United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Michael P. Shea, United States District Judge.
Francisco Olivencia, currently incarcerated at the Bridgeport
Correctional Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, filed this
case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He contends that the
defendants were deliberately indifferent to his safety in
violation of the Eighth Amendment and compelled him to
provide information in violation of the First Amendment. The
plaintiff seeks damages from the defendants in their
individual capacities and injunctive relief from them in
their official capacities.
Court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any
portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This requirement
applies to all prisoner filings regardless whether the
prisoner pays the filing fee. Nicholson v.
Lenczewski, 356 F.Supp.2d 157, 159 (D. Conn. 2005)
(citing Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115 (2d Cir. 1999)
(per curiam)). Here, the plaintiff is proceeding in forma
detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must
include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice
of the claims and the grounds upon which they are based and
to demonstrate a plausible right to relief. Bell Atlantic
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory
allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
plaintiff is a 27-year old inmate serving a sentence for
nonviolent offenses. ECF No. 20, ¶ 8. The Department of
Correction has a policy or practice of selecting inmates
believed able to provide information useful in investigating
suspected violations of prison rules by other inmates.
Id., ¶ 21. Correctional officials promise the
selected informants special benefits in exchange for
information and threaten them with sanctions if the inmates
do not provide information. Id. Correctional
officials promise that any information provided will be kept
confidential and promise to protect the informants from harm
by other inmates. Id., ¶ 22. Correctional
officials are aware that inmates thought to be snitches are
at a severe risk of serious injury by other inmates.
Id., ¶ 23. The practice is implemented through
the Special Intelligence Unit of the Department of
Correction. Id., ¶ 25. The meetings with the
informants are not recorded or otherwise documented.
Id., ¶ 24. The designation of an inmate as an
informant and information about investigations the informant
is assisting with are shared with officers at other
correctional facilities. Id., ¶ 26.
August 19, 2016, the plaintiff was admitted to Bridgeport
Correctional Center and designated as affiliated with the
Security Risk Group (“SRG”) “Bloods.”
He was housed in a Restrictive Housing Unit
(“RHU”) for SRG members. Id.,
¶¶ 27-28. SRG units are known to be dangerous areas
of any prison because the inmates housed there are actual or
suspected SRG members. Id., ¶ 29.
early September 2016, Officer Pappusha and another officer
told the plaintiff that his SRG affiliation and, therefore,
his confinement in RHU would be rescinded if the plaintiff
became an informant for the Department of Correction.
Id., ¶ 30. Officer Pappusha told the plaintiff
that he would remain in RHU unless he agreed. He did not
explain the dangers in becoming an informant but did promise
that any information the plaintiff provided would remain
confidential. Id., ¶ 31. Officer Pappusha gave
the plaintiff a special PIN to enable the plaintiff to
contact him directly by phone to relay confidential
information. Id., ¶ 32. The plaintiff provided
confidential information about drug and tattoo activity.
Id., ¶ 33.
February 17, 2017, the plaintiff was transferred to Cheshire
Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”). Upon his
arrival, he was called to an administrative office where he
was confronted by Officers Boyd, Perruchio, Kelly, Vargas,
and others. Id., ¶ 34. Officers Boyd,
Perruchio, Kelly, and Vargas gave the plaintiff a new PIN so
he could contact them with confidential information.
Id., ¶ 35. They told the plaintiff that he had
not provided sufficient information to date and threatened to
send him back to RHU and re-affiliate him as an SRG member if
he did not provide additional confidential information.
Id., ¶ 36. The plaintiff had committed no other
actions that would warrant the threatened sanctions.
Id., ¶ 37. Officers Boyd, Perruchio, Kelly, and
Vargas understood that the plaintiff would be at serious risk
of severe injury from other inmates if they returned him to
RHU after they had obtained confidential information, or were
thought to have obtained confidential information, from the
plaintiff. Id., ¶ 38.
providing confidential information, the plaintiff noticed
that other inmates at Cheshire suspected that he was an
informant and realized that his safety was in danger.
Id., ¶ 39. The plaintiff told Officer Vargas
and others that he did not feel safe acting as an informant.
Officer Vargas ignored him. He told the plaintiff not to
report his fears and implied that, if he did, the plaintiff
would be sent back to RHU where he would be injured by other
inmates. Id., ¶ 40.
Boyd called the plaintiff to speak with him in the medical
unit. Officer Boyd asked the plaintiff why he had not
produced sufficient information implicating other inmates.
The plaintiff said he had nothing to report. Id.,
¶ 41. Officer Boyd told the plaintiff to fabricate
evidence if he had no actual evidence to report. He implied
that if the plaintiff did not provide sufficient information,
he and the other officers would identify the plaintiff as a
snitch in front of other inmates, thereby endangering his
safety. Id., ¶ 42.
Kelly and Perruchio had the plaintiff moved to South 4 unit,
even though they knew that inmates against whom the plaintiff
had previously informed were housed in that unit.
Id., ¶ 43. The inmates in South 4 suspected
that the plaintiff was an informant. Officers Kelly and
Perruchio knew or should have known this. Id.,
¶ 44. Even so, Officers Kelly and Perruchio told the
plaintiff to continue acting as an informant. Id.,
plaintiff thought that one particular inmate in South 4
believed he was a snitch. The plaintiff feared for his
safety. When the plaintiff reported his fear of violence to
Officer Perruchio, the other inmate was moved to a different
housing unit. This action ensured that the inmates remaining
in the housing unit would assume that the plaintiff had
reported the other inmate to correctional officials.
Id., ¶ 46. Inmates at Cheshire put a
“green light” out for the plaintiff, meaning they
invited other inmates to physically assault him.
Id., ¶ 47. The plaintiff reported the green
light to Officer Boyd. The plaintiff was transferred to
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution on August 11,
2017, but was returned to Cheshire on September 29, 2017.
Id., ¶ 49.
his return, Officer Boyd ordered the plaintiff to continue
providing confidential information about other inmates. He
ignored the plaintiff's statements that he feared for his
safety if he continued as an informant. Id., ¶
50. Inmates at Cheshire put a second green light out on the
plaintiff. Id., ¶ 51. In early November 2017,