United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MERLE E. STIMPSON, Plaintiff,
COMM'R CORRECTION OFFICE, ET AL., Defendants.
RULING AND ORDER
R. Underhill, United States District Judge
plaintiff, Merle E. Stimpson, incarcerated and pro
se, initiated this action by filing a complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Commissioner of
Corrections, Warden Carol Chapdelaine, and Captain Hall.
Pending before the court are Stimpson's motion to proceed
in forma pauperis, a letter motion to add new
defendants, and a letter motion for preliminary injunction
and an amended complaint. (ECF Nos. 16, 17, and 18) For the
reasons set forth below, the motions are denied and the
amended complaint is dismissed.
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis [ECF No.
seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis. On April
26, 2016, the court granted Stimpson leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. See ECF No. 10. Accordingly,
the new application to proceed in forma pauperis is
denied as moot.
Amended Complaint [ECF No. 15]
initial complaint included allegations regarding the
placement of Inmate Andino in Stimpson's cell at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“MacDougall-Walker”) in mid- February 2016,
Stimpson's unsuccessful attempts to be moved from the
cell because Andino was sexually assaulting him, a false
accusation by prison staff that Stimpson had sent a letter to
the Commissioner of Correction as if he were Inmate Andino,
and Stimpson's placement in restrictive housing after
receiving a disciplinary report for sending the letter to the
Commissioner. See Compl., ECF No. 1 at 1-3.
16, 2016, Stimpson filed a letter motion seeking to add new
claims regarding an incident that occurred on June 8, 2016,
involving Captain Hall's alleged decision to place Inmate
Vernal Davis in Stimpson's cell as his new cellmate.
See ECF No. 11. Because the defendants had not
responded to the complaint and that was Stimpson's first
request to file an amended complaint, I granted the motion to
amend on June 29, 2016. See Ruling and Order, ECF
June 29 ruling granting the motion to amend, I noted that
Stimpson had not attached a proposed amended complaint to his
motion that was in the proper form. The documents attached to
the motion did not contain a case caption with a title
listing Stimpson as the plaintiff and the name of each
defendant nor did it include a designation identifying the
document as an amended complaint, as required by the civil
rules governing the form of pleadings. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 10. In addition, the letter motion did not include
any of the claims that were set forth in the original
complaint. I cautioned Stimpson that any amended complaint
would completely replace the original complaint. Thus, any
amended complaint should include the allegations against the
defendants named in the complaint with regard to the
incidents that were described in the complaint to the extent
that Stimpson still sought to pursue those claims.
addition, I observed that Stimpson had not alleged that he
had exhausted his administrative remedies with regard to any
of the incidents set forth in the initial complaint or the
June 8, 2016 incident set forth in the motion to amend.
Section 1997e of Title 42 of the United States Code governs
actions brought by prison inmates. Section 1997e(a) provides:
“No action shall be brought with respect to prison
conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other
Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or
other correctional facility until such administrative
remedies as are available are exhausted.” That
subsection applies to all claims regarding prison life,
including the use of excessive force by prison staff. See
Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002).
informed Stimpson that exhaustion of all available
administrative remedies must occur regardless whether the
administrative procedures provide the relief that the inmate
seeks. See Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741
(2001). Furthermore, prisoners must comply with all
procedural rules regarding the grievance process prior to
commencing an action in federal court. See Woodford v.
Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 83-85 (2006). Thus, completion of the
exhaustion process after a federal action has been filed does
not satisfy the exhaustion requirement.
See Neal v. Goord, 267 F.3d 116, 122 (2d Cir. 2001).
Accordingly, I instructed Stimpson that any amended complaint
must include allegations regarding any attempts by him to
exhaust administrative remedies with regard to his claims
prior to filing this lawsuit. See Ruling and Order,
ECF No. 12 at 4.
response to my order, Stimpson sent a letter to the Clerk,
accompanied by thirty-five pages of exhibits allegedly
showing retaliation by the Department of Correction. Stimpson
did not file an amended complaint. See ECF No. 13.
August 11, 2016, I informed Stimpson that if he sought to
proceed with this action, he must file an amended complaint
that complied with the June 29 order. See Order, ECF
No. 14. I instructed Stimpson that any amended complaint must
be filed within thirty days of the date of that order and
cautioned Stimpson that if he chose not to file an amended
complaint within the time specified, the case would only
proceed only on the claims in the initial complaint.
did not file an amended complaint within the time specified.
Instead, he waited until October 19, 2016 to file an amended
complaint. See Am. Compl., ECF No. 15. Thus, the
amended complaint is untimely. I nevertheless review it as
caption of the amended complaint, Stimpson lists the
following people or entities as defendants: Office of CT -
Commissioner of Corrections, Warden Carol Chapdelaine and
Captain Hall and “Et Al.” Stimpson subsequently
describes the first defendant as Commissioner Scott Semple
and the “Et Al.” defendant as
“future/present defendants here in CT-D.O.C.”
See Id. at 2-3. Because Commissioner Scott Semple is
not listed in the caption of the amended complaint, he is not
a defendant. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a) (“[T]he
title of the complaint must name all the parties.”).
to the amended complaint are forty-eight pages of exhibits.
On page five of the amended complaint, the plaintiff simply
states that in addition to the original claim, he seeks to
file an amended complaint on the basis of the following:
“I have sent to this court 35 pages of Exhibits showing
retaliation by CT D.O.C.” See Id. at 5. He
states that he has been retaliated against by all of the
defendants and he has filed grievances with the Commissioner
and the Warden about Captain's Hall's actions.
See Id. In particular, Stimpson alleges that Captain
Hall has used her position to retaliate against him. See
Id. In response to his request regarding his clothes
“being burnt” by the facility laundry personnel,
Captain Hall told Stimpson to re-wash his clothes. See
Id. Stimpson states that he filed an inmate request with
regard to his burned clothes as well as a grievance and an
appeal of the decision disposing of the grievance. In
response to his inmate request, a correctional treatment
officer indicated that prison officials had given him new
clothes on August 1, 2016. See Id. at 6. Stimpson
claims that he has not received new clothes. He seeks $550,
000.00, deferral of costs of incarceration, and reimbursement
of the filing fee. See Id. He seeks injunctive
relief in the form of an order that he be permitted a single
cell and that he be able to order or buy items out of
different catalogues. See id.
includes no allegations from the original complaint and does
not include any allegations regarding the incident that
occurred on June 8, 2016 for which he sought leave to amend
to the complaint. The first forty-two pages of exhibits
attached to the amended complaint instead relate to incidents
that occurred after June 29, 2016. The last six pages of
exhibits appear to be unrelated to any of the allegations in
the initial complaint or the amended complaint, including a
notice or an order of change of name, a request for
Stimpson's military records, and a confirmation by a
Department of Correction counselor that the Stimpson's
status as a veteran had been updated as of June 9, 2016.
state a retaliation claim, a plaintiff must show: “(1)
that the conduct or speech at issue was protected, (2) that
the defendant[s] took adverse action against the plaintiff,
and (3) that there was a causal connection between the
protected speech and the adverse action.” Gill v.
Pidlypchak, 389 F.3d 379, 380 (2d Cir. 2004) (citations
and internal quotation marks omitted). Because claims of
retaliation are easily fabricated, the courts consider such
claims with skepticism and require that they be supported by
specific facts; conclusory statements are not sufficient.
See Flaherty v. Coughlin, 713 F.2d 10, 13 (2d Cir.
allegations in the amended complaint that the defendants
retaliated against Stimpson are conclusory. Stimpson does not
set forth facts indicating that he engaged in protected
conduct or speech. Furthermore, Stimpson includes no
allegations with regard to retaliatory conduct on the part of
the defendants. Nor are there any allegations demonstrating a
causal connection between protected speech or conduct on the
part of Stimpson and retaliatory conduct by the defendants.
Thus, Stimpson's conclusory claims of retaliation fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted and are
dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
remaining allegations in the amended complaint relate to
Stimpson's claims regarding his clothes. An attachment to
the amended complaint reflects that in a request to Captain
Hall dated July 28, 2016, Stimpson asked that his clothes,
which he asserted smelled burned and/or were burned by the
prison laundry, be replaced. See Am. Compl.,
Exhibits, ECF No. 15-1 at 16. In response, Captain Hall
suggested that Stimpson re-wash the clothes that smelled
burned and to bring the burned clothes to her office for
review. See Id. Stimpson does not allege that he
brought the burned clothes to Captain Hall for review. He
does allege, in a grievance that he filed on August 2, 2016,
that he tried to re-wash his clothes, but the burn marks
would not come out. See Id. at 14. Stimpson claims
that as of August 1, 2016, he had not received any
replacement for the burned clothes.
allegations against Captain Hall with regard to
Stimpson's burned or stained clothes do not state a claim
upon which relief may be granted. “[A] prison official
violates that Eighth Amendment only when two requirements are
met. First, the deprivation must be, objectively,
sufficiently serious . . . [Second, ] a prison official must
have a ‘sufficiently culpable state of
mind.'” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
834 (quoting Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 297-98
(1991)). The State violates the Eighth Amendment when it
“fails to provide for [inmates'] basic human
needs-e.g., food, clothing, shelter, medical care,
and reasonable safety.” DeShaney v. Winnebago
County Dept. of Social Servs., 489 U.S. 189, 200 (1989)
(citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103-04
(1976)). Stimpson has not alleged that Captain Hall deprived
him of a basic human need. There are no allegations that he
had no clothes to wear after some items of his clothing were
burned in the ...