United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER AND RULING ON MOTION
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jackson (“Plaintiff”), pro se and
currently incarcerated at the Northern Correctional
Institution (“Northern”) in Somers, Connecticut,
has filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
twelve Department of Correction (“DOC”) officials
in their individual and official capacities: Correctional
Officers Moochie, Wells, Sanchez, Piscottano, Pagan, Sandone,
Mills, and Moses, Correctional Counselor Blue, Deputy Warden
Bradway, Captain Cavanaugh, and Warden Mudano (collectively,
the “Defendants”). Compl., ECF No. 1 (July 5,
Jackson seeks monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief
against these defendants for violating his rights under the
First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to
the United States Constitution. See Id. at
¶¶ 31-39. On August 15, 2019, Magistrate Judge
William I. Garfinkel granted Mr. Conley's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis. See Order, ECF
No. 12 (Aug. 15, 2019).
Jackson has also moved for the Court to issue a temporary
restraining order and an order to show cause why a
preliminary injunction should not issue against Defendants.
Mot. for Order to Show Cause, ECF No. 13 (Nov. 21, 2019).
following reasons, the Complaint is
DISMISSED in part, and the motion for a
temporary restraining order and an order to show cause is
18, 2019, Officers Sandone, Mills, and Moochie allegedly told
Mr. Jackson that he was a pedophile and a rapist. Compl.
¶ 17. Officers Sandone and Moochie allegedly said that
they were going to “set [him] up [and] keep him in jail
by lying on official documents.” Id. Officer
Mills thereafter allegedly “lied on an official
document.” Id. Officer Sandone also
allegedly “falsified official documents.”
Id. at ¶ 18.
27, 2019, Officer Moochie allegedly was serving dinner on the
lower level of the 2-West housing unit and tampered with Mr.
Jackson's meal tray by removing his chicken patty. Compl.
¶ 19. Officer Wells, who was also allegedly present,
allegedly called Mr. Jackson “a fucking rapist
bitch” and told him, “That's what you fucking
get!” Id. Officer Pagan also allegedly called
Mr. Jackson a rapist. Id. at ¶ 28. Mr. Jackson
allegedly wrote to Warden Mudano, Deputy Warden Bradway, and
Captain Cavanaugh about threats Officer Moochie was making
against him, but “nothing was done about it.”
Id. at ¶ 20. Mr. Jackson alleges that he was
never accused or convicted of rape or sexual assault in any
jurisdiction. Id. at ¶ 28.
1, 2019, Officer Moses allegedly “falsified an official
document [under] the influence” of Officer Moochie,
Warden Mudano, and Captain Cavanaugh. Compl. ¶ 22. Two
days later, Officer Wells allegedly
“retaliate[d]” against Mr. Jackson by refusing to
collect the trash from his cell and calling him a rapist.
Id. at ¶¶ 23-24. Officer Wells allegedly
said to Mr. Jackson, “Fuck you! Live in your nasty
rapist cell where you belong!” Id. at ¶
24. Later, Officer Moochie allegedly “falsified an
official document.” Id. That same day,
Counselor Blue allegedly called Mr. Jackson a rapist and
said, “[Y]ou'r[e] going to get your request when I
feel like giving it to you.” Id. at ¶ 27.
4, 2019, Officer Sanchez allegedly came to Mr. Jackson's
cell to permit him to shower. Compl. ¶ 25. When Mr.
Jackson left his cell to go to the shower, Officer Moochie
allegedly told Officer Sanchez that he was a rapist and
instructed him to “fuck his cell up!”
Id. Officer Sanchez allegedly hen entered Mr.
Jackson's cell and “trashed it” by throwing
his personal property all over the floor. Id.
Officer Sanchez also allegedly called Mr. Jackson a rapist
and “falsified an official document.”
Id. at ¶¶ 25-26. Later, Officer Piscottano
allegedly gave Mr. Jackson a disciplinary ticket and said,
“[H]ere you go you fucking rapist.” Id.
at ¶ 26.
result of the Defendants' alleged behavior towards him,
Mr. Jackson allegedly fears for his safety and well-being at
Northern. Compl. ¶ 30.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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 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).
plaintiff therefor 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
Jackson is suing the defendants in their individual and
official capacities under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth,
and Fourteenth Amendments for retaliating against him for
complaining about staff behavior to Warden Mudano, Deputy
Warden Bradway, and Captain Cavanaugh; “falsifying
official documents;” “trash[ing]” his cell
on July 4, 2019; “defam[ing] [his] character;”
and subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment.
See Compl. ¶¶ 36-39.
Court will permit an Eighth Amendment claim to proceed
against Defendant Officers Moochie and Wells in their
individual capacities but dismiss all other claims.
The First Amendment Retaliation Claim
Jackson is suing Defendant Officers Moses, Moochie, Pagan,
Piscottano, Mills, Wells, Sanchez, and Sandone; and Counselor
Blue; “for violation of 1st [Amendment]
Defamation of Character.” Compl. ¶ 39. Throughout
his Complaint, however, Mr. Jackson alleges that several of
the defendants “retaliate[d]” against him after
he complained to Mudano, Cavanaugh, and Bradway that Moochie
had been threatening him. See Id. at ¶¶
20-21. Thus, the Court construes Mr. Jackson's First
Amendment claim as one of retaliation for exercising free
speech. See Sykes, 723 F.3d at 403 (“Pro
se complaints must be construed liberally and
interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest.” (internal alterations, citations, and
quotation marks omitted)).
officials may not retaliate against inmates for exercising
their constitutional rights.” Riddick v.
Arnone, No. 3:11-cv-631 (SRU), 2012 WL 2716355, at *6
(D. Conn. July 9, 2012). “To prevail on a First
Amendment retaliation claim, an inmate must establish (1)
that the speech or conduct at issue was protected, (2) that
the defendant took adverse action against [him], and (3) that
there was a causal connection between the protected [conduct]
and the adverse action.” Holland v. Goord, 758
F.3d 215, 225-226 (2d Cir. 2014) (affirming a district court
judgment finding that prison officials did not retaliate
against the plaintiff when they disciplined him for declining
to provide a urine sample based on his religious observance)
(internal quotation marks omitted); Espinal v.
Goord, 558 F.3d 119, 129 (2d Cir. 2009) (finding that
“the passage of only six months between the dismissal
of Espinal's lawsuit and an allegedly retaliatory beating
by officers, one of whom . . . was a defendant in the prior
lawsuit, is sufficient to support an inference of a causal
the prison context, ‘adverse action' is objectively
defined as conduct ‘that would deter a similarly
situated individual of ordinary firmness from exercising . .
. constitutional rights.'” O'Diah v.
Cully, No. 08-CIV-941 (TJM/CFH), 2013 WL 1914434, at *9
(N.D.N.Y. May 8, 2013) (quoting Davis v. Goord, 320
F.3d 346, 353 (2d Cir. 2003)); see also Ramsey v.
Goord, 661 F.Supp.2d 370, 399 (W.D.N.Y. 2009) (prisoners
may be required to tolerate more than average citizens before
alleged retaliatory action against them is considered
adverse). In order to allege causation, the inmate must state
facts “suggesting that the protected conduct was a
substantial or motivating factor in ...