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Williams v. Ford

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 30, 2018

LESLIE WILLIAMS Plaintiff,
v.
WALTER FORD, et al., Defendants

          RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Leslie Williams filed this action pro se under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging violations of his constitutional rights in relation to his placement in Administrative Segregation. Earlier, this Court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment, holding that this case will proceed to trial on the due process claim against Defendants Roche and Green based on the duration of Mr. Williams' stay in Administrative Detention and the lack of review, and dismissing other claims and defendants.

         Both parties now move for reconsideration of the Court's order. For the reasons stated below, both motions are DENIED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations[1]

         Serving a life sentence and currently confined in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Corrections, Defs. L. R. 56(a) Stmt. ¶¶ 1-2, ECF No. 47-2, Mr. Williams alleges that Defendants violated his constitutional rights when he was placed in Administrative Segregation, after he allegedly handed a drawing and love poem to a nurse. Id.¶¶ 7, 20.

         Administrative Segregation is a restrictive status, appropriate “[f]or the investigation of an allegation or information involving the inmate in the commission of a crime, or of activities jeopardizing the security of the facility or the safety of staff or inmates that could result in placement on punitive or administrative segregation or transfer to high security.” See Conn. Dep't of Corr. Admin. Directive 9.4(3)(B)(2), effective June 16, 2016. Under Department of Correction policies in place at the time, prison officials could authorize placement in Administrative Detention for up to fourteen days or pending a hearing. See Conn. Dep't of Corr. Admin. Directive 9.4, Att. B, effective June 16, 2016. Prison officials were supposed to conduct periodic reviews “every 72 hours by the Unit Administrator or designee . . . .” Id. Mr. Williams was placed in Administrative Segregation on February 7, 2013, where he remained until February 27, 2013. Defs.' L.R. 56(a) Stmt. ¶ 31.

         B. Procedural History

         Mr. Williams filed the initial Complaint in this matter pro se on August 14, 2014. See Compl., ECF No. 1. He then filed an Amended Complaint, asserting sixteen federal and state law claims against Defendants. See Amend. Compl., ECF No. 8. Defendants then moved to dismiss. ECF No. 27.

         The Court granted Defendants' motion in part and denied it in part. See Ruling on Defs. Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 34. The Court noted that several claims had previously been dismissed in its Initial Review Order, ECF No. 7. The Court granted the motion in part and dismissed several claims, but it allowed the case to proceed on Mr. Williams' procedural due process and retaliation claim against Defendants Roche, Green and Beaulieu, his claim of unconstitutional conditions of confinement against Defendant Green, and his excessive punishment against Defendants Ford, Roche and Green. Id. at 20.

         Defendants then moved for summary judgment. They argued that Mr. Williams failed to exhaust his institutional remedies, and that he had failed to state cognizable claims under the First, Eighth, or Fourteenth Amendments. See Summ. J. Ruling at 7. Mr. Williams filed a response. Pl. Resp., ECF No. 50.

         Based on the issues raised in the Defendants' motion, the Court directed the parties to submit supplemental briefing addressing whether Mr. Williams “had exhausted his administrative remedies with regard to any of the remaining claims, including whether he appealed the Prison's decision that his Level 2 grievance was ‘compromised.'” Order re: Exhaustion at 5, ECF No. 54. Defendants responded that Mr. Williams failed to exhaust his administrative remedies for his retaliation and conditions of confinement claims, which they had not previously addressed. Defs. Resp. to Court's Order re Exhaustion, ECF No. 55. Mr. Williams did not file a response.

         The Court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment in part, holding that Mr. Williams had failed to exhaust his First and Eighth Amendment claims, but that he had exhausted his due process claim. Summ. J. Ruling at 1. The Court also dismissed Defendants Beaulieu and Ford from the case. Id. at 15-16. The Court therefore concluded that “[t]he case will proceed to trial on the due process claim against Defendants Roche and Green based on the duration of Mr. Williams' stay in Administrative Detention and the lack of review.” Id. at 18. The Court also granted Mr. Williams' motion for appointment of pro bono counsel. Id. 18-19.

         Mr. Williams then filed an interlocutory appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Notice of Interlocutory Appeal, ECF No. 58. Fifteen days after the ruling, Defendants moved for the Court to reconsider its ruling with regard to exhaustion. Defs. Mot. for Reconsideration (“Defs. Mot.”), ECF No. 60. The Second Circuit dismissed Mr. Williams's appeal as improper, Mandate, ECF ...


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