United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Lincoln D. Almond, United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court pursuant to (28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B))
is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the First Amended
Complaint. (ECF Doc. No. 29). Pro se Plaintiff Juan
Rodriguez, a prisoner at the Adult Correctional Institutions
("ACI"), has brought claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Defendants Ashbel T. Wall, Matthew
Kettle, Jeffrey Aceto, Lieutenant Burt, Lieutenant Amaral and
Investigator Cabral, all of whom are sued in their individual
capacities and in their official capacities with the Rhode
Island Department of Corrections ("Defendants").
Defendants move the Court to dismiss the First Amended
Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and because it fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, I recommend that the
Motion to Dismiss be GRANTED.
is an inmate at the ACI in Cranston, Rhode Island. His pro se
First Amended Complaint, filed on August 11, 2017, alleged
violations of 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution. In brief,
Plaintiff was charged with several disciplinary infractions,
received hearings and was found guilty and sentenced to
periods in segregation. His claims stem from the proceedings
and resulting punishment.
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff filed several
Motions seeking additional time to file an Objection as well
as paper copies of certain cases. (ECF Doc. Nos. 30, 33, 34,
36). On January 19, 2018, the Court Ordered Defendants to
provide Plaintiff with copies of the requested cases and
Ordered Plaintiff to file his response to the Motion to
Dismiss on or before February 9, 2018. Defendants promptly
filed a Declaration that they complied with the Court's
Order. (ECF Doc. No. 38). To date, Plaintiff has not filed an
Objection to the Motion to Dismiss or otherwise responded to
the Court's Order. Thus, Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss is unopposed and could be granted on that basis.
However, out of deference to Plaintiffs pro se status, the
Court will also substantively address the arguments for
dismissal made by Defendants.
Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must construe the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, see
Neeron-Gaztambide v. Hernandez-Torres, 35 F.3d 25,
27 (1st Cir. 1994); taking all well-pleaded
allegations as true and giving the plaintiff the benefit of
all reasonable inferences, see Arruda v. Sears. Roebuck
& Co., 310 F.3d 13, 18 (1st Cir. 2002);
Carreiro v. Rhodes Gill & Co., 68 F.3d 1443,
1446 (1st Cir. 1995). If under any theory the
allegations are sufficient to state a cause of action in
accordance with the law, the motion to dismiss must be
denied. Vartanian v. Monsanto Co., 14 F.3d
697, 700 (1st Cir. 1994).
plaintiff need not plead factual allegations in great detail,
the allegations must be sufficiently precise to raise a right
to relief beyond mere speculation. See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) (abrogating the "no
set of facts" rule of Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 44-45 (1957)). "The complaint must allege
'a plausible entitlement to relief in order to survive a
motion to dismiss." Thomas v. Rhode Island, 542
F.3d 944, 948 (1st Cir. 2008) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 559). See also Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 ("[w]hen there are well-
pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief). The Court of Appeals has
cautioned that the "plausibility" requirement is
not akin to a "standard of likely success on the merits,
" but instead, "the standard is plausibility
assuming the pleaded facts to be true and read in a
plaintiffs favor." Sepulveda-Villarini v. Dep't
of Educ. of P.R., 628 F.3d 25, 30 (1st Cir.
considering a motion to dismiss a prisoner's claim that
his constitutional rights have been violated, the court must
be guided by the principle that, while "prison officials
are to be accorded substantial deference in the way they run
their prisons, this does not mean that we will rubber stamp
or mechanically accept the judgments of prison
administrators." Spratt v. R.I. Dep't of
Corr., 482 F.3d 33, 40 (1st Cir. 2007) (citation
omitted). In addition, this Court has liberally reviewed
Plaintiffs allegations and legal claims since they have been
put forth by a pro se litigant. See Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-521 (1972).
following facts are gleaned from Plaintiffs First Amended
Complaint, and the Court assumes their veracity for purposes
of the Motion to Dismiss. Defendants are correctional
officers and prison administrators at the ACI, where
Plaintiff is an inmate. Plaintiff was charged with a
disciplinary infraction on May 10, 2015 for fighting with
another inmate. (ECF Doc. No. 25-2 at p. 3.) On May 15, 2015,
Plaintiff pled guilty and received a punishment of twenty-one
days of solitary confinement and twenty-one days of loss of
good-time credit. On May 15, 2015, Plaintiff also was charged
with a disciplinary infraction for assault. Plaintiff asserts
that charge also stemmed from his fight with the other
inmate. On May 19, 2015, Plaintiff pled guilty to the assault
charge. Id. at p. 4. Plaintiff received a punishment
of eighty-nine days in punitive solitary confinement and
eighty-nine days of loss of good-time credit for that
infraction. Id. at p. 5.
Plaintiff was approaching the end of his term in solitary
confinement, he wrote a letter to another inmate asking the
inmate to alert his family that he had nearly completed his
period of solitary confinement and also asking for the inmate
to get him a toothbrush. Id. Plaintiff was
questioned by Investigator Cabral about the letter and
claimed he only sought the toothbrush to brush his teeth
after the lengthy period of time in solitary confinement with
just a smaller toothbrush. On July 17, 2015, Plaintiff was
charged with a disciplinary infraction for "mayhem"
regarding his attempt to obtain the toothbrush. Id.
at p. 6. Plaintiff pled not guilty at the disciplinary
hearing and was found guilty and sentenced to eighty-nine
days of punitive solitary confinement and eighty-nine days
loss of good-time credit. Id. at p. 7. Plaintiff
appealed that decision, and his appeal was denied.
Amended Complaint alleges a violation of the Due Process
Clause and specifically claims that ACI policy violates a
"permanent federal injunction." Id. at p.
12. He also claims the approximate fifteen months of time
spent in punitive and administrative solitary confinement
violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel ...