United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION
TO DISMISS [DKT. NO. 13]
VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Arnold Payne Sr., pro se, brings this action for
injunctive relief and monetary damages, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1981 and 1983, against Shauna Sardi and Marilys
Millman, Connecticut Department of Children and Families
(“DCF”) employees, in their individual and
official capacities. Defendants have moved to dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1),
12(b)(2), and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. For the reasons that follow, Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED, Plaintiff's Complaint is
DISMISSED and the Clerk is directed to close the case. The
Plaintiff may move to reopen the case by motion filed within
35 days of the date of this order. The motion must be
accompanied by an amended complaint in accordance with this
Complaint alleges that the Department of Children and
Families erroneously substantiated claims that Plaintiff
committed sexual abuse, and placed Plaintiff's name on a
registry [Dkt. No. 1-1 at 3]. The Complaint asserts that DCF
“must have realized they were wrong, ” because
after the Plaintiff contacted DCF about the “unjust
substantiation, ” DCF sent him a letter
“admitting they've made numerous errors in their
decision to substantiate.” Plaintiff faults DCF for
failing to uncover their errors absent his intervention, and
claims that this failure was a result of carelessness and a
“reckless disregard for the truth.” [Dkt. No.
1-1 at 3]. Plaintiff does not allege facts establishing that
the errors were material. He asserts that DCF violated its
own policies by failing to conduct a fair investigation into
the alleged abuse, and by denying him the opportunity to
appeal his substantiation and placement on the registry.
categorically alleges that his placement on the registry
constitutes defamation as well as cruel and unusual
punishment, and violates his substantive due process rights
under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. Plaintiff also alleges that by failing to offer
him the hearing mandated by Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101,
Defendants deprived him of his procedural due process rights.
He seeks injunctive relief in the form of a hearing to
contest his substantiation, and damages for defamation and
the violation of his constitutional rights. [Dkt. No. 1-1 at
their briefing, Defendants identified the registry to which
Plaintiff refers in his Complaint as the “DCF
Connecticut Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry, ”
which is governed by section 17a-101k of the Connecticut
General Statutes. [Dkt. No. 13-1 at 1].
also stated the Plaintiff was sent a first notice of
substantiation findings on February 20, 2015, and that a
corrected notice letter was sent to him on June 2, 2015.
[Dkt. No. 13-1 at 1-2]. Defendants attached to their Motion
to Dismiss a letter dated July 28, 2015 and referenced by the
Plaintiff in his Complaint, which states:
“This will confirm that the enclosed Notification of
Investigation Results, which was forwarded to you by the
Department Paralegal on June 2, 2015, replaces the previous
one, dated February 20, 2015, which contained numerous errors
as you had pointed out in a previous correspondence. The
Notification of Investigation Results dated June 1, 2015,
replaces and supersedes the Notification of Investigation
Results of February 20, 2015. You can disregard the February
Notification as that document had numerous errors and is an
inaccurate document. This should clear up any confusion that
may have been caused by your receipt of the February results
As you know, your hearing is scheduled for Monday, December
19, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. . . . as is set forth in the letter of
June 2, 2015.”
[Dkt. No. 13-3]. Neither the February 20, 2015 letter nor the
June 2, 2015 letter is in the record, nor are the salient
portions the record quoted in the Complaint. Defendants claim
that Plaintiff's administrative hearing had not been held
prior to Plaintiff filing his Complaint because he could not
attend the hearing while he was incarcerated. [Dkt. No. 13 -1
originally filed his Complaint in the Connecticut Superior
Court, and Defendants removed the case to this Court pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1446. Defendants claim that while both
Sardi and Millman were served in their official capacities,
only Sardi was served in her individual capacity. [Dkt. Nos.
1 ¶ 2, 3 ¶ 1]. No returns of service have been
filed on the docket.
did not file an opposition brief.
standards of review for a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and under
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim are
“substantively identical.” Lerner v. Fleet
Bank, N.A.,318 F.3d 113, 128 (2d. Cir. 2003). However,
on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), the party
invoking the Court's jurisdiction bears the burden of
proof to demonstrate that subject ...