Catanzaro v. Harry

Decision Date31 January 2012
Docket NumberCase No. 1:11–cv–868.
Citation848 F.Supp.2d 780
PartiesMatthew CATANZARO, Plaintiff, v. S. HARRY et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of Michigan


Matthew Catanzaro, Kingsley, MI, pro se.


ROBERT J. JONKER, District Judge.

This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub.L. No. 104–134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A. The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33, 112 S.Ct. 1728, 118 L.Ed.2d 340 (1992). Applying these standards, the Court will dismiss portions of Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim. The Court will order service of the remaining claims against the remaining Defendants.

Factual Allegations

Plaintiff Matthew Catanzaro presently is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Pugsley Correctional Facility (MPF), though he complains of events occurring while he was incarcerated at the Cooper Street Correctional Facility (JCS) in Jackson, Michigan, and while he was paroled to the Residential Sex Offender Program (RSOP) at the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program (KPEP) facility in Muskegon, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the following entities and individuals: the MDOC; Patricia Caruso, the former Director of the MDOC; JCS Warden S. Harry; Michigan Parole Board members Miguel Berrios, Paul Condino, and Stephen DeBoer; RSOP Executive Director William DeBoer; RSOP Therapists A. Banks and M. Rhinesmith; RSOP Manager Edgar Hill; RSOP Case Manager Jason Kruzona; RSOP Substance Abuse Manager Ann Webb; Nurse Diane Warr; Parole Agents Marcus Wallace and “Unknown” Sarh; unknown MDOC Transportation Officers (identified as John Doe I,” John Doe II and John Doe III); and Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative (MPRI) Coordinator Penny Michael.

In 2006, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520c, for exposing himself to a seventeen-year-old woman.1 He was sentenced to prison term of three to twenty-two years and six months. In April 2009, a member of the Michigan Parole Board told Plaintiff that he would be paroled to his home if he received a good psychological report. Later that year, Plaintiff completed a sex-offender treatment program in the prison and received a report from the program supporting release on parole.2

In April 2010, Defendant Condino interviewed Plaintiff regarding parole. Condino did not mention the possibility that Plaintiff would be required to complete the RSOP as a condition for parole. On August 1, 2010, Defendants Berrios and Condino authorized Plaintiff's parole on the condition that he complete the RSOP at the KPEP facility in Muskegon. ( See MDOC Parole Board Notice of Decision, Case No. 2:10–cv–28, docket # 23–1, Page ID 73–75.) On August 11, Parole Agent Sarh informed Plaintiff of his placement at the KPEP facility, which is four hours away from Plaintiff's home town and family in Port Huron, Michigan. Plaintiff asked Sarh if he could obtain a doctor's report and have Sarh contact the parole board to show that Plaintiff did not need to be committed for treatment. Sarh refused. Sarh indicated that if Plaintiff refused to comply the parole order, Sarh would inform the parole board and have Plaintiff's parole revoked.

On August 16, Plaintiff participated in a video conference with MPRI Coordinator Penny Michael and an MPRI transition team from Plaintiff's home town. The team told Plaintiff that they had arranged outpatient sex-offender treatment near Plaintiff's home, and they were ready to help Plaintiff find employment, medical care, access to a local church, and financial support. Defendant Michael informed the team members, to their surprise, that Plaintiff was being sent to the KPEP facility in Muskegon for at least six months. When Plaintiff requested a hearing or doctor's examination, Michael told Plaintiff that he would not have any further opportunity for a hearing regarding his placement, nor would he be examined by a doctor before being placed in the RSOP.

On August 31, Officer John Doe I picked up Plaintiff at JCS and took him across the street to the Charles Egeler Facility for processing. Officers John Doe II and John Doe III picked up Plaintiff from the Charles Egeler Facility to take him to the KPEP facility. Plaintiff told the officers that, because he had been paroled, he wanted to call his brother to take him home. They told Plaintiff that he would be arrested and charged with escape if he tried to leave. Plaintiff asserts that the officers took him to the KPEP facility against his will.

Plaintiff's parole agent, Marcus Wallace, met Plaintiff at the KPEP facility and told him that he would be confined there for six months to a year. Wallace put a tether on Plaintiff's ankle that would alert the police if Plaintiff went beyond the parking lot of the facility. Plaintiff would not be permitted to leave the facility in order to look for a job or to see his family. When Plaintiff objected to these conditions, Wallace stated that Plaintiff would be sent back to prison if he did not follow the rules of the RSOP. Plaintiff told Wallace that he was involved in on-going litigation and he needed access to legal materials in order to pursue those actions. Wallace said that Plaintiff would not have access to legal materials, but if he could not manage without them, he would have to be returned to prison.3 When Plaintiff expressed interest in attending a church, Wallace told him that he would not be allowed to attend a church and the facility did not offer any religious services. Finally, Wallace told Plaintiff that if he filed grievances for being denied “due process, access to the courts or religious service[s],” Wallace would have Plaintiff transferred back to prison. (Am. Compl. ¶ 42.) Due to this “threat,” Plaintiff did not file grievances regarding these issues. ( Id.) Wallace also gave Plaintiff a written test and some papersto sign, telling Plaintiff that if he refused to answer any questions or sign any of the papers, he would be sent back to prison. Plaintiff spent two hours with an RSOP employee signing papers and answering questions. Some of the papers indicated that Plaintiff would be responsible for his own medical care.

Plaintiff alleges that he was prescribed medication for high blood pressure while he was in prison; however, he had only a few pills remaining in his possession when he arrived at the KPEP facility. Plaintiff told Wallace about his high blood pressure and his need for medication. Wallace indicated that if Plaintiff had a medical emergency, RSOP staff would call an ambulance; otherwise, Plaintiff would have to be returned to prison to receive care. Plaintiff did not want to return to prison, so he decided to conserve his remaining supply of medication and to try to manage his blood pressure through exercise and diet. An RSOP staff member told Plaintiff that a nurse came to the facility once a week and she could monitor his blood pressure.

When Plaintiff raised the issue of his health condition and need for medication to RSOP Case Manager Kruzona, Kruzona told Plaintiff that he was responsible for his own health care; if Plaintiff persisted in requesting medication, he would be returned to prison. Plaintiff informed Kruzona that he would try to manage his blood pressure without medication but he may need to be returned to prison if his blood pressure rose. Plaintiff told Kruzona that a nurse had checked his pressure the day before and it was “okay.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 58.)

Plaintiff learned from Kruzona that the rules of the RSOP required him to participate in various classes and therapy sessions each week involving “successful thinking,” “didactic therapy,” “substance abuse therapy,” “sex offender therapy,” and “cogn[i]tive restructuring.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 52.) If Plaintiff missed any classes or did not follow RSOP rules, he would be returned to prison. On September 3, Plaintiff met with RSOP Therapist Rhinesmith. Plaintiff complained to Rhinesmith that he had been committed to the KPEP facility without an examination by a doctor or psychiatrist. Rhinesmith informed Plaintiff that an examination was not necessary because Plaintiff was a sex offender. Plaintiff told Rhinesmith that he had already completed substance abuse programming in prison, but Rhinesmith indicated that everyone in the RSOP is required to go through substance abuse treatment under rules created by Defendant Webb. Rhinesmith also informed Plaintiff that he would not be able to look for a job or attend religious services because Plaintiff was at the facility “for treatment only.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 62.) Rhinesmith presented Plaintiff with some paperwork, telling him that if he refused to sign it, he would be returned to prison for refusing to follow RSOP rules. Plaintiff requested an attorney before signing the papers, but Rhinesmith warned him that he could be returned to prison if he did not sign the papers. Plaintiff signed the papers without reading them.

Plaintiff also complained to RSOP Manager Hill about being “committed” to the KPEP facility, and he requested a hearing regarding the necessity for commitment as well as an opportunity to attend a religious service. Hill told Plaintiff that the KPEP facility did not conduct such hearings and that Plaintiff would not be allowed to leave the...

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