United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Antuan White was incarcerated when he initiated this action,
but he has since been paroled and now resides in Bridgeport,
Connecticut. He filed a complaint pro se and in
forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
numerous defendants for retaliation, cruel and unusual
punishment, and violations of his right to due process. After
an initial review, I will dismiss the complaint in part and
otherwise allow the remainder to proceed.
following allegations as summarized from plaintiff's
lengthy complaint are accepted as true only for purposes of
the Court's initial review of the legal sufficiency of
plaintiff's pleadings. On January 10, 2014, while
incarcerated at Osborn Correctional Institution, plaintiff
saw a male correctional officer massaging the shoulders of
Correctional Officer Wendy Moriarty. Plaintiff told Moriarty
that he intended to file a complaint against her to her
supervisors for this behavior, to which Moriarty replied with
a threat that reporting her would have consequences.
alleges that he suffered Moriarty's consequences anyway:
towards the end of the month, Moriarty approached
plaintiff's cell and threatened to have him transferred
to Northern Correctional Institution if he did not masturbate
in front of her when she came by his cell during her next
tour. Moriarty also asked plaintiff if he wanted to be in a
relationship with her and, although he said no, he complied
with her order to masturbate in front of her because he
feared for his safety. After several incidents, plaintiff
eventually told Moriarty that he would no longer masturbate
in front of her. Moriarty became upset, slammed the
plaintiff's door and stormed off.
issued plaintiff a disciplinary report for public indecency,
and Lieutenant Torres escorted plaintiff to the restrictive
housing unit. Plaintiff told Torres that Moriarty had
threatened him with transfer if he did not expose himself to
her; Torres replied that he would report the claim to his
supervisors and agreed to be plaintiff's advocate during
the disciplinary hearing. But the next day, Torres came back
to plaintiff's cell and advised him not to repeat his
claim against Moriarty to anyone else or otherwise Torres and
his coworkers would physically beat plaintiff in his cell.
March 3, 2014, plaintiff attended his disciplinary hearing
without Torres as an advocate. Plaintiff was found guilty of
public indecency and received a punishment of loss of
commissary for 90 days, loss of phone privileges for 90 days,
punitive segregation for 15 days, and loss of 10 days of risk
reduction earned credits.
March 24, 2014, while plaintiff was still in the restrictive
housing unit, he told Captain Colon about another alleged
incident of sexual abuse by Moriarty-an allegation that
Moriarty performed oral sex on plaintiff, see Doc.
#1-1 at 24-and Colon reported this allegation to Duty Officer
Barone and Deputy Warden Wright. That same day, Colon and
Torres issued plaintiff a disciplinary report for falsely
reporting this newly alleged incident against Moriarty. This
disciplinary ticket was dismissed and expunged only days
later, because it had been issued at a time when no
investigation into plaintiff's allegations had been
this ticket was expunged, plaintiff grieved Torres for
retaliation. In response, Warden Maldonado put plaintiff on
grievance restriction, prohibiting plaintiff from filing any
grievances or appeals relating to Moriarty's original
ticket against plaintiff for public indecency or any other
allegation of sexual assault against Moriarty, because his
claim was being independently investigated. See Doc.
#1-1 at 54.
independent investigation was a PREA (Prison Rape Elimination
Act) investigation through the Connecticut State Police.
Several higher ups in the DOC were notified of the
investigation, including District Administrator Quiros,
former Deputy Commissioner Semple, and former Commissioner
Dzurenda. Several Connecticut State Police troopers
participated in the investigation of plaintiff's claim of
sexual abuse by Moriarty, including Officer Mazza, who
interviewed plaintiff. Several other DOC officers in the PREA
Unit, including Lieutenant Maldonado and David McNeil, also
participated in the PREA investigation.
end of August 2014, the Connecticut State Police closed the
investigation into the Moriarty incident for lack of
evidence. Doc. #1-1 at 80. As soon as Lieutenant
Maldonado's portion of the PREA investigation concluded,
and with the approval of McNeil, Maldonado issued plaintiff a
disciplinary report almost identical to the one Torres had
unsuccessfully filed against plaintiff: making a false report
about Moriarty regarding sexual abuse. Plaintiff was again
ushered to the restrictive housing unit to await disposition
of his new disciplinary ticket.
hearing on this new disciplinary ticket was postponed several
times at the behest of correctional officers Cote and Omara,
who were tasked with the investigation. Eventually,
Lieutenant Hayles found plaintiff guilty of falsely reporting
the Moriarty incident, and imposed a punishment of loss of
commissary for 90 days, loss of phone privileges for 60 days,
punitive segregation for 15 days, and loss of 10 days of risk
reduction earned credits. Plaintiff appealed these sanctions, and
his appeal was denied by District Administrator Quiros and
later by Acting Deputy Commissioner Rinaldi.
in segregation between July 30, 2014, and August 13, 2014,
plaintiff alleges that he was denied clean sheets and
clothes, was subject to 24-hour-illumination, and was denied
his one-hour-per-day of recreation. See Doc. #1-1 at
78. While in segregation, plaintiff verbally reported these
conditions to Captain Gargullo, who verbally directed
plaintiff to stop falsely reporting incidents. Doc. #1 at 28.
Plaintiff was transferred in mid-October 2014 to
Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution and then later to
Enfield Correctional Institution.
brought this action against the following defendants in their
individual capacities: former Commissioner James Dzurenda,
former Deputy Commissioner Scott Semple, former Acting Deputy
Commissioner Monica Rinaldi, District Administrator Angel
Quiros, Warden Edward Maldonado, Deputy Wardens Wright and
Barone, PREA Director David McNeil, PREA Lieutenant J.
Maldonado, Captain Luis Colon, former Captain Gargullo,
Lieutenant Jose Torres, Lieutenant Hayles, Correctional
Officers Wendy Moriarty, Cote, and Omara and Connecticut
State Police Officer Scott Mazza. He claims that he suffered
embarrassment and emotional distress, and seeks monetary
damages and injunctive relief in the form of expungement of
plaintiff's disciplinary record.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), 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. The
Court must accept as true all factual matters alleged in a
complaint, although a complaint may not survive unless its
factual recitations state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Mastafa v. Chevron Corp.,
770 F.3d 170, 177 (2d Cir. 2014) (same). Nevertheless, it is
well-established that “pro se complaints ‘must be
construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of
Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting
Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471,
474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater,
623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules
of solicitude for pro se litigants).