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Campbell v. Quiros

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 21, 2018

JESSE CAMPBELL, III, Plaintiff,
v.
ANGEL QUIROS, SCOTT SEMPLE, WILLIAM MULLIGAN, WARDEN FANEUFF, GREGORIO ROBLES, CHERYL CAPELAK, AND MONICA RINALDI, Defendants.

          ORDER AMENDING INITIAL REVIEW ORDER [DOC. 12]

          Charles S. Haight, Jr. Senior United States District Judge.

         This Court, by its Initial Review Order ("IRO") [Doc. 12], completed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915a, allowed certain of the constitutional civil rights claims made by pro se Plaintiff Jesse Campbell III in his Complaint [Doc. 1] to move forward against all Defendants, in their individual and official capacities. On April 19, 2018, the Court entered, sua sponte, an Order [Doc. 23] directing the Parties to respond as to the impact of Plaintiff's resentencing[1] on this matter. Familiarity with the IRO and the April 19 Order is assumed.

         Plaintiff and Defendants have filed responses[2] regarding the impact of the resentencing, and I will now evaluate the effect of Plaintiff's resentencing on his claims in this Court. See Pl. Resp., Doc. 26; Defs.' Am. Resp., Doc. 28.

         Plaintiff represents that his resentencing has mooted two aspects of his claims: 1) his Fourteenth Amendment due process claim as to the continued application of the out-of-cell restraint policy on his person, because, following resentencing, that policy is not longer applied to him; and 2) his Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim as to the imposition of the out-of-cell restraint policy on the class of death row prisoners who have yet to be resentenced, because, following his resentencing, he is no longer a member of that class. See Pl.'s Resp. at 4, 6.

         "Defendants agree with Plaintiff that his Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim as to the imposition of the out-of-cell restraint policy on the class of death row prisoners who have yet to be resentenced is moot."[3] Defs.' Am. Resp. at 2. Additionally, Defendants assert that:

Plaintiff's resentencing also has the effect of rendering moot his claim for prospective relief arising from his equal protection claim related to employment. Since plaintiff is no longer a member of the class of death row inmates, no equal protection claim based on membership in that class can form the basis of prospective relief.

Id. at 3. Defendants represent that "Plaintiff's resentencing does not otherwise directly impact the remaining claims."[4] Id. at 6.

         Defendants' Amended Response mis-characterizes Plaintiff's equal protection claim as to access to prison employment. Prior to Plaintiff's resentencing, this Court found:

As to access to prison employment, Campbell does not state a plausible claim for a class-based equal protection violation against the purported class of death row prisoners who have yet to be resentenced. . . . Where both resentenced former death row inmates (Peeler, Cobb, and Reynolds) and an inmate still awaiting resentencing (Rizzo) have been afforded the employment Plaintiff claims to have been denied, there is no plausible claim that the alleged denial is based on Plaintiff's membership in the class of death row inmates awaiting resentencing.

         IRO, Doc. 12, at 10-11 (emphasis added). However, Plaintiff did state an equal protection claim as to denial of prison employment, on a class-of-one theory. Id. at 12-13.

         Under a class-of-one theory, a plaintiff must allege that "she [or he] has been intentionally treated differently from others similarly situated and that there is no rational basis for the difference in treatment." Vill. of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 564 (2000). The plaintiff must allege an "extremely high degree of similarity" with the person to whom he is comparing himself. Clubside, Inc. v. Valentin, 468 F.3d 144, 159 (2d Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). "Generally, whether parties are similarly situated is a fact-intensive inquiry." Id. (citing Harlen Assocs. v. Inc. Vill. of Mineola, 273 F.3d 494, 499 n. 2 (2d Cir. 2001).

         This Court's IRO concluded that Plaintiff had adequately stated an equal protection claim on a class-of-one theory, based, in part, on a comparison to death row inmate Todd Joseph Rizzo, who, like Plaintiff (at that time), had yet to be resentenced. IRO at 10-13.

         Plaintiff's post-resentencing Response argues that:

The Plaintiff's resentencing has not affected his Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim [as to lack of employment] because the Plaintiff has been sentenced, and placed on life with special circumstances where former death row prisoners Richard Reynolds and Daniel Webb have jobs (Richard Reynolds is the barber and Daniel Webb is the librarian)[.] Plaintiff doesn't have a job even though ...

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