United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER AND RULING ON MOTION FOR
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND MOTION FOR ORDER TO SHOW
CAUSE ON PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kelly (“Plaintiff”) has sued Director of Security
Antonio Santiago, Security Risk Group Coordinator John Aldi,
Lieutenant J. Russell, Disciplinary Hearing Officer King,
District Administrator Edward Maldonado, and Warden Mulligan
(collectively “Defendants”) under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for alleged violations of his First, Fifth,
Eight, and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United
States Constitution and Sections Four, Five, Seven, Eighth,
Nine and Twenty of Article First of the Connecticut
Constitution because of his security classification and the
conditions of his confinement at New Haven Correctional
Center. Complaint, ECF No. 1 (“Compl.”).
the filing of this lawsuit, Mr. Kelly has since been moved to
the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution and
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center.
February 7, 2019, Mr. Kelly filed a motion for a temporary
restraining order and a motion for an order to show cause why
a preliminary injunction should not issue, seeking damages,
declaratory relief, and a preliminary injunction prohibiting
the defendants from keeping Mr. Kelly confined in the
Security Risk Group.
following reasons, Mr. Kelly's First Amendment and
Fourteenth Amendment claims may proceed, however, the Court
DISMISSES Mr. Kelly's other federal
constitutional claims, DISMISSES Mr.
Kelly's official capacity claims for monetary damages,
and DECLINES to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over his state constitutional claims.
Court also DENIES Mr. Kelly's motion for
a temporary restraining order but GRANTS Mr.
Kelly's motion for an order to show cause on the
Court also ORDERS the defendants to respond
to the order to show cause as to why the Court should not
grant Mr. Kelly's temporary restraining order and
preliminary injunction should by September 13,
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
2015, prison officials designated Mr. Kelly to the Security
Risk Group and he successfully completed the Security Risk
Group program. Statement of Case, Compl. at ¶ 6.
11, 2018, Mr. Kelly was incarcerated in New Haven
Correctional Center. Id. at ¶ 1.
20, 2018, prison officials brought Mr. Kelly to the
Restrictive Housing Unit (“RHU”),  pending an
investigation into alleged gang affiliation. Id. at
¶ 2. Prison officials allegedly used Mr. Kelly's
social media posts to designate him as a Security Risk Group
member, which Disciplinary Hearing Officer
(“DHO”) King allegedly did do. See
Statement of Case, Compl. at ¶ 9, ¶ 4. District
Administrator Mr. Maldonado relied on Administrative
Directive 6.14 when segregating Mr. Kelly, based on an
alleged finding that Mr. Kelly had affiliated with the
Security Risk Group, the “Bloods.” Legal Claims,
Compl. at ¶ 3.
days later, Mr. Kelly went to a hearing after arriving at the
Restrictive Housing Unit, Statement of Case, Compl. at ¶
3, but he alleges that he never received a ticket, nor did
officials give him an opportunity to make a plea,
id. at ¶ 4.
Mr. King designated Mr. Kelly to the Security Risk Group, he
was sent to the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“Walker”) to complete Phase Two. Statement of
Case, Compl. at ¶ 11. At Walker, Mr. Kelly alleges that
he could not take a shower more than three times each week,
could have no contact visits, could not eat with others, and
could not participate in any religious, educational, or
social programming. Mr. Kelly alleges that prison officials
limited his activity in other ways, including no hot water,
restricting use the phone more than three times a week for
fifteen minutes at a time, prohibiting day-room recreational
center access during inclement weather, and banning
electronic devices. Mr. Kelly alleges that he spends
twenty-three to twenty-four hours in a cell each day.
Id. at ¶¶ 13-24.
Mr. Kelly alleges that gang members threatened him with
death. Id. at ¶¶ 26-27. Mr. Kelly alleges
that he is not a gang member, should be with other inmates
not affiliated with gangs in general population, and his
current placement is dangerous. Id. at ¶ 10.
November 2, 2018, Mr. Kelly filed his Complaint against
Director of Security Antonio Santiago, Security Risk Group
Coordinator John Aldi, Lieutenant J. Russell, DHO King,
District Administrator Edward Maldonado, and Warden Mulligan,
in their individual and official capacities for security
classifications made while at the new Haven Correctional
Center. Compl. At the time of the Complaint, Mr. Kelly had
been confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution.
Statement of Case, Compl. at ¶ 4.
December 26, 2018, Mr. Kelly notified the Court of his
transfer from the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
to the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center. Notice, ECF
February 7, 2019, Mr. Kelly filed a motion for an order to
show cause and a motion for a temporary restraining order and
injunction. Mot. for Order to Show Cause for TRO and Prelim.
Inj., ECF No. 12.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Section 1915 Review
Court must “review . . . a complaint in a civil action
in which a prisoner seeks redress from a government entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must “identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of
the complaint, ” if the complaint or any of its parts
are “frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted” or “seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” Id. at § 1915A(b).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a plaintiff
plead only “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ”
see Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), to provide the
defendant “fair notice of what the . . . claim is and
the grounds upon which it rests, ” see Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
plaintiff's “[f]actual allegations must be enough
to raise a right to relief above the speculative level,
” and assert a cause of action with enough heft to show
entitlement to relief and “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. A claim is facially
plausible if “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).
Although the rules of civil procedure do not require
“detailed factual allegations, ” a complaint must
offer more than “labels and conclusions, ”
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action, ” or “naked assertion[s] devoid of
“further factual enhancement.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555-57. Plausibility at the pleading stage is
nonetheless distinct from probability, and “a
well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy
judge that actual proof of [the claim] is improbable, and . .
. recovery is very remote and unlikely.” Id.
at 556 (internal quotation marks omitted).
complaints, however, “must be construed liberally and
interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest.” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399,
403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of
Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)) (internal
quotation marks omitted); see also Tracy v.
Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010)
(discussing the “special solicitude” courts
afford pro se litigants).
injunctive relief “is an extraordinary and drastic
remedy . . . that should not be granted unless the movant, by
a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.”
Moore v. Consol. Edison Co. of N.Y., Inc., 409 F.3d
506, 510 (2d Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). To show entitlement to a preliminary
injunction, the moving party must demonstrate (a) that he or
she will suffer “irreparable harm” in the absence
of an injunction, and (b) either (1) a “likelihood of
success on the merits or (2) sufficiently serious questions
going to the merits [of the case] to make them a fair ground
for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly
toward the party requesting the preliminary relief.”
Cacchillo v. Insmed, Inc., 638 F.3d 401, 405-06 (2d
Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
irreparable harm, a plaintiff must show an “injury that
is neither remote nor speculative, but actual and
imminent.” Grand River Enter. Six Nations, Ltd. v.
Pryor, 481 F.3d 60, 66 (2d Cir. 2007) (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted); see also L.A. v.
Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 111-12 (1983) (holding that a court
cannot find injunctive relief if the claimed injury is
speculative or remote). “The relevant [irreparable]
harm is the harm that (a) occurs to the parties' legal
interests and (b) cannot be remedied after a final
adjudication, whether by damages or a permanent injunction .
. . . Harm might be irremediable, or irreparable, for many
reasons, including that a loss is difficult to replace or
difficult to measure, or that it is a loss that one should
not be expected to suffer.” Salinger v.
Colting, 607 F.3d 68, 81 (2d. Cir. 2010).
Temporary Restraining Order
Second Circuit, “[t]he same standards used to review a
request for a preliminary injunction govern consideration of
an application for a temporary restraining order.”
Stagliano v. Herkimer Cent. Sch. Dist., 151
F.Supp.3d 264 (N.D.N.Y. 2015); Local 1814 Int'l
Longshoreman's Ass'n v. N.Y. Shipping Assoc.,
Inc., 965 F.2d 1224, 1228 (2d Cir. 1992) (recognizing
that the standard for a temporary restraining order is the
same as preliminary injunction standard). Irreparable harm is
the “most significant condition which must be present
to support the granting of a temporary injunction.”
Capital City Gas Co. v. Phillips Petroleum Co., 373
F.2d 128, 131 (2d Cir. 1967) (citation omitted); Reuters
Ltd. v. United Press Int'l., Inc., 903 F.2d 904, 907
(2d Cir. 1990) (“the moving party must first
demonstrate that [irreparable] injury is likely before the
other requirements for the issuance of an injunction will be
considered”). As with a request for preliminary
injunctive relief, the moving party must show irreparable
harm that is “not remote or speculative but actual and
imminent.” Jackson Dairy, Inc. v. H.P. Hood &
Sons, Inc., 596 F.2d 70, 72 (2d Cir. 1979) (internal
Kelly alleges that Defendants violated his First, Fifth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In addition, Mr.
Kelly alleges several Connecticut Constitution violations and
seeks a temporary restraining order.
result, the Court will address the federal constitutional
claims, state-law claims, and temporary restraining order in
against an individual in his official capacity,
“generally represents[s] only another way of pleading
an action against an entity of which an officer is an
agent.” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159,
165-66 (1985) (citing Monell v. N.Y.C. Dep't. of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n.55 (1978)). “[A]
plaintiff seeking to recover on a damages judgment in an
official-capacity suit must look to the government entity
itself.” Id. at 166. Absent consent from a
state, the Eleventh Amendment bars damages claims against it
or entities constituted under its authority. See Quern v.
Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 240 (1979) (“[t]here can be
no doubt, however, that suit against the State and its Board
of Corrections is barred by the Eleventh Amendment, unless
[State] has consented to the filing of such a suit.”).
initial matter, Mr. Kelly alleges that Defendants are
Connecticut Department of Correction employees. To the extent
that Mr. Kelly seeks monetary damages from Defendants in
their official capacities, the Eleventh Amendment bars those
claims. See Graham, 473 U.S. at 165-66;
Quern, 440 U.S. at 342.
Section 1915 requires the Court to dismiss all claims seeking
monetary damages against defendants in their official
capacities. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b)(2) (“[o]n review,
the court shall . . . dismiss the complaint, or any portion
of the complaint, if the complaint . . . seeks monetary
relief from the defendant who is immune from such
the Court dismisses Mr. Kelly's claims against the
Defendants for monetary damages in their official capacities.
Federal Constitutional Claims
1983 permits an individual deprived of a federal right by a
person acting under color of state law to seek compensation
in federal court.” Wimmer v. Suffolk Cty. Police
Dep't, 176 F.3d 125, 136 (2d Cir. 1999); see
also Richardson v. McKnight, 521 U.S. 399, 403 (1997).
To prevail in a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff “must
prove that the challenged conduct was attributable at least
in part to a person acting under color of state law”
and “that the conduct deprived the plaintiff of a
right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution or
laws of the United States.” Wimmer, 176 F.3d
threshold inquiry for Section 1983 claims, the Court should
precisely identify the constitutional violation alleged.
See Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 140 (1979)
(“before the relationship between the defendant's
state of mind and his liability under § 1983 can be
meaningfully explored, it is necessary to isolate the precise
constitutional violation with which he is charged.”).
Mr. Kelly claims that defendants violated his First, Fifth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
state a First Amendment retaliation claim sufficient to
withstand a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege
‘(1) that the speech or conduct at issue was protected,
(2) that the defendant took adverse action against the
plaintiff, and (3) that there was a causal connection between
the protected speech and the adverse action.'”
Dolan v. Connolly, 794 F.3d 290, 294 (2d Cir. 2015)
(citing Espinal v. Goord, 558 F.3d 119, 128 (2d Cir.
Kelly claims that Mr. Russell violated his First Amendment
right to freedom of expression by punishing him for
portrayals made on his social media when Russell placed him
in the Restrictive Housing Unit while an investigation for
his Security Risk Group placement was pending. Legal Claims,
Compl. at ¶ 1. Mr. Kelly also argues that DHO King
violated his First Amendment right to freedom of expression
by placing Mr. Kelly in the Security Risk Group based on his
social media posts. Statement of Case, Compl. at ¶ 5.
Kelly further alleges that Mr. Maldonado violated his First
Amendment right to free expression because he denied Mr.
Kelly's appeal based on his Facebook posts, which
allegedly indicate that Mr. Kelly was affiliated with
Security Risk Group bloods. Legal Claims, Compl. at ¶ 3.
addition, Mr. Kelly argues that Aldi and Santiago, as the
supervisors of Russell, King, and Maldonado, have violated
his rights because they were aware of the alleged misconduct,
encouraged it, and failed to correct the misconduct that
Defendants Russel, King, and Maldonado demonstrated.
Id. at ¶ 4.
Mr. Kelly argues that Mr. Mulligan violated his First
Amendment right to freedom of expression by housing him in
the Security Risk Group based on Mr. ...