Castellano v. Trump et al
ORDER. For the reasons set forth in the attached, the 22 Motions to Reopen Case and Amend are DENIED. Signed by Judge Michael P. Shea on 9/29/2017. (Taykhman, N.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
JOSEPH JAMES CASTELLANO,
DONALD TRUMP, et al.,
CASE NO. 3:17-cv-381 (MPS)
SEPTEMBER 29, 2017
RULING ON MOTIONS TO REOPEN AND AMEND
Plaintiff Joseph James Castellano, currently incarcerated, filed this case pro se under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 asserting claims for payment for technology he developed. The Court dismissed
the complaint because the named defendants, President Donald Trump and the Congressional
Appropriations Committee are immune from suit. The Court previously denied three motions to
reopen judgment. In the last ruling, the Court afforded the plaintiff one more opportunity to
move to reopen judgment and file a proposed amended complaint. The Court specifically noted
that the prior amended complaint was not a short and plain statement of the plaintiff’s claims.
Some of the deficiencies identified were inclusion of lengthy statements of scientific and medical
topics and summaries of the law throughout the allegations. The plaintiff now has filed a new
motion to reopen and proposed amended complaint. For the reasons that follow, the motion to
reopen is denied.
First, the Court notes that the plaintiff has submitted two proposed amended complaints
with his motion to reopen. The first is on the court-supplied form. In the fact section of the
form, the plaintiff references his attachment. The second proposed amended complaint is
handwritten and 70 pages long. As he did with the prior amended complaint, the plaintiff
includes summaries of the law and statements on scientific and medical topics in the handwritten
complaint. If, as it appears, the plaintiff intends the Court to review both documents, he has not
complied with the Court’s order directing him to omit statements of scientific and medical
Second, as the Court previously stated, Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure requires that the complaint set forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief.” The amended complaint is neither short nor plain. The
plaintiff’s allegations against the defendants are spread throughout the lengthy statements of
scientific and medical topics and summaries of the law.
Third, an amended complaint is intended to clarify or amplify the original cause of
action, not add new causes of action. See Wilson v. McKenna, No. 3:12-cv-1581(VLB), 2015
WL 1471908, at *14 (D. Conn. Mar. 21, 2015) (citing Klos v. Haskell, 835 F. Supp. 710, 715 n.3
(W.D.N.Y. 1993), aff’d, 48 F.3d 81 (2d Cir. 1995)). The original complaint asserted a claim
against the President and Congress for lack of recognition and payment for developing a cure for
the ebola virus. In the Initial Review Order, the Court explained that, even if the plaintiff has
identified proper defendants, he failed to identify any basis for a claim in federal court.
In the proposed amended complaint, the defendants are the Commissioner of Correction
and two doctors, a medical doctor and a psychiatrist, working in the Department of Correction.
The plaintiff alleges that he gave his “cures” to the doctors, but then alleges that the cures were
stolen from him. This appears to be a state law conversion claim, not a claim for the violation of
a federally created right.
If the plaintiff is attempting to recharacterize his claim as a claim for deprivation of
property without due process, the claim is not cognizable. A prisoner can state a due process
claim for loss of property only if the state has not created adequate post-deprivation remedies.
See Edwards v. Erfe, 588 F. App’x 79, 80 (2d Cir. 2015) (citing Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S.
517, 533 (1984)). Connecticut provides a remedy for lost or destroyed property. Under
Connecticut General Statutes § 4-141, et seq., a prisoner may bring a claim against the
Connecticut Claims Commission unless there is another administrative remedy for his claim.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4-142. The Department of Correction also has established an administrative
remedy for lost or destroyed property. See Department of Correction Administrative Directive
9.6(16)(B), www.ct.gov/doc (last visited Sept. 27, 2017). Thus, the plaintiff can utilize the
administrative remedy and then proceed to the Claims Commission if his claim is denied. As he
has adequate state remedies, his claim is not cognizable as a due process violation.
The plaintiff also adds claims for deliberate indifference to medical needs and intentional
infliction of emotional distress based on exposure to radon gas. These claims are distinct from
the claim in the original complaint and, thus, not properly included in an amended complaint.
The plaintiff’s motion to amend and reopen this case [ECF No. 22] is DENIED. The
plaintiff may assert in a new complaint the deliberate indifference to medical needs claim based
on radon exposure that he was attempting to add to this action.
SO ORDERED this 29th day of September 2017 at Hartford, Connecticut.
Michael P. Shea
United States District Judge
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