United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
April 18, 2019, Timothy Townsend, Jr., an inmate currently
confined at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution
(“CRCI”) in Enfield, Connecticut, brought a
complaint pro se and in forma pauperis
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against ten Connecticut
Department of Correction (“DOC”) officials:
Christopher Sweet, R. Kudzul, Christopher Muckle, B.
Stadalnik, Jefferey Conger, Captain Griffin, Disciplinary
Report (“DR”) Investigator Nemeth, DR
Investigator Gottlieb, Correction Officer Rodriguez-Jimenez,
and Bruce Richardson. Compl., Doc. No. 1. Townsend seeks
monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief against the
defendants in their individual capacities for violating his
rights under the United States Constitution, Connecticut
Constitution. See Id. at 36-41. For the following
reasons, his complaint is dismissed in part.
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I 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. 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. Nevertheless, it is
well-established that “[p]ro se
complaints ‘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)); see
also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir.
2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro
alleges the following facts. On April 14, 2016, Townsend was
transferred from Osborn Correctional Institution's
restrictive housing unit (“RHU”) to the RHU at
the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center
(“Corrigan”) to complete the remaining portion of
his punitive segregation time that he was ordered to serve
while at Osborn. Compl. ¶¶ 12-13. Upon his arrival,
Officer Kudzal presented Townsend with a Property Inventory
Form and a Property Status Receipt, but Townsend refused to
sign the forms because several of his personal belongings
were not listed. Id. at ¶¶ 14-15. Such
items included food and personal cosmetics, which are
frequently lost or stolen during facility transfers.
Id. at ¶ 16. Kudzal became upset when Townsend
refused to sign the forms and told him that it was “a
bad move.” Id. at ¶ 17.
he refused to sign the form, Lieutenant Stadalnik told
Townsend that he was going to escort him to RHU. Compl.
¶ 18. Townsend then asked Stadalnik and Kudzul for a
“seg-bag, ” which is a bag containing two pairs
of boxers, two pairs of socks, two T-shirts, one pair of
shower shoes, one washcloth, one towel, and other hygiene
items that is provided to all inmates upon admission into
RHU. Id. at ¶ 19. Stadalnik told Townsend that
he would have to write an inmate request to receive a seg-bag
because they are made from the inmate's personal
property. Id. at ¶ 20. Townsend told Stadalnik
that he had all of the items to form a seg-bag, but Stadalnik
and Kudzul refused to provide him with one. Id. at
¶¶ 21-23. Townsend later wrote inmate requests to
Kudzal, Stadalnik, Officer Muckle, Officer Sweet, and
Lieutenant Conger regarding his seg-bag, but none of them
responded. Id. at ¶ 25.
next day, while in RHU, Townsend told Conger that he had not
been provided with a seg-bag, shower shoes, or clean clothes
upon his placement in the RHU. Compl. ¶ 26. Conger
directed Townsend to a written memorandum posted in every RHU
cell window, which stated that “seg-bags are a
cou[r]tesy and [are] provided at the convenience of the
property officer.” Id.
officials offered Townsend a shower on April 15, 2016 but
told him that he needed to use “community clothing,
” which is rotated amongst the inmates in the RHU.
Compl. ¶ 27. Townsend refused to wear the used clothing,
including the used underwear. Id. at ¶ 28. He
used the shower, but he was forced to use the
“community” shower shoes even though they had not
been cleaned. Id. at ¶ 29. The shoes were wet,
soggy, sticky, and stained with foreign substances.
Id. at ¶ 30. Townsend told Conger that forcing
the inmates to share the shower shoes put them at risk of
contracting serious illnesses, especially since inmates could
only shave while in the shower. Id. at ¶ 31.
Indeed, when Townsend went to shower, he saw blood on the
walls and floor and hair clogging the floor drain, which
caused the contaminated water to rise above his feet.
Id. at ¶ 33. Those conditions caused Townsend
to suffer anxiety, but he knew that, if he did not shower, he
could be issued a DR for failing to maintain his own personal
hygiene. Id. at ¶ 32. After he showered, he was
forced to put on the same clothing without underwear because
he had not been provided with a clean set of clothing.
Id. at ¶ 35.
was reported in 2008 as housing several inmates who had
contracted MRSA, but they told the inmates that their
infections were caused by spider bites. Compl. ¶ 65.
Inmates, many of whom had open wounds, often showered in
their bare feet, which increased the risk of spreading
infection. Id. at ¶ 67.
in the RHU at Corrigan are typically allowed to shower three
days per week. Compl. ¶ 34. However, on April 17,
Townsend completed his RHU time but was not able to shower.
Id. at ¶ 36. After his release from RHU, an
official told him that he would receive his personal property
the next day, but on April 18, Townsend did not receive his
property. Id. at ¶ 37. He asked a correction
officer if he could call the property room officer and
inquire about his property because he did not have items with
which to shower and, thus, had not been able to shower in
three days. Id. at ¶ 38. The correction officer
called the property officer who informed him that Townsend
would receive his property the next day, April 19.
Id. at ¶ 39. Townsend asked the correction
officer if he could retrieve some hygiene products so that he
could shower and brush his teeth, but the officer told him
that he did not have any hygiene products to give to him.
Id. at ¶ 41.
April 19, Townsend again asked a correction officer to
inquire about his property. Compl. ¶ 45. The officer
called the property room officers who again stated that
Townsend would receive his property the following day, April
20. Id. Townsend told the correction officer that he
had not been able to shower or brush his teeth since April
15, but the officer told Townsend that he had to wait to
receive his property because he refused to sign the inventory
form upon his admission at Corrigan. Id. at
¶¶ 45-46. Townsend asked the officer for the name
of the official with whom he spoke and to call a supervisor,
but the officer refused. Id. at ¶ 47.
later spoke with Correction Counselor McMahon and asked her
if she could provide him with a care package, which consists
of soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and other hygiene
products. Compl. ¶ 48. He explained to her that he had
not been able to shower or brush his teeth since April 15.
Id. McMahon denied his request for a care package,
stating that Townsend was not indigent and could purchase the
items through commissary. Id. However, if Townsend
purchased the items through commissary, he would have to wait
two to three weeks to receive his order, depending on when
officials took his order form. Id. at ¶ 49.
then spoke with Captain Griffin regarding his inability to
receive his hygiene products and his legal property. Compl.
¶ 51. Griffin ordered Townsend to step away from her
because of the offensive odor that was emanating from him.
Id. at ¶ 52. Griffin then took Townsend to her
office and ordered him to stand outside in the doorway while
she called the property room to inquire about his property.
Id. at ¶ 53. After the phone call, Griffin told
Townsend that officials were going to perform a shakedown of
his cell because she was informed that he had been issued a
seg-bag while in RHU. Id. at ¶ 54. Townsend
told Griffin that the property room officers were misleading
her, but Griffin picked up the phone and ordered two
correction officers to search Townsend's cell.
Id. The officers later called back and told Griffin
that Townsend had nothing in his cell except linens.
Id. at ¶ 55. Griffin then became upset, called
the property room again, and told them, “You lied to
me, this man doesn't have anything in his cell to shower
with[.] [T]herefore, he was not given a seg-bag while in
RHU.” Id. at ¶ 56. Griffin instructed the
property room officer to provide Townsend with everything he
needed to shower. Id.
Griffin hung up the phone, Townsend asked her why she had
only ordered the property room to provide him with shower
products and not his other property. Compl. ¶ 57.
Griffin told him that she could only procure the shower items
at this time and that he would receive his other property the
next day, April 20. Id. at ¶ 58. She advised
him to “just sign the inventory this time.”
meeting with Griffin, Townsend went to the property room to
retrieve his shower items. Compl. ¶ 62. There, he met
with Officer Sweet, who informed him that all of the items
that Griffin ordered were on the counter. Id. As he
inspected the items on the counter, Townsend noticed that
there were no shower shoes. Id. at ¶ 63. He
asked Sweet to provide a pair, but Sweet told him that there
were not any shower shoes in the property room to give to
him. Id. Townsend told Sweet that he could give him
the same pair of shower shoes that were in his property box
and that, without them, he would be unable to shower safely.
Id. at ¶ 64. Sweet refused to provide him with
the shoes, stating that the items on the counter were all
that Griffin told him to provide. Id. at ¶ 68.
Townsend requested to speak with a supervisor, but Sweet told
him that “the lieutenant comes with a ticket.”
Id. at ¶¶ 68-69. Townsend insisted anyway,
and Sweet called Lieutenant Stadalnik. Id. at ¶
Stadalnik arrived, he asked Sweet why he would not simply
retrieve Townsend's shower shoes from his property box.
Compl. ¶ 70. Visibly upset, Sweet told Stadalnik that he
had provided all of the items that Griffin had instructed him
to provide. Id. Townsend said that he was present
when Griffin called Sweet and heard her instruct Sweet to
provide him with everything he needed to shower. Id.
at ¶ 71. Townsend then told Stadalnik that the items on
the counter were not sufficient to permit him to shower.
Id. at ¶ 75. Stadalnik then told Townsend to
wait until the next day to receive his property and
instructed him to return to his housing unit. Id. at
¶¶ 76-77. Before he exited the property room,
Townsend told the officials that he was being denied his
basic human needs and that another inmate named McKiethen who
was released from RHU on the same day had been given his
property, to which Sweet responded, “[N]ext time, sign
the property inventory form.” Id. at ¶
78. Townsend then left the room taking only the toothpaste
and toothbrush, as the remaining items were of no use to him.
Id. at ¶ 79.
that day, Sweet issued Townsend a DR for disobeying a direct
order. Compl. ¶ 80. The DR stated the following:
On 4/19/16, I/M Townsend . . . was summoned to the property
room in order to be issued a care package and change of
clothes so that he could remain compliant with hygiene
protocol. Upon receiving the items issued to him, inmate
Townsend was not happy with the transaction and refused to
return to his housing unit. This officer issued multiple
direct orders to I/M Townsend to return to his housing unit,
to which he did not comply. This officer then requested a
supervisor to report to the property room where I/M Townsend
then capitulated and returned to his unit.
Id. at ¶ 81. Before his hearing on the DR,
Townsend submitted a number of documents to use as evidence
in his defense, but Investigator Nemeth “omitted”
them from the hearing. Id. at ¶ 82.
Townsend's advocate, Officer Dumas, refused to question
any witnesses because Nemeth told him that the
“investigation was over.” Id. at ¶
83. Nemeth also refused to provide Townsend or Dumas with
copies of all the documentary evidence that had already been
submitted for disposition of the DR. Id. at ¶
was again placed in RHU on April 21, 2016 pending a
protective custody assignment due to an assault involving
Corrigan staff in January 2015. Compl. ¶ 87. For several
days therein, correction officers repeatedly called Townsend
a snitch and tampered with his food. Id. at ¶
145. Townsend informed Lieutenant Conger about those actions,
but Conger dismissed his complaint as “unsubstantiated,
” even when Townsend asked him to review the video
footage showing that he was being denied meals. Id.
On May 4, 2016, Townsend was transferred from Corrigan to
Enfield Correctional ...