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Conquistador v. Hannah

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 12, 2019

AMANDA HANNAH, et al., Defendants.



         Preliminary Statement

         Plaintiff, Jean Karlo Conquistador (“Conquistador”), currently confined at Bridgeport Correctional Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Conquistador asserts claims for retaliation, deliberate indifference, unreasonable search and seizure, and harassment against fifteen defendants who work at Garner Correctional Institution (“Garner”): Warden Amanda Hannah; Deputy Warden Egan; Captains Hughes, G. Hurdle, Fahd Syed, and Thomas Kenny; Counselor Supervisor Calderon; Counselors Elvis Ibiserie, Verrastro, and Darlene O'Donnell; and Officers Adams, Major, Allegne, Torres, and Rehm. Conquistador seeks damages and injunctive relief against the defendants in their individual and official capacities. The complaint was received on August 19, 2019, and Conquistador's motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on August 29, 2019.

         Standard of Review

         Under section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, the Court 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. Id. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest[].” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants). 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 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.


         On August 14, 2019, Captain Hughes and Officer Major confiscated Conquistador's legal files and law books. Doc. No. 1, ¶ 1. When questioned by Conquistador, Captain Hughes stated that they wanted to look at some of Conquistador's lawsuits. Id. ¶¶ 2-3. Conquistador told him that going through his papers was against the law. Id. ¶ 4. Captain Hughes stated that they were the law and told Conquistador to sue him. Id. ¶ 5.

         Later that day, Conquistador complained to Warden Hannah who told Conquistador that it was not her problem and walked away. Id. ¶ 6. When Conquistador told Warden Hannah that he would file a lawsuit against her, she told him that was why his materials were taken. Id. ¶ 7. Deputy Warden Egan refused to speak with Conquistador during his tour of the housing unit. When Conquistador threatened to file a lawsuit against him, Deputy Warden Egan stated that he did not care. Id. ¶ 8.

         The following day, Conquistador spoke with Captain Hurdle, who told Conquistador that having his legal materials in segregation was a privilege, not a right. Id. ¶ 9. Conquistador told Captain Hurdle that he would file a lawsuit against him. Id. ¶ 10.

         On several occasions, Conquistador told Captain Syed that Officer Rehm had harassed him by calling him “a spic” and making a mess of Conquistador's cell every other day. Id. ¶ 11. Conquistador assumes that Captain Syed did not address the issue as the actions continued. Id. ¶ 12. Conquistador also made several complaints to Captain Syed that Officers Rehm, Torres, and Allegne denied him his one-hour out-of-cell recreation time and razors to shave. Id. ¶ 13. Captain Syed did nothing. Id. ¶ 14.

         On several occasions, Counselors Verrastro and O'Donnell denied Conquistador a legal call to mark documents he had filed in state court. Id. ¶ 15. He complained to Warden Hannah, Deputy Warden Egan, and Counselor Supervisor Calderon about the denial of legal calls to the court but nothing was done. Conquistador also reported the issue to Captain Kenny but he also denied Conquistador legal calls. Id. ¶ 16.

         On multiple occasions counselors Ibiserie, Verrastro and O'Donnell refused to electronically file documents for Conquistador. Id. ¶ 17. Although Conquistador complained to defendants Hannah, Egan, Hurdle, Syed, Kenny, and Calderon, nothing was done. Conquistador states that he electronically filed documents weeks earlier but had not received the Notice of Electronic Filing confirming receipt of the documents. Id. ¶ 18.

         On multiple occasions, counselors Ibiserie, Verrastro, and O'Donnell denied Conquistador paper, envelopes, pens, toothbrushes, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and shampoo. Id. ¶ 19. He complained to defendants Hannah, Egan, Hughes, Hurdle, Kenny, Syed, and Calderon, but nothing was done. Conquistador has been denied the above-listed items since February 2019. Id. ¶ 20.

         On several occasions, Conquistador received his copy of the Sunday edition of the Hartford Courant without the coupons. Id. ¶ 21. When he questioned the mailroom, he received an evasive response from Officer Adams. Id. ¶ 22. The mailroom has not corrected the problem. Id. ¶ 23. Conquistador complained to defendants Hannah, Calderon, Syed, and O'Donnell, but still is not receiving his coupons. Id. ¶ 25.

         On one occasion, Captain Hurdle directed officers to remove everything from Conquistador's cell. He told Conquistador, “you like filing lawsuits, and I like taking property.” Conquistador is currently pursuing an action against Captain Hurdle before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Id. ¶ 25.

         On August 12, 2019, Officer Rehm told Conquistador to pack his property because he was going to segregation the next day. Officer Rehm would not tell him why. Id. ¶ 26. The following day, Officer Rehm came to Conquistador's cell door, asked if Conquistador just threatened him, and walked away. Id. ¶ 27. A few minutes later, Lieutenant Lagenheim told Conquistador that Captain Syed wanted Conquistador to go to segregation. Id. ¶ 28. Conquistador was held in restrictive housing under a false disciplinary charge issued by Officer Rehm for threatening. His law books and legal boxes were confiscated while in segregation. Id. ¶ 29.


         Conquistador identifies his claims as retaliation, deliberate indifference, unreasonable search and seizure, and harassment in violation of his rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

         Request and Motions for Injunctive Relief

         Conquistador seeks prospective injunctive relief in his complaint and in two motions [ECF #2, #9]. In his motion for emergency relief, Conquistador stated that he was to be released from custody on August 30, 2019. Doc. No. 9. However, on September 3, 2019, he filed a notice of change of address stating that he had been re-arrested and is now confined at Bridgeport Correctional Center. Doc. No. 11.

         An inmate's request for prospective injunctive relief from correctional staff relating to conditions of confinement at a specific correctional facility becomes moot when the inmate is transferred to a different correctional facility. Shepherd v. Goord, 662 F.3d 603, 610 (2d Cir. 2011) (“in this circuit, an inmate's transfer from a prison facility generally moots claims for declaratory and injunctive relief against officials at that facility”). Here, the requests for injunctive relief in the complaint and the motions relate to Conquistador's confinement at Garner. As he is no longer confined there, all requests for prospective injunctive relief are dismissed as moot.

         First ...

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