United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer, United States District Judge.
Plaintiff Geovanni Ayuso is a sentenced prisoner in the
custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction. He has
filed this lawsuit alleging a violation of his constitutional
rights in connection with a disciplinary hearing and his
conditions of confinement. Based on my initial review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I conclude that Ayuso has
failed to allege a plausible claim for a violation of his due
process rights but that he has alleged a plausible claim
against two of the defendants for violation of his right to
be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
is incarcerated at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution. Doc. #8. He brings this suit pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the following 11 defendants in
their individual and official capacities: Scott Semple,
Edward Maldonado, Christine Whidden, John Aldi, William
Mulligan, William Faneuff, Warden Rodriguez, Lieutenant
Congelos, Lieutenant Roy, Correctional Officer Legassy, and
Correctional Officer Michaud. He claims that these defendants
violated his rights to due process and subjected him to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
following allegations as alleged in the complaint are
accepted as true solely for the purposes of the Court's
initial review. On May 5, 2017, after spending nine years in
security risk group (SRG) segregation, Ayuso renounced his
membership in the Almighty Latin King Queen Nation gang
(Latin Kings), and he was released from segregation and
placed in general population at MacDougall. Doc. #1 at 7-8
August 10, 2017, defendant Legassy informed Ayuso that he
would be conducting a random cell search and told Ayuso,
“you're going to SRG tonight Prieto.”
Id. at 8 (¶¶ 22, 24). Legassy did not
target any other cells during his random shakedown.
Ibid. (¶ 23). Several hours later, an officer
placed Ayuso in the restrictive housing unit (RHU) at
MacDougall. Id. (¶ 25). Before the shift change
that day, a correctional officer delivered a disciplinary
report to Ayuso. Ibid. (¶ 26).
disciplinary report was written by Legassy and stated that
when he “shook down O-40 cell” that morning, he
“found SRG Latin King materials inside an envelope
addressed to Inmate Ayuso, Giovanni.” Doc. #1 at 71.
Legassy further stated that “[t]he bag the envelope was
found in was also found in Inmate Ayuso's storage locker
cell, ” and that the Latin King materials “also
had the name Prieto written on the back of them.”
Ibid. “Inmate Ayuso's known alias is
Prieto.” Ibid. Defendant Roy signed off on the
disciplinary report as the custody supervisor/unit manager.
role as a disciplinary investigator, defendant Michaud met
with Ayuso in RHU to discuss the SRG affiliation disciplinary
report. Id. at 9 (¶ 29). Michaud informed
Ayuso that he would need to see a disciplinary hearing
officer (DHO) about his disciplinary report. Ibid.
refused an advocate, but told Michaud that, per the
requirements of the DOC Administrative Directive, he wanted
to see the evidence supporting the SRG charge at least 24
hours before the hearing and to present a written statement
in his defense. Id. at 9 (¶¶ 31-32). But
Michaud refused to allow Ayuso to review the alleged evidence
or provide a statement for his defense. Id. at 10
August 25, 2017, Ayuso appeared for a first hearing before a
DHO (one who is not named as a defendant in this action).
Ibid. (¶ 37). After Ayuso expressed his concern
that he had not been given an opportunity to review the
evidence, the DHO granted a continuance. Ibid.
(¶¶ 38-40). The DHO said she would forward the
evidence to Michaud to give to Ayuso to prepare his defense.
Id. at 10-11 (¶ 41).
August 31, 2017, defendant DHO Congelos convened a
disciplinary hearing on the basis of the disciplinary report.
Id. at 11 (¶ 42). After Ayuso told Congelos
that Michaud had never given him the evidence against him to
review, Michaud placed two sheets of paper in front of him
and said, “There's your evidence Prieto.”
Ibid. (¶ 44). At the hearing, Congelos then
found Ayuso guilty despite the fact that Ayuso denied that he
wrote or possessed the Latin King materials. Ibid.
told Ayuso he was going to Phase One of SRG Segregation, and
he did not advise Ayuso of his right to appeal.
Ibid. (¶¶ 48-49). According to Ayuso,
Congelos was not a member of the SRG review committee for
initial phase placement, and he exceeded his duties and
authority by directing that Ayuso be placed in the SRG
Segregation unit. Id. at 12 (¶¶ 50-52).
September 12, 2017, Ayuso was transferred to SRG Segregation
at Northern Correctional Institution, which is a supermax
facility that houses Phase One of SRG Segregation.
Id. at 13 (¶¶ 54, 56). At Northern, Ayuso
was required to have his hands cuffed behind his back during
recreation time, and he promptly lodged an inmate complaint
on September 13 that this caused him pain. Ibid.
(¶ 57); id. at 72 (inmate request form). The
complaint was lodged with defendant Faneuff but Faneuff did
not respond. Ibid. (¶¶ 57-58).
September 26, 2017, Ayuso filed a level 1 grievance, stating
that he was required to wear handcuffs each time he went
outside to recreate for an hour from Monday to Friday and
that the handcuffs were causing such extreme pain to his back
and shoulders that he could not sleep. Id. at 13, 14
(¶¶ 59, 62-63); see also Id. at 73. As to
exercising inside his cell without handcuffs, Ayuso said that
this would disturb his cell mates and surrounding cells.
Id. at 14-15 (¶¶ 66, 68); see also
Id. at 73. Faneuff did not respond to Ayuso's level
1 grievance. Id. at 13 (¶ 60).
to Ayuso, he was housed in Phase One of SRG Segregation until
December 5, 2017, and he suffered every day. Id. at
14 (¶ 64). He alleges in substance that prison officials
showed callous indifference to his need for exercise by
requiring him to wear painful handcuffs during outside
recreation periods. Id. at 14-16 (¶¶
being transferred back to MacDougall-Walker, he filed a
complaint about his back pain on December 12, 2017, and then
was seen by a nurse on December 17, 2017, who in turn placed
him on a list to see the facility doctor for further
evaluation. Id. at 16-17 (¶¶ 74-75). On
January 9, 2018, a doctor saw Ayuso and determined that the
pain was serious enough for pain medication. Id. at