TIMOTHY TOWNSEND, JR.
ANITA HARDY ET AL.
February 16, 2017
from Superior Court, judicial district of New Haven, Blue, J.
Timothy Townsend, Jr., self-represented, the appellant
Janelle Medeiros, certified legal intern, with whom were
Steven R. Strom, assistant attorney general, and, on the
brief, George Jepsen, attorney general, for the appellees
DiPentima, C. J., and Sheldon and Harper, Js.
plaintiff, Timothy Townsend, Jr., brought this action against
two prison officials, the defendants, Anita Hardy and John
Riccio, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,  claiming that
they had violated his constitutional rights while he was
confined at the Cheshire Correctional Institution. The
plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in rendering
summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the ground
that none of their alleged misconduct rose to the level of a
constitutional violation. We affirm the judgment of the trial
amended complaint dated October 24, 2012, the plaintiff
alleged the following facts, which the defendants did not
dispute for purposes of the court's consideration of
their motion for summary judgment. At all times relevant to
the plaintiff's allegations, he was an inmate at the
Cheshire Correctional Institution, where Riccio was a
correction officer and Hardy was a captain. The plaintiff
claimed that Riccio sexually harassed him on two occasions.
First, on September 25, 2010, Riccio asked the plaintiff if
he wanted ‘‘some sugar, '' which, the
plaintiff alleged, is slang for a
‘‘kiss.'' Then, on October 3, 2010,
Riccio told the plaintiff, ‘‘I'm checking on
you because I care about you'' and ‘‘I
still genuinely care about you.'' On October 6, 2010,
the plaintiff filed a complaint regarding those two alleged
instances of sexual harassment with Hardy.
plaintiff also alleged that Riccio threatened him when, on
October 18, 2010, Riccio told the plaintiff,
‘‘Your life is going to be short lived in this
block.'' That same day, the plaintiff filed a
complaint with Hardy and other prison officials, alleging
that he had been threatened by Riccio, and that he feared for
his physical safety. The plaintiff alleged that Riccio had
threatened him in retaliation for his filing of a complaint
about the aforementioned sexual harassment.
October 20, 2010, the plaintiff was moved to a restrictive
housing unit while Hardy investigated his complaints that
Riccio had sexually harassed and threatened him. While in the
restrictive housing unit, the plaintiff reported Riccio's
conduct to the Connecticut State Police. On November 2, 2010,
Hardy explained to the plaintiff that his complaints against
Riccio could not be substantiated, and thus the plaintiff was
transferred out of the restrictive housing unit. On November
4, 2010, the plaintiff was interviewed by the Connecticut
State Police regarding his allegations of sexual harassment
and threatening by Riccio.
November 5, 2010, Hardy told the plaintiff to
‘‘sign this statement stating you no longer fear
for your safety.'' The plaintiff refused to do so,
and thus was transferred back to the restrictive housing
unit, where he remained for three days, until November 8,
2010, when he was released back into the general population
with no explanation. The plaintiff alleged that Hardy had
transferred him to the restrictive housing unit in
retaliation for contacting the Connecticut State Police
regarding his claims against Riccio.
basis of the foregoing, the plaintiff claimed that Riccio and
Hardy violated his constitutional rights and, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, sought compensatory damages from both of
them in their individual capacities.
March 3, 2015, the defendants moved for summary judgment on
all of the plaintiff's claims. They argued that, even if
the plaintiff's factual allegations against Riccio were
true, they were not serious enough to rise to the level of
constitutional violations. As for the plaintiff's
allegations against Hardy, the defendants argued that they
too were de minimis. The defendants also argued that Hardy
had no personal involvement in the decision to send the
plaintiff to the restrictive housing unit.
1, 2015, the court agreed with the defendants, over the
plaintiff's objection, and issued a memorandum of
decision rendering summary judgment in their favor. The
plaintiff thereafter asked the court to articulate its ruling
on the ground that it had failed to address his claimed
constitutional violations. On October 6, 2015, the court
filed an articulation explaining, inter alia:
‘‘The court's July 1, 2015 . . . decision
implicitly addresse[d] these claims by following the
precedent of the United States Court of Appeals for the
Second Circuit holding that claims like the ones presented by
the [plaintiff] do not constitute cognizable claims of