The opinion of the court was delivered by: LARIMER
By Decision and Order entered March 26, 1997, this Court denied plaintiff, Steve Husbands' ("Husbands"), motion to amend his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint, granted defendants' motion for summary judgment, and dismissed the complaint in its entirety.
On April 14, 1997, Husbands filed a motion to amend the judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). In his motion to amend, Husbands moves to vacate this Court's decision dismissing his 14th Amendment due process claim, which decision was premised on Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 132 L. Ed. 2d 418, 115 S. Ct. 2293 (1995), based on the recent decision in Miller v. Selsky, 111 F.3d 7 (2d Cir. 1997). Husbands also claims that the Court misapprehended his argument in his motion to amend his complaint and misconstrued the law governing retaliation claims under § 1983.
For the reasons discussed, infra, Husbands' motion to amend the judgment is denied.
The facts of this case are fully set forth in this Court's previous decision. Briefly, while an inmate at Southport Correctional Facility, Husbands was charged with possession of contraband. Following a Tier III disciplinary hearing, Husbands was found guilty of the charge and was sentenced to one year in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU"), with loss of privileges, and one year recommended loss of his good time credits. Initially, the guilty finding was administratively affirmed, although the sentence of one year in SHU was reduced to 180 days. The guilty finding was eventually administratively reversed and Husband's record was expunged, although not until after Husbands served 180 days in SHU.
In his complaint, Husbands claimed that his due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment were violated during the course of the disciplinary hearing. Husbands also sought to amend his complaint to add a claim that the disciplinary ticket issued against him was false and was given as a means to impede or prevent him from filing a grievance against certain corrections officers who had allegedly assaulted Husbands.
In my decision of March 26, 1997, I found that Husbands' proposed amendment to his complaint would be futile as it did not state a claim for retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Further, I dismissed Husbands' due process claim on the ground that no liberty interest was involved under authority of Sandin.
In order to prevail in a § 1983 claim a prison inmate must demonstrate that he possessed a liberty or property interest protected by the United States Constitution or federal statutes and that, without due process of law, he was deprived of that interest. See Green v. Bauvi, 46 F.3d 189, 194 (2d Cir. 1995). In Sandin, 515 U.S. at 484, the Supreme Court held that disciplinary confinement does not implicate a liberty interest unless that confinement "imposes atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life." Relying on Sandin, I determined in the March 26 decision that Husbands' sentence of 180 days in SHU with a loss of various privileges did not impose "atypical and significant hardship" on him in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life. Thus, Husbands' punishment did not implicate a liberty interest under the Fourteenth Amendment.
In his motion to amend the March 26, 1997 judgment, Husbands urges this Court to reconsider its earlier decision that Husbands' Fourteenth Amendment rights were not violated during the course of his disciplinary hearing. Husbands claims that Miller, supra, essentially overruled the line of cases relied upon by this Court in its earlier decision. Further, Husbands claims that the facts of Miller are virtually indistinguishable from the facts in the present case.
It is true that, according to the Miller court, " Sandin did not create a per se blanket rule that disciplinary confinement may never implicate a liberty interest." Miller, 111 F.3d at 9. However, it is equally true that Miller does not preclude summary judgment. Id. ("Our remand in no way suggests the motion should be denied."). Rather, district courts are required to make factual findings with respect to the conditions of confinement at issue in each case. Sealey v. Giltner, 116 F.3d 47, 52 (2d Cir. 1997); Brooks v. DiFasi, 112 F.3d 46, 49 (2d Cir. 1997); Miller, 111 F.3d at 9. The duration of the inmate's disciplinary confinement is relevant to this factual inquiry, as is the restrictiveness of the conditions imposed in relation to the prevailing conditions in the prison at large. Brooks, 112 F.3d at 47-49.
Here, Husbands alleges that as a result of defendants' unconstitutional conduct, he was denied certain privileges, deprived of good-time credits, and detained in SHU for 180 days. I reiterate that I do not believe that any of the "punishments" imposed in this case, under all the circumstances, implicated a liberty interest cognizable under the Fourteenth ...