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Stimpson v. Commissioner of Correction

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 1, 2017

MERLE E. STIMPSON, a/k/a MASON ANDRE MICHAEL RYBEC, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION, et al., Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER

          Stefan R. Underhill United States District Judge

         Merle E. Stimpson, incarcerated and pro se, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Commissioner of Correction, Warden Carol Chapdelaine, and Captain Hall. See Compl., Doc. No. 1. Stimpson alleged that the defendants violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. On June 26, 2016, I granted Stimpson's letter motion seeking to amend the complaint and gave him thirty days to file an amended complaint.

         On October 19, 2016, Stimpson filed an amended complaint listing Warden Chapdelaine, Captain Hall, and the Commissioner of Correction as defendants. See Am. Compl., Doc. No. 15. On January 23, 2017, I reviewed both the complaint and the amended complaint. I dismissed the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) because it complied neither with the rules of procedure governing pleadings nor with my orders regarding exhaustion, and also failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See Ruling & Order, Doc. No. 22. I also reviewed Stimpson's original complaint, Doc. No. 1, and dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) Stimpson's Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claims related to his placement in administrative detention, and his Fourteenth Amendment failure to protect from harm claim. I also dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(2) Stimpson's claims against Warden Chapdelaine, Captain Hall, and the Commissioner of Correction in their official capacities. I allowed to proceed Stimpson's Eighth Amendment claims of deliberate indifference to harm and failure to protect from harm against Captain Hall, Warden Chapdelaine and the Commissioner of Correction in their individual capacities. See Ruling & Order, Doc. No. 22, at 18.

         On January 26, 2017, Stimpson filed a letter seeking to file another amended complaint to add new claims. See Letter, Doc. No. 25. The allegations in the letter related to a written communication that Stimpson had received from District Administrator Quiros on January 9, 2017, in response to Stimpson's attempt to appeal a guilty finding at a disciplinary hearing. See Ex. 1 to id., Doc. No. 25-1. I construed Stimpson's letter as a motion to amend, and on April 27, 2017, I issued an order granting the motion based on Stimpson's contentions that the communication from Administrator Quiros was evidence of continued retaliation against him and that the retaliatory conduct related to the underlying claims in the complaint. See Order, Doc. No. 30. Because Stimpson had not filed a proposed amended complaint with the letter, I gave him thirty days to file an amended complaint.

         In response to that order, Stimpson has filed a second amended complaint listing Commissioner of Correction Scott Semple, Wardens Carol Chapdelaine and Scott Erfe, Captain Peaches Hall, and Counselors Datil and Laone as defendants. See Second Am. Compl., Doc. No. 32. Stimpson has also filed a motion seeking an order that the defendants named in the amended complaint be served. Doc. No. 39. For the reasons set forth below, I dismiss Stimpson's second amended complaint and deny his motion for service.

         I. Discussion

         After the time to amend as of right has passed, “[t]he court should freely” grant leave to amend “when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). In considering whether to grant a litigant leave to amend under Rule 15(a), I must consider such factors as “undue delay, ” “bad faith, ” “dilatory motive, ” “undue prejudice to the opposing party, ” and “futility of amendment.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).

         As indicated above, I construed a letter filed by Stimpson in January 2017 as a motion to amend, and granted the motion because Stimpson claimed that the new allegations were related to the Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to safety and failure to protect claims that he had asserted in the original complaint. Those allegations concern an incident that occurred at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MacDougall-Walker”) in February 2016.

         Contrary to Stimpson's earlier representation, the second amended complaint does not include any allegations related to the written communication from District Administrator Quiros dated January 9, 2017. Instead, it adds completely new allegations about incidents that occurred in April/May 2017 at Cheshire Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”), involving three individuals who are employed at Cheshire and who were not named in the original complaint. See Second Am. Compl., Doc. No. 32 at 3, 5-6. Those allegations are entirely unrelated to the Eighth Amendment claims asserted in Stimpson's original complaint.

         The new allegations in Stimpson's second amended complaint are as follows. In April/May 2017, Stimpson sent a request to be moved from Cheshire to another facility, but Counselor Datil denied the request. See Id. at 5. Stimpson then sent a request to a captain at Cheshire seeking to be moved to another housing unit within Cheshire, but the captain denied the request. See Id. In response to another request to be transferred either out of Cheshire or to another housing unit within Cheshire, Counselor Datil threatened to send Stimpson to segregation if he sent any further transfer requests to the correctional captain. See Id. Stimpson claims the response by Counselor Datil was retaliatory. Stimpson asserts that at some point after May 16, 2017, prison officials placed his housing block on lockdown. See Id. at 6. When he asked Counselor Datil why the housing unit was on lockdown, Counselor Datil indicated that Stimpson “had started this with [his] lawsuit” and that the warden was too busy to meet with any inmates. See id.

         In June 2013, the Connecticut Superior Court granted Stimpson's request to change his name to Mason Andre Michael Rybec. See Id. at 16-17. Stimpson claims that in April/May 2017 he asked Counselor Laone to aid him in obtaining copies of his birth certificate, social security card, and driver's license in order to submit requests to change his name on those documents. Stimpson states that he received a copy of his social security card, but has not received a copy of his birth certificate. See Id. at 6. In response to the request (dated May 16, 2017), Counselor Laone informed Stimpson that there was no record of a prior driver's license or identification card under the name of Merle Stimpson on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles. See Id. at 11.

         Stimpson asserts that on May 18, 2017, he asked an assistant attorney general who worked for the State of Connecticut to stop the retaliatory actions of Department of Correction officers. See Id. at 19. Stimpson alleges that “admin” told him that they are aware that he is a troublemaker, and that he will be “pacified” if he does not stop his actions pursuant to orders of the warden and commissioner. See Id. at 6.

         After reviewing the second amended complaint, I concluded that the complaint is deficient in a number of ways and must be dismissed. As a preliminary matter, Stimpson's allegations relating to his Eighth Amendment claims against Commissioner Semple, Warden Chapdelaine, and Captain Hall that were asserted in the original complaint are not included in the second amended complaint. In granting Stimpson leave to amend, I specifically cautioned Stimpson that an amended complaint completely replaces the original complaint and that the amended complaint should include facts showing how each defendant was involved in the alleged violation of Stimpson's federally or constitutionally protected rights. See Order, Doc. No. 30. Thus, it is apparent that Stimpson has ignored my instructions regarding the need to include claims against Commissioner Semple, Warden Chapdelaine, and Captain Hall in the second amended complaint.

         Although Stimpson has named Commissioner Semple, Warden Chapdelaine, and Captain Hall as defendants in the second amended complaint, he has included no allegations against them regarding the incidents that occurred in February 2016 at MacDougall-Walker. Thus, Stimpson has abandoned his failure to protect and deliberate indifference to safety claims against Commissioner Semple, Warden Chapdelaine, and Captain Hall. Because there are no allegations against those defendants in the second amended complaint, Stimpson has failed to allege that they violated his federally or constitutionally protected rights. The second amended complaint is dismissed with ...


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