United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT
PREJUDICE TO RE-FILING OF PROPER COMPLAINT(S)
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge.
David Tuttle is a prisoner in the custody of the Connecticut
Department of Correction. He has filed an amended complaint
pro se and in forma pauperis under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. After initial review, I will dismiss the
amended complaint with leave to file a second amended
complaint or more than one complaint to the extent that
plaintiff wishes to file any complaint against one or more
defendants who may be properly joined in one action.
is a Massachusetts-sentenced inmate confined in Connecticut
pursuant to the Interstate Corrections Compact. Doc. #12 at 4
(¶1). Plaintiff's complaint includes six counts
against different groups of defendants arising from distinct
factual allegations. Plaintiff names fourteen defendants:
Commissioner Scott Semple, Warden William Faneuff, Director
of Security Christine Whidden, District Two Administrator
Peter Murphy, District Two Administrator Edward Maldonado,
Captain Dougherty, Officer Dousis, Lieutenant Eberle, Captain
Robles, Counselor Supervisor Davis, Counselor Magiafico,
Officer Johnson, Psychologist Mark Frayne, and Dr. Gerald
first count is a claim for denial of due process in violation
of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments in connection with a
security risk group affiliation hearing held in January 2017
at Corrigan Correctional Institution. Id. at 10-19
(¶¶ 22-44). Plaintiff alleges that defendants
Dousis, Dougherty, Eberle, Murphy, Maldonado, and Semple
violated his due process rights in connection with this
security risk affiliation hearing. Id. at 32
(¶¶82-83). Plaintiff also mentions defendant
Whidden in the fact section of this claim. Id. at
his classification as a security risk group member, plaintiff
was transferred to Northern Correctional Institution.
Id. at 20-23 (¶¶ 45-57). Plaintiff's
second count alleges that his Eighth Amendment right to be
free from cruel and unusual punishment was violated by the
conditions of confinement and lack of mental health treatment
at Northern Correctional Institution. Id. at 32-33.
Defendants Frayne, Gagne, Faneuff, and Semple are referenced
with regard to this claim.
third and fourth claims are brought under the Rehabilitation
Act and Americans with Disabilities Act, respectively. These
claims appear to be based on the same factual allegations
regarding plaintiff's treatment at Northern Correctional
Institution that serve as the basis for count two.
Id. at 33-35 (referencing the factual allegations in
¶¶45-57). Plaintiff does not specify which
defendants he claims violated the Rehabilitation Act or the
Americans with Disabilities Act, but it appears that he
intends this claim to proceed against the same defendants as
in count two, namely, Defendants Frayne, Gagne, Faneuff, and
fifth claim alleges denial of access to the courts and
retaliation for free speech. Id. at 23-28
(¶¶58-72). Plaintiff alleges that he is not
provided photocopies, large manila envelopes, Massachusetts
legal materials, and sufficient legal phone calls. Defendants
Semple, Faneuff, Robles, Magiafico, and Davis are alleged to
have denied these items. Id. at 34. Additionally,
plaintiff alleges that defendants Magiafico and Davis
retaliated against him by taking away his legal papers and
denying him access to legal materials.
sixth claim alleges interference with the prison grievance
process and includes a second retaliation claim. Id.
at 29-32 (¶¶73-80). He identifies defendants
Johnson, Semple, Faneuff, and Maldonado as associated with
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. In
reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court must assume
the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to
“raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest.”
Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007).
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 plausible 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 “pro 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
complaint fails to comply with the limits on permissive
joinder of claims against multiple defendants under Rule
20(a)(2). Joinder of claims against multiple defendants is
permitted by this Rule if two criteria are met: (1) the
claims “aris[e] out of the same transaction,
occurrence, or series of transactions and occurrences,
” and (2) “any question of law or fact common to
all defendants will arise in the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
20(a)(2). “What will constitute the same transaction or
occurrence under the first prong of Rule 20(a) is approached
on a case by case basis.” Kehr ex rel. Kehr v.
Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., 596 F.Supp.2d 821, 826
(S.D.N.Y. 2008) (citation omitted).
claims, although sequential, are factually and legally
distinct. Plaintiff's claims of denial of due process
alleged in count one and the challenge to medical or mental
health care alleged in count two have no connection with one
another. The claims arose at different correctional
institutions and, other than high-ranking correctional
officials, the defendants involved in these claims are
distinct. I therefore conclude that the claims are not
properly joined in this action and the complaint does not
comply with Rule 20. In such circumstances, a plaintiff is
required to file separate lawsuits against each defendant or
against each group of defendants who acted in concert with
one another or as to whom plaintiff's claims are
logically connected to one another.
complaint is dismissed for failure to comply with joinder
rules, courts generally grant leave to amend the complaint.
See, e.g., Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d
40, 42 (2d Cir. 1988). Accordingly, plaintiff is hereby
directed to file an amended complaint or multiple complaints
each of which comply with Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. The amended complaint(s) should ...