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Paye v. Wall

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island

September 27, 2018

SAMSON P. PAYE, Plaintiff,
v.
ASHBEL T. WALL, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          William E. Smith Chief Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 17). Plaintiff Samson P. Paye (“Plaintiff” or “Paye”), a prisoner at the Adult Correctional Institutions (“ACI”), has brought a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Ashbel T. Wall, Warden Matthew Kettle, Lieutenant William Galligan, and Lieutenant Joshua Macomber (collectively “Defendants”), all of whom are sued in their individual and official capacities. Defendants seek dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) because it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Paye is an inmate at the ACI in Cranston, Rhode Island. Defendants are officials and/or officers at the ACI. In his pro se Complaint, Paye alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, Rhode Island constitutional and/or statutory law, and Department of Corrections (“DOC”) policy. In brief, Paye alleges that he was held in segregation for seven additional days without due process, was denied visitation with his mother during this time, and was also denied commissary privileges. He seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and costs. Paye also asks that the Court exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims.

         On March 8, 2017, Paye received a “booking” for assaulting another inmate and was taken to segregation. At his hearing before the disciplinary board the following day, Paye was found guilty of the infraction and given thirty-one days of segregation and thirty-one days' loss of good time as punishment. According to Paye, his time in segregation expired on April 7, 2017, but he was not released from segregation on that day, with no explanation or due process. Also on April 7, 2017, Paye was denied visitation with his elderly mother, who had taken the bus from Providence to see him. In addition, Defendants refused to let him have his commissary order.

         Paye filed a grievance regarding these events on April 9, 2017. On April 13, 2017, he wrote letters to Director Wall, Warden Kettle, Assistant Director James Weeden, and Department Grievance Coordinator Cory Cloud, complaining about being kept in segregation past his release date, denied visitation with his mother, and denied commissary privileges. On April 14th, Paye was moved out of segregation without an explanation either for his release or for the seven extra days of confinement in segregation. Paye's grievance was ultimately denied.

         Paye filed the instant Complaint on April 28, 2017.[1]Defendants' Motion to Dismiss was filed on March 29, 2018. Thereafter, Paye filed two responses (“First Response, ” ECF No. 25; “Second Response, ” ECF No. 27) to the Motion to Dismiss. Defendants subsequently filed a response in support of the Motion to Dismiss (“Defendants' Response in Support, ” ECF No. 28).

         STANDARD

         Under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, see Negron-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). “[I]f, 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).

         While a 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, 561-63 (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 (2009) (“When 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 plaintiff's favor.” Sepúlveda-Villarini v. Dep't of Educ. of P.R., 628 F.3d 25, 30 (1st Cir. 2010).

         In 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 and internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, this Court has liberally reviewed Plaintiff's allegations and legal claims since they have been put forth by a pro se litigant. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Constitutional claims

         Pursuant ...


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