Gray v. Erfe et al
PRISCS-INITIAL REVIEW ORDER, Leo Arnone (Commissioner) and Scott Erfe (Warden) terminated., ( Dismissal due by 4/30/2013) Signed by Judge Janet Bond Arterton on 3/20/2013.(Payton, R.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
SCOTT ERFE, et al.,
CASE NO. 3:13-cv-39(JBA)
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
The plaintiff, Bennie Gray, currently incarcerated at the
Enfield Correctional Institution in Enfield, Connecticut, has
filed a complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2000).
as defendants Warden Scott Erfe, Property Officer Yother and
Commissioner Leo Arnone.
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.
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.”
636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007).
Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d
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.
Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
allegations are not sufficient.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
The plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
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.’”
Boykin v. KeyCorp., 521 F.3d 202, 214 (2d
Cir. 2008) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)).
The incident underlying the complaint took place at the
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution.
On May 9, 2012, the
plaintiff was directed to the lieutenant’s office in the
Radgowski building to discuss a class B disciplinary report.
Before entering the office, he was redirected to the Admitting
and Processing (“A&P”) area and told that an officer in the
Corrigan building wanted to speak to him.
The plaintiff was told
that he was not being transferred and not being sent to
The plaintiff was strip searched and given an orange
His property was brought to the A&P area and
inventoried by Property Officer Packer.
brought to Corrigan with his property.
The plaintiff was then
At Corrigan, the
plaintiff spoke to Warden Erfe, and explained why he thought he
had been taken to Corrigan.
The warden checked into the matter
and said that the plaintiff would be transferred back to
Radgowski after the inmate count.
Instead, the plaintiff was taken to Administrative
State Troopers charged the plaintiff with possession
of narcotics and gave him a court date of May 31, 2012.
that night, the plaintiff was issued a disciplinary report.
report indicated that, while processing the plaintiff’s property
for storage, defendant Yother discovered cocaine in a sock.
Following a disciplinary hearing, the plaintiff was found guilty
and sanctioned with seven days segregation, fifteen days loss of
recreation, thirty days loss of commissary and fifteen days lost
Risk Reduction Earned Credit (“RREC”).
dismissed on December 12, 2012.
The state charges were
About the same time, defendant
Yother was fired for drugs and stealing.
The plaintiff contends that the defendants violated his
rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
that the defendants maliciously prosecuted him by filing a
baseless complaint, failed to intervene to prevent the
prosecution, failed to take disciplinary action to prevent the
abuse of authority and failed to properly train employees.
also asserts a state law malicious prosecution claim.
Defendants Arnone and Erfe are supervisory officials.
action filed pursuant to section 1983, liability is imposed only
on the official causing a constitutional violation.
settled law in this circuit that in a civil rights action for
monetary damages against a defendant in his individual capacity,
a plaintiff must demonstrate the defendant’s direct or personal
involvement in the actions which are alleged to have caused the
Wright v. Smith, 21 F.3d 496, 501
(2d Cir. 1994).
Because the doctrine of respondeat superior is inapplicable
in section 1983 cases, see Blyden v. Mancusi, 186 F.3d 252, 264
(2d Cir. 1999), supervisors are not automatically liable under
section 1983 when their subordinates commit a constitutional
The plaintiff may show supervisory liability by
demonstrating one or more of the following criteria: (1) the
defendant actually and directly participated in the alleged acts;
(2) the defendant failed to remedy a wrong after being informed
of the wrong through a report or appeal; (3) the defendant
created or approved a policy or custom that sanctioned
objectionable conduct which rose to the level of a constitutional
violation or allowed such a policy or custom to continue; (4) the
defendant was grossly negligent in his supervision of the
correctional officers who committed the constitutional violation;
and (5) the defendant failed to act in response to information
that unconstitutional acts were occurring.
341 F.3d 137, 144 (2d Cir. 2003).
Hernandez v. Keane,
In addition, the plaintiff
must demonstrate an affirmative causal link between the inaction
of the supervisory official and his injury.
See Poe v. Leonard,
282 F.3d 123, 140 (2d Cir. 2002).
The plaintiff alleges no facts to support a claim of
supervisory liability against defendants Arnone and Erfe.
Defendant Arnone is not referenced at all in the statement of
The only reference to defendant Erfe is that, after
speaking to the plaintiff, defendant Erfe investigated the matter
and told the plaintiff that he would return to Radgowski.
plaintiff’s conclusory statements are insufficient to state
plausible claims against defendants Arnone and Erfe.
As part of his relief, the plaintiff seeks removal of the
disciplinary report from his record and restoration of the
This relief would be available from defendants
Arnone and Erfe in their official capacities.
The Supreme Court
has held that, if a determination favorable to the plaintiff in a
section 1983 action “would necessarily imply the invalidity of
his conviction or sentence,” the plaintiff must prove that the
conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal or
declared invalid before he can recover damages under section
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994).
rule applies to challenges to procedures used in prison
disciplinary hearings where the inmate has forfeited good time
credit as a disciplinary sanction.
See Edwards v. Balisok, 520
U.S. 641, 644 (1997).
Thus, before the plaintiff can seek damages in federal court
on these claims he must first invalidate the disciplinary
Although the plaintiff alleges that he was found not
guilty of the criminal charges, he does not indicate that the
prison disciplinary finding has been overturned.
invalidation of the disciplinary findings would necessarily
restore the fifteen days forfeited RREC, the plaintiff must do so
by writ of habeas corpus.
See id. at 643-44.
This claim is
The plaintiff must seek invalidation of the
disciplinary finding and restoration of the RREC in a habeas
corpus action filed in state court.
The plaintiff also asserts malicious prosecution claims
against defendant Yother.
He states, however, that defendant
Yother no longer is employed by the Department of Correction.
Thus, the court cannot effect service on defendant Yother at the
The plaintiff is responsible for
providing a service address for each defendant.
plaintiff is directed to provide a current address for defendant
If no address is filed within thirty days from the date
of this order, the complaint will be dismissed.
In accordance with the foregoing analysis, the court enters
the following orders:
All federal law claims against defendants Arnone and
Erfe including the claim for restoration of RREC and expungement
of the disciplinary finding are DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
The plaintiff is directed to file a notice containing
defendant Yother’s current address.
The notice shall be filed
within thirty (30) days from the date of this order or by April
Failure to file the order will result in the dismissal
of this action without further notice from the court.
SO ORDERED this 20th day of March 2013, at New Haven,
Janet Bond Arterton
United States District Judge
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