Tellier v. Fields, Docket No. 98-2249.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Citation280 F.3d 69
Docket NumberDocket No. 98-2249.
PartiesRene TELLIER, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Sharon FIELDS, (Correction Officer); Defendant; Willie Scott, (Former Warden); Susan Gerlinski, (Associate Warden); Mr. Tramel, (Captain); Jesse James, (Current Warden); Mr. Parrish, (Title Unknown); John Gibson, (Assistant Captain); Defendants-Appellants.
Decision Date01 November 2000
280 F.3d 69
Rene TELLIER, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Sharon FIELDS, (Correction Officer); Defendant;
Willie Scott, (Former Warden); Susan Gerlinski, (Associate Warden); Mr. Tramel, (Captain); Jesse James, (Current Warden); Mr. Parrish, (Title Unknown); John Gibson, (Assistant Captain); Defendants-Appellants.
Docket No. 98-2249.
United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.
Argued September 2, 1999.
Decided November 01, 2000.

Page 70


Page 71


Page 72


Page 73

David B. Massey, Davis, Polk & Wardwell, New York, NY, (Ogden Lewis, Of Counsel) for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Jonathan Willens, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, New York, N.Y. (Mary Jo White, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Gideon Schor, Assistant United States Attorney, Of Counsel) for Defendants-Appellants.

Before FEINBERG, PARKER, and SACK, Circuit Judges.

PARKER, Circuit Judge:

Defendants-Appellants bring this interlocutory appeal from the February 18, 1998, Opinion and Order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Kimba M. Wood, Judge), denying defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and their motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff's complaint alleges that defendants violated his liberty interests and procedural due process rights conferred by 28 C.F.R. § 541.22 and protected by the Due Process Clause. Defendants argued below that plaintiff failed to state a cause of action, and that they are entitled to qualified immunity since no reasonable official could have known that the acts alleged by plaintiff constituted violations of clearly established rights. On appeal, defendants once again assert that plaintiff has failed to state a claim and that they are entitled to qualified immunity. For the reasons set forth below, we reject defendants' arguments and affirm the decision of the district court.


Plaintiff-Appellee Rene Tellier was an inmate at the Metropolitan Correctional Center ("MCC") from November 6, 1992, until April 4, 1994, when he was transferred to the Federal Correction Institution at Otisville, New York. Prior to his transfer to MCC, which occurred following

Page 74

his arraignment on federal racketeering charges, Tellier was incarcerated at Attica State Prison, where he was serving a sentence of two to six years for commercial burglary. MCC is a federal facility and defendants are all federally employed prison officials who are, or were, working at MCC while Tellier was confined there.1

It is undisputed that upon Tellier's arrival at MCC, he was placed in a Special Housing Unit ("SHU") because he was considered an escape risk. The exact amount of time Tellier spent in SHU is a matter of minor dispute. Both parties below, as well as the district court, calculated the time at 522 days, but on appeal the time period cited by both parties indicates a confinement of 514 days. Tellier alleges that he was neither initially informed of the reason for his placement in SHU, nor was he subsequently permitted to be heard regarding his continued confinement there.

Because this is an appeal from the denial of a summary judgment motion, we must take the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Bedoya v. Coughlin, 91 F.3d 349, 351 (2d Cir.1996). According to Tellier, conditions in the SHU differ markedly from those in the general population. Inmates in the SHU are confined to their cells for 23 hours per day as opposed to six to seven hours per day, and they also have less access to the telephone, showers, recreation, the law library and certain "educational and rehabilitative programs" than do inmates in the general population. Further, unlike inmates in the general population, Tellier was handcuffed whenever he was removed from his cell and was allowed no privacy while using the toilet.

Tellier filed a pro se complaint in this action on April 25, 1994, seeking compensatory and other damages totaling $150 per day from each defendant for his or her respective role in Tellier's continued confinement in the SHU. Tellier maintains that under 28 C.F.R. § 541.22 ("Section 541.22"), he was entitled to receive an "Administrative Detention Order" within 24 hours of his placement in SHU, which he never received, Section 541.22(b) provides:

(b) Administrative detention order detailing reasons for placement. The Warden shall prepare an administrative detention order detailing the reasons for placing an inmate in administrative detention, with a copy given to the inmate, provided institutional security is not compromised thereby. Staff shall deliver this order to the inmate within 24 hours of the inmate's placement in administrative detention, unless this delivery is precluded by exceptional circumstances. An order is not necessary for an inmate placed in administrative detention when this placement is a direct result of the inmate's holdover status.

28 C.F.R. § 541.22(b). Tellier also alleges that, pursuant to Section 541.22(c), defendants

Page 75

were required to conduct periodic hearings before a Segregation Review Official ("SRO") to evaluate his continued confinement in the SHU, but that defendants never conducted these hearings. Section 541.22(c) provides:

(c) Review of inmates housed in administrative detention. (1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(3) of this section, the Segregation Review Official will review the status of inmates housed in administrative detention. The SRO shall conduct a record review within three work days of the inmate's placement in administrative detention and shall hold a hearing and formally review the status of each inmate who spends seven continuous days in administrative detention, and thereafter shall review these cases on the record (in the inmate's absence) each week and shall hold a hearing and review these cases formally at least every 30 days. The inmate appears before the SRO at the hearing unless the inmate waives the right to appear. A waiver may be in writing, signed by the inmate, or if the inmate refuses to sign a waiver, it shall be shown by a memorandum signed by staff and witnessed by a second staff member indicating the inmate's refusal to appear at the hearing. Staff shall conduct a psychiatric or psychological assessment, including a personal interview, when administrative detention continues beyond 30 days. The assessment, submitted to the SRO in a written report, shall address the inmate's adjustment to surroundings and the threat the inmate poses to self, staff and other inmates. Staff shall conduct a similar psychiatric or psychological assessment and report at subsequent one-month intervals should detention continue for this extended period. Administrative detention is to be used only for short periods of time except where an inmate needs long-term protection (see § 541.23), or where there are exceptional circumstances, ordinarily tied to security or complex investigative concerns. An inmate may be kept in administrative detention for longer term protection only if the need for such protection is documented by the SRO. Provided institutional security is not compromised, the inmate shall receive at each formal review a written copy of the SRO's decision and the basis for this finding. The SRO shall release an inmate from administrative detention when reasons for placement cease to exist.

28 C.F.R. § 541.22(c)(1). Tellier maintains that he never received an Administrative Detention Order or any of the periodic hearings required by Section 541.22(c).

Tellier's complaint states that he learned of the required hearings specified in Section 541.22 sometime in 1993, and he asked Defendant Gibson why he had not received such a hearing. According to Tellier, Gibson responded that hearings regarding Tellier's status in the SHU had been conducted informally and outside Tellier's presence.

Tellier alleges that sometime after this conversation, defendants slipped two "Special Housing Review Forms" under his cell door. Tellier claims that these forms falsely documented hearings in March and April of 1993 before the SRO concerning his confinement in the SHU.

Tellier further contends that on May 4, 1993, defendants brought him before the SRO. While he was in the office, the SRO made a brief telephone call and then marked "Continue in Special Housing" on his form. The SRO never told him why he was in SHU and denied him the opportunity to present evidence or be heard. Tellier alleges that this "procedure" occurred several times over the following months.

Page 76

He also alleges that at no time was there a "psychiatric or psychological assessment" conducted by defendants as required in Section 541.22(c).

Tellier's complaint also contains allegations that he informed each defendant personally of what he considered to be ongoing violations of his statutory rights under Section 541.22 and his constitutional rights under the Due Process Clause. Tellier maintains that each of these defendants personally refused to provide hearings and ignored his due process rights.

On November 7, 1994, defendants filed an answer to Tellier's complaint. Defendants' answer denied the allegations made in Tellier's complaint, and it asserted numerous defenses, including failure to state a claim, lack of personal involvement by the defendants, and qualified immunity. On July 12, 1995, defendants filed a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1), 12(b)(6) and 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Along with this motion, defendants submitted affidavits attesting to their efforts to comply with Section 541.22 and further stating their beliefs that their conduct did not violate any clearly established constitutional right. Defendants' motion was referred to Magistrate Judge Leonard Bernikow for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28...

To continue reading

Request your trial
284 cases
  • Chiaravallo v. Middletown Transit Dist., 3:18-cv-1360 (SRU)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • September 22, 2021
    ...official "if it was objectively reasonable for the official to believe that his acts did not violate those rights." Tellier v. Fields , 280 F.3d 69, 84 (2d Cir. 2000) (quoting Russell v. Coughlin , 910 F.2d 75, 78 (2d Cir. 1990) ). The question is "not whether the [official] should have act......
  • Pinter v. the City of N.Y., 09 Civ. 7841 (SAS)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 13, 2010
    ...635, 640, 107 S.Ct. 3034, 97 L.Ed.2d 523 (1987)). 211 Young v. County of Fulton, 160 F.3d 899, 903 (2d Cir.1998). 212 Tellier v. Fields, 280 F.3d 69, 84 (2d Cir.2000) (quoting Varrone v. Bilotti, 123 F.3d 75, 78 (2d Cir.1997)). Accord Palmer, 364 F.3d at 67. 213 Jenkins, 478 F.3d at 87. 214......
  • Iqbal v. Hasty, Docket No. 05-5768-CV (L).
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • June 14, 2007
    ...precedent addressing an identical factual scenario" to conclude that the right is clearly established. Id.; see also Tellier v. Fields, 280 F.3d 69, 84 (2d Cir.2000) (noting that a law is "clearly established" so long as a ruling on the issue is "clearly foreshadow[ed]" by this Circuit's (d......
  • Tafari v. Mccarthy ., 9:07-CV-654.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of New York
    • May 24, 2010
    ...plaintiff must allege facts plausibly suggesting that he was deprived of a liberty interest without due process of law. Tellier v. Fields, 280 F.3d 69, 79-80 (2d Cir.2000). Defendants argue that Plaintiff's due process claims should be dismissed because he was not deprived of a liberty inte......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT