United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO AMEND
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 11, 2019, Brenden Benway (“Plaintiff”),
then incarcerated by the State of Connecticut at the
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution
(“Corrigan”) in Uncasville, Connecticut, sued ten
Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”)
officials in their individual and official capacities:
Security Risk Group Coordinator John Aldi, Warden Stephen
Faucher, Lieutenant Russell, Hearing Officer King,
Corrections Officer Campbell, Lieutenant Kelly, Disciplinary
Investigator John Doe, Lieutenant Roberts, Lieutenant
Hartley, and Disciplinary Report Investigator Acevedo,
alleging multiple violations of his civil and constitutional
rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Compl., ECF No. 1 (Feb. 11,
Benway has filed a motion to amend his Complaint to
substitute defendant Disciplinary Investigator John Doe with
Disciplinary Investigator Acevedo, and to reinstate the
claims for injunctive and declaratory relief that had been
previously dismissed as moot. Mot. to Amend, ECF No. 21 (Nov.
following reasons, Mr. Benway's motion to amend is
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
March of 2016, Corrections Officers Campbell and Russell
allegedly brought Mr. Benway, who had been confined at the
New Haven Correctional Center as a pretrial detainee, to the
Restrictive Housing Unit without notice. Compl. at 6. The
officers allegedly told him that they brought him there
because they had found gang-related photographs and colors on
his Facebook page. Id.
Benway allegedly told the officers that the content of his
Facebook page was protected speech under the First Amendment,
but the officers allegedly dismissed him, saying, “What
do you think you are, a lawyer?” Id. Officer
Campbell allegedly told Mr. Benway that the DOC has a
contract with Facebook, that the page content added three
points to his Security Risk Group point system scale, and
that his tattoos added another two points to his scale.
Id. Mr. Benway allegedly remained in the Restricted
Housing Unit for six days without a disciplinary report or a
hearing issued on his security risk group classification.
allegedly confined in the Restricted Housing Unit,
Disciplinary Report Investigator Doe allegedly came to Mr.
Benway's cell and allegedly told him that he was not
going to “beat the SRG affiliation” because there
was significant proof of gang activity on his Facebook page.
Id. at 7. When Mr. Benway allegedly asked
Investigator Doe how he could be confined in the Restricted
Housing Unit without a disciplinary report, Investigator Doe
allegedly replied that the content of Mr. Benway's
Facebook page was enough. Id.
days later, Mr. Benway allegedly was woken up and told that
he had to attend a hearing on his Security Risk Group
affiliation. Id. During the hearing, Lieutenant
Russell allegedly presented two options: sign a statement
indicating he is a gang member or lose between sixty and
ninety days of commissary, phone, mail, and visitation
privileges. Id. Mr. Benway allegedly signed the
statement to avoid the sanctions. Id. Lieutenant
Russell and Hearing Officer King allegedly did not permit Mr.
Benway to give an oral statement to explain the content of
his Facebook page. Id. The signed statement
allegedly meant Mr. Benway was designated as a member of the
Bloods gang and sent to Phase 3 of the Department of
Correction's Security Risk Group program at Corrigan.
Id. at 8.
allegedly confined at Corrigan, Mr. Benway allegedly reviewed
the Department of Correction's Administrative Directives
regarding Security Risk Group affiliation and penal
discipline. Id. Nothing in those directives
allegedly gave Officers Campbell, Russell, King, or any
Department of Correction official the authority to place him
in the restricted housing unit based on the content of his
Facebook page. Id.
April 2016, Mr. Benway allegedly wrote a letter to Security
Risk Group Coordinator Aldi discussing the circumstances of
his confinement. He allegedly never received a response.
Id. He also allegedly obtained his disciplinary
report history, which allegedly revealed he received no
disciplinary reports between 2016 and 2017. Id.
Benway's confinement in the Security Risk Group allegedly
had mental and physical repercussions. He allegedly could not
receive good time credits, had limited visitation and phone
privileges, could not participate in any vocational,
religious, or educational programs, and had no access to a
library. Id. at 9, 12-13. He allegedly was forced to
remain in his cell more than general population inmates and
allegedly had limited recreation time. Id. at 9.
Inmates in the Security Risk Group allegedly do not receive
jackets during outside recreation. Id. at 10. When
there is a lockdown due to a security issue, inmates
allegedly are confined in their cells for days without the
ability to shower, and their commissary privileges are
conditions allegedly were sub-standard. The unit allegedly
did not have heat or hot water. Id. at 10-11. Mr.
Benway's toilet allegedly smelled of feces and the sink
in his cell allegedly was clogged. Id. at 10.
Garbage allegedly accumulated for more than eight hours at a
time, attracting flies and creating an unsanitary
environment. Id. at 10-11. Because there are
allegedly no congregate meals in SRG, Mr. Benway allegedly
was forced to eat meals in these conditions. Id. at
10. Inmates in the Security Risk Group allegedly are allowed
to clean their cells once a week. Id. at 11. Mr.
Benway allegedly suffered from sleep deprivation and shook
constantly because of these conditions. Id.
allegedly spoke with Lieutenant Kelly, the unit manager,
about these conditions, but Lieutenant Kelly allegedly just
“brush[ed] [him] off” and allegedly told him not
to come to jail. Id. at 12. When he allegedly
re-entered Department of Corrections custody in October 2018,
Mr. Benway allegedly was forced to remain in segregation
until he could be transferred back to the Security Risk Group
unit at Corrigan. Id. at 14.
January 2, 2019, Mr. Benway allegedly was housed in the E-Pod
Security Risk Group unit but was brought to the Restricted
Housing Unit in B-Pod for a Class-A disciplinary report.
Id. at 16. He allegedly wrote to Lieutenant Kelly,
the supervisor of the E-Pod Unit, explaining that he did not
feel safe in the B-Pod unit because of other gang members
housed there. Id. One week later, while in the
shower, he allegedly told Corrections Officer Melton that he
was scared to go back to the B-Pod unit because of problems
he had outside of prison. Id. The officer allegedly
ignored Mr. Benway and placed him in the B-Pod. Id.
January 10, 2019, Mr. Benway allegedly wrote to Warden
Faucher regarding his safety at Corrigan. Id. at 16.
He allegedly never received a response. Id. Mr.
Benway allegedly fears for his life and has been diagnosed
with post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder. Id. Gang members in the unit
allegedly often force inmates to either join their gang or be
February 11, 2019, Mr. Benway sued Security Risk Group
Coordinator John Aldi, Warden Stephen Faucher, Lieutenant
Russell, Hearing Officer King, Corrections Officer Campbell,
Lieutenant Kelly, Disciplinary Investigator John Doe,
Lieutenant Roberts, Lieutenant Hartley, and Disciplinary
Report investigator Acevedo, alleging violations of the
First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S.
Constitution. Compl. at 1-3, 20-22.
filing his Complaint, Mr. Benway has twice moved for leave to
amend the Complaint. Mot. for Leave to Amend, ECF No. 8 (Feb.
21, 2019) (“First Mot. To Amend”); Mot. for Leave
to Amend, ECF No. 11 (Mar. 14, 2019) (“Second Mot. To
April 21, 2019, Mr. Benway notified the Court of his imminent
release from Corrigan. Notice of Change of Address, ECF No.
12 (Apr. 30, 2019).
motion to amend dated February 21, 2019, Mr. Benway requested
to supplement the Complaint with four ...