Harnage et al v. Arnone et al
PRISCS-INITIAL REVIEW ORDER, Shawn Audet, Sr, Sebastian Award, Michael W. Barracliff, Kent Barrett, Paul E. Brennan 3, Brighthaupt, Jack Buyko, Antwan Byrd, Raul Cardona, Christopher Caruso, David Chavannes, Class of Similarly Situated incarcerated i ndividuals, James Clodfelter, Fernando Diaz, Doe, Doe, Doe, Doe, Does, Does, Does, Does, Does, Does, David Duffany, Johnathan Gallup, Victor Garcia, Martin Gingras, Hardy, Michael C. Harnage, Latavin Harris, Hector Irrizary, Larry J. Jandrow, Archie J. Johnson, Kevin D. Kelly, Steven Lamotte, Johnathan Lopez, George L. Martin, III, Shawn McDermid, James Mendoza, Jr, Brian Mercurio, Demetrius R. Miller, Alexander Moya, Dominic Narcisse, Curtis W. Nichols, Eduardo Odorno, Jeremy Otero, Gregory Owe ns, Michael Place, Mathew Ploof, Marc Pontes, Richard Ranslow, II, Lamont Rosegreen, Gaylord Salters, Robert Schleich, Thomas Sentementes, Alexander Shanfeld, Jonas M. Smith, Joseph M. Spraski, Timothy St. Jean, Jr, David Tobey, Emanuel Torres, Jesse Trudeau, Joseph Vargas, Edwin Vega, James R. Waskowich, Watson, Anthony Whitaker, Shawn Williams, Antonio Wilson, Alejandro Zapata, Duane E. Akins and Jeffrey N. Almeida terminated., ( Amended Pleadings due by 6/4/2012). Signed by Judge Alvin W. Thompson on 5/3/2012. (Payton, R.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
JAMES A. HARNAGE,
LEO ARNONE, et al.,
Case No. 3:12-cv-107(AWT)
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Sixty-one present and former inmates have attempted to file
this action pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
The in forma pauperis statute requires that each person
wishing to commence a lawsuit without payment of the filing fee
must submit an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
In addition, since they are proceeding pro
se, each plaintiff must sign the complaint.
Fed. R. Civ. P.
James A. Harnage, the listed plaintiff, is the only
person to have signed the complaint and completed an application
to proceed in forma pauperis.
For this reason, he is considered
by the court to be the only plaintiff in this action.
asserted by Gregory Owens, James R. Waskowich, Shawn McDermid,
James Mendoza Jr., Timothy St. Jean Jr., Duane E. Atkins, Jonas
M. Smith, Richard Ranslaw II, Emanuel Torres, George L. Martin
III, Alejandro Zapata, Sebastian Award, Shawn Audet Sr.,
Johnathan Lopez, David Duffany, Martin Gingras, Johnathan Gallup,
Fernando Diaz, Joseph Vargas, Curtis W. Nichols, Hector Irrizary,
Demetrius R. Miller, James Clodfelter, Jeremy Otero, Michael
Place, Eduardo Odorno, David Chavannes, Anthony Whitaker, Lamont
Rosegreen, Dominic Narcissa, Robert Schleich, Jesse Trudeau,
David Tobey, Brian Mercurio Sr., Victor Garcia, Larry J. Jandrow,
Archie J. Johnson, Alexander Shanfeld, Michael C. Harnage, Shawn
Williams, Kent Barrett, Paul E. Brennan, Joseph M. Spraski,
Alexander Mayer, Marc Pontes, Christopher Caruso, Mathew Ploof,
Steven Lamotte, Latavin Harris, Michael W. Barracliff, Antwan
Byrd, Antonio Wilson, Thomas Sentementes, Jack Boyko, Gaylord
Salters, Edwin Vega, Kevin D. Kelly, Jeffrey N. Almeida and Raul
Cardona are dismissed.
These individuals may file separate
lawsuits asserting their own claims.
In addition, the plaintiff states that he is asserting
claims on behalf of a class of similarly situated incarcerated
The plaintiff cannot bring a class action lawsuit
See Morneau v. Connecticut, No. 3:07cv819(JBA), 2008 WL
2704817, at *3 (D. Conn. Jul. 7, 2008) (holding that pro se
prisoner cannot adequately represent interests of class of
Accordingly, any claims asserted on behalf of
unidentified prisoners also are dismissed.
The plaintiff names as defendants Leo Arnone, Anthony
Coletti, Scott Erfe, Martin Pluszynski, Herbert Williams, Carbet
Meyers, Anndean Kmetz, Joseph Iozzia, Daniel Cronin, Thomas
Holmes, Jeffrey Brehler, Kurt Schwegoffer, Raymond Perkins, David
Peck, Jay Leszmiewski, William Delaney, Steven Wales, Brett
Fulcher, Michael Diloreto, William Longton, Tarrant, Bessette,
Espinosa, Trainor, McGaughin, Moriaty, Stowell, Brian K. Murphy,
Brighthaupt, Watson, Hardy and 59 John Does.
Most of the
identified defendants work at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional
The Doe defendants are from Corrigan-Radgowski
Correctional Center, Garner Correctional Institution, Bridgeport
Correctional Center, Hartford Correctional Center, New Haven
Correctional Center and Cheshire Correctional Institution.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (2000), 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.
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.”
F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007).
Abbas v. Dixon, 480
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, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (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.
But “‘[a] document
filed pro se is to be liberally construed and a pro se complaint,
however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.’”
KeyCorp, 521 F.3d 202, 214 (2d Cir. 2008) (quoting Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)).
The plaintiff includes seven counts in his complaint
challenging various practices within the Department of
In Count I, the plaintiff alleges that, upon his
admission to the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center
(“Corrigan”) in 2008 as a pretrial detainee, he was stripsearched with two or three other inmates.
The search was
conducted without regard to any suspicion that he might be
concealing contraband and was not conducted in a private setting.
The plaintiff does not identify which defendants conducted this
He only states that the Commissioner of Correction and
wardens of all of the correctional facilities referenced in the
complaint should have known that such searches were
unconstitutional, especially with regard to persons arrested for
The plaintiff does not identify the offense with which he
was charged. Department of Correction records, however, indicate
that he is not currently serving a sentence for a minor offense.
In Count II, the plaintiff alleges that upon returning to
the correctional facility from court appearances, inmates are
required to undergo the same strip search procedure with several
other inmates and in the presence of many correctional staff and
between twenty and thirty inmates.
procedure at Corrigan.
The plaintiff underwent this
He does not identify any defendants who
directly participated in these searches.
In Count III, the plaintiff alleges that, after he was
transferred to Garner Correctional Institution (“Garner”) he was
required to undergo multiple strip searches when returning from
court, first when the van stopped at Corrigan and then again when
he reached Garner.
In Count IV, the plaintiff alleges that inmates are
unreasonably searched because correctional staff will not allow
inmates to cover the cell window while they perform bodily
The plaintiff does not allege any specific dates on
which he was prevented from covering his window while performing
bodily functions or identify any defendants who ordered him to
remove a covering on his window.
In Count V, the plaintiff alleges that when he was
transferred to the restrictive housing unit, he was required to
The plaintiff’s controlling offense is a charge of sexual assault
in the first degree for which he is serving a forty-year
sentence. See www.ctinmateinfo.state.ct.us (last visited Feb. 8,
undergo a strip search in the presence of five or six
The plaintiff does not identify the
correctional facility at which this occurred or any defendants
who were present.
In Count VI, the plaintiff alleges that, at various times,
he has been confined in a housing unit with in-cell feeding while
inmates in other housing units participated in communal meal
He also alleges that, although there are two dining
halls at Corrigan, only one is used for inmate meals.
was converted to a staff lounge.
The plaintiff contends that the
meals served in-cell are cold and contain smaller portions than
the meals in the dining hall.
In Count VII, the plaintiff alleges that when he was living
in a housing unit at Corrigan partaking in communal meals, he was
not afforded a full twenty minutes to eat his meal.
period encompassed the time spent in line waiting to receive the
Thus, inmates toward the end of the line had to eat their
meal in less than five minutes.
The plaintiff states that
inmates had been permitted to take a piece of fruit or bag of
chips from their tray when they left the dining hall.
plaintiff complained about the short meal times, however, this
process was discontinued.
The plaintiff was identified in the
dining hall as the reason for the change.
The plaintiff contends
that this was an act of retaliation for filing the administrative
grievance, but does not identify the correctional officer who
announced the change and attributed it to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff has alleged that he experienced the actions
giving rise to the complaint only while confined at Corrigan and
Because the plaintiff cannot assert claims on behalf of
inmates experiencing these conditions at other correctional
facilities all claims against the defendants from those other
correctional facilities are dismissed.
The case will proceed
only as to the claims against the Commissioner and Acting
Commissioner of Correction, the wardens at Corrigan and Garner
and correctional staff at Corrigan and Garner.
A correctional officer is not liable for damages under
section 1983 unless he or she was personally involved in the
alleged violation of the plaintiff’s rights.
Smith, 21 F.3d 496, 501 (2d Cir. 1994).
See Wright v.
The plaintiff does not
identify particular actions of any of the correctional staff
defendants in the statement of his claims.
of acts or omissions by any correctional staff defendant, the
court cannot discern how each defendant was involved in the claim
and whether the claim against that defendant should proceed.
Thus, before the court reviews the merits of the plaintiff’s
claims, he must amend his complaint.
In the amended complaint he
shall include allegations describing how each of the remaining
correctional staff defendants was personally involved in the
incidents described in the complaint.
In accordance with the foregoing analysis, the court enters
the following orders:
All claims asserted by Gregory Owens, James R.
Waskowich, Shawn McDermid, James Mendoza Jr., Timothy St. Jean
Jr., Duane E. Atkins, Jonas M. Smith, Richard Ranslaw II, Emanuel
Torres, George L. Martin III, Alejandro Zapata, Sebastian Award,
Shawn Audet Sr., Johnathan Lopez, David Duffany, Martin Gingras,
Johnathan Gallup, Fernando Diaz, Joseph Vargas, Curtis W.
Nichols, Hector Irrizary, Demetrius R. Miller, James Clodfelter,
Jeremy Otero, Michael Place, Eduardo Odorno, David Chavannes,
Anthony Whitaker, Lamont Rosegreen, Dominic Narcissa, Robert
Schleich, Jesse Trudeau, David Tobey, Brian Mercurio Sr., Victor
Garcia, Larry J. Jandrow, Archie J. Johnson, Alexander Shanfeld,
Michael C. Harnage, Shawn Williams, Kent Barrett, Paul E.
Brennan, Joseph M. Spraski, Alexander Mayer, Marc Pontes,
Christopher Caruso, Mathew Ploof, Steven Lamotte, Latavin Harris,
Michael W. Barracliff, Antwan Byrd, Antonio Wilson, Thomas
Sentementes, Jack Boyko, Gaylord Salters, Edwin Vega, Kevin D.
Kelly, Jeffrey N. Almeida and Raul Cardona are DISMISSED pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(a).
individuals may file separate lawsuits asserting their own
Any claims asserted as a class action on behalf of
unidentified prisoners are DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
All claims against defendants Doe 7, Doe 8, Doe 9, Does
20-29, Does 30-39, Does 40-49, Warden Brighthaupt, Captain
Watson, Captain Hardy and Does 50-59 are DISMISSED pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A as they were included for the claims of persons
dismissed as plaintiffs in this case.
The plaintiff shall file an amended complaint within
thirty (30) days from the date of this order.
complaint shall include only the plaintiff’s own claims regarding
the incidents described in the original complaint and shall
include allegations demonstrating the involvement of the
correctional staff defendants at Garner and Corrigan in his
Once the amended complaint is filed, the court will
review the merits of the claims and determine whether this action
Entered this 3rd day of May 2012, at Hartford, Connecticut.
Alvin W. Thompson
United States District Judge