Ruffino v. Trestman et al
ORDER denying 15 as moot Motion for TRO and for Preliminary Injunction. See attached memorandum of decision. Signed by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on September 12, 2012. (Butler, Ayanna)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
JAKE J. RUFFINO,
ROBERT TRESTMAN, et al.,
Case No. 3:12-cv-435 (VLB)
RULING ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
AND TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER [Doc. #15]
The plaintiff, incarcerated and pro se, has filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 alleging that the defendants permit various practices and procedures for
provision of mental health care at Northern Correctional Institution that require
inmates to discuss their mental health issues with staff in circumstances that
enable other inmates and correctional staff to listen to the conversations. The
plaintiff asserts a violation of his constitutional right to privacy of health
information. He now seeks preliminary injunctive relief preventing the
defendants from first, evaluating, assessing or conversing with inmates
regarding private mental health information while on open tiers or at cell doors,
second, evaluating inmates or communicating with inmates regarding private
mental health information over the intercom system, and third, holding treatment
sessions in rooms equipped with audio monitoring systems. For reasons that
follow, the plaintiff’s motion is denied.
In opposition to the motion, the defendants have provided evidence that
the plaintiff no longer is confined at Northern Correctional Institution. See Doc.
#21, Attachment A. The Second Circuit has held that an inmate’s request for
declaratory and injunctive relief against correctional staff or conditions of
confinement at a particular correctional institution becomes moot when the
inmate is discharged or transferred to a different correctional institution. See
Mawhinney v. Henderson, 542 F.2d 1, 2 (2d Cir. 1976); Martin-Trigona v. Shiff, 702
F.2d 380, 386 (2d Cir. 1983) (“The hallmark of a moot case or controversy is that
the relief sought can no longer be given or is no longer needed”).
There is an exception to this principle. The court may decide a claim that
is not moot where the claim is “‘capable of repetition, yet evading review’” and
the repetition will affect “the same complaining party.” Altman v. Bedford Cent.
Sch. Dist., 245 F.3d 49, 71 (2d Cir.) (quoting City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S.
95, 109 (1983)), cert. denied sub nom. Debari v. Bedford Cent. Sch. Dist., 534 U.S.
837 (2001). The plaintiff invokes this exception by stating that he has been
transferred to Northern Correctional Institution several times during his
incarceration. Whether the plaintiff is returned to Northern Correctional
Institution depends on his behavior and disciplinary record. Thus, the possibility
of his return to Northern Correctional Institution is speculative. In addition, if the
plaintiff were returned to Northern Correctional Institution, he could file a new
action addressing this claim. As the plaintiff conceded that his recent stay at
Northern Correctional Institution was lengthy, his claim would not evade review.
The plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining
order [Doc. #15] is DENIED as moot.
So ordered at Hartford, Connecticut this 12th day of September 2012.
Vanessa L. Byrant
United States District Judge
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