The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCAVOY
Plaintiff Keith Maguire brought suit against the above-captioned defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights during the investigation of an escape attempt by other inmates. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on the following grounds: 1) plaintiff had no state-created right to be free from limited periods of cell confinement during an investigation of a prison escape; 2) plaintiff's allegations are too conclusory and sparse to support a civil rights claim; and 3) defendants are qualifiedly immune from plaintiff's claims.
This matter was referred to Magistrate Judge David N. Hurd pursuant to a standing order dated August 2, 1985. He issued a Report-Recommendation dated July 13, 1995, in which he recommended granting defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissing plaintiff's complaint. The Court will now address plaintiff's objections to the Report-Recommendation, to which defendants have not responded.
The following day, March 28th, two men from the IGO interviewed plaintiff about the escape and allegedly threatened him. Later that day, plaintiff was transferred to Downstate Correctional Facility, placed in an isolation cell, "physically man-handled," and finally taken to the Special Housing Unit (SHU).
On March 29th, plaintiff was transferred to Attica Correctional Facility, where officers allegedly under the direct supervision of one Captain Wolf subjected him to "verbal and physical abuse" and confined him in the SHU. On April 1st, pursuant to Defendant Deputy Superintendent Hall's orders, plaintiff was transferred from SHU and allegedly quarantined in keeplock. Later that day, four IGO officers and New York State police officers interrogated plaintiff about the escape and allegedly threatened his life. On April 6th, plaintiff returned to the general population, but he was transferred back to keeplock three days later.
Plaintiff further alleges that on April 10th, he was transferred to Auburn Correctional Facility, where he suffered more verbal and physical abuse before being quarantined in a cell devoid of bed linens. On April 12th, he was placed in SHU, where he remained until April 15th, the date of his transfer to Sing Sing Correctional Facility. At Sing Sing, plaintiff was again placed in quarantine. Plaintiff was paroled from Sing Sing on December 9, 1991.
Between March 28, 1991, when plaintiff's transfers began, and May of that year, plaintiff was never the subject of a misbehavior report and no hearings were held regarding his inter- or intra-prison transfers. Upon plaintiff's "knowledge and belief," Defendants Coughlin and Malone had full knowledge of and condoned the treatment plaintiff received following the escape attempt.
Defendants admit that plaintiff was transferred from Eastern New York Correctional Facility to four other correctional facilities within the space of three weeks, that he was transferred numerous time within most of these facilities, and that during the relevant time span, there were no disciplinary proceedings pending against plaintiff. They also assert that the probable reason for plaintiff's transfers among and within correctional facilities was the facilitation of the ISO's investigation of the escape. Finally, defendants raise the affirmative defense of qualified immunity.
Plaintiff asserts two main civil rights claims against defendants. First, he claims that the verbal and physical abuse he allegedly suffered, as well as the absence of bed linens from his Auburn cell, constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. His second claim is that his transfers among and within four New York State correctional facilities within three weeks deprived him of a protected liberty interest without due process of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
C. Magistrate Judge Hurd's Recommendations
Magistrate Judge Hurd recommended granting defendants' summary judgment motion with respect to plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim for verbal and physical abuse, on the grounds that plaintiff's allegations of abuse are conclusory and "insufficient to support a civil rights claim." He also recommended granting defendants' summary judgment motion with respect to plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment claim. The Magistrate Judge reasoned that plaintiff had no liberty interest in remaining in the same correctional facility or in remaining free from segregated ...