United States District Court, D. Connecticut
VERNON J. LEFTRIDGE, JR. Plaintiff,
TERESA DREW, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge.
Vernon Leftridge, Jr., has filed this federal civil rights
action for money damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Because the complaint does not allege any misconduct that
occurred within the statute of limitations that governs a
claim under § 1983, I will dismiss the complaint without
prejudice to plaintiff's right to seek relief on any
state law claims in state court.
August 25, 2016, plaintiff filed this pro se
complaint against defendants Teresa Drew, Kenisha Wiggins,
and four “John Doe” defendants. As best
as I can tell from the somewhat murky allegations of the
complaint, Teresa Drew is or was an official or attorney with
the State of Connecticut in some connection with alimony
proceedings involving plaintiff. Kenisha Wiggins is alleged
to be a non-state actor who was sued by plaintiff in 2004 for
child support and custody. See Leftridge v. Wiggins,
157 Conn.App. 213, 218 (2015) (describing child support
dispute in 2010 between plaintiff and Wiggins and referencing
Drew as a support enforcement officer).
first count of the complaint alleges a claim for
“breach of contract, ” and alleges in part that
“on or about August 27, 2011, Teresa Drew illegally
used her office to breach plaintiff['s] contract and
violated the plaintiff['s] rights, under color of
law.” Doc. #1 at 3. According to the complaint, Wiggins
worked in concert with Drew to violate plaintiff's
rights. Ibid. The second count of the complaint
alleges a claim for “defamation” to the effect
that defendants destroyed plaintiff's credit record.
Id. at 4. The third count of the complaint alleges a
claim for “retaliation, ” and alleges that
“[d]efendant Teresa Drew represented [plaintiff] ¶
2007-2008 in her official state capacity” against
plaintiff's former spouse for alimony but that Drew
retaliated in some unspecified manner against plaintiff after
she learned that plaintiff had filed a complaint against one
of Drew's co-workers. Id. at 4. Plaintiff seeks
damages for pain and suffering as well as $3 million of
punitive damages. Id. at 5.
well established that “pro se complaints must be
construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest.” Sykes v. Bank of
America., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013); see also
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir.2010)
(discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se
litigants). Although the Court must accept as true all
factual matters alleged in a complaint, a complaint may not
survive unless its factual recitations state a claim to
relief that is at least plausible on its face. See,
e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009); Mastafa v. Chevron Corp., 770 F.3d 170, 177
(2d Cir. 2014) (same).
Court has authority to review and dismiss a pro se
complaint that fails to state a claim for which relief may be
granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). As the
Second Circuit has made clear, a dismissal pursuant to §
1915(e)(2)(B) may be appropriate not only if a complaint
manifestly fails to state a claim for relief but also if it
is clear that the plaintiff has alleged a cause of action
that is time-barred by the statute of limitations. See
Pino v. Ryan, 49 F.3d 51, 53-54 (2d Cir. 1995).
plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
which is subject to a three-year statute of limitations.
See, e.g., Lounsbury v. Jeffries, 25 F.3d
131, 133 (2d. Cir. 1994). The complaint was filed in August
2016 but does not allege any misconduct that occurred more
recently than 2011. Nor does the complaint allege any facts
to suggest that the nature of the alleged misconduct amounts
to a continuing violation or that extraordinary circumstances
warrant the tolling of the limitations period. See,
e.g., Pino, 49 F.3d at 54 (noting that “a
dismissal under section 1915(d) based on the statute of
limitations is especially appropriate where, as in this case,
the injuries complained of occurred more than five years
before the filing of the complaint-well outside the
applicable three-year limitations period, there are no
applicable tolling provisions as a matter of law, and
plaintiff has alleged no facts indicating a continuous or
ongoing violation of his constitutional rights”)
(citation omitted). Accordingly, it is clear from the face of
the complaint that plaintiff's claim under § 1983 is
barred by the statute of limitations.
complaint also alleges claims for breach of contract,
defamation, and retaliation. Because these causes of action
arise under state law, the Court may exercise jurisdiction
over these claims only if plaintiff and defendants were
citizens of different states. See 28 U.S.C. §
1332 (federal diversity jurisdiction statute). The complaint
alleges, however, that both plaintiff and defendants have
addresses in Connecticut; they are therefore presumptively
all citizens of Connecticut, such that federal diversity
jurisdiction does not exist for any of plaintiff's state
reasons set forth above, the complaint is DISMISSED pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) on the grounds that
plaintiff's federal law claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
is barred by the statute of limitations and that any
remaining state law claims are not otherwise subject to the
Court's exercise of federal diversity jurisdiction.
order of dismissal is without prejudice to plaintiff's
filing of a motion for reconsideration and an amended
complaint by February 9, 2017, if he has any grounds to
believe that his complaint pursuant to § 1983 is not
barred by the three-year statute of limitations. In addition,
this order of dismissal is without prejudice to
plaintiff's right to ...