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LUIS v. COUGHLIN

August 5, 1996

PATRICK LUIS, Plaintiff, -vs- THOMAS COUGHLIN, in his official and individual capacity; FRANK IRVIN, in his official and individual capacity; EDD MARTIN, in his individual capacity as a person; PETER NARDIELLO, in his individual capacity as a person; ANONYMOUS PERSON 'A' (DISCIPLINARY HEARING OFFICER OF WENDE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY DURING 5/28/91 - 6/30/91), in his individual capacity as a person; and PAUL MECCA, in his individual capacity as a person, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: CURTIN

 CURTIN, District Judge

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Patrick Luis files this action under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking damages from defendants Thomas Coughlin, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Facilities; Frank Irvin, Superintendent at Wende Correctional Facility ("Wende") in Alden, New York; and Peter Nardiello, Edd Martin, Paul Mecca, and Anonymous Person "A," all officers at Wende, for imposing thirty-three days of "keeplock status" confinement *fn1" without a hearing in violation of N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 7, § 251-5.1 (1992) [hereinafter N.Y.C.R.R.] and the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

 Consequently, the defendants originally moved to dismiss the plaintiff's amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). In a decision and order dated October 28, 1994, this court denied defendants' motion, and the parties proceeded with discovery.

 On June 19, 1995, the United States Supreme Court decided Sandin v. Connor, U.S. , 115 S. Ct. 2293 (1995), a case which altered the standard for evaluating cases where special confinement allegedly violates a prisoner's constitutional rights. Based on the Sandin decision, this court granted defendant leave to make the present motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. In addition to their Sandin argument, defendants also argue that Coughlin and Irvin are protected by qualified immunity.

 FACTS

 For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the factual allegations of the complaint are presumed to be true. At all times relevant to this action, Luis was incarcerated at Wende. On May 28, 1991, Luis allegedly refused a work assignment in violation of Rule 180.18, 7 N.Y.C.R.R. § 270.2(b)(26)(viii) (1988). Defendant Nardiello witnessed this refusal, placed Luis into "keeplock" status, and wrote a misbehavior report. However, he failed to report either his actions or Luis's status to the superintendent before going off duty or at any time thereafter, although he was required to do so pursuant to Departmental Rule 251-1.6 (e)(1). Item 40, P 13. Luis also alleges that Nardiello failed to do the paperwork necessary for Luis to obtain a timely disciplinary hearing in violation of Departmental Rule 251-4.1. 7 N.Y.C.R.R. 251-4.1 (1992).

 Luis was served with charges on May 30, 1991, and was provided with a prison employee assistant, defendant Paul Mecca. Although Mecca interviewed Luis on the plaintiff's seventh day in keeplock, Mecca never advised the plaintiff that he was entitled to a disciplinary hearing within seven days, nor did Mecca ask for such a hearing on Luis's behalf, ask for the inmate's release from keeplock, or notify the Disciplinary Hearing Office of the situation. In violation of 7 N.Y.C.R.R. § 251-5.1 (1992), no disciplinary hearing on the charges was held within seven days of his segregation. Luis was released from keeplock on June 30.

 Luis further charges that defendant Edd Martin, the Review Officer from May 28 to June 30, did not review the misbehavior report, forward the report to a Disciplinary Hearing Officer, review Luis's status during June of 1991, or order Luis's release after seven days in keeplock. In addition, Anonymous Defendant 'A,' the Disciplinary Hearing Officer from May 28 to June 30, did not provide a disciplinary hearing nor order Luis's release during his 33-day confinement.

 Finally, Luis claims that defendants Thomas Coughlin, the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Facilities, and Frank Irvin, the Superintendent of Wende, were deliberately indifferent to and grossly negligent of their responsibilities to protect Luis's civil rights. They failed to train, supervise, and educate their subordinates properly as to their duties and responsibilities to assure compliance with departmental rules and procedures, including appointment of a correctional officer to commence a disciplinary hearing and termination of Luis's keeplock status after more than seven days without a hearing. The plaintiff further alleges that Coughlin and Irvin have taken no actions to assure that inmates put into keeplock status are provided with a disciplinary hearing within seven days. Rather, they have deliberately fostered a practice and policy in which correctional officers may disregard departmental rules so as to deprive inmates of liberty interests.

 DISCUSSION

 1. Plaintiff had no liberty interest in remaining free of ...


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