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Silva v. Canarozzi

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

April 15, 2019

GERALD J. SILVA, Plaintiff,
M. CANAROZZI, et al., Defendants.


          Michael P. Shea United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Gerald J. Silva, currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, filed this case under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics. 403 U.S. 388 (1971), against seven defendants: Counselor M. Canarozzi, Counselor G. Hornkohl, Case Manager J. Draper, Unit Manager S. Moore, Warden D.K. Williams, Regional Director Michael Carvajal, and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Mark S. Inch. Silva contends that the defendants discriminated and retaliated against him, denied him due process, and defamed him. He seeks damages and injunctive relief from the defendants in their individual and official capacities. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).

         I. Legal Standard

         The 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, Silva paid the filing fee.

         Although 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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The Court must construe pro se pleadings liberally, Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009), and interpret them to raise the “strongest arguments that they suggest.” Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 472 (2d Cir. 2006). To plead a cognizable legal claim, however, a pro se plaintiff must meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 515 (2d Cir. 2013) (“[A] pro se complaint must state a plausible claim for relief.”) (citing Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 73 (2d Cir. 2009)).

         II. Allegations in the Complaint

         On February 27, 2018, defendant Canarozzi filed a false incident report stating that the plaintiff had installed a curtain on his bed. The curtain had been installed by another inmate on a bed that was not assigned to Silva. ECF No. 1, ¶ 1. Defendant Canarozzi falsely stated in the report that he previously had counseled the plaintiff twice about the curtain. Id., ¶ 2. Silva considers the report defamatory-“a permanent ‘black mark' on [his] otherwise stellar prison record and personal reputation.” Id., ¶ 3.

         Defendants Hornkohl and Draper reviewed the report with Silva the following day. He presented his evidence that the report was false. Id., ¶ 4. Defendants Hornkohl and Draper did not agree with his arguments and sanctioned him with loss of commissary privileges. Id., ¶ 6. Defendants Hornkohl and Draper did not investigate the charges. Silva contends that they were negligent and biased against him. Id., ¶ 7.

         Defendant Moore reviewed the incident report and sanctions without investigating. Id., ¶ 9. She did not meet or communicate with the plaintiff before making her decision. Id., ¶ 10. Silva exhausted his administrative remedies by appealing the disciplinary charge to the warden, Regional Office, and Central Office. Id., ¶ 12.

         Following this incident, “the administration” retaliated against the plaintiff. He was subjected to unnecessary and unwarranted urine screenings. One screening was conducted at 4:00 a.m. on June 14, 2018. The plaintiff was awakened from a deep sleep causing the return of “severe medical symptoms.” Id., ¶ 15. The plaintiff characterizes these actions as medical abuse in addition to retaliation. Id., ¶ 16.

         Although many inmates were hanging temporary partitions, including complete bed enclosures, when the incident report was filed and continue to do so, defendant Canarozzi did not discipline any other inmate. Id., ¶ 17. Because another inmate continued to hang partitions near the plaintiff's bed, the plaintiff stopped using his bed for personal and medical purposes. Id., ¶ 20. This interfered with the plaintiff's “self-care plans for chronic medical issues.” Id., ¶ 21.

         III. Discussion

         A. Money Damages

         Plaintiff filed this action under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Bivens permits suits against federal officials for certain constitutional violations in their individual capacities for money damages. See FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 485-86 (1994) (Bivens authorized lawsuits for monetary damages against federal officials in their individual capacities only); Caraveo v. U.S. Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n, 96 Fed.Appx. 738, 740 (2d Cir. 2004) (“Bivens actions, however, do not lie against . . . federal employees sued in their official capacities.”). Bivens allows suits only against officials who personally commit conduct proscribed by the ...

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