United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge.
Negron (“Negron”) is incarcerated at the
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“MacDougall-Walker”). He has filed a complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Correctional Officer
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, 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 defendant fair notice of the
claims and grounds upon which they are based and to
demonstrate a plausible right to relief. Bell Atl. 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).
February 27, 2017, Negron was placed on suicide watch in the
restrictive housing unit at MacDougall-Walker. Sometime
between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. That day, Officer Matthews
opened the trap in Negron's cell door and began to make
sexual comments towards Negron. Negron screamed at Officer
Matthews. In response, Officer Matthews reached his hand
through the trap in the cell door and “grab[bed] for
[Negron's] genital area.” Compl., ECF No. 1 at 6,
¶ 6. Negron jumped backwards and yelled out for Control
Official Capacity Claims
seeks monetary damages and unspecified declaratory relief.
For the reasons set forth below, all official capacity claims
extent that Negron seeks monetary damages from Officer
Matthews in his official capacity, that claim is barred by
the Eleventh Amendment. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473
U.S. 159, 160 (1985) (the Eleventh Amendment, which protects
the state from suits for monetary relief, also protects state
officials sued for damages in their official capacities);
Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979) (Section
1983 does not override a state's Eleventh Amendment
immunity). Negron's claim for monetary damages against
Officer Matthews in his official capacity is dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (b)(2).
relief serves to “settle legal rights and remove
uncertainty and insecurity from legal relationships without
awaiting a violation of the rights or a disturbance of the
relationships.” Colabella v. Am. Inst. of Certified
Pub. Accountants, 2011 WL 4532132, at *22 (E.D.N.Y.
Sept. 28, 2011) (citations omitted). Declaratory relief
operates in a prospective manner to allow parties to resolve
claims before either side suffers great harm. See In re
Combustion Equip. Assocs. Inc., 838 F.2d 35, 37 (2d Cir.
allegations in the complaint relate only to conduct that
occurred in February 2017. Relief in the form of a
declaration that Officer Matthews violated Negron's
federal rights in the past is not available. See Green v.
Mansour, 474 U.S. 64, 71-73 (1985) (if there is no
allegation of an ongoing violation of federal law, the
Eleventh Amendment prevents federal courts from providing
notice relief or a declaratory judgment that state officials
violated federal law in the past); P.C. v. Connecticut
Dep't of Children & Families, 662 F.Supp.2d 218,
227 (D. Conn. 2009) (dismissing request for
“declaratory judgment that defendants' past conduct
violated the law . . . [because] the relief sought [was]
clearly not prospective”) (citations omitted).
Negron has not identified any legal relationships or issues
that require resolution via declaratory relief. See
Camofi Master LDC v. College P'ship, Inc., 452
F.Supp.2d 462, 480 (S.D.N.Y. 2006) (concluding that claim for
declaratory relief that is duplicative of adjudicative claim
underlying action serves no purpose). If Negron were to
prevail on his substantive federal claims, the jury
necessarily would determine that Officer Matthews had
violated Negron's Eighth Amendment rights. Thus, a
separate award of declaratory relief is unnecessary. The
request for declaratory relief is dismissed. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
states that he filed a claim under the Prison Rape
Elimination Act (“PREA”). There is nothing in the
PREA to suggest that Congress intended to create a private
right of action for inmates to sue prison officials for
non-compliance with the Act. See Chao v. Ballista,
772 F.Supp.2d 337, 341 n.2 (D. Mass. 2011) (collecting cases
and noting that “every court to address the
issue” has held that the PREA does not allow a private
cause of action); Chinnici v. Edwards, 2008 WL
3851294, at *3 (D. Vt. Aug. 12, 2008) (“[T]he PREA
confers no private right of action. The PREA is intended to
address the problem of rape in prison, authorizes grant
money, and creates a commission to study the issue.”)
(citation omitted). The Act is intended to compile data and
statistics concerning incidences of prison rape and to
develop and implement national standards for the detection,
prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape.
See PREA, 34 U.S.C. §§ 30302-03, 30306-07
(formerly cited as 42 U.S.C. §§ 15602-03,
15606-07). The Act does not grant any specific rights to
inmates. The United States Supreme Court has held that in the
absence of “an ‘unambiguous' intent to confer
individual rights, ” such as a right to sue, courts
will not imply such a right in a federal funding provision.
Gonzaga University v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273, 280 (2002).
the PREA does not provide a private right of action, the
allegation that Officer Matthews violated the PREA does not
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The claim
asserted under the PREA is dismissed. See 28 U.S.C.