United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTIONS TO AMEND, TO DISMISS, FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND PROPOSED SUPPLEMENTAL COMPLAINTS
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jose Eric Ramos, is currently confined at MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut
(“MacDougall-Walker”). He initiated this action
by filing a civil rights complaint asserting claims under the
First and Fourteenth Amendments as well as under the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act,
(“RLUIPA”) 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et
seq. against the Department of Correction, Reverend
Bruno, Counselor Arcouette and John Doe Commissioner of the
Department of Correction. Compl., ECF No. 1.
February 24, 2016, the Court dismissed all claims for
monetary damages against the defendants in their official
capacities under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2) and all other
claims against the Department of Correction and Counselor
Arcouette under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). See
Initial Review Order, ECF No. 9. The Court concluded that the
First Amendment free exercise claim, the Fourteenth Amendment
equal protection claim and RLUIPA claim would proceed against
the Commissioner of Correction and Reverend Bruno in their
individual and official capacities. Id. at 7. The
Court informed Mr. Ramos that the U.S. Marshal could not
serve the Commissioner of Correction until he identified the
Commissioner by name. Id. at 8. On March 16, 2016,
Mr. Ramos identified the Commissioner of Correction as Leo C.
Arnone. Notice, ECF No. 13. On April 25, 2016, the Court
directed the clerk to add Leo C. Arnone as a Defendant and to
terminate the defendant known as Commissioner of Correction.
Order, ECF No. 16.
Ramos has filed a motion to amend the Complaint (ECF No. 22),
two motions for summary judgment (ECF Nos. 26, 36) and two
proposed supplemental complaints (ECF Nos. 44, 48).
Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss. See Mot.
to Dismiss, ECF No. 29. For the reasons set forth below, the
motion to amend is GRANTED, the motions for summary judgment
and to dismiss are DENIED without prejudice, and the
supplemental complaints shall be stricken from the docket.
Motions for Leave to Amend and to Dismiss [ECF Nos. 22,
Ramos seeks leave to file an amended complaint to add former
Deputy Commissioner Scott Semple and former Commissioner
Dzurenda as defendants. Mot. Leave Amend, 1. He claims that
on April 16, 2014, he wrote to Commissioner Dzurenda and
stated that he had not received the tarot cards that he had
ordered and had been approved by Bruno in May 2013.
Id. at p. 2, 2. On June 23, 2014, Deputy
Commissioner Semple responded to the letter and indicated
that neither he nor Dzurenda would take any action to correct
the situation. Mr. Ramos also seeks to add a deprivation of
property claim with regard to the tarot cards that he paid
for in May 2013, but he has never received. Id. at
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1) provides that a plaintiff
may amend his complaint once as of right “within: (A)
21 days after serving [the complaint], or (B) . . . [within]
21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days
after service of a motion” to dismiss, for more
definite statement or to strike, “whichever is
earlier.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Because Defendants had
not filed an answer or moved to dismiss before the filing of
the motion to amend, Mr. Ramos may amend once as a matter of
right. Accordingly, the motion to amend is granted.
the Court would direct the Clerk to docket the proposed
amended complaint attached to the motion to amend. In this
instance, however, the proposed amended complaint is
incomplete. Mr. Ramos describes the proposed amended
complaint as “an addition to the original
complaint.” Mot. Leave Amend, 1.
amended complaint, however, completely replaces the original
complaint. In re Crysen/Montenay Energy Co., 226
F.3d 160, 162 (2d Cir.2000); Harris v. City of N.Y., 186 F.3d
243, 249 (2d Cir.1999) (explaining that an “Amended
Complaint is the legally effective pleading for Rule 12(b)(6)
purposes” (internal citation omitted)); Pratt v.
City of N.Y., 929 F.Supp.2d 314, 319 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)
(“However, the general rule is that an amended
complaint supersedes an original complaint and renders it
without legal effect.”). Thus, Mr. Ramos cannot simply
file an amended complaint that only asserts new claims sought
to be added. Although the proposed amended complaint includes
the First Amendment free exercise claim and RLUIPA claim
against Reverend Bruno, it does not mention or include claims
against former Commissioner Arnone or the Fourteenth
Amendment equal protection claim against Reverend Bruno.
See Mot. Leave Amend, p. 2.
addition, the proposed amended complaint is deficient because
the title on the first page lists Defendants as Department of
Correction, et al. See Mot. Leave Amend, p. 2. The
title of a complaint or amended complaint must list all of
the defendants. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a). The
proposed amended complaint also fails to include a request
for relief as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(3), Accordingly,
the Court directs Mr. Ramos to file an amended complaint that
includes himself as Plaintiff and Commissioner Arnone,
Commissioner Dzurenda, Deputy Commissioner Scott Semple and
Reverend Bruno as Defendants in the title on the first page
and also includes request for relief. In addition, the
amended complaint should include the First Amendment free
exercise claim, the RLUIPA claim and Fourteenth Amendment
equal protection claim as asserted in the original complaint
against Reverend Bruno and Commissioner Arnone and the
deprivation of property claim and the free exercise of
religion claim as asserted in the proposed amended complaint
against Commissioner Dzurenda and Deputy Commissioner Semple.
In view of the order directing Mr. Ramos to file an amended
complaint, the motion to dismiss (ECF No. 29) addressed to
the complaint will be dismissed without prejudice.
Proposed Supplemental Complaints [ECF Nos. 44, 48]
19, 2016, Mr. Ramos filed a first proposed supplemental
complaint. On August 23, 2016, Mr. Ramos filed a second
proposed supplemental complaint. Rule 15(d) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure permits a party to move to file a
supplemental pleading and the district court to grant such a
motion, in the exercise of its discretion, upon
“reasonable notice” and “on just
terms.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(d). Mr. Ramos did not seek
leave to file either of the supplemental complaints as
required by Rule 15(d). Thus, they were improperly filed.
the Court construed the supplemental complaints as motions
seeking leave to file them, the Court would deny the motions.
A motion to supplement pleadings under Rule 15(d) is properly
filed when a party seeks to plead a “transaction,
occurrence or event that happened after the date of the
pleading to be supplemented.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(d).
“A trial court has broad discretion in determining
whether to grant a motion to file a supplemental [complaint]
under Rule 15(d).” Biosafe-One, Inc. v. Hawks,
639 F.Supp.2d 358, 370 (S.D.N.Y. 2009), aff'd,
379 F. App'x 4 (2d Cir. 2010).
deciding whether to grant a plaintiff's motion to
supplement a pleading based on Rule 15(d), a district court
should consider “undue delay, bad faith or dilatory
motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure
deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue
prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the
amendment, [and] futility of amendment.” Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). Thus, district courts
should contemplate prejudice to the opposing party and, in
their discretion grant “supplementation [where it] will
promote the economic and speedy disposition of the
controversy between the parties, will not cause undue delay
or trial inconvenience, and will not prejudice the rights of
any other party.” Bornholdt v. Brady, 869 F.2d
57, 68 (2d Cir. 1989) (citations omitted).
district court may grant permission to file supplemental
pleadings under Rule 15(d), when it determines that
“the supplemental facts connect it to the original
pleading.” See Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co.,
71 F.3d 58, 66 (2d Cir. 1995) (plaintiff's proposed
supplemental complaint was related to the original complaint
when it added a retaliation charge to her original pleading,
which made out a prima facie case of pregnancy
discrimination). The Court will not permit Mr. Ramos to add
the unrelated claims set forth in the proposed supplemental
complaint. See LaBarbera v. Audax Construction
Corp., 971 F.Supp.2d 273, 285 (E.D.N.Y. 2013) (denying
motion to amend or supplement complaint on ground that new
claims sought to be added involved issues that were
“wholly unrelated” to the resolution of claims
included in the complaint) (citations omitted); Walls v.
Fischer, 615 F.Supp.2d 75, 85 (W.D.N.Y. 2009) (denying
motion to file supplemental complaint because new claims