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Sellars v. Semple

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 20, 2017

SEAN DUNCAN SELLARS, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT SEMPLE, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO RE-FILING OF PROPER COMPLAINT(S)

          Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Sean Duncan Sellars is a former prisoner of the Connecticut Department of Correction. He has filed a 59-page civil rights complaint against some 24 defendants who he believes wronged him during the course of several years while he was incarcerated, residing at several halfway houses, or on parole. For several reasons, I will dismiss the complaint with leave to file an amended complaint (or more than one amended complaint to the extent that plaintiff wishes to file a complaint against defendants who cannot be properly joined in one action).

         First, insofar as the complaint alleges wrongful acts that occurred more than three years prior to his filing of the complaint, I conclude that these allegations are barred by the statute of limitations. Second, insofar as the complaint alleges claims against parole board members for actions taken in their official capacity, I will dismiss these claims with prejudice on the ground of absolute immunity. Third, insofar as the complaint alleges claims against supervisory prison or program officials who were not personally involved in any wrongful acts against plaintiff, these claims are dismissed without prejudice to re-filing claims against these supervisory defendants in the event that such facts showing their personal involvement can be alleged.

         As to those claims that are not time-barred by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of absolute immunity, the complaint contains an extraordinary level of factual detail that defies even the most generous interpretation of the requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that a complaint contain no more than a short and simple statement of the facts that give rise to plausible grounds for relief. Moreover, because the complaint joins many different claims against many different defendants and despite the fact that many of the claims are not factually related to one another, plaintiff must proceed in compliance with Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by filing one or more separate lawsuits against each defendant or group of defendants for whom plaintiff's claims are factually related. Because of these concerns under Rule 8 and Rule 20, if plaintiff wishes to proceed, he must first file an amended complaint or amended complaints that set forth a reasonably concise statement of the facts that give rise to any claims for relief and that join as defendants to each lawsuit only those defendants as to whom plaintiff's claims are factually related to another defendant.

         Accordingly, I will dismiss the complaint with prejudice as to those claims that are time-barred by the statute of limitations and as to those claims that are barred by absolute immunity. I will otherwise dismiss the complaint without prejudice to plaintiff's filing by November 30, 2017, of any amended complaint (or complaints) in compliance with Rule 8 and Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         Background

         Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis and has named 24 defendants. Although several of the defendants are identified as John Doe or Jane Doe, the complaint identifies the following defendants by name:

• Scott Semple, Commissioner of the Department of Correction
• Carleton Giles, Chairperson of the Board of Pardons and Paroles
• Joy Chance, Board Member of the Board of Pardons and Paroles
• Patricia Camp, Board Member of the Board of Pardons and Paroles
• David May, Board Member of the Board of Pardons and Paroles
• Joseph Haggan, Director, Parole and Community Services
• P.O. Williams, Parole Officer of Parole and Community Services
• P.O. Pawlich, Parole Officer of Parole and Community Services
• P.O. Howlett, Parole Officer of Parole and Community Services
• P.O. Gibbons, Parole Officer of Parole and Community Services
• Jason Bedard, Parole Manager, Resident Services Unit, Parole and Community Services
• David Ruth, Owner, Sober Solutions, LLC
• Eric Desmarais, Manager, Sober Solutions, LLC
• Robert D. Pigeon, CEO, Community Solutions, Inc.
• Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore, CEO, The Connection, Inc.
• Gail Eureka, Director, The Connection, Inc.
• Tamara Jackson, Assistant Director, The Connection, Inc.
• Patrick Fallon, Director of Community Justice Services

         The complaint spans nearly five years of plaintiff s journey through many facilities and programs of the state criminal justice system. The facts begin with the sentencing of plaintiff by a state court judge in October 2012 to a three-year term of imprisonment followed by three years of special parole. On September 13, 2013, Department of Correction officials released plaintiff to the custody of Parole and Community Services prior to the completion of his term of imprisonment. ...


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