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Riddick v. Semple

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 17, 2017

JEROME RIDDICK, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER SCOTT SEMPLE, Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          STEFAN R. UNDERHILL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, Jerome Riddick, a/k/a Ja-Qure Al-Bukhari, is incarcerated at the Northern Correctional Institution. He initiated this action by filing a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Commissioner Scott Semple, Wardens Henry Falcone, William Mulligan, and Edward Maldonado, Deputy Warden Derrick Molden, and District Administrator Angel Quiros. He has filed two motions for leave to amend the complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the first motion for leave to amend is granted, the second motion for leave to amend is denied as moot, and the amended complaint is dismissed without prejudice to filing an amended retaliation claim within 30 days of this Order.

         I. Motions for Leave to Amend [ECF Nos. 11, 12]

         Riddick seeks leave to file an amended complaint to add a new claim against the defendants. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1) provides that a plaintiff may amend his complaint once as of right "within: . . . (B) 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion" to dismiss, a motion for a more definite statement or a motion to strike, "whichever is earlier." Because the defendants have not filed an answer or motion addressed to the complaint, Riddick may amend as of right.

         Because both motions to amend and the proposed amended complaints are essentially identical, I grant the first motion for leave to amend and deny the second motion for leave to amend as moot. The Clerk shall docket the amended complaint and its exhibits attached to the first motion for leave to amend, ECF No. 11, as the Amended Complaint.

         II. Amended Complaint

         Under section 1915 A of Title 28 of the United States Code, I must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any portion of the 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. Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and grounds upon which they are based and to demonstrate a plausible right to relief. BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Nevertheless, it is well-established that "\p]ro se complaints 'must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'" Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90. 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants).

         A.Grievance Restriction Claim

         The allegations to which this Initial Review Order refers are drawn from the Amended Complaint and supporting exhibits. See ECF No. 11, Attach. A & Exs. 1-3.

         On December 17, 2014, Warden Falcone placed Riddick on grievance restriction for six months until June 17, 2015 because he had violated Department of Correction Administrative Directive 9.6(6)(0) by filing more than seven grievances during a sixty-day calendar period. Warden Falcone informed Riddick that he could appeal the grievance restriction to the District Administrator.

         On August 11, 2015, Warden Falcone again placed Riddick on grievance restriction for six months until January 8, 2016 because he had violated Department of Correction Administrative Directive 9.6(6)(0) by filing more than seven grievances during a sixty-day calendar period. During the six-month period that Riddick was on grievance restriction, he could file one grievance per month. Warden Falcone made Riddick aware that he could appeal the imposition of the grievance restriction to the District Administrator.

         On April 25, 2016, Warden Maldonado placed Riddick on grievance restriction for six months until October 25, 2016 because he had violated Department of Correction Administrative Directive 9.6(6)(0) by filing more than seven grievances during a sixty-day calendar period. During the six-month period that Riddick was on grievance restriction, he could file one grievance per month. Warden Mulligan made Riddick aware that he could appeal the imposition of the grievance restriction to the District Administrator.

         On May 23, 2016, Riddick appealed the imposition of the grievance restriction. District Administrator Quiros denied the appeal as untimely because it was filed more than fifteen days after Warden Maldonado had imposed the grievance restriction.

         On June 16, 2016, Warden Maldonado extended the grievance restriction against Riddick for an additional six months until April 25, 2017 because Riddick had failed to comply with the restrictions imposed on April 25, 2017. Riddick had filed four grievances in a three-month period. Riddick generally alleges that defendants Wardens Falcone, Mulligan and Maldonado, Deputy Warden Molden, ...


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