Thompson v. Murphy et al
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER Signed by Judge Robert N. Chatigny on 12/26/13.(Blue, A.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
PETER MURPHY, et al.,
CASE NO. 3:13-cv-1357(RNC)
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Plaintiff Robert Thompson, currently incarcerated at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, brings this action
pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging various claims.
Named as defendants are:
Warden Peter Murphy, Lieutenant Paine,
Mailroom Supervisor Digennaro, Officer Allen, Officer Concepcion,
Hearing Officer Lieutenant Deville, Lieutenant Roy and Officer
After conducting the screening required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915A, the Court concludes that the plaintiff's claims of mail
tampering against defendants Murphy, Digennaro, Paine, Allen and
Concepcion should proceed.
All other claims are dismissed.
The amended complaint alleges the following.
On June 5,
2012, the plaintiff mailed two envelopes marked as legal mail
addressed to the Connecticut State Police headquarters in
Bridgeport and Channel 8 News in New Haven.
contained the plaintiff’s complaint against several New Haven
police officers and requested that an investigation be conducted
and charges filed against the officers.
Although the plaintiff
was not on mail review or restriction, the envelopes were opened
outside his presence and the contents were confiscated as
contraband and destroyed.
The same day, the plaintiff received a
disciplinary report for security tampering.
and the decision was sustained on appeal.
he lost ten days of good time credit.
He was found guilty
Among other sanctions,
He submitted grievances
and letters regarding this incident to various persons including
The amended complaint alleges other instances of
interferences with the plaintiff's legal mail.
In April 2012,
the mailroom allegedly refused to send certified mail containing
summons forms to a state marshal.
On June 20, 2012, the
plaintiff tried to send a certified letter to the FBI but the
mailroom refused to mail the letter.
In November 2012, a state
court case filed by the plaintiff was dismissed for failure to
comply with court orders.
The mailroom had held the plaintiff’s
submission causing it to be received late by the state court.
May 20, 2013, the plaintiff sent a letter marked as legal mail to
Attorney McGuire at the ACLU complaining about issues with the
On May 30, 2013, the letter was returned opened.
had been marked “return to sender.”
The same day, he was given
an unopened incoming letter from another attorney and was able to
mail other letters.
Claims for Interference with Legal Mail
The Court concludes that the claim for damages for mail
tampering in violation of the First Amendment will proceed
against the following defendants in their individual capacities:
Murphy and Digennaro, who are specifically referenced in the
amended complaint, and defendants Allen, Paine and Concepcion,
who are alleged to be mailroom staff (ECF No. 11).
To the extent
the plaintiff seeks damages against the defendants in their
official capacities, however, the claims are barred by the
See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985);
Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979).
Accordingly, any such
claims are dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2).
Claims for Denial of Due Process
Plaintiff's due process challenge to the disciplinary action
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 1983.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994).
This same rule applies to
challenges used in prison disciplinary proceedings when the
inmate has forfeited good time credit as a disciplinary sanction.
See Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 644-47 (1997).
inmate's sole judicial remedy for restoration of good time
credits is a writ of habeas corpus."
Laws v. Cleaver, 140 F.
Supp. 2d 145, 153-54 (D. Conn. 2001).
The plaintiff alleges that he lost ten days of credited time
as the result of the challenged disciplinary action.
No. 11-2) at 2.
The Court assumes that the plaintiff refers to
Risk Reduction Earned Credit, the replacement for earned good
Before bringing an action for damages under section
1983 that would necessarily imply the invalidity of the
revocation of his good time credits, the plaintiff must
invalidate the disciplinary proceeding by writ of habeas corpus.
As the plaintiff does not allege that he has done so, his claim
for damages under section 1983 is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
The Court enters the following orders:
The section 1983 claims for damages for interference
with outgoing mail in violation of the First Amendment against
defendants Murphy, Digennaro, Paine, Allen and Concepcion will
proceed against these defendants in their individual capacities.
No other claims will be allowed
All other claims are dismissed.
except pursuant to an order granting a properly filed motion for
leave to file a second amended complaint.
No such motion will be
accepted by the Clerk unless the defendants have appeared in the
case and the plaintiff certifies that the motion has been served
Within fourteen (14) days of this Order, the Clerk
shall ascertain from the Department of Correction Office of Legal
Affairs the current work addresses for defendants Murphy,
Digennaro, Paine, Allen and Concepcion, and mail waiver of
service of process request packets to each defendant in his or
her individual capacity at his or her current work address.
the thirty-fifth (35th) day after mailing, the Clerk shall report
to the court on the status of all waiver requests.
defendant fails to return the waiver request, the Clerk shall
make arrangements for in-person service by the U.S. Marshal
Service and the defendant shall be required to pay the costs of
such service in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
The Clerk shall send a courtesy copy of the Amended
Complaint and this Order to the Connecticut Attorney General and
the Department of Correction Office of Legal Affairs.
Defendants shall file their response to the Amended
Complaint, either an answer or motion to dismiss, within seventy
(70) days from the date of this order.
If the defendants choose
to file an answer, they shall admit or deny the allegations and
respond to the cognizable claims recited above.
They may also
include any and all additional defenses permitted by the Federal
Discovery, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
26 through 37, shall be completed within seven months (210 days)
from the date of this order.
Discovery requests need not be
filed with the court.
All motions for summary judgment shall be filed within
eight months (240) days from the date of this order.
Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7(a), a non-moving party
must respond to a dispositive motion within twenty-one (21) days
of the date the motion was filed.
If no response is filed, or
the response is not timely, the dispositive motion can be granted
If the plaintiff’s address changes at any time during
the litigation of this case, Local Court Rule 83.1(c)2 provides
that he MUST notify the court.
Failure to do so can result in
the dismissal of the case.
The plaintiff must give notice of a
new address even if he is incarcerated.
The plaintiff should
write “PLEASE NOTE MY NEW ADDRESS” on the notice.
It is not
enough to just put the new address on a letter without indicating
that it is a new address.
If the plaintiff has more than one
pending case, indicate the case number in the notification of
change of address.
The plaintiff should also notify the
defendants or the attorney for the defendants, if appropriate, of
his or her new address.
SO ORDERED at Hartford, Connecticut, this 26th day of
Robert N. Chatigny
United States District Judge
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