United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Fernandez (“Plaintiff”) is incarcerated at the
Corrigan Correctional Institution in Uncasville, Connecticut.
He has filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Captain Dougherty, Counselor Gaudet, Lieutenant Prior, and
District Administrator Quiros. For the reasons set forth
below, the Complaint is dismissed in part.
Standard of Review
section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Although detailed
allegations are not required, the complaint must include
sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the
claims and the grounds upon which they are based and to
demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atlantic v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. A complaint that includes only “‘labels and
conclusions, ' ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement, ' ” does not meet the facial
plausibility standard. Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). Although courts
still have an obligation to interpret “a pro
se complaint liberally, ” the complaint must still
include sufficient factual allegations to meet the standard
of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572
F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).
March 28, 2016, Captain Dougherty allegedly issued Mr.
Fernandez a Class A disciplinary report for being a member of
a Security Risk Group. Compl. ¶¶ 4-5. The report
alleged that Mr. Fernandez had “displayed behaviors
that are uniquely and clearly associated with [Latin King]
activity” and that he “participated in an act of
gang-related violence on March 23, 2016.” Id.
at ¶ 6. The Report did not list any witnesses, and
listed other incident reports and video footage as the only
physical evidence. Id. at ¶ 7.
Fernandez met with an investigator who assigned him an
advocate, Defendant Gaudet. Compl. ¶ 15. Advocate Gaudet
allegedly refused to permit Mr. Fernandez to see the evidence
supporting the disciplinary report and did not otherwise
assist Mr. Fernandez in preparing his defense. Id.
at ¶¶ 16-17.
March 31, 2016, Mr. Fernandez appeared at a hearing held by
Lieutenant Prior. Compl. ¶ 19. Advocate Gaudet was not
present at the hearing. Id. at ¶ 20. Lieutenant
Prior allegedly found Mr. Fernandez guilty of being a
Security Risk Group Member. He allegedly based his
conclusions on video footage of the alleged violent incident
that occurred on March 23, 2016 and corroborating statements
from other inmates. Id. at ¶ 22. Lieutenant
Prior did not permit Mr. Fernandez to view the videotape or
to review the witness statements. Id. at ¶ 23.
At the conclusion of the hearing, prison officials
transferred Mr. Fernandez to Walker Correctional Institution
and placed in a restrictive housing unit designated for
Security Risk Group Members. Id. at ¶ 23.
Fernandez appealed the guilty finding and placement in the
restrictive housing unit. Compl. ¶ 28. District
Administrator Quiros upheld the decision in a written opinion
in which, Mr. Fernandez alleges, he “did not comment on
any of the grounds for which the appeal was based.”
Id. at ¶ 28 Mr. Fernandez claims that he must
remain classified as a Security Risk Group Member for a year
before becoming eligible for return to the general
population. Compl. ¶ 26. The conditions in the housing
unit in which Mr. Fernandez has been confined since April
2016, allegedly are significantly more restrictive than the
conditions in general population. See Id. at
¶¶ 30-32. He specifically alleges that inmates in
administrative segregation are “denied all parole
opportunities” as well as access to “vocational,
educational, and job training programs.” Id.
at ¶ 30.
Official Capacity Claims
Fernandez seeks monetary damages and injunctive and
declaratory relief. To the extent that he seeks monetary
damages from Defendants in official capacities, those claims
are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985) (Eleventh Amendment, which
protects the state from suits for monetary relief, also
protects state officials sued for damages in their official
capacity); Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979)
(Section 1983 does not override a state's Eleventh
Amendment immunity). All claims for monetary damages against
the defendants in their official capacities are dismissed
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).