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McLellan v. Chapdelaine

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 1, 2017

RALPH MCLELLAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROL CHAPDELAINE, et al., Defendants.

          RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Ralph Mclellan (“Plaintiff”), currently confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, proceeds pro se in this civil rights action. On January 27, 2017, the Court dismissed all of Mr. Mclellan's claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Pending before the Court is Mr. Mclellan's motion for reconsideration of the Court's ruling dismissing the claims in the Complaint, as well as a motion for leave to file an Amended Complaint.

         For the reasons set forth below, the motion for reconsideration is granted, but the relief requested is DENIED; the motion for leave to amend is GRANTED; and the claims in the Amended Complaint are DISMISSED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL SUMMARY

         Mr. Mclellan initiated this action by filing a Section 1983 Complaint against Warden Carol Chapdelaine, District Administrator Angel Quiros, Captain Rivera, Lieutenants Richardson and Roy, Correctional Officers Lagassey, Gonzalez and Rule, Counselor Landolina, John Doe, John Doe #2, Jane Doe and Jane Doe #2 (together “Defendants”). See Compl., ECF No. 1. Mr. Mclellan asserted First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims in connection with certain prison discipline that arose out of an investigation into whether Mr. Mclellan was working with his fiancée, Tina Seckinton, to smuggle narcotics into the prison facility. Id.

         According to the initial Complaint, Officer Lagassey issued Mr. Mclellan a disciplinary report for conspiracy to convey contraband in July of 2016. The Complaint claims that, following this disciplinary report, Ms. Seckington was de-activated from Mr. Mclellan's visitor list. After a hearing in August 2016, Lieutenant Richardson formally found Mr. Mclellan guilty of the charge and sanctioned him to a time of punitive segregation, loss of visits, loss of commissary and loss of Risk Reduction Earned Credits. The Complaint also alleges that Captain Rivera refused Mr. Mclellan's requests to reinstate Ms. Seckington's status on the visitor list. The Complaint outlined several allegations under federal and state law against Officer Lagassey, Lieutenant Richardson and Captain Rivera as well as supervisory staff at the Department of Corrections in connection with this investigation of Mr. Mclellan and the resulting discipline.

         On January 27, 2017, the Court issued an Initial Review Order (“IRO”) dismissing Mr. Mclellan's claims. IRO, ECF No. 10. The Court dismissed the claims against Defendants Chapdelaine, Gonzalez, Rule and John Doe, John Doe #2, Jane Doe and Jane Doe #2 because Mr. Mclellan failed to include any allegations that they had violated his constitutionally or federally protected rights. The Court also dismissed the Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claim against defendants Quiros, Richardson, Roy, Rivera, Lagassey and Landolina related to sanctions that affected Mclellan's conditions of confinement, the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection claim against Defendants Quiros, Richardson, Roy, Rivera, Lagassey and Landolina, the Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants Quiros, Richardson, Roy, Rivera, Lagassey and Landolina, and the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment visitation claims against Defendant Rivera under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Finally, the Court dismissed the Fourteenth Amendment due process claim related to the loss of Risk Reduction Earned Credits against Defendants Quiros, Richardson, Roy, Rivera, Lagassey and Landolina without prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Having dismissed all federal claims, the Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any state law claims. See Initial Review Order, ECF No. 10.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Motions for Reconsideration

         Under Rule 7(c) of the Local Civil Rules of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, “[m]otions for reconsideration shall not be routinely filed and shall satisfy the strict standard applicable to such motions.” Generally, reconsideration will be granted only if the moving party can identify “controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked” and that would reasonably be expected to alter the court's decision. Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995).

         A party's identification of “an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice” may also constitute sufficient reasons to grant a motion for reconsideration. Kolel Beth Yechiel Mechil of Tartikov, Inc. v. YLL Irrevocable Trust, 729 F.3d 99, 104 (2d Cir. 2013) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). A party may not, however, use a motion for reconsideration to re-argue prior issues that have already been decided, present “new theories” or arguments that could have been raised earlier, seek a new hearing “on the merits, or [to] otherwise tak[e] a second bite at the apple.” Analytical Surveys, Inc. v. Tonga Partners, L.P., 684 F.3d 36, 52 (2d Cir. 2012) (citation omitted).

         B. Motions for Leave to Amend the Complaint

         Motions for leave to amend are governed by Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiff may amend a complaint once as a matter of right within 21 days of serving it or within 21 days of service of a responsive pleading. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Nonetheless, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss ... any portion of [a] 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.” Id.

         Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions, ' ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement, ' ” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Although ...


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