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Remillard v. Maldonado

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

June 1, 2016



          Stefan R. Underhill United States District Judge

         The plaintiff, Leo Remillard, is incarcerated at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut (“MacDougall-Walker”). He has filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Warden and a Counselor Supervisor at Osborn Correctional Institution (“Osborn”) as well as the medical department at Osborn. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint is dismissed.

         Pursuant to section 1915A(b) of Title 28 of the United States Code, the Court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “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.” Id. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when 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, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions, ’ ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action’ or ‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further factual enhancement, ’” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Although courts still have an obligation to interpret “a pro se complaint liberally, ” the complaint must include sufficient factual allegations to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).

         I. Allegations

         On June 21, 2015, Remillard was involved in an altercation in the cafeteria at Osborn. He received a disciplinary report for fighting. He pleaded guilty to the infraction and the disciplinary hearing officer imposed sanctions of seven days in punitive segregation.

         Remillard claims that he should have been released from segregation on June 29, 2015. On that date, prison officials initially informed Remillard that his risk level had been raised to level four and that he would be transferred to another prison facility. Later that day, prison officials took Remillard off the transfer list because medical staff wanted to keep him at Osborn until he had completed his Hepatitis C protocol. Medical staff informed Remillard that he would remain at Osborn for at least a week.

         Remillard alleges that Unit Manager Long improperly chose to keep him confined in the punitive segregation unit for an additional seven days instead of transferring him to the medical unit to complete his Hepatitis C protocol and that Warden Maldonado approved Remillard’s continued confinement. On July 6, 2015, prison officials transferred Remillard to another prison facility.

         II. Analysis

         A. Claims against the Medical Department

         Remillard names the medical/infectious diseases department at Osborn as a defendant. To state a claim under section 1983, the plaintiff must allege facts showing that the defendant, a person acting under color of state, law deprived him of a federally protected right. See Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 930 (1982).

         A state agency is not a person within the meaning of section 1983. See Will v. Michigan Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 70-71 (1989). The State of Connecticut Department of Correction is a state agency. See Vaden v. Connecticut, 557 F.Supp.2d 279, 288 (D. Conn. 2008); Garris v. Dep’t of Corr., 170 F.Supp.2d 182, 186 (D. Conn. 2001). As part of the Department of Correction, a correctional facility medical department is not a person subject to liability under section 1983. See Santos v. Conn. Dep’t of Corr., 2005 WL 2123543, at *3 (D. Conn. Aug. 29, 2005) (observing that “[n]either a Department of Correction nor a correctional institution is a person” subject to liability under section 1983); Torrence v. Pelkey, 164 F.Supp.2d 264, 271 (D. Conn. 2001) (same). Thus, the claims against defendant Osborn Medical Department are dismissed as lacking an arguable legal basis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).

         B. Official Capacity Claims

         Remillard asks for monetary damages to compensate him for emotional distress and pain and suffering. To the extent that he seeks monetary damages from defendants Long and Maldonado in their official capacities, those claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985); Quern v. Jordan, 440 ...

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