United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ticey Hayes is a pre-trial detainee in the custody of the
Connecticut Department of Correction at MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution. Proceeding pro se, on
October 19, 2018, he filed a civil complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against six prison officials, all in their
individual and official capacities: Director of Security
Antonio Santiago, SRG Coordinator John Aldi, Lieutenant J.
Russell, Hearing Officer King, District Administrator Edward
Maldonado, and Warden Mulligan. Hayes claims that the
defendants have unconstitutionally subjected him to solitary
confinement. For the reasons I explain below, I will allow
Hayes's claims to proceed at this time.
following facts are alleged in the amended complaint and are
accepted as true only for purposes of this initial review
ruling. On July 23, 2018, Hayes was incarcerated as a
pretrial detainee at New Haven Correctional Center. Doc. #1
at 5, 8 (¶¶ 1, 32). On July 25, Lieutenant Russell
brought him to restrictive housing pending the determination
of Hayes's security risk group (SRG) affiliation, and
stated that he did so because of Hayes's social media
posts. Id. at 5 (¶ 2), 9 (¶ 1). The
following day Hayes went to a hearing for his SRG
determination. Id. at 5 (¶ 3). At the hearing,
Hearing Officer King did not give Hayes a chance to make a
plea or be heard, and despite Hayes not being a gang member,
designated Hayes as a security risk based on Hayes's
social media posts. Id. at 6 (¶¶ 4-5, 10),
9 (¶ 2).
Hayes was designated a security risk, he was sent to
MacDougall-Walker's Phase Two Unit. Id. at 7
(¶ 11). There, he spends 23 hours per day in a small
cell, and the entire day on weekends. Ibid. (¶
15). When he is allowed recreation time, the only option is
to go outside, even during inclement weather. Ibid.
(¶¶ 19-21). He is only allowed three showers per
week, in dirty water where blood and feces are present.
Ibid. (¶ 12, 23). He has no access to the
television, CD player, or hotpot that he bought from the
commissary, and consequently cannot heat the cold water in
his cell to prepare food. Ibid. (¶¶ 14,
18). He has no access to religious or educational
programming, and is limited to three telephone calls per week
to immediate family, rather than the six calls per day to
unrestricted recipients he would be allowed in the general
population. Id. at 7-8 (¶¶ 16-17, 24).
Only immediate family members may visit. Id. at 8
(¶ 35). Gang members in the housing unit threaten to
kill him, and prison officials have done nothing to stop that
behavior. Ibid. (¶¶ 26-27, 30).
to Hayes, because he has been previously designated to and
finished the SRG program successfully, he now faces two more
years of SRG designation before he can “go to
population.” Ibid. (¶¶ 6-7). Hayes
alleges that he will be required to remain in his solitary
conditions for five months before he may progress to the next
phase. Ibid. (¶ 34).
28, 2018, Hayes filed an appeal challenging his designation.
Id. at 15. District Administrator Maldonado denied
the appeal on August 10, 2018. Id. at 14. Hayes then
sued the defendants in this action, alleging that Russell had
unconstitutionally placed him segregation based on his social
media posts, that King had denied Hayes a hearing and
designated him a security risk based on his social media
posts, that Maldonado had denied his appeal, and that Aldi
and Santiago were liable as the supervisors of Russell, King,
and Maldonado. Id. at 9-10 (¶¶ 1-4). Hayes
also alleges that Warden Mulligan has overseen what Hayes
alleges are unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Id. at 11 (¶ 5). I will allow his claims
against each of these defendants to proceed without prejudice
to the right of any defendant to timely file a motion to
dismiss or for other relief.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a
prisoner's civil complaint against a governmental entity
or governmental actors and “identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint-(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” If the prisoner is proceeding pro se,
the allegations of the complaint must be read liberally to
raise the strongest arguments that they suggest. See
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010).
recent years, the Supreme Court has set forth a threshold
“plausibility” pleading standard for courts to
evaluate the adequacy of allegations in federal court
complaints. A complaint must allege enough facts-as distinct
from legal conclusions-that give rise to plausible grounds
for relief. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Notwithstanding the
rule of liberal interpretation of a pro se
complaint, a pro se complaint may not survive
dismissal if its factual allegations do not meet the basic
plausibility standard. See, e.g., Fowlkes v.
Ironworkers Local 40, 790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015).
process claims against Russell and King
alleges a claim for violation of his Fifth and Fourteenth
Amendment due process rights against Russell and King. Doc.
#1 at 9 (¶¶ 1-2). Because Hayes is in state custody
and Russell and King are state officers, I will construe this
as a claim only under the Fourteenth Amendment.
“[P]rocedural due process requires that pretrial
detainees can only be subjected to segregation or other
heightened restraints if a pre-deprivation hearing is held to
determine whether any rule has been violated.”
Johnston v. Maha, 606 F.3d 39, 41 (2d Cir. 2010).
Liberty restrictions on a pretrial detainee may not amount to
punishment of the detainee, and a pretrial detainee who is
placed in segregation for administrative or security reasons
is entitled to some notice of the charges against him and an
opportunity to present his views. See Benjamin v.
Fraser, 264 F.3d 175, 188, 190 (2d Cir. 2001) (citing
Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979), and Hewitt
v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460 (1983)). In addition, substantive
due process requires that restrictions on pre-trial detainees
be reasonably related to a legitimate goal. See Almighty
Supreme Born Allah v. Milling, 876 F.3d 48, 55 (2d Cir.
Hayes's segregation is purely administrative, he
nonetheless sufficiently states a claim at this preliminary
stage of the litigation. While Hayes indicates that he was
told the reason for his segregation-his social media posts
allegedly indicating an affiliation with the gang known as
the Bloods, see Doc. #1 at 14-he also alleges that
at the hearing, he was not allowed to make a plea, Doc. # 1
at 6 (¶ 4), present his side of the story, id.
at 9 (¶ 2), or challenge the accusations against him.
Ibid. Taken as true and construed most favorably to
Hayes's claim, Hayes has alleged that he was placed by
Russell into restrictive housing and not afforded an
opportunity to present his views at the hearing in front of
King-and thus that his detention violates procedural due
process. These allegations suffice at this time to state a
claim against both Russell and King.
Amendment retaliation claims against ...