Collins-Smith v. Maldonado et al
PRISCS-INITIAL REVIEW ORDER DISMISSING 1 Complaint, filed by Tremell L. Collins-Smith. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment in favor of the defendants and close this. case.. Signed by Judge Janet C. Hall on 11/13/2012. (Payton, R.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
TREMELL L. COLLINS-SMITH,
EDWARD MALDONADO, et. al.,
PRISONER CASE NO.
NOVEMBER 13, 2012
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
The plaintiff, Tremell L. Collins-Smith, currently incarcerated at the Northern
Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut, has filed a complaint pro se under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 (2000). The plaintiff names as defendants Warden Edward Maldonado,
Deputy Warden Don Cyr, Deputy Warden Mulligan, Captain Robert J. Knapp, Captain
Jason Cahill, Dr. Mark Frayne and Correctional Officers Roach, Laughman, Hallmark,
Bujiswick, Cieboter, Joe Smith, Supernaut, Nasitika, Cainville, Muscaro, Vose, Tryon,
Schold, Schmidt, Pelkey, Conglos, Cotto, Titus, Hartley and Leone. All defendants are
named in their individual and official capacities.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (2000), the court must review prisoner civil complaints
and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the
court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the
strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir.
2007). Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must include
sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon
which they are based and to demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. But “‘[a] document filed
pro se is to be liberally construed and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded,
must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.’”
Boykin v. KeyCorp., 521 F.3d 202, 214 (2d Cir. 2008) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007)).
The plaintiff includes multiple allegations that, between May 13, 2012 and July
14, 2012, each of the defendants called him a snitch or made sexually derogatory
remarks to him in the housing unit. In response, he filed institutional grievances against
the defendants. Upon hearing the statements, other inmates questioned the plaintiff,
but accepted his word that the statements were false. The plaintiff asserts claims for
defamation and verbal harassment.
There is no cause of action under section 1983 for defamation because the
interest in one’s reputation is not a right, privilege or immunity protected by the
Constitution or laws of the United States. See Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693, 711-12
(1976). In addition, verbal harassment alone does not give rise to a section 1983 claim.
Regardless how inappropriate, unprofessional or reprehensible the conduct may
appear, verbal harassment without an allegation of an accompanying injury does not
constitute an constitutional claim. See Purcell v. Coughlin, 790 F.2d 263, 265 (2d Cir.
1986). Although the defendants verbally harassed the plaintiff, he did not suffer or
allege “any appreciable injury.” Id. The plaintiff’s allegation of emotional distress
caused by the harassment is insufficient to constitute the required injury. See Dawes v.
Walker, 239 F.3d 489, 494 (2d Cir. 2001) (no Eighth Amendment violation where
plaintiff could not show that correction officer's threats and spreading of rumors that
plaintiff was a “rat” led other inmates to physically attack him and failed to allege a
substantial risk of serious harm based on the statements), abrogated on other grounds
by Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U .S. 506 (2002). Thus, the plaintiff fails to state
any cognizable claims.
In accordance with the foregoing analysis, the court enters the following orders:
The complaint is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The
plaintiff may pursue his defamation claims in state court.
The Clerk is directed to enter judgment in favor of the defendants and
close this case.
Dated at New Haven, Connecticut this 13th day of November.
/s/ Janet C. Hall
Janet C. Hall
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?