Sosa v. Richeson
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER. The Complaint is dismissed without prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Plaintiff may file an amended complaint within thirty-five days. Signed by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on 10/1/2021. (Nault, James)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
No. 3:21-cv-927 (VLB)
DR. ROBERT RICHESON, et al.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
The plaintiff, Andrés Sosa, a sentenced pro se inmate at Cheshire
Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”) in the custody of the Department of Correction
(“DOC”), filed this civil rights complaint1 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [ECF No. 1
He alleges violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States
Constitution and has named only Dr. Robert Richeson, Chief Operating Officer of
DOC Health and Addiction Services, as a defendant in his case caption.3 Id. In the
body of his complaint, he names several other defendants, including DOC and the
following individuals: Dr. Kathleen Maurer, Regional Chief Operating Officer
Kristen Shea, RN Jacob Degennaro, RN Jane Ventrella, LPN Amy Lenarz, APRN
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. [ECF No. 7].
The Court may “take judicial notice of relevant matters of public record.” See
Giraldo v. Kessler, 694 F.3d 161, 164 (2d Cir. 2012). The DOC website shows that
Plaintiff was sentenced to forty-three years of incarceration on May 31, 2001.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(a) requires that all defendants are named in
the case caption.
Vincent Santavenere, APRN Sandra Charles, APRN Deborah Broadley, Dr. Ricardo
Ruiz, RN Debbie Wilson Cruz, Correction Officer Lambo, Correction Officer Colon
Jr, Correction Officer Whittend, Correction Officer Castro, Correction Officer
Washington, Correction Officer Marquis, UCONN President Thomas Katsouleas,
Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, UCONN Health President of Medical Association Jennifer
Jackson, Correction Officer Torres, and Warden Denise Walker.
[ECF No. 1
(Compl.) at 2-11]. He seeks damages and equitable relief. Id. at 6.
For the following reasons, the Court will dismiss the complaint without
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), district courts must review prisoners’ civil
complaints against governmental actors and sua sponte “dismiss . . . any portion
of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also Liner v. Goord, 196 F.3d
132, 134 n.1 (2d Cir. 1999) (explaining that, under the Prisoner Litigation Reform
Act, sua sponte dismissal of frivolous prisoner complaints is mandatory); TapiaOrtiz v. Winter, 185 F.3d 8, 11 (2d Cir. 1999) (“Section 1915A requires that a district
court screen a civil complaint brought by a prisoner against a governmental entity
or its agents and dismiss the complaint sua sponte if, inter alia, the complaint is
‘frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.’”)
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1915A).
“Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only ‘a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,’ in order to ‘give
the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.’” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
A plaintiff’s “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level” and assert a cause of action with enough heft to show
entitlement to relief and “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. A claim is facially plausible if “the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
Although the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require “detailed
factual allegations,” a complaint must offer more than “labels and conclusions,”
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action,” or “naked
assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual enhancement.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555–
57. Plausibility at the pleading stage is nonetheless distinct from probability, and
“a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual
proof of [the claim] is improbable, and . . . recovery is very remote and unlikely.”
Id. at 556 (internal quotation marks omitted).
Complaints filed by pro se plaintiffs, however, “must be construed liberally
and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.” Sykes v. Bank
of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of
Prisons, 470 F. 3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)) (internal quotation marks omitted); see
also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F. 3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing the “special
solicitude” courts afford pro se litigants).
“Rule 21 provides that a court ‘may sever any claim against a party.’ Fed. R.
Civ. P. 21. The decision whether to sever a claim ‘is committed to the sound
discretion of the trial court.’” Costello v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 888 F. Supp. 2d
258, 263 (D. Conn. 2012) (quoting Greystone Cmty. Reinvestment Ass’n v. Berean
Cap., Inc., 638 F. Supp. 2d 278, 293 (D. Conn. 2009)). “Courts consider whether: (1)
the claims arise out of the same transaction or occurrence; (2) the claims present
some common question of law or fact; (3) whether settlement of the claims or
judicial economy would be facilitated; (4) prejudice would be avoided; and (5)
different witnesses and documentary proof are required for the separate claims.”
The Court concludes that Plaintiff’s complaint should be dismissed for
failure to comply with Rule 8. Plaintiff has filed a complaint that is not short or
plain. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Nor are his allegations “simple, concise, and direct.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d)(1). Rule 8 requires that a statement for relief be plain “because
the principal function of pleadings under the Federal Rules is to give the adverse
party fair notice of the claim asserted so as to enable him to answer and prepare
for trial.” Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir. 1988).
Plaintiff’s sixty-eight page complaint, includes almost fifty-one pages of
His claims arise from his concern that DOC has intentionally
denied and delayed his access to medical care and has failed to provide him
with transportation for scheduled outside medical appointments for CT scans,
MRIs, Holter Monitor use, spinal steroid injection, and consults with cardiology,
neurology, and opthamology specialists.
[ECF No. 1 (Compl.) at 5-6]. His
complaint describes numerous interactions with medical professionals.
places, his complaint refers to conduct by “defendants” without indicating a
specific named defendant.
As best as the Court can discern, Plaintiff complains about the following:
various instances where he did not receive appropriate medical attention for his
cardiology condition and heart attack symptoms, including failure to provide him
access to a working Holter Monitor; lack of an MRI; indifference to his need for
outside medical appointments; vision problems; emotional distress; failure to
provide him with a cancer test; inmates who are dying due to UCONN Medical
Center’s failure to provide appropriate care for inmates; failure to process his
administrative remedies; delay in having an Ear Nose and Throat appointment
after his CT scan; failure to follow proper medical protocol and violation of his
medical privacy; lack of a neurology appointment; and dissemination of false
information, conspiracy and fraudulent record keeping.
Dismissal of a complaint under Rule 8 “is usually reserved for those cases
in which the complaint is so confused, ambiguous, vague, or otherwise
unintelligible that its true substance, if any, is well disguised.” Salahuddin, 861
F.2d at 42. However, even with the special solicitude afforded to Plaintiff as a pro
se plaintiff, dismissal of the instant complaint is warranted.
The Rule 8 requirements serve to relieve the Court and defendants of the
“unjustified burden” of having “to select the relevant material from a mass of
verbiage.” Celli v. Cole, 699 F. App’x 88, 89 (2d Cir. 2017) (quoting Salahuddin, 861
F.2d at 42). Neither the Court nor the defendants should be subjected to discerning
the relevant facts about Plaintiff’s claims against the named defendants from more
than 50 pages of allegations.
Accordingly, the Court will dismiss the complaint without prejudice to
repleading an amended complaint that complies with Rule 8.
If Plaintiff chooses to amend his complaint, he must allege nonconclusory
factual allegations that clearly set forth the circumstances underlying each of his
claims for relief against each specific defendant. His allegations must state facts
about how any defendant whom he seeks to hold liable for damages violated his
rights through his or her conduct because a defendant’s personal involvement in
an alleged constitutional violation is a prerequisite to hold a defendant liable for an
award of damages under section 1983. See Farrell v. Burke, 449 F.3d 470, 484 (2d
Cir. 2006). Plaintiff should provide his allegations in numbered paragraphs, and all
facts alleged should be relevant to the claims asserted against the named
defendants. Plaintiff must also name all defendants in his case caption. The Court
will only consider claims asserted against defendants actually named in the case
caption. It is not sufficient to write “et. al.” in the case caption.
Finally, the Court notes that Plaintiff has, but cannot, assert his section 1983
claims againt the DOC, a state agency that is not a “person” subject to suit under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Will v. Mich. Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989) (state
and state agencies not persons within meaning of Section 1983).
Plaintiff may have plausible claims to assert against Defendants. However,
any amended complaint must provide notice to the Court and Defendants of
Plaintiff’s claims for relief through “simple, concise, and direct” allegations. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d)(1). In addition, the Court may sever any unrelated claims in the
amended complaint, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 21, which means that Plaintiff would have
to prosecute separate cases and pay separate filing fees for any claims so severed.
Costello, 888 F. Supp. 2d at 263.
For the foregoing reasons, the Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice
under 28 U.S.C. §1915A.
The Court will afford Plaintiff one opportunity to file an amended complaint,
within 35 days of this Order’s filing date, to assert his claims for relief in an
amended complaint that complies with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and this
Failure to file an amended complaint within this period will result in the
dismissal and closing of this case.
Vanessa L. Bryant
United States District Judge
SO ORDERED at Hartford, Connecticut this 1st day of October, 2021.
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