United States District Court, D. Connecticut
KEVIN W. CURRYTTO, Plaintiff,
DOE, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff Kevin Currytto is a sentenced prisoner in the
custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction. He has
filed this action pro se and in forma
pauperis alleging that prison officials were
deliberately indifferent to his nutritional needs,
discriminated against him on the basis of his disabilities,
and retaliated against him for attempting to protect his
an initial review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court
concludes that Currytto's claims for a violation of the
Eighth Amendment, the First Amendment, the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Rehabilitation Act,
and state law negligence may proceed against some of the
is incarcerated at Osborn Correctional Institution. He has
amended his complaint several times. See Docs. #14,
#16, #18, #21, and #23. The operative complaint now names the
Connecticut Department of Correction (“the
Department”) and 37 corrections officials in their
individual and official capacities: Commissioner Scott
Semple, Wardens Fanueff and Wright, Counselor Supervisors
Long and Derby, Captains Chapdelaine and Manning, Lieutenants
Grimaldi and Maeli, District Administrator Angel Quiros,
Officers Nothie, Horn, Talaga, Eason, Acanto, Moore, Peart,
Morgenstein, Sanchez, Williams, Cyr, Grant, and Murphy, and
social worker Matthew Clarke, along with four John Doe
lieutenants, one John Doe warden, seven John Doe officers,
and one John Doe captain. Doc. #23. Currytto seeks damages
and injunctive relief. Id. at 7, 53.
following facts as alleged in the operative complaint are
accepted as true only for purposes of this ruling. On
September 26, 2017, Currytto was transferred to Osborn
Correctional Institution and placed in the “G”
block mental health unit (MHU). Doc. #23 at 9. Currytto
suffers from a delusional disorder,
schizoaffective-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and a
substance abuse disorder. Id. at 9-10, 68 (medical
records). He remained in MHU until December 27, 2017, when he
was transferred to the general population unit and then to
the addiction services unit, called “J” unit. He
was transferred out of J unit temporarily due to discipline
issues, then returned to the unit on June 16, 2018.
Id. at 31-32. J unit is designed to “promot[e]
change through a highly structured and disciplined
framework, ” and requires a higher level of compliance
from inmates than other units. Id. at 34-35.
in MHU and then in J unit, Currytto was given less than five
minutes to eat most of his meals. From September 27 to
November 11, 2017, MHU was the last unit to enter the dining
hall, and Currytto and other inmates in the unit were allowed
only five minutes to eat their lunch and dinner. Id.
at 29. This policy for inmates on the MHU was
“corrected” by the defendants on November 11,
2017. Id. at 30. Yet again from June 16 to October
24, 2018, while he was in the J Unit, Currytto's unit ate
last and he was again subject to a policy that allowed him
only a few minutes to eat lunch and dinner. Id. at
35. Being last to eat meant that he and the other inmates in
his unit had only 2-5 minutes “to be served, seated and
completed with [a] meal” before defendants called
“mass movement” and began ushering inmates out of
the dining hall. Id. at 42; see also Id. at
63-65 (declarations from two other inmates in J unit
regarding mealtime practices). Currytto alleges that this
“kickout” policy resulted in him regularly having
to throw away unfinished meals. Ibid.; see also
id. at 12, 17. Currytto successfully lobbied for the
kickout practice to end when he was housed in MHU, only to
find that J unit had simply been swapped into the last place
meal slot. Id. at 29-30, 32, 41.
has no upper or lower molars in his mouth and cannot eat
quickly due to a choking hazard. Id. at 29; see
also Id. at 67 (dental records showing missing teeth).
Having so little time to eat prevented him from finishing his
food and deprived him of adequate nutrition. Id. at
30, 43. He “experienced weight loss, fatigue,
dizziness, hunger pains, [and] sleeplessness.”
Id. at 31. The situation also caused him to develop
digestive problems that require medication. The digestion
problem “creates pain at his heart” and
“aggravates his mental disability by creating
delusional thinking about what['s] going on with his
body.” Id. at 43. Having to eat so
quickly also increased his anxiety. Id. at 45. On
January 31, 2018, in between Currytto's time in MHU and J
Unit, the prison doctor put him on a high calorie/high
protein diet “to address his weight loss issues.”
Id. at 31.
alleges that Osborn's inmate handbook instructs inmates
that “you will have 20 minutes to eat your meal,
” but that defendants “do not follow the[i]r own
dining hall regulations.” Id. at 36; see
also id. at 10. In allowing less time, Currytto alleges
that the defendants are driven by self-interest,
indifference, and/or gross negligence. Ibid. They
“are attempting to cycle through housing units at
dining hall in less time than the duty of feeding the
population requires” in order to “ease the
workday/shift/duty requirement of feeding the inmate
population.” Id. at 44. Defendants
“purposely placed the MHU with plaintiff as the last
housing unit to be released for chow to the dining hall due
to the fact that the MHU's population is disabled . . .
manageable, yielding, malleable, decomposed, [and]
deteriorated.” Id. at 13. Inmates in J unit
were also an easy target for being forced to eat last. They
are more compliant than inmates in other units because J unit
has an enhanced rule structure and “it is easy to be
removed from [the unit] due to non-compliance.”
Id. at 40.
Murphy, Grant, Morgenstein, Cyr, Peart, Sanchez, Nothie,
Horn, Talaga, and John Doe Officers were posted in the dining
hall and monitored inmates' meals, on a rotating basis
according to duty assignments. Id. at 10-11, 23,
35-36. Grimaldi, Manning, Chapdelaine, Maeli, and/or John Doe
Lieutenants were posted in the hallway outside the dining
hall door, supervising the officers within. Id. at
11, 35-36. The officials stationed outside the door would
“open security door and signal for inmate population
within dining hall to ‘mass move, '”
signaling the end of the meal, at which point the officers
within would begin ushering inmates out of the dining hall.
Id. at 11-12. “These defendants supervise or
functionally operate” the meal procedures, including
the feeding of inmates and the timing of the end of the meal.
Id. at 36. Currytto alleges that Wright and Quiros
were “on notice of the dining hall issue . . . and
failed to make necessary adjustments.” Id. at
34, 41. Between May and July 2018, Currytto saw them
observing dining hall operations through the window.
Id. at 34.
in other units were not subjected to the kickout practice.
While Currytto “attempt[ed] to eat his meal in 2-5
minutes, ” “[o]ther housing units in dining hall
are given adequate time to complete meals, have eaten,
socialized, deposited empty trays at scullery, returned to
tables and are awaiting for the security door to open”
signaling the end of the meal. Id. at 43-44. Other
units get “15 minutes or more” to eat,
ibid, but Currytto was deprived of the benefits
“of the nutritional program offered to the inmate
population because of his mental disability, impairment, and
housing in a mental health unit.”
Id. at 21. Currytto also alleges that MHU inmates
were forced to wear a “half light blue/half pink
identification badge” that is “designed to
indicate that the wearer of the badge/I.D. is
‘off,' ‘impaired,' [and]
‘disabled.'” Id. at 26-27.
alleges that he made several attempts to stop the kickout
practice and was retaliated against for doing so.
Id. at 7. On October 12, 2017, he told Murphy, who
was posted in the dining hall, that he was “not being
allowed to complete his meals.” Id. at 18;
see also id. 16-17. Murphy told him to “tell
them when you get out, ” referring to Grimaldi, who was
stationed outside the dining hall supervising the meal.
Id. at 18. Another officer, Grant, overheard the
conversation and stated “oh, this is the spokesperson
for [MHU] in a humiliating and guarded manner.”
Id. at 19. Currytto felt he was being discriminated
against, and that calling him a “spokesperson”
was identifying him as a security risk group member or
threatening discipline. Id. at 19-20. Williams and
“2 or 3” other John Doe corrections officers
witnessed the exchange, and their presence and laughter made
Currytto feel threatened. Id. at 19-20.
Grimaldi was in the vicinity while this happened but
“failed to act in any manner to determine what was
taking place . . . or what the plaintiff was complaining
about.” Id. at 23.
next spoke with Matthew Clarke, a social worker and his
therapist within the unit. Id. at 23. Currytto told
Clarke about the problem but Clarke took no action to address
it. That same day, Currytto filed an administrative remedy
request, which a John Doe officer forwarded to Counselor
Supervisor Long, who forwarded it to Captain Chapdelaine.
Neither of them fixed the problem. Id. at 24.
October 29, 2017, while his administrative remedy request was
being processed, Officer Cyr ordered Currytto to leave the
dining hall “in an affrontive and disgruntled
manner” even though other inmates in his unit were
still seated and eating. Id. at 25-26. Grant was at
the door and closed it on Currytto as he attempted to exit.
Id. at 26-27. Currytto alleges that Grant and Cyr
were punishing him for filing a grievance.
this incident, Currytto filed a second administrative request
with Long, alleging that Grant and Cyr were targeting him for
his past complaints. Id. at 28. After he filed this
request, “numerous officers, ” including Grant,
Williams, Murphy, and “John Doe(s) 2 or more”
began intimidating him while he walked down the hallway to
and from the dining hall. They would stare at him, shake
their keys, and call him a sex offender. Id. at 28.
On September 8, 2018, after he had filed his complaint in
federal court, Grimaldi stopped by J unit to
“dig” him, and Grimaldi and Eason deliberately
gave Currytto only two minutes to eat “in exchange for
plaintiff filing [the] complaint.” Id. at 47.
then filed various grievances that were processed by Derby,
Moore, Acanto, Manning, Chapdelaine, Wright, and Quiros.
Id. at 47-51. None of them intervened to fix the
problem, and Quiros “reinterpreted the evidence
submitted to him” in order to cover up “the
practice failures in [the] dining hall.” Id.
also alleges that Acanto, who is the prison's Freedom of
Information Act officer, would not grant his requests for
videos of mealtimes until he reduced the scope of his
requests. Id. at 46, 50. Acanto told Currytto that
his request to preserve the video footage of two weeks'
worth of lunches and dinners was excessive and pressured him
to limit the request, which he did. Id. at 46, 49.
Acanto was attempting to “stage him out” and
provide him with only the “bare minimum ability  to
prove his case of being denied food in the dining
hall.” Ibid. Acanto has granted other
inmates' video requests without claiming that the
requests were excessive. Ibid.
Currytto alleges that the kickout policy threatened his
physical safety, as did the physical conditions in the dining
hall. He states that defendants' practice of releasing up
to three units worth of inmates from the dining hall at a
time posed a safety hazard and violated the facility
handbook, which states that “you must leave the dining
hall ‘when your unit is called.'”
Id. at 37 (emphasis in original). Currytto
interprets the handbook to mean that only one unit may be
called at a time. Id. at 37. There are also physical
hazards in the dining hall: exposed lightbulbs with no safety
shield covers, wet floors, holes in window screens that birds
fly through, “dirty tables with a film of food
bacteria on them, ” and a dishwasher that
“doesn't heat water to temperature sufficient to
sanitize food trays, ” among other problems.
Id. at 44.
claims that defendants violated his rights under the First
and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution,
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, § 504
of the Rehabilitation Act, and Connecticut state law. He
seeks monetary and injunctive 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 compliant, 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 ...