United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
J. McConnell, Jr. United States District Judge
A. Canada has been incarcerated since his 1994 conviction in
Virginia for murder, attempted murder, use of a firearm,
shooting into an occupied vehicle, and shooting into an
occupied building. See Canada v. Bay No.
7:05CV00362, 2005 WL 2122703, at *1 (W.D. Va. Sept. 2,
2005).In June 2016, Virginia officials
transferred Mr. Canada to the Rhode Island Adult Correctional
Institution ("ACI").Canada v. Gilbert, No.
7:16CV00190, 2016 WL 6082050, at *1 n.l (W.D. Va. Oct. 18,
2016). While at the ACI, Mr. Canada filed this case alleging
myriad constitutional violations by employees of the Rhode
Island Department of Corrections. Specifically, Mr. Canada
alleges that he was wrongfully disciplined; had nude photos,
newspapers, magazines, and books confiscated! was deprived of
outdoor recreation; was deprived the use of his MP3 player;
and was subjected to unsanitary conditions of confinement.
ECF No. 14. Defendants Ashbel T. Wall II, James Weeden,
Mathew Kettle, Joseph Jankowski, Walter Duffy, and Jeffrey
Aceto (the "State Defendants") have filed a Motion
to Dismiss. ECF No. 58.
survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint
must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A plaintiffs claim is plausible
when it states sufficient facts that allow "the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
Court must accept a plaintiffs allegations as true and
construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
and review pleadings of a pro se plaintiff liberally.
However, the Court need not credit bald assertions or
unverifiable conclusions." Tucker v. Wall, No.
07-406 ML, 2010 WL 322155, at *8 (D.R.I. Jan. 27, 2010)
Confiscated Nude Photographs (Claim l)
Canada alleges that Defendant Captain Duffy violated his
constitutional rights when he "unconstitutionally
confiscated 9 nude photos from [his] property." ECF No.
14 at 4. He also alleges that on two occasions the month
before, unnamed person(s) denied him "17-nude
photos" from an "approved vendor."
this claim only applies to Defendant Captain Duffy; Mr.
Canada fails to make any specific allegation against any
other individual Defendant related to the confiscation of
nude photos. And as Captain Duffy, Mr. Canada does not set
forth sufficient plausible facts to establish a
a prison regulation impinges on inmates' constitutional
rights, the regulation is valid if it is reasonably related
to legitimate penological interests. In our view, such a
standard is necessary if 'prison administrators . . .,
and not the courts, [are] to make the difficult judgments
concerning institutional operations." Turner v.
Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987) (alterations in original)
(quoting Jones v. N.C. Prisoners' Union, 433
U.S. 119, 128 (1977)).
Canada knows from when he sued officials at the Red Onion
State Prison in Virginia over possession of nude photographs,
a "prison has a legitimate interest in keeping order,
which may be negatively impacted by prisoners' possession
of naked pictures of wives or girlfriends." Canada
v. Bay, No. 7:08cv00219, 2010 WL 2179062, at *5 (W.D.
Va. May 28, 2010); see Canada v. Ray, No.
7:08cv00219, 2011 WL 565611, at *6-7 (W.D. Va. Feb. 9, 2011)
("[I]t axiomatic that the possession of intimate
photographs of friends, girlfriends, or wives has a greater
potential to lead to tension and conflict . . ., and,
therefore, that banning intimate personal photographs is
rationally related to controlling conflict."),
affd, 437 Fed.Appx. 263 (4th Cir. 2011); see
also Moses v. Dennehy 523 F.Supp.2d 57, 63 (D. Mass.
2007) (holding that "a ban on nude, semi-nude, or
sexually explicit material is not wholly irrational or
arbitrary on its face with respect to prison safety, "
and that, "as matter of law . . . there is a rational
relationship between the banning of sexually explicit
material and the safety and rehabilitation efforts" of
the department of corrections).
Mr. Canada fails to meet his burden of alleging
unconstitutional acts by Captain Duffy, the Court dismisses
Confiscated Hardcover Books (Claim 2)
Canada alleges that the State Defendants did not allow him to
have or purchase hardcover books, including dictionaries,
encyclopedias, and medical and law books. However, Mr. Canada
fails to set forth any hardcover books that he wanted to
purchase that were not also available in softcover. He has
therefore failed to show any "actual injury"
resulting from the denial of access to hardcover books.
See Pressley v. Beard, 266 Fed.Appx. 216, 218 (3d
Cir. 2008). Moreover, he fails to attribute these acts to any
of the named State Defendants. Therefore, Mr. Canada fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Disciplinary Confinement (Claims 3, 5, and 7)
Canada complains of the disciplinary confinement he received
after prison officials found him guilty of certain prison
infractions. He asserts that, because of the
discipline, he was deprived of phone calls, visitation,
newspapers, television, ...