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Dennison v. Harrington

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

November 3, 2016

IAN DENNISON, #A1026519, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT HARRINGTON, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          J. Michael Seabright, Chief United States District Judge

         Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Ian Dennison's first amended prisoner civil rights Complaint (“FAC”). Dennison names Waiawa Correctional Facility (“WCF”) Warden Scott Harrington, and WCF correctional officers Lieutenant Anthony Monteilh and Armitage (collectively, “Defendants”) in their individual capacities. He alleges Defendants violated his rights to due process and equal protection regarding disciplinary proceedings that occurred in December 2015.

         For the following reasons, the FAC is DISMISSED for failure to state a cognizable claim for relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(b). Dennison is granted leave to amend to correct the deficiencies discussed below, on or before November 28, 2016.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         On July 11, 2016, Dennison commenced this action by filing the original Complaint and an informal request to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). ECF Nos. 1 and 2. Dennison claimed that Defendants denied him due process and equal protection under the law when they falsely charged him with being intoxicated at WCF, denied his request to introduce evidence at his disciplinary proceedings, found him guilty, transferred him to the Halawa Correctional Facility (“HCF”), denied his grievance appeal, and increased his classification status. He alleged these acts resulted in the Hawaii Paroling Authority's (“HPA”) decision to deny him parole in January 2016 and impose additional conditions for early release.

         On August 2, 2016, the court granted Dennison's amended IFP application. See ECF Nos. 5 and 6.

         On August 16, 2016, the court dismissed the original Complaint with leave to amend, for Dennison's failure to state a claim. Order, ECF No. 7. Specifically, Dennison's claims against WCF and his damages claims asserted against Harrington, Monteilh, and Armitage in their official capacities were dismissed with prejudice. Dennison's due process and equal protection claims were dismissed without prejudice, with explicit notice of their legal deficiencies. See Order, ECF No. 7. Dennison was granted until September 16, 2016, to file an amended complaint.

         On September 19, 2016, Dennison filed the FAC presently before the court on screening.[1] ECF No. 8. The FAC's allegations are substantially similar to those in the original Complaint, although it provides more detail and Dennison attaches several exhibits to the FAC to support his claims. Dennison realleges due process and equal protection claims against Harrington, Monteilh, and Armitage in their individual capacities only.

         B. Allegations in the FAC[2]

         On November 18, 2015, Officer Armitage and several other unidentified officers encountered Dennison and inmate Nowicke in WCF building 9B E. Armitage suspected Dennison was intoxicated because his eyes were red and glassy, his speech was slurred, and he was unsteady. See FAC, ECF No. 8, PageID #72. Armitage instructed Dennison to pack his belongings and go to the medical unit where medical staff questioned him. Dennison provided a urine sample, that he asserts tested negative for drugs. Dennison was then placed in segregation at WCF.

         On November 19, 2015, Dennison was transferred to the HCF administrative segregation unit to await a disciplinary hearing.

         On November 20, 2015, Dennison received a Notice of Report of Misconduct and Hearing, that charged him with violation of DPS Policy and Procedure COR13.03 4.0.3 a.7(9), which prohibits:

Possession, introduction, manufacturing or use of any narcotic paraphernalia, drugs, intoxicants, synthetic drug composition or alcoholic beverages not prescribed for the individual by the medical staff, which includes any form of being intoxicated.

         Lieutenant Monteilh investigated these charges.

         On December 10, 2015, Monteilh chaired Dennison's disciplinary hearing. At the hearing, three officers testified that Dennison had appeared intoxicated on November 18, 2016, because (1) his eyes were red and glassy; (2) he was shaking, unsteady, confused, and dazed; and (3) his speech was slurred. Monteilh denied Dennison's request to introduce his medical records. Dennison alleges these records would have shown that he had been treated several times before the incident for irritated, red eyes (due to allergies) at HCF and WCF, thus, explaining why his eyes were red.

         On December 17, 2015, Monteilh found Dennison guilty and sanctioned him to thirty-days on “lockdown.” FAC, ECF No. 8, PageID #71. Dennison was credited with his twenty-two days in administrative segregation and served the remaining eight days in HCF Special Holding. He was released from Special Holding on December 18, 2015.

         On February 3, 2016, Warden Harrington upheld Monteilh's decision and denied Dennison's grievance appeal. Id., PageID #75.

         On or about February 8, 2016, the HPA denied Dennison parole based, at least in part, on this misconduct. See id., PageID #80. The HPA recommended that Dennison participate in all “recommended programs, i.e., work furlough and etc., ” and scheduled another parole hearing for January 2017. Id.

         On April 4, 2016, Dennison's third-step appeal was denied. Id., PageID #78.

         Dennison seeks expungement of the disciplinary report, damages, and a new parole hearing.

         II. ...


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