United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 25, 2016, Faroulh Dorlette
(“Plaintiff”), an inmate currently incarcerated
at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville,
Connecticut, filed a Complaint pro se under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Dr. Johnny Wu, the Director of
Medical Services for the Connecticut Department of
Correction, and Dr. J. Smith, an optometrist at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield,
Connecticut (together “Defendants”), in their
individual and official capacities for monetary, declaratory,
and injunctive relief. Mr. Dorlette claimed that Defendants
violated his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and
unusual punishment and his rights under the Fourteenth
Amendment due process and equal protection clauses by denying
him adequate eye care and corrective eyeglasses.
have moved to dismiss all of Mr. Dorlette's claims
against them. Defs. Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 22. Mr. Dorlette
subsequently filed an Amended Complaint addressing some of
the concerns raised in Defendants' motion to dismiss. Am.
Compl., ECF No. 26. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court accepts Mr. Dorlette's Amended Complaint as the
operative complaint in this matter, and Defendants' 
Motion to Dismiss is DENIED without
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Dorlette claims that Defendants refused to provide him with
corrective eyeglasses that had been prescribed to him,
violating his Fourteenth and Eighth Amendment rights. On
October 19, 2016, this Court issued its Initial Review Order,
ECF No. 9, dismissing Mr. Dorlette's Fourteenth Amendment
claims and his claims for monetary damages against Defendants
in their official capacities under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b)(1) and (2). The Court permitted his Eighth Amendment
claim to proceed against Defendants after concluding that Mr.
Dorlette had “stated a plausible claim of deliberate
indifference to medical needs against [them].” Initial
Review Order at 4, ECF No. 9.
March 27, 2017, Defendants moved to dismiss Mr.
Dorlette's remaining Eighth Amendment claim against them.
Defs. Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 22. Defendants assert that (1)
the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this claim,
(2) Mr. Dorlette failed to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted; and (3) Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity. Id. At the time of
Defendants' motion, Mr. Dorlette was confined at Northern
State Correctional Facility in Newport, Vermont. On May 12,
2017, however, Mr. Dorlette filed a notice with the Court
indicating that he had since been transferred to
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution in Uncasville,
Connecticut. See Not. of Change of Address, ECF No.
23. Accordingly, the Court mailed a copy of Defendants'
motion to Mr. Dorlette at his new address and granted him
until August 18, 2017 to file a response to the motion.
See Order, ECF No. 25. To date, Mr. Dorlette has not
responded to the motion.
August 21, 2017, 144 days after Defendants filed their motion
to dismiss and 37 days after a copy of the motion was mailed
to Mr. Dorlette at his new address, Mr. Dorlette filed an
Amended Complaint. Am. Compl., ECF No. 26. His Amended
Complaint only includes allegations supporting his Eighth
Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to a serious
medical need against Dr. Smith and Dr. Wu. Id. Mr.
Dorlette did not seek leave of the Court before filing this
Amended Complaint, and a review of his allegations suggests
that Mr. Dorlette filed the Amended Complaint in order to
address the claims raised in Defendants' motion to
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff
must seek leave of the court in order to amend a complaint
more than 21 days after the filing of a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(B), 15(a)(2).
“In the absence of any apparent or declared reason -
such as 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 the allowance of the amendment,
futility of the amendment, etc. - the leave should, as the
rules require, be ‘freely given.'” Foman
v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). “This relaxed
standard applies with particular force to pro se
litigants. A pro se complaint is to be read
liberally, and should not be dismissed without granting leave
to amend at least once when such a reading gives any
indication that a valid claim might be
stated.” Pangburn v. Culbertson, 200 F.3d 65,
70 (2d Cir. 1999) (emphasis in original; internal quotations
rule in the Second Circuit has been to allow a party to amend
its pleadings in the absence of prejudice or bad
faith.” Independence Ins. Serv. Corp. v. Hartford
Fin. Services Grp, Inc., 04 Civ. 1512 (JCH), 2005 WL
1038991, *4 (D. Conn. May 3, 2005) (citing State Teachers
Retirement Bd. v. Fluor Corp., 654 F.2d 843, 856 (2d
Cir. 1981)). In determining what constitutes prejudice, the
Court considers whether the amendment would (1) require the
defendant to expend significant additional resources to
conduct discovery and prepare for trial, (2) significantly
delay the resolution of the dispute, or (3) prevent the
plaintiff from bringing a timely action in another
jurisdiction. Id. at *5 (citing Block v. First
Blood Associates, 988 F.2d 344, 350 (2d Cir. 1993)).
Mr. Dorlette did not respond directly to the motion to
dismiss as instructed or seek permission from the Court to
file the Amended Complaint, the allegations set forth in the
Amended Complaint seem to address the concerns raised by
Defendants in their motion to dismiss. Therefore, the Court
grants leave to amend, denies without prejudice
Defendants' motion to dismiss, and reviews Mr.
Dorlette's Amended Complaint as the operative complaint
in this matter.
Court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any
portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that
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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Although detailed
allegations are not required, the complaint must include
sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the
claims and the grounds upon which they are based and to
demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atlantic 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).
Factual Allegations ...