United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' CROSS MOTION FOR SUMMARY
A. Bolden, United States District Judge
Leslie Williams, currently incarcerated, has filed this
action pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. After
this Court granted in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss,
his remaining claims are for retaliation, denial of due
process, unconstitutional conditions of confinement, and
excessive punishment. See Order Granting in Part and
Denying in Part Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 34, at 20. All of
his claims arise from his confinement in restrictive housing
for twenty-two days after giving a drawing and poem to a
Correctional Officer. The remaining Defendants,
Warden Walter Ford, Deputy Warden Dennis Roche, Captain
Ernestine Green, and Nurse Joanna Beaulieu
(“Defendants”), move for summary judgment on all
remaining claims. For the reasons that follow,
Defendants' motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
Standard of Review
motion for summary judgment may be granted only where there
are no issues of material fact in dispute and the moving
party is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); In re Dana Corp., 574 F.3d 129,
151 (2d Cir. 2009). The moving party may satisfy his burden
“by showing-that is pointing out to the district
court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case.” PepsiCo, Inc. v.
Coca-Cola Co., 315 F.3d 101, 105 (2d Cir. 2002) (per
curiam) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
Once the moving party meets this burden, the nonmoving party
must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial. Wright v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266
(2d Cir. 2009). A genuine issue of fact means that “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). While
genuineness runs to whether disputed factual issues can
‘reasonably be resolved in favor of either party, '
... materiality runs to whether the dispute matters, i.e.,
whether it concerns facts that can affect the outcome under
the applicable substantive law.” Graham v.
Henderson, 89 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir.1996) (quoting
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250). The nonmoving party
“must offer some hard evidence showing that its version
is not wholly fanciful.” D'Amico v. City of New
York, 132 F.3d 145, 149 (2d Cir. 1998).
Williams is confined to the custody of the Connecticut
Department of Correction and is serving a life sentence.
Defs.' L.R. 56(a) Stmt., ECF No. 47-2, at ¶¶
1-2. Nurse Beaulieu is a registered nurse. Id. at
¶ 3. In February 2013, Nurse Beaulieu worked for the
Connecticut Department of Correction at the Hartford
Correctional Center. Id. at ¶ 4. As part of her
duties, she triaged inmates for medical issues and referred
inmates to the medical doctor or mental health unit as
required. Id. at ¶ 5. She also distributed
medication and toured the housing units. Id. at
February 7, 2013, Nurse Beaulieu was in the South Block at
Hartford Correctional Center. Defs.' L.R. 56(a) Stmt.
¶ 6. Defendant Beaulieu states that Mr. Williams gave
her a folded piece of paper. Id. She assumed it was
an Inmate Request form seeking medical assistance.
Id. at ¶ 7. She unfolded the paper as she was
walking away and realized it was a drawing of her and a love
poem. Id. Defendant Beaulieu states that she knew
the drawing was of her because the figure had similar
features and wore a scrub shirt with a distinctive logo and
her necklace. Id. After reading the note Nurse
Beaulieu felt “uncomfortable, scared, and
threatened.” Id. at ¶ 8 (citing Beaulieu
Aff., Defs.' L. R. 56(a) Stmt., Ex. 1, ECF No. 47-4,
this incident, Defendant Beaulieu felt uncomfortable around
Mr. Williams because “he would stare at [her] and make
inappropriate comments about [her] appearance.”
Beaulieu Aff. ¶ 7. Defendant Beaulieu reported the
incident to the deputy warden and requested a separation
profile between her and Mr. Williams. Def's L.R. 56(a)
Stmt. ¶ 9. Department of Corrections staff can request a
separation profile to determine that “an inmate poses a
threat or risk” to that staff member. Green Aff.,
Defs.' L. R. 56(a) Stmt., Ex. 2, ECF No. 47-5, 17. If the
profile request is granted, the DOC will not put the inmate
in the same correctional facility as the staff member.
Id. After receiving Mr. Williams' note, Nurse
Beaulieu also wrote an incident report. Defs.' L. R.
56(a) Stmt. ¶ 10.
Williams claims that he is an aspiring artist and only showed
the note to Nurse Beaulieu because he thought she would
appreciate his artwork. Williams Decl. ¶ 12. He further
claims that the note was not a love poem and the language was
not threatening. Id. Furthermore, Mr. Williams
emphasizes that Nurse Beaulieu chose to accept the note and
open it later. Id. at ¶ 9. Mr. Williams alleges
that Defendant Beaulieu violated prison directives by
engaging in undue familiarity with him by accepting the note.
Id. He also states that Defendant Beaulieu never
expressed any discomfort around Mr. Williams before he gave
her the drawing. Id. at ¶ 15. Finally, he notes
that prison officials never notified him that female staff
members felt uncomfortable around him.
Administrative Detention Policies in the Connecticut
Department of Corrections
Connecticut Department of Corrections facilities,
Administrative Detention is a restrictive status applied only
in certain circumstances. See Conn. Dep't of
Corr. Admin. Directive 9.4(3)(B)(2), effective June 16,
2016. According to the Directive, Administrative
Detention is appropriate “[f]or the investigation of an
allegation or information involving the inmate in the
commission of a crime, or of activities jeopardizing the
security of the facility or the safety of staff or inmates
that could result in placement on punitive or administrative
segregation or transfer to high security.” Id.
The Directive allows prison officials to authorize placement
in Administrative Detention for up to fourteen days, unless
an Administrative Segregation hearing is pending.
See Conn. Dep't of Corr. Admin. Directive 9.4,
Att. B, effective June 16, 2016. While an inmate is on
Administrative Detention, the warden or his designee is
supposed to conduct a 72-hour review of the plaintiff's
status. See Id. (requiring review “every 72
hours by the Unit Administrator or designee and recorded on
Restrictive Housing Order”); see also
Defs.' L.R. 56(a) Stmt. ¶ 28.
Administrative Detention of Mr. Williams
Green, a correctional lieutenant at Hartford Correctional
Center, oversaw the Restrictive Housing Unit and conducted
investigations within the facility. Defs.' L.R. 56(a)
Stmt. ¶ 13. She had the authority to place inmates on
Administrative Detention in the Restrictive Housing Unit.
Id. at ¶ 14.
February 7, 2013, Defendant Green learned from her supervisor
that Mr. Williams had given Nurse Beaulieu an inappropriate
note. Id. at ¶ 15. Defendant Green met with her
supervisor and Defendant Beaulieu to discuss the incident and
review the note. Id. Defendant Green “had
previously heard many complaints from other female staff
members that Mr. Williams would often stare at them
inappropriately and had a long history of making female staff
members feel uncomfortable around him.” Green Aff.
¶ 8. Nurse Beaulieu also reported to Defendant Green
that Mr. Williams made her feel uncomfortable. Id.
at ¶ 9. Ms. Green concluded that Mr. Williams had an
“inappropriate fixation” on Nurse Beaulieu and
that Mr. Williams posed a safety threat to her. Id.
at ¶ 10. On February 7, 2013, Defendant Green submitted
a separation profile request to her supervisor because she
thought Mr. Williams posed a safety threat to Defendant
Beaulieu. Green Aff. ¶ 18. She also submitted a
supplemental page to the incident report. Id.
Green conducted an investigation of the incident. Defs.'
L.R. 56(a) Stmt. ¶ 20. She met with Mr. Williams in his
cell where, after initial denials, Mr. Williams admitted to
the incident. Id. Defendant Green told Mr. Williams
that he would be transferred to the Restrictive Housing Unit
pending the investigation. Id. Defendant Green and
her supervisor, Deputy Warden Roche, decided to transfer Mr.
Williams to the Restrictive Housing Unit on Administrative
Detention status. Defs.' L. R. 56(a) Stmt. ¶ 24. On
February 7, 2013, prison officials transferred Mr. Williams
to the Restrictive Housing Unit. Id. at ¶¶
21-22. Captain Green does not know whether the warden or his
designee conducted a 72-hour review of Mr. Williams'
Administrative Detention. Id. at ¶ 20.
parties dispute the conditions in the restrictive housing
cell. Defendants contend that a video of the transfer shows
that the cell was clean and appropriate for housing Mr.
Williams. Defs.' L.R. 56(a) Stmt. ¶¶ 23-24. On
the other hand, Mr. Williams alleges that his cell lacked hot
water and was cold, unsanitary, and infested with insects.
Williams Decl. ¶ 30. He claims that the video did not
show the corners of the room, the condition of the mattress,
or whether the sink had running hot water. Id. at
¶ 23. He also alleges that, because he was in
Administrative Detention, he was not able to access the
prison commissary and could not purchase toiletries or other
necessities, and that prison officials did not otherwise make
these items available to him. Id. at ¶ 29.
Green does not recall speaking to Mr. Williams on February
19, 2013. Green Aff. ¶ 21. If she had learned that Mr.
Williams' cell was unclean or required maintenance, she
allegedly would have “immediately addressed those
issues.” Id. On February 20, 2013, Defendant
Green had not heard from her supervisor regarding the request
for a separation profile between Defendant Beaulieu and Mr.
Williams. Id. ¶ 22. As a result, she continued
Mr. William's placement in the Restrictive Housing ...