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Jusino v. Rinaldi

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

June 27, 2019

JOSE A. JUSINO, Plaintiff,
v.
MONICA RINALDI, et al., Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER

          Michael P. Shea, United States District Judge

         The plaintiff, Jose A. Jusino, is incarcerated at Northern Correctional Institution (“Northern”). On June 6, 2019, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the amended complaint will be dismissed in part.

         I. Procedural Background

         The plaintiff initiated this action by filing a complaint against fifteen employees of the Department of Correction. See Compl., ECF No. 1 at 1. He asserted Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claims, a Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim, and Fourteenth Amendment due process claims related to his confinement on special management needs status at Northern and his confinement on security risk group status in the Walker Building at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“Walker”) and Corrigan Correctional Institution (“Corrigan”). See Id. at 2.

         On April 15, 2019, after reviewing the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the court dismissed the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim, the Eighth Amendment claim related to conditions at Corrigan, and the Fourteenth Amendment due process claim related to the plaintiff's confinement at Corrigan. The court dismissed without prejudice the Eighth Amendment conditions claim related to the plaintiff's confinement at Walker. See Initial Review Order, ECF No. 8, at 17-18. The court concluded that Fourteenth Amendment due process claims relating to the plaintiff's long-term confinement on special management needs status and security risk group status without meaningful, periodic reviews would proceed against defendants Rinaldi, Santiago, Kocienda, Maiga, Maldenado, Quiros, Rodriguez, Mulligan, Molden, and Tugie in their individual capacities. See Id. at 18. The court also permitted the plaintiff to file an amended complaint to re-assert his Eighth Amendment conditions claim related to his confinement in the security risk group program at Walker beginning on July 31, 2018. The court instructed the plaintiff that if he chose to file an amended complaint, “he must include facts to show how each condition or combination of conditions that existed at Walker deprived him of a basic human need and also describe how each defendant was involved in, responsible for or aware of the various conditions at Walker that allegedly deprived him of a basic human need.” Id.

         The amended complaint asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and re-names Commissioner Scott Semple, Deputy Commissioner Monica Rinaldi, Director of Security Antonio Santiago, Administrators Edward Maldenado, Angel Quiros, Nick Rodriguez, William Mulligan, and David Maiga, and Correctional Employees Elisabeth Tugie, Jon Aldi, Derrick Molden, and Thomas Kocienda as defendants and adds Commissioner Rollin Cook and Correctional Employees Daniel Papoosha, Craig Burns and Mark Frayne as defendants. See Am. Compl., ECF No. 27. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights during his confinement on special needs management status at Northern beginning in 2010 and during his confinement on security risk group status from 2009 to the present.

         II. Standard of Review

         The court reviews the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Under section 1915A(b), a court must “dismiss ... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or 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.” Id. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when a 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) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement, '” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Although courts still have an obligation to interpret “a pro se complaint liberally, ” the complaint must include sufficient factual allegations to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).

         III. Facts

         The plaintiff states that he has been diagnosed as suffering from “multiple psychological disabilit[ies] and traits as well as abnormal brain structure and function.” See Am. Compl., at 4 ¶ 9. He has been confined in a restrictive housing unit since 2007. See Id. ¶ 10.

         In 2009, the plaintiff received a disciplinary report charging him with being a member of a security risk group called the Bloods. See Id. at 5 ¶ 17. The plaintiff contends that he was never a member of the Bloods gang. See Id. “[F]or safety reason[s], [the plaintiff] had to inform DOC that he [was] not a member of the Bloods, but was associated with the Latin Kings security risk group.” See Id. at 6 ¶ 18. After finding the plaintiff guilty of the disciplinary charge of security risk group affiliation, prison officials designated the plaintiff as a security risk group member. See Id. at 5 ¶ 17.

         The plaintiff has been classified as a security risk group member for a decade. See Id. at 6 ¶ 20. Under Connecticut Department of Correction Directive 6.14(9), prison officials shall review an inmate's designation as a security risk group member at least every six months to determine whether an inmate should remain a security risk group member. See Id. ¶ 19. Prison officials have never reviewed the plaintiff's status as a security risk group member. See Id. ¶ 20. For years, prison officials continued to classify the plaintiff as a security risk group member because he had not completed the security risk group phase program but failed to offer him the opportunity to complete the program. See id.

         In 2010, Department of Correction officials classified the plaintiff as special needs management status and confined him at Northern. See Id. at 4 ΒΆ 11. During his confinement on special needs management status, prison officials permitted the plaintiff to: watch television in his cell, take a shower every day, participate in outdoor recreation for two hours each day, participate in recreation in the gym, visit with non-immediate family members, visit with his mother for an extended period of time, purchase $75.00 of commissary items and ...


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