United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge
Alphonso Whipper is a prisoner in the custody of the
Connecticut Department of Correction. He has filed a
complaint pro se and in forma pauperis
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden Scott Erfe,
District Administrator Angel Quiros, Deputy Warden Amanda
Hannah,  Grievance Coordinator Selena Rious,
Captain James Watson, and Intelligence Officers Anna Verdura
and James Wright. After an initial review, I conclude that
the complaint should be dismissed as to defendants Erfe,
Hannah, Quiros, and Rious but proceed against defendants
Verdura, Wright, and Watson on plaintiff's claim of
unlawful retaliation in violation of his constitutional right
to maintain his innocence of a disciplinary charge.
following facts are alleged in the complaint and are accepted
as true only for purposes of this initial ruling. On November
21, 2016, plaintiff was summoned to the lieutenants'
office and informed by Lieutenant Correia of allegations that
he was involved in a physical altercation with another
inmate, Edwin Snelgrove. Plaintiff was also informed that as
the result of the allegations he was being placed in
restrictive housing. Plaintiff denied that he had been
involved in such an altercation. Doc. #1 at 3-4 (¶¶
Wright, who had escorted plaintiff to the office, began
recording the meeting with a camera. Wright instructed
plaintiff to remove his shirt, and plaintiff complied.
Plaintiff again denied being involved in the fight. Officer
Wright requested that plaintiff turn his right shoulder
toward the camera, and plaintiff stated that he believed
Wright was fabricating evidence. Wright replied, “I
know you were in a fight last week you're not going to
get away with it.” Plaintiff indicated that he had
played basketball twice in the previous week and that any
marks on his body likely resulted from his athletic
activities. Lieutenant Correia proceeded to place plaintiff
in a restrictive housing unit. Id. at 4
that day, medical personnel evaluated plaintiff and did not
note any injuries on his body. During the examination,
neither Lieutenant Correia nor Officer Wright informed the
medical personnel of any perceived injuries to plaintiff.
Ibid. (¶ 22).
was asked to write a statement about the alleged physical
altercation. Plaintiff complied and wrote that he had no
knowledge of the incident. To plaintiff's knowledge, both
he and Snelgrove were placed in restrictive housing on
administrative detention status pending the investigation.
Ibid. (¶¶ 23-24).
November 22, 2016, plaintiff met with disciplinary report
investigator Officer Cossette. Officers Verdura and Perrachio
were also present at the meeting. Officer Cossette expressed
surprise that plaintiff wanted to meet with him. When Officer
Cossette inquired about the altercation with Snelgrove,
plaintiff again denied any involvement. Officer Cossette
stated that both plaintiff and Snelgrove sustained eye
injuries. Plaintiff countered that his eyes always appear the
way they were shown in the photographs, and he requested that
Officer Cossette retrieve his ID photo, which he believed
would confirm his claim about the ordinary appearance of his
eyes. Id. at 5 (¶¶ 26-29).
Verdura told plaintiff that she knew about the fight and that
Warden Erfe was upset that no officer had reported the fight.
Plaintiff stated that there were no reports because the fight
had never occurred. Officer Perrachio stated that regardless
of whether there had in fact been a fight, plaintiff would
remain in administrative detention for 15 days. Officer
Verdura then showed plaintiff a picture of Snelgrove's
alleged eye injury, which plaintiff believes was inconsistent
with a punch to the eye area. Id. at 5-6
November 28, 2016, plaintiff received a disciplinary report
from Verdura for fighting. The report contained inaccurate
information, including: (1) a statement that the
investigation commenced on November 16, 2017, and (2) a photo
that allegedly depicts plaintiff's eye injury but in fact
depicts his typical appearance. Snelgrove also received a
disciplinary report for fighting, and both inmates pleaded
not guilty. Id. at 6 (¶¶ 34-36).
December 5, 2016, plaintiff received a summary report
dismissing the disciplinary report for a “lack of
evidence.” Snelgrove received the same dismissal
notification. Despite the dismissal, neither inmate was
released from their restrictive housing cells. Ibid.
December 6, 2016, Captain Watson asked plaintiff to submit a
written statement expressing that he and Snelgrove were not a
threat to one another, and plaintiff complied. That same day,
Snelgrove was released back into general population, but
plaintiff was kept in restrictive housing pending an
investigation into his “submitted profile
request.” Id. at 6-7 (¶¶ 37-40).
complained to Watson that it was unfair to release Snelgrove
back into the general population while keeping him in
restrictive housing. Watson explained that plaintiff had to
remain in segregated housing due to the premature submission
of a “profile request” that was based on the
assumption that both prisoners were going to plead guilty. To
correct this error, a new profile request had to be submitted
while plaintiff remained in restrictive housing. Plaintiff
explained that he would lose a semester of the college
program he was enrolled in to which Watson replied,
“Next time, keep your hands to yourself.”
Id. at 6-7 (¶¶ 40-43).
in restrictive housing, plaintiff submitted multiple written
requests to various senior officials at Cheshire
Correctional, including Warden Erfe, Deputy Warden Hannah,
and Grievance Coordinator Rious. He also informed Watson that
he intended to ...