The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chin, District Judge.
Plaintiff Jose Alvarado, an inmate in the New York State prison
system, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
defendants H. Kerrigan and Don Galgano — respectively, a sergeant
and a senior corrections counselor at Sing Sing Correctional Facility
("Sing Sing"). In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendants
deprived him of a fair disciplinary hearing in violation of the Eighth
and Fourteenth Amendments. Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings
pursuant to Fed. R.Civ.P. 12(c). For the reasons that follow, defendants'
motion is granted, and the complaint is dismissed.
The facts alleged by plaintiff are assumed to be true for purposes of
this motion, and may be summarized as follows:
On August 8, 1997, when Sing Sing had been under "lockdown" for
approximately four days, an unidentified Sing Sing corrections officer
conducted a search of plaintiffs cell.*fn2 The search revealed no
contraband. (Comp. ¶ 1). After the search, plaintiff was informed by
either the same or another "unknown" corrections officer that the prison
administration bad received information about plaintiff from a
confidential informant and that, based on that information, plaintiff was
going to be placed on "investigation status" keeplock pending
investigation. (Id. ¶ 2).
The next day, August 9, plaintiff was issued a disciplinary report
authored by defendant Kerrigan for assault on an inmate. The report,
which is annexed to the complaint, stated as follows:
Based on an ongoing investigation regarding several
serious inmate assaults in the HBB yard, and
information provided by a confidential source, inmate
Alvarado . . . did stab inmate Serrano [on August 4,
Thereafter, plaintiff requested "employee assistance" to help prepare
for his Tier 3 Hearing.*fn3 (Id. ¶ 4). When he met with employee
assistant G. Burns on August 13, plaintiff made a number of evidentiary
requests, including: copies of all unusual incident reports; the
opportunity to view the videotape; a written statement from Serrano
indicating whether Alvarado had stabbed him; the names of individuals "in
charge of the investigation"; all medical reports relating to the
stabbing; a review of "how the confidential informant was determined to
be a reliable source in the past"; and the identity of personnel "[w]ho
determined that the [informant] was reliable." (Id. ¶ 5).
On August 14, 1997, a Tier 3 hearing on the inmate assault charge was
held. At the hearing, which was conducted by defendant Galgano,
plaintiff' pleaded not guilty to the assault charge and informed the
hearing officer of his dissatisfaction with Burns's assistance. (Id.
¶ 8). Galgano issued plaintiff the unusual incident report, which did
not list plaintiff as one of the participants. (Id., Ex. 3). Plaintiff
testified that he did not assault Serrano, and that he was in a different
part of the HBB yard when the assault occurred. (Id. ¶ 9). In addition
to testifying, plaintiff made several requests of Galgano. He asked to
question witnesses — including Serrano, Tanco (another inmate),
corrections officer Sierra and defendant Kerrigan — and asked to
review the videotape. (Id. ¶¶ 9-10). Galgano denied plaintiffs request
to view the videotape. and stated that he had watched the videotape and
plaintiff was not on it. (Id.). Galgano then adjourned the hearing. (Id.
The Tier 3 hearing resumed the next day, August 15. At that time,
Kerrigan testified that he did not personally interview any of the
confidential informants, and that when he arrived at the HBB yard, the
incident was under control. (Id. ¶¶ 13-14). Kerrigan further testified
that the "CIUs" ordered him to "write plaintiff up" for assaulting
Serrano. (Id. ¶ 16). Two witnesses testified on behalf of plaintiff.
The first witness, Correction Officer Sierra, stated that plaintiff was
not involved in the assault, and that he (Sierra) had been focused on the
assault as it occurred in the HBB yard. (Id. ¶ 17). The second
witness, an inmate named Tanco, testified that plaintiff was with him at
the time of the assault, approximately 200 feet from where the assault
occurred. (Id. ¶ 18). Galgano adjourned the hearing to interview
confidential sources. (Id. ¶ 19).
On August 20, 1997, plaintiff appeared for the third day of his Tier 3
hearing. At that time, Galgano denied plaintiffs request to interview
Serrano on the ground that Kerrigan had interviewed Serrano and Serrano
refused to cooperate or "make any statement regarding th[e] assault."
(Id. ¶ 20, Ex. 5). Testimony from two confidential sources was taken
(outside the presence of plaintiff), but Galgano refused to disclose the
identity of the informants or the exact details of their testimony,
citing the need to protect the identity and safety of the informants.
(Id. Ex. 6). Based on this testimony, Galgano found plaintiff guilty of