United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge.
David Tuttle has filed this pro se complaint that
principally alleges that he was denied access to the courts
and faced harassment and retaliation for filing grievances
and complaints against various prison officials. After an
initial review, I conclude that the complaint should proceed
on plaintiff's retaliation claim against Officer Johnson
and be dismissed as to the remaining defendants and claims.
has filed this lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of
Correction's Commissioner Scott Semple, Warden William
Faneuff, District Administrator Edward Maldonado, Counselor
Supervisor Davis, Counselor Magiafico, and Correction Officer
was originally convicted and sentenced in Massachusetts
before being transferred in 2012 to Connecticut in accordance
with an arrangement under an interstate corrections compact.
In late January 2017, he was transferred from the Corrigan
Correctional Institution to Northern Correctional Institution
(NCI) as a result of an adverse decision in a disciplinary
hearing. On January 16, 2018, plaintiff filed a notice of
change of address to a jail facility in Massachusetts. The
allegations of this complaint relate solely to the treatment
he received while at NCI.
plaintiff was housed in NCI, Counselor Magiafico and
Counselor Supervisor Davis confiscated his legal papers and
refused to provide him with photocopies, writing paper, and
legal envelopes. Plaintiff composed three legal motions
related to his post-convictions proceedings in Massachusetts.
On March 24, 2017, he gave those motions to Counselor
Magiafico and asked that they be photocopied. Magiafico
denied plaintiff's request and never returned his written
motions. Thereafter, plaintiff rewrote all three motions. On
March 30, he again asked Magiafico to photocopy them and
requested legal envelopes. Once again, Magiafico confiscated
the papers and refused plaintiff's requests for
photocopies or legal envelopes. After his papers were
confiscated for the second time, plaintiff filed several
complaints, request forms, and letters to Warden Faneuff,
Officer Johnson, and Commissioner Semple regarding
Magiafico's behavior. Most of these complaints were
ignored. Doc. #1 at 5-7 (¶¶ 12-16).
24, 2017, plaintiff requested legal envelopes and photocopies
of other legal motions, letters, and court transcripts that
he intended to send to the Superior Court in Springfield,
Massachusetts. His papers were never returned, and he was
“denied” by Counselor Supervisor Davis. Plaintiff
then filed two administrative grievances against Counselor
Magiafico and Counselor Supervisor Davis, claiming that they
were denying him legal envelopes and photocopies of legal
papers, confiscating his legal papers, and preventing him
from accessing the Massachusetts courts. Warden Faneuff
denied both grievances. Plaintiff filed two appeals to
District Administrator Maldonado, both of which were denied.
Since April 2017, plaintiff has filed approximately eleven
grievance appeals. Officer Johnson, the grievance
coordinator, interfered and presented deliberately presented
false and misleading information and prevented most of the
grievances from being processed. Id. at 7-8
22, 2017, plaintiff again gave Counselor Magiafico legal
paperwork to photocopy. Counselor Magiafico denied
plaintiff's request and did not return the original
documents. Plaintiff filed another grievance against
Magiafico on August 15, 2017, for staff misconduct,
harassment, retaliation, and denial of access to the courts.
Warden Faneuff denied the grievance, and the appeal was also
denied. Id. at 8-9 (¶¶ 21-23).
explained to Counselor Supervisor Davis on several occasions
that she must make photocopies of his legal paperwork because
they were required to support his legal motions, legal
pleadings, and appeals to the Freedom of Information
Commission. He also wrote letters to Davis, Semple, Faneuff,
and Magiafico explaining that he had pending post-conviction
criminal matters in Massachusetts and that he needed access
to legal envelopes, law books, and photocopying. Defendants
told him to contact the Inmate Legal Aid Program for
assistance. Plaintiff explained to those defendants that the
Inmate Legal Aid Program does not assist inmates with
criminal matters and that their actions were violating the
Interstate Corrections Compact between Massachusetts and
Connecticut. As a result of all of the defendants'
actions, plaintiff “lost any chance he had of even
being able to file his three post-conviction motions in a
timely manner, and [he] suffered actual injury.”
Id. at 9-10 (¶¶ 24-28).
asked Officer Johnson for copies of grievances that he had
filed while housed at Corrigan Correctional Institution that
he believed were not responded to within the proper time
frame. Officer Johnson refused to send him copies and claimed
that all his grievances were acted upon, responded to, and
had already been given to plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that
these claims were false. Plaintiff therefore lacked the
necessary attachments required to file administrative
appeals, and Officer Johnson refused to process the appeals.
This, in turn, prevented plaintiff from exhausting his
administrative remedies as to those appeals. Id. at
11 (¶¶ 30-32).
filed several grievances, and Officer Johnson did not provide
plaintiff with the receipts or return the original paperwork
or provide copies of the paperwork or supporting attachments.
Plaintiff sent letters to Semple, Faneuff, and Maldonado
about Johnson's behavior, but they never took any action
in response. Id. at 12 (¶¶ 33-34).
8, 2017, Officer Johnson entered plaintiff's cell while
plaintiff was in the shower and confiscated several legal
motions and letters. Plaintiff submitted an inmate request
form to the unit manager explaining what Johnson had done.
The unit manager responded several days later stating that
plaintiff's claim could not be substantiated. Plaintiff
also filed a grievance against Johnson, but Warden Faneuff
denied the grievance and stated that Johnson did not remove
anything from plaintiff's cell. Administrator Maldonado
subsequently denied plaintiff's appeal from Faneuff's
decision. Id. at 12-13 (¶¶ 35-38).
3, 2017, Johnson returned to plaintiff's cell and
attempted to push some papers through his cell door. He told
plaintiff that if he filed any more grievances he was going
to throw them in the trash and make sure that plaintiff did
not get any receipts for them. On August 22, 2017, Johnson
once again entered plaintiff's cell while plaintiff was
showering and stole a pair of headphones and several copies
of grievances and legal letters. Plaintiff filed a request
form and a grievance but never received a response. He
believes that Semple, ...