit Manager Robert McGrath, Lieutenant James Brown, Counselor Supervisor Osden, Director Kim Lacasse, Lieutenant McFarland, the New Hampshire Department of Corrections and the State of Connecticut Department of Correction.

         On May 3, 2016, the court dismissed the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claims and all other federal claims against Brown, the State of Connecticut Department of Correction and the State of New Hampshire Department of Corrections pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), dismissed the state law claims against all defendants in their individual and official capacities pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) and (2), and dismissed all federal claims for monetary damages against Lacasse, McGrath, Osden and McFarland in their official capacities pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2). The court concluded that the Eighth Amendment claims would proceed against Lacasse, McGrath, Osden and McFarland in their individual capacities and against Osden in her official capacity and the First Amendment retaliation claim would proceed against Lacasse and McGrath in their individual capacities and against Osden in her official capacity.

         Pending before the court is a motion to dismiss filed by Lacasse, McFarland and McGrath, employees of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). For the reasons discussed below, the Motion to Dismiss is granted.

         I. Factual Allegations

         The complaint included the following allegations: The plaintiff was convicted in the State of Connecticut. During his confinement in the Connecticut prison system, he renounced his membership in the gang called The Latin Kings. At some point, Connecticut Department of Correction officials transferred the plaintiff to the New Hampshire Department of Corrections to serve his sentence. After his transfer to a New Hampshire prison, the plaintiff became inducted into the Neta prison gang.

         In December 2014, the plaintiff was confined at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord, New Hampshire (“NH Concord”). In late December 2014, the plaintiff became upset about not being permitted to speak Spanish freely and engaged in an argument with correctional staff. Shortly after the argument, the warden transferred the plaintiff to the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin, New Hampshire (“NH Berlin”). The plaintiff claims that his girlfriend learned from New Hampshire Population Management and Classification Director Lacasse that he had been transferred in retaliation for his complaints about staff refusing to permit him to freely speak Spanish. The plaintiff later learned that Unit Manager McGrath was also responsible for the decision to transfer him to Berlin.

         The plaintiff married his girlfriend on January 15, 2015. His wife made him choose between her and his membership in a prison gang.

         Between February and May 2015, the plaintiff and his wife wrote many letters to Counselor Supervisor Jaclyn Osden, who works in the Sentence Calculation and Interstate Management Office of the Connecticut Department of Correction. The plaintiff informed Supervisor Osden that he sought to renounce his membership in the Neta prison gang and that he and his wife were very concerned about potential reprisals by members of the prison gang after he renounced his membership in the gang. He made it clear that he feared for his safety.

         On March 13, 2015, the plaintiff was cut in the back of the head by an inmate who was part of an unidentified gang. Prison officials placed him in protective custody. Despite the plaintiff's concerns about his safety, Counselor Supervisor Osden informed him that due to the fact that the cut was superficial, he would not be transferred back to Connecticut.

         On March 19, 2015, shortly after being transferred to general population, an inmate assaulted the plaintiff in the bathroom. The plaintiff immediately contacted prison staff, including Lieutenant McFarland. Prison staff did not report the incident. Prison officials, including Lieutenant McFarland, did not investigate the incident.

         In April 2015, the plaintiff pleaded guilty to a disciplinary ticket charging him with intoxication. He received multiple sanctions. Counselor Supervisor Osden informed the plaintiff that he would not be able to return to Connecticut due to a disciplinary infraction that he had received in August 2014. To be eligible for transfer back to Connecticut, prison officials required the plaintiff to be disciplinary report-free for one year.

         On April 18, 2015, the plaintiff contacted Lieutenant McFarland and asked to be placed on in-cell meals because he feared for his safety. He claimed that the Neta gang had placed a hit on him. On April 21, 2015, Lieutenant McFarland denied the plaintiff's request.

         On April 18, 2015, the plaintiff contacted Director Lacasse and sought to be separated from certain inmates who were members of the Neta gang. Director Lacasse responded that she would investigate the information provided by ...


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