Torres v. Adult Probation et al
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER OF 46 AMENDED COMPLAINT. Please see attached IRO for important details and deadlines. Signed by Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam on 1/19/2023. (Katz, S.)
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 1 of 24
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
STATE OF CONNECTICUT OFFICE
OF ADULT PROBATION; STATE OF :
CONNECTICUT OFFICE OF THE
CHIEF CLERK ADMINISTRATOR;
THE CONNECTION, INC.; NICOLE :
GRELLA; COURTNEY RING;
CAITLIN HIRSCH; MICHAEL
SULLIVAN; and JOHN DOES 1-25 :
Civil No. 3:22CV00883(SALM)
January 19, 2023
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER OF AMENDED COMPLAINT [Doc. #46]
Plaintiff Anthony Torres (“plaintiff”) originally brought
this action in forma pauperis as a self-represented party. See
Docs. #1, #11. He is now represented by pro bono counsel and
proceeds on an Amended Complaint asserting claims pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §1983 against the following defendants: State of
Connecticut Office of Adult Probation; State of Connecticut
Office of the Chief Clerk Administrator; The Connection, Inc.;
Nicole Grella; Courtney Ring; Caitlin Hirsch; Michael Sullivan;
and John Does 1-25. See generally Doc. #46.1 For the reasons set
Plaintiff originally filed the Amended Complaint without the
referenced exhibits on November 21, 2022. See Doc. #43. On
November 22, 2022, the Court ordered plaintiff to “file the
referenced exhibits forthwith, and in any event, no later than
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 2 of 24
forth below, the Amended Complaint is DISMISSED, in part,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(b)(ii)-(iii).2
The determination of whether an in forma pauperis plaintiff
should be permitted to proceed under 28 U.S.C. §1915 involves
two separate considerations. The Court must first determine
whether plaintiff may proceed with the action without prepaying
the filing fee in full. See 28 U.S.C. §1915(a). The Court has
already addressed that issue. See Doc. #11. Second, section 1915
provides that “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if
November 29, 2022.” Doc. #44 (emphasis removed). On November 28,
2022, plaintiff filed the Amended Complaint along with the
exhibits. See Doc. #46. All references to the Amended Complaint
refer to the document filed at docket entry number 46.
The gravamen of the Amended Complaint is that plaintiff’s
conditions of probation are subjecting him “to involuntary
confinement” such that he “has been held against his free
will” at the January Center. Doc. #46 at 5, ¶27. It is unclear
whether plaintiff is a “prisoner” requiring the application of
28 U.S.C. §1915A. See 28 U.S.C. §1915A(a). However, because
plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, see Doc. #11, whether to
apply section 1915 or section 1915A is largely a distinction
without a difference because the Court may conduct an initial
review of the Amended Complaint under either provision. Because
plaintiff’s confinement status is unclear, the Court applies 28
U.S.C. §1915 to the initial review of the Amended Complaint.
See, e.g., Awad v. Sierra Pre-Trial, No. 3:18CV01506(JAM), 2019
WL 2437853, at *2 (D. Conn. June 11, 2019) (Court did not reach
the issue of “whether the initial review requirement of §1915A
extends to a plaintiff who was imprisoned at the time that he
filed his complaint but who no longer remains in prison[,]”
because plaintiff was “proceeding in forma pauperis,” and
therefore, “his complaint is alternatively subject to review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B).”).
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 3 of 24
the court determines that” the case “fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted[,] or ... seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)-(iii). In a case such as this one, “[a]
district court retains the authority — and indeed the duty — to
sua sponte review the pleading sufficiency of [an] amended
complaint.” Praileau v. Fischer, 930 F. Supp. 2d 383, 389
Although detailed allegations are not required, a complaint
must include sufficient facts to afford a defendant fair notice
of the claims and demonstrate a right to relief. See Bell
Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). A plaintiff
must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. Conclusory allegations are
not sufficient. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
ALLEGATIONS OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
The Court accepts the well-pleaded allegations of the
Amended Complaint [Doc. #46] as true for purposes of this
On June 18, 1998, plaintiff was sentenced by the
Connecticut Superior Court to a 30-year period of incarceration,
to be followed by 35 years of probation. See Doc. #46 at 3, ¶13;
id. at 5, ¶21; see also Doc. #46-1 at 2. The Superior Court “set
certain conditions of such probation.” Doc. #46 at 5, ¶21; see
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 4 of 24
also Doc. #46-1 at 2. The standard and special conditions of
probation imposed did not require “the imposition of any
continuation of confinement after the completion of
[plaintiff’s] period of incarceration.” Doc. #46 at 5, ¶¶23-24.
Nor did “[t]he sentence imposed ... by the Superior Court ...
include any residential restrictions upon the completion of”
plaintiff’s incarceration. Id. at 11, ¶60. “The sentencing court
did not mandate that [plaintiff] reside in a residential
community or halfway house after his term of incarceration.” Id.
at 14, ¶71.3
Defendant Nicole Grella (“Grella”) is an Adult Probation
Officer, employed by either the State of Connecticut Office of
Adult Probation or the State of Connecticut Office of the Chief
Clerk Administrator. See id. at 2, ¶5. “On or about December 10,
2021,” Grella held a videoconference with plaintiff, at which
time Grella informed plaintiff of his conditions of probation.
Id. at 4, ¶17. “Those conditions were onerous and shocked Torres
because they were considerably more restrictive than what Torres
remembered from his sentencing.” Id.
Defendant The Connection, Inc. (“The Connection”) “owns and
operates” a facility called the “January Center.” Id. at 2, ¶4.
The Superior Court sentence did, however, direct plaintiff “to
submit to a form of sexual offender treatment as an element of
his probation[.]” Id. at 8, ¶45.
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 5 of 24
The Connection “is a party to a contract with the State of
Connecticut to, inter alia, house sex offenders at” the January
Center following the completion of their prison sentences. Doc.
#46 at 4, ¶19. The January Center is “completely surrounded by
barbed wire.” Id. at 7, ¶36. Individuals housed at the January
Center “are prohibited from leaving the property to engage in
unaccompanied activities[.]” Id. at 7, ¶38. The “January Center
limits the reading materials ... and ... the television
programming” of those housed in the facility, id. at 7, ¶41,
and also limits the occupants’ “computer access[.]” Id. at 8,
During a June 2022 conference with Grella, plaintiff
“learned that he would be transferred to January Center
following the completion of his DOC incarceration[,]” and that
if he “resisted” the transfer, he would be “arrested[.]” Id. at
4, ¶18. On June 15, 2022, after plaintiff’s period of
incarceration ended, the State of Connecticut Office of Adult
Probation escorted plaintiff, in handcuffs, to the January
Center. See id. at 4, ¶20.4 Since plaintiff’s transfer to the
January Center, where he currently remains, plaintiff “has been
subject to involuntary confinement and has been held against his
Plaintiff “served the entire period of incarceration to which
he had been sentenced[.]” Doc. #46 at 4, ¶15.
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 6 of 24
free will, and under duress.” Doc. #46 at 5, ¶27. Defendant
Courtney Ring, the director of the January Center, “told
[plaintiff] that he would need to forfeit his right to privacy
before he would be permitted to leave January Center.” Id. at 6,
¶33. Plaintiff has not been told how long he will be required to
reside at the January Center. See id. at 7, ¶34.
While housed at the January Center, plaintiff has been
subjected to “the oft-repeated threat by Defendants that any
action by [plaintiff] that could be considered by them to be
inconsistent with involuntary confinement (e.g., leaving the
premises) would be considered a violation of probation
(‘VOP’)[,]” which “would result in [plaintiff’s] immediate
arrest and return to prison.” Id. at 6, ¶31; see also id. at 7,
¶37. What may be considered a VOP is “ill-defined[.]” Id. at 6,
¶32. Plaintiff’s probation officer while housed at the January
Center, Michael Sullivan (“Sullivan”), “without good or probable
cause, ... repeatedly has threatened Torres with VOP charges,
arrest and a return to prison.” Id. at 9, ¶49.
The January Center’s “staff has imposed, as a specific
condition of [plaintiff’s] release from confinement, that he
submit to therapy sessions in which he would be required to
confess to having engaged in conduct that he has long denied
conducting.” Doc. #46 at 8, ¶44. Plaintiff alleges: “Any refusal
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 7 of 24
by Torres to provide information demanded by January Center is
considered by the staff, as communicated by at least Ring and
Caitlin, to be equivalent to a refusal to complete programs of
treatment and has been used as an excuse and pretext to maintain
the status of Torres’ involuntary confinement indefinitely.” Id.
at 9, ¶47.5 In November 2022, plaintiff learned “that he would
continue to be held indefinitely at January Center.” Id. at 12,
“Defendants” have given plaintiff “a number of documents
concerning the conditions of probation to which [plaintiff]
would be subjected. Such conditions were not included or
otherwise presented to [plaintiff] at the time of his sentencing
in 1998[,]” id. at 12, ¶67,6 and “are more onerous” and “more
restrictive” than the conditions of probation included in the
sentence the Superior Court imposed[.]” Id. at 12-13, ¶¶68-69;
see also id. at 13, ¶70.
Defendant Courtney Ring (“Ring”) is employed by The Connection
as the director of the January Center. See Doc. #46 at 2, ¶6.
Defendant Caitlin Hirsch (“Hirsch”) is employed by The
Connection as a “clinical officer” at the January Center. Id. at
Some of the conditions of confinement to which plaintiff
objects appear to have been signed by defendant Grella. See,
e.g., Doc. #46-2 at 2; Doc. #46-5 at 2; Doc. #46-7 at 2.
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 8 of 24
Plaintiff seeks monetary, injunctive, and declaratory
relief. See id. at 15, ¶¶a-e.7
The Amended Complaint asserts three counts, but in
substance advances only two substantive claims pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §1983. See Doc. #46 at 14-15.8 Plaintiff does not allege
that defendants have violated any specific constitutional
amendment. Instead, plaintiff asserts that the actions of
defendants, by confining plaintiff “without legal authority[,]”
have violated plaintiff’s “Constitutional rights[,]” Id. at 14,
¶¶76-77, and that “[t]he conditions of release imposed by
Defendants violate [plaintiff’s] Constitutional due process
rights.” Id. at 15, ¶79.
The Court construes the first count as asserting a claim
for an Eighth Amendment violation. See Hurd v. Fredenburgh, 984
F.3d 1075, 1085 (2d Cir.) (An “unauthorized detention of just
one day past an inmate’s mandatory release date qualifies as a
Plaintiff does not seek an order releasing him from the January
Center. To the extent plaintiff alleges that he is in custody,
any “request for release must be asserted in a petition for writ
of habeas corpus. It is not cognizable in a section 1983
action.” Martin v. Mejias, No. 3:19CV01101(KAD), 2019 WL
3457237, at *1 (D. Conn. July 31, 2019).
Count III appears to set forth only the statutory vehicle
pursuant to which plaintiff brings his claims, 42 U.S.C. §1983.
See Doc. #46 at 15, ¶¶80-81. It contains no substantive
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 9 of 24
harm of constitutional magnitude under the first prong of the
Eighth Amendment analysis.” (footnote omitted)), cert. denied,
142 S. Ct. 109 (2021).9 The Court construes the second count as
asserting a claim for a Fourteenth Amendment procedural due
process violation. The Court next turns to a review of the
Amended Complaint’s allegations.10
At this stage, the Court does not construe the Amended
Complaint as asserting a claim for false imprisonment. “To state
[a] valid claim for ... false imprisonment” plaintiff “must
... ‘plead an unreasonable deprivation of liberty in violation
of the Fourth Amendment and satisfy the state law elements of
the underlying claims.’” Chapdelaine v. Desjardin, No.
3:20CV00779(MPS), 2022 WL 4448890, at *4 (D. Conn. Sept. 23,
2022) (quoting Walker v. Sankhi, 494 F. App’x 140, 142 (2d Cir.
2012)). A Fourth Amendment claim for false imprisonment does not
appear apt here, particularly because “[t]o succeed on a ...
false imprisonment claim, the underlying charges must have been
terminated in the plaintiff’s favor.” Id. It is unclear how
plaintiff would plead that element.
On September 13, 2022, the Court entered an Order to Show
Cause directing the Office of Adult Probation, through counsel,
to “appear before the Court, ... and respond to the allegation
that by virtue of plaintiff’s conditions of probation, plaintiff
is being unlawfully detained.” Doc. #26 at 1-2. On October 5,
2022, the Court held a Show Cause hearing at which counsel for
the Office of Adult Probation appeared. See Doc. #37. In her
attempt to explain the basis for plaintiff’s confinement,
counsel relied, in part, on Connecticut General Statutes section
53a-30(b). That statute states: “When a defendant has been
sentenced to a period of probation, the Court Support Services
Division may require that the defendant comply with any or all
conditions which the court could have imposed under subsection
(a) of this section which are not inconsistent with any
condition actually imposed by the court.” Conn. Gen. Stat. §53a30(b). The Amended Complaint does not make a facial challenge to
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 10 of 24
State Agency Defendants
Plaintiff names as defendants two state agencies: (1) the
State of Connecticut Office of Adult Probation (“CSSD”) and (2)
the Connecticut Office of the Chief Clerk Administrator
Section 1983 “creates a federal cause of action against any
person who, under color of state law, deprives a citizen or a
person within the jurisdiction of the United States of any
right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or
laws of the United States.” Montero v. Travis, 171 F.3d 757, 760
(2d Cir. 1999). “It is well established that state agencies ...
may not be sued under §1983 for money damages.” Torres v. Carry,
704 F. Supp. 2d 294, 295 (S.D.N.Y. 2010); see, e.g., Fowler v.
City of Stamford, No. 3:18CV01498(JAM), 2019 WL 188695, at *2
(D. Conn. Jan. 14, 2019) (“The CSSD is a state entity that is
part of the Connecticut Judicial Branch. A state entity, such as
the CSSD, is not a person subject to a suit for money damages
The Eleventh Amendment also bars plaintiff’s claims against
the state agency defendants:
Constitution renders “an unconsenting State [ ] immune
from suits brought in federal courts by her own citizens
The CSSD and CCCA are sometimes collectively referred to
herein as the “state agency defendants.”
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 11 of 24
as well as by citizens of another state” and “in the
absence of consent a suit in which the State or one of
its agencies or departments is named as the defendant is
proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment. ... This
jurisdictional bar applies regardless of the nature of
the relief sought.” Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984).
Off. of Consumer Couns. v. S. New Eng. Tel. Co., 502 F. Supp. 2d
277, 291 (D. Conn. 2007) (emphases removed). Although plaintiff
seeks prospective injunctive relief against the state agency
defendants, the doctrine of Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908),
does not save those claims. “Young only permits claims for
[injunctive] relief advanced against state officials, but not
against states themselves or their agencies.” Off. of Consumer
Couns., 502 F. Supp. 2d at 291; see also Santiago v. N.Y. State
Dep’t of Corr. Servs., 945 F.2d 25, 32 (2d Cir. 1991) (“[A]
plaintiff seeking prospective relief from the state must name as
defendant a state official rather than the state or a state
agency directly, even though in reality the suit is against the
state and any funds required to be expended by an award of
prospective relief will come from the state’s treasury.”).
Accordingly, all claims against the CCSD and CCCA are
DISMISSED, with prejudice.
Official Capacity Claims for Money Damages
Any claims for money damages against the individual
defendants (Grella, Sullivan, Hirsch, Ring), who are state
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 12 of 24
employees (or employees of a corporation alleged to be acting as
an arm of the state), in their official capacities, are barred
by the Eleventh Amendment. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159,
169 (1985). “Section 1983 does not abrogate state sovereign
immunity. Nor has [plaintiff] alleged any facts suggesting that
the state has waived immunity in this case.” Kerr v. Cook, No.
3:21CV00093(KAD), 2021 WL 765023, at *5 (D. Conn. Feb. 26, 2021)
(citation omitted). Accordingly, all claims for money damages
against defendants Grella, Sullivan, Hirsch, and Ring in their
official capacities are DISMISSED, with prejudice.
John Doe Defendants
Plaintiff names “John Does 1-25” as defendants, and alleges
that these defendants “are employed in various capacities by
CSSD, CCCA, and The Connection, Inc. and who engaged in acts
that had the purpose and effect of obstructing and violating
[plaintiff’s] rights.” Doc. #46 at 3, ¶9.
“It is well settled in this Circuit that personal
involvement of defendants in alleged constitutional deprivations
is a prerequisite to an award of damages under §1983.” Farrell
v. Burke, 449 F.3d 470, 484 (2d Cir. 2006) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). Thus, “[a] plaintiff must plead that
each Government-official defendant, through the official’s own
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 13 of 24
individual actions, has violated the Constitution.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 676.
The allegations of the Second Amended Complaint largely
refer to “Defendants” and fail to specifically identify which
defendant participated in the alleged constitutional violation.
Indeed, the Second Amended Complaint makes no substantive
allegations against the John Doe defendants. See generally Doc.
#46. Accordingly, all claims against John Does 1-25 are
DISMISSED, without prejudice, for lack of personal involvement.
Plaintiff names as a defendant The Connection, which “owns
and operates” the January Center. Doc. #46 at 2, ¶4.
“The Connection, Inc. is a private corporation contracted by the
State of Connecticut to provide specialized, community-based sex
offender treatment and sexual abuse evaluation programs at
various locations throughout the State.” Parkman v. O’Connor,
No. 3:18CV01358(KAD), 2020 WL 4284485, at *2 n.3 (D. Conn. July
27, 2020) (citation and quotation marks omitted); see also State
v. Corringham, 110 A.3d 535, 539 (Conn. App. 2015) (The January
Center is “a facility for the housing and treatment of convicted
“Because the United States Constitution regulates only the
Government, not private parties, a litigant claiming that his
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 14 of 24
constitutional rights have been violated must first establish
that the challenged conduct constitutes state action.” Fabrikant
v. French, 691 F.3d 193, 206 (2d Cir. 2012) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). The Second Circuit has explained:
A private entity acts under color of state law for
purposes of §1983 when “(1) the State compelled the
conduct [the ‘compulsion test’], (2) there is a
sufficiently close nexus between the State and the
private conduct [the ‘close nexus test’ or ‘joint action
test’], or (3) the private conduct consisted of activity
that has traditionally been the exclusive prerogative of
the State [the ‘public function test’].” Hogan v. A.O.
Fox Memorial Hosp., 346 F. App’x 627, 629 (2d Cir. 2009)
(citing Sybalski v. Indep. Grp. Home Living Program,
Inc., 546 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 2008)). “The
fundamental question under each test is whether the
attributable’ to the state.” Fabrikant v. French, 691
F.3d 193, 207 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting Rendell–Baker v.
Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 838 (1982)).
McGugan v. Aldana-Bernier, 752 F.3d 224, 229 (2d Cir. 2014).
The Connection, Inc. is party to a contract with the
State of Connecticut to, inter alia, house sex offenders
at January Center upon their release from prison
following the completion of their prison sentences. By
virtue of such contract, at least for the purposes the
issues addressed herein, The Connection, Inc. operates
as an instrumentality of the State of Connecticut and
under color of state law.
Doc. #46 at 4, ¶19. Plaintiff alleges that January Center staff
members monitor his activities in a manner that makes them
functionally equivalent to probation or parole officers. For
example, the January Center staff monitors plaintiff’s reading
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 15 of 24
materials and television programs. See id. at 7, ¶¶40-41. The
January Center staff restricts and/or prohibits plaintiff’s
movement. See id. at 4, ¶38. Plaintiff also alleges that January
Center staff members have threatened him with violations of
probation should plaintiff, among other things, leave the
property. See id. at 6, ¶¶31-32; id. at 7, ¶37; id. at 10, ¶¶53,
At this stage, under any of the three tests articulated in
McGugan, the allegations of the Amended Complaint are sufficient
to plausibly allege that the Connection “acts under color of
state law for purposes of §1983[.]” McGugan, 752 F.3d at 229.
First, it is reasonable to infer from the allegations of
the Amended Complaint that, pursuant to the contract between the
State and The Connection, the State has “compelled the conduct”
of the January Center employees, which plaintiff now challenges.
Second, “there is a sufficiently close nexus between the
State” and the conduct of the January Center employees with
which plaintiff takes issue. Id. The allegations of the Amended
Complaint suggest that Adult Probation Officers work with
employees of the January Center to monitor the persons housed at
that facility, and to otherwise enforce the conditions of
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 16 of 24
probation to which those individuals may be subjected. See,
e.g., Doc. #46 at 8, ¶45; id. at 10, ¶53.
Finally, the State has delegated to The Connection, via the
January Center, “the inherently public function of monitoring
registered sex offenders” who are on probation. Jones v. Cnty.
of Suffolk, 164 F. Supp. 3d 388, 396 (E.D.N.Y. 2016).12 Further,
the allegations of the Amended Complaint suggest that the
January Center essentially continues the incarceration of
convicted sex offenders, which is a function traditionally
reserved for the state. See, e.g., Skelton v. Pri-Cor, Inc., 963
F.2d 100, 102 (6th Cir. 1991) (“As a detention center, Pri–Cor
[a private corporation] is no doubt performing a public function
traditionally reserved to the state.”).
The allegations of the Amended Complaint do not simply
allege that the January Center provides counseling and
therapeutic services. Contra Colliton v. Bunt, No.
15CV06580(CS), 2016 WL 7443171, at *7 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 27, 2016)
(“Plaintiff has failed to allege that Bunt, in providing sex
offender treatment to Plaintiff, was exercising powers that are
“The January Center is the state’s only in-patient treatment
program for sex offenders. ... The January Center is the most
intensive treatment program offered and it has a total of
twenty-four beds. Twelve beds are for probationers and twelve
beds are for individuals on parole.” State v. Rivera, No. FBTCR-09-0241668-T, 2019 WL 4733606, at *1 (Conn. Super. Ct. Aug.
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 17 of 24
traditionally the exclusive prerogative of the state, and thus
has not plausibly alleged that the public function test is met.”
(citation and quotation marks omitted)). Rather, the Amended
Complaint alleges that the January Center employees have
“exercised power possessed by virtue of state law and made
possible only because [they were] clothed with the authority of
state law.” Fabrikant, 691 F.3d at 209 (citation and quotation
marks omitted) (alterations added). Accordingly, plaintiff has
adequately alleged that The Connection, and its employees at the
January Center, are state actors for purposes of this action.
“[A] private corporation” cannot “be held vicariously
liable under §1983 for the actions of its employees.” Mejia v.
City of N.Y., 228 F. Supp. 2d 234, 243 (E.D.N.Y. 2002); Rojas v.
Alexander’s Dep’t Store, Inc., 924 F.2d 406, 408 (2d Cir. 1990).
Nevertheless, “[u]sing the Monell [v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. of
City of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658 (1978),] standard, the liability of a
municipal corporation, or, in this case, a private corporation,
may be established in a number of ways.” Bowen v. Rubin, 385 F.
Supp. 2d 168, 177 (E.D.N.Y. 2005). For example, a “private
corporation” “may be found liable for a section §1983
violation where the [private corporation] itself causes the
constitutional violation in question[,]” or where “an actual
official policy” of the corporation “led to” plaintiff’s
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 18 of 24
“alleged constitutional deprivations[.]” Mejia, 228 F. Supp. 2d
at 243 (citation and quotation marks omitted) (alterations
Construed generously, the Amended Complaint appears to
allege that The Connection, through the January Center,
maintains official policies that have led to plaintiff’s
unlawful confinement. Accordingly, at this stage of the
proceedings, and as further discussed below, the Court will
permit the Eighth Amendment claim against The Connection for
money damages to proceed for further development of the record.
Eighth Amendment Violation
Plaintiff alleges that defendants have kept him “confined
without legal authority” following the end of his legally
authorized term of incarceration. Doc. #46 at 14, ¶76.
“The Eighth Amendment prohibits the unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain, including punishments that are totally
without penological justification.” Hurd, 984 F.3d at 1085
(citation and quotation marks omitted). “A plaintiff asserting
an Eighth Amendment claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 must meet
two requirements. First, the alleged deprivation must be, in
objective terms, sufficiently serious. Second, the charged
official must act with a sufficiently culpable state of mind.”
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 19 of 24
Francis v. Fiacco, 942 F.3d 126, 150 (2d Cir. 2019) (citations
and quotation marks omitted).
“To satisfy the first requirement, a plaintiff must plead a
harm of a magnitude that violates a person’s eighth amendment
rights.” Hurd, 984 F.3d at 1084 (citation and quotation marks
omitted). Here, plaintiff has adequately alleged this first,
objective, requirement because “[t]here is no penological
justification for incarceration beyond a mandatory release date
because any deterrent and retributive purposes served by
[plaintiff’s] time in jail were fulfilled as of that date.” Id.
at 1085 (citation and quotation marks omitted) (alterations
added). Thus, “unauthorized detention of just one day past an
inmate’s mandatory release date qualifies as a harm of
constitutional magnitude under the first prong of the Eighth
Amendment analysis.” Id. (footnote omitted).
As to the second, subjective, requirement, “an Eighth
Amendment violation typically requires a state of mind that is
the equivalent of criminal recklessness. This standard requires
that only the deliberate infliction of punishment, and not an
ordinary lack of due care for prisoner interests or safety, lead
to liability.” Francis, 942 F.3d at 150 (citations and quotation
marks omitted). “Under this standard, prison officials can be
found deliberately indifferent to their own clerical errors on
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 20 of 24
the basis of their refusals to investigate well-founded
complaints regarding these errors.” Hurd, 984 F.3d at 1084–85
(citation and quotation marks omitted).
At this stage, it is not clear whether defendants’ actions
rise to the level of “criminal recklessness[,]” Francis, 942
F.3d at 150, but the allegations are sufficient to support a
claim that defendants deliberately inflicted punishment on
plaintiff. See Hurd, 984 F.3d at 1084-85. Accordingly, the Court
will permit plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claim to proceed for
further development of the record against The Connection, and
defendants Grella, Sullivan, Hirsch, and Ring, in their
individual capacities for damages.13
Procedural Due Process Violation
Plaintiff asserts: “The conditions of release imposed by
Defendants violate Torres’ Constitutional due process rights.”
Doc. #46 at 15, ¶79. The Court construes this as asserting a
claim for a procedural due process violation.
Given the uncertainty of plaintiff’s confinement status, the
Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment might also plausibly apply to
plaintiff’s allegations. The law applicable to claims brought
pursuant to those amendments is even more generous than that
applicable to Eighth Amendment claims. Thus, even if the Eighth
Amendment is not applicable because plaintiff is no longer
subject to a legal term of incarceration, the Court would
nevertheless permit this claim to proceed under the Fourth or
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 21 of 24
“A procedural due process claim is composed of two
elements: (1) the existence of a property or liberty interest
that was deprived and (2) deprivation of that interest without
due process.” Bryant v. N.Y. State Educ. Dep’t, 692 F.3d 202,
218 (2d Cir. 2012). The allegations of the Amended Complaint
allege facts sufficient to state a procedural due process claim
against the Adult Probation Officer defendants Grella and
Sullivan in their individual capacities for damages, and will be
permitted to proceed for further development of the record. The
procedural due process claim is DISMISSED, without prejudice,
for failure to state a claim as to Ring, Hirsch, and The
Connection, because these defendants are not alleged to have
been involved with the imposition of the probation conditions
challenged by plaintiff.
Injunctive and Declaratory Relief
Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief. See Doc.
#46 at 15, ¶¶c-d.
To the extent that plaintiff seeks injunctive relief
against defendants Grella, Sullivan, Hirsch, and Ring in their
individual capacities, plaintiff “cannot obtain prospective
injunctive relief from the Defendants sued in their individual
capacities as such Defendants would not have the authority to
provide such relief in their individual capacities.” Kuck v.
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 22 of 24
Danaher, 822 F. Supp. 2d 109, 143 (D. Conn. 2011); see also
Patterson v. Lichtenstein, No. 3:18CV02130(MPS), 2020 WL 837359,
at *2 (D. Conn. Feb. 20, 2020) (“Injunctive relief is not
available from defendants in their individual capacities[.]”).
Accordingly, plaintiff’s requests for injunctive relief against
these defendants in their individual capacities are DISMISSED,
The Court will permit plaintiff’s requests for injunctive
and declaratory relief against The Connection and the defendants
in their official capacities to proceed at this time.
CONCLUSION AND ORDERS
Having accepted as true all allegations in the Amended
Complaint, the Court finds that this case may proceed to service
of process on the claims for (1) the Eighth Amendment violation
against defendants The Connection, and Grella, Sullivan, Hirsch,
and Ring, in their individual capacities for money damages; and
(2) the Fourteenth Amendment due process violation against
defendants Grella and Sullivan in their individual capacities
for money damages. The Court will also permit plaintiff to
proceed on his claims for injunctive and declaratory relief
against the Connection, and against defendants Grella, Sullivan,
Hirsch, and Ring in their official capacities.
All claims asserted against CSSD and CCCA, are DISMISSED,
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 23 of 24
All claims asserted against the individual defendants in
their official capacities for money damages are DISMISSED, with
All claims asserted against the John Doe defendants are
DISMISSED, without prejudice.
All claims for injunctive relief against defendants in
their individual capacities are DISMISSED, with prejudice.
Plaintiff may respond to this Order in one of two ways:
OPTION 1: Plaintiff may proceed immediately to service on
The Connection, Grella, Sullivan, Hirsch, and Ring, on the
claims permitted to proceed by this IRO. If plaintiff selects
this option, he shall file a Notice on the docket on or before
February 9, 2023, informing the Court that he elects to proceed
with service as to these defendants. The Court will then
immediately begin the effort to serve process on defendants The
Connection, Grella, Sullivan, Hirsch, and Ring.
Or, in the alternative:
OPTION 2: Plaintiff may file a Second Amended Complaint,
addressing the deficiencies identified in this Order. Any Second
Amended Complaint will completely replace the prior complaint in
the action. No portion of the original Complaint [Doc. #1], or
the Amended Complaint [Doc. #46], will be incorporated into the
Second Amended Complaint by reference, or considered by the
Case 3:22-cv-00883-SALM Document 47 Filed 01/19/23 Page 24 of 24
Any such Second Amended Complaint must be filed by February
9, 2023. The Amended Complaint will not be served on any
defendant and will have no effect if a Second Amended Complaint
If a Second Amended Complaint is filed, the Court will
review it pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915 to determine whether it is
sufficient to proceed to service on any defendant.
It is so ordered at Bridgeport, Connecticut, this 19th day
of January, 2023.
Hon. Sarah A. L. Merriam
United States Circuit Judge
Sitting by Designation
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?