United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [Doc. No.
18] AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO AMEND [Doc. Nos. 38 and
R. UNDERHILL, United States District Judge
Leach, currently confined at Garner Correctional Institution,
commenced this civil rights action pro se. The
defendants named in his amended complaint are Lieutenant
King, Counselor Domijan, Correctional Officer Peracchio, and
Peter Murphy. All defendants are named in their individual
and official capacities. Leach asserts a claim for denial of
due process in connection with the disciplinary report that
resulted in his designation as a Security Risk Group member
and confinement in the Security Risk Group Program. The
defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the case in part.
In addition to opposing the motion to dismiss, Leach has
filed two motions seeking leave to file a second amended
complaint. For the reasons that follow, the defendants'
motion is granted in part, and the
plaintiff's motions to amend are
Standard of Review
withstand a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Legal
conclusions and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements
of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, ” are not entitled to a presumption of
truth. Id. However, when deciding a motion to
dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept the
material facts alleged in the complaint as true, draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiffs, and decide
whether it is plausible that the plaintiff has a valid claim
for relief. Id. at 678-79 (2009); Bell Atl.
Corp., 550 U.S. at 555-56; Leeds v. Meltz, 85
F.3d 51, 53 (2d Cir. 1996).
following facts are taken from the operative first amended
complaint. In January 2016, Leach was housed in general
population at Cheshire Correctional Institution. First
Amended Complaint, Doc. No. 20, at 5. On January 15, 2016, he
was placed in the restrictive housing unit without any
written notification of the reasons for that placement.
Id. After seven days, he was issued a disciplinary
report by Correctional Officer Kelly and Lieutenant
Matuszozak. Id. at 6.
disciplinary report charged Leach with affiliation with the
Security Risk Group (“SRG”) Crips, and noted that
a month-long investigation had shown Leach to be the leader
of the Rollin 30 Crips. Id. Leach was found to have
used inmate phones to discuss gang-related business including
issues with rival gangs and the location of other active
Rollin 30 Crips members. Id. The disciplinary report
did not reference any physical evidence or witnesses.
February 2, 2016, Leach attended a disciplinary hearing
before Disciplinary Hearing Officer Lieutenant King.
Id. Leach was found guilty and returned to
restrictive housing pending transfer. After 17 days, Leach
was assigned to Administrative Segregation as an SRG member.
Id. Again, no notification of the reasons for the
placement was provided. Id. at 6-7. Leach alleges
that he will remain in the SRG Program for 24 months.
Id. at 7.
disciplinary hearing, Leach's advocate, defendant
Domijan, did not assist him in preparing and presenting a
defense, obtain a copy of any physical evidence that would be
presented at the hearing, obtain witness statements from
Leach's identified citizen witnesses, review the physical
evidence, request a continuance to enable Leach to obtain
witness statements, or review the recordings of Leach's
telephone calls. Id. at 7-8. The disciplinary
investigator, defendant Peracchio, refused to provide Leach a
copy of the evidence that would be presented at the hearing.
Id. at 8. Defendant King denied Leach's requests
for continuance to obtain witness statements and to review
the evidence against him. Id. at 8. Defendant King
also failed to provide Leach a written report of the evidence
supporting the guilty finding. Id.
appealed the guilty finding. Id. at 9. He argued
that the disciplinary report failed to allege sufficient
details to enable him to present an adequate defense and
identified all of the issues listed above. Id.
Defendant Murphy denied the disciplinary appeal. Id.
conditions in the SRG unit at MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution are different from the conditions in general
population. Id. at 10. Leach is permitted only three
showers per week; denied vocational, educational and job
training opportunities; denied use of a television or other
electronic items; denied some clothing items permitted to
general population inmates; confined in his cell 23 or 24
hours per day; denied all recreational opportunities for
meaningful exercise; denied congregate religious services;
required to wear restraints whenever he leaves his cell; and
denied all consideration for release on parole. Id.
defendants move to dismiss the amended complaint in part on
three grounds: (1) allegations regarding restrictive housing
placement at Cheshire Correctional Institution fail to state
a due process claim because the stay was too brief to
implicate a liberty interest; (2) all claims for injunctive
relief are too broad and relate to conditions at a different
correctional facility from the one in which Leach currently
is confined; and (3) the Eleventh Amendment bars Leach's
claims for declaratory relief. Mem. of Law Supp. Def's
Motion to Dismiss, Doc. No. 28-2, at 1. Leach has filed an
objection to the motion to dismiss (Doc. No. 41) as well as
two motions to file a second amended complaint (Doc. Nos. 38,