Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MiChalski v. Semple

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 28, 2018

MARCO A. MICHALSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT SEMPLE, et al., Defendants.

          RULINGS ON MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND MOTION FOR DEFAULT ENTRY

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On December 13, 2016, Marco A. Michalski (“Plaintiff” or “Michalski”), an inmate confined at Cheshire Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”), pro se filed a Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1983 against several employees (“Defendants”) of the Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”) for violating his rights guaranteed under the First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Compl. (ECF No. 1). Mr. Michalski then amended the Complaint, making the Amended Complaint the operative complaint.

         Now Mr. Michalski has moved to amend the Amended Complaint. ECF No. 41. He has also moved for default against certain Defendants. ECF No. 43.

         For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Mr. Michalski's motion to amend and accepts the Second Amended Complaint and the addition of Deputy Warden Hannah and Correction Officer Cardona. The Court DISMISSES the Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Erfe and Hannah. As shown below, the Court finds that plaintiff has stated plausible claims under the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause and RLUIPA against Erfe, Hannah, and Cardona.

         The Court DISMISSES all claims against Defendants Mataos, Sterno, Lawler and Williams.

         The Court DENIES, without prejudice, Mr. Michalski's motion for entry of default against all remaining defendants.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On October 6, 2017, this Court issued an Initial Review Order dismissing Mr. Mitchalski's Fifth, Eighth, and First Amendment retaliation claims as stated in the Amended Complaint. Initial Review Order at 2, ECF No. 23. The Court allowed Plaintiff's First Amendment Free Exercise and Establishment Clause claims and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) claim to proceed against twenty-three defendants: Semple, Rinaldi, Bruno, Shamma, Erfe, Laffargue, Valeriano, Williams, Mataos, Milio, Yaharey, St. John, Tello, Ellis, Edwards, Sterno, Lawler, Viska, Robinson, Lopes, King, Buckland, and Whitehead. Id. The Court also permitted Mr. Michalski's Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause claims to proceed against defendants Semple, Rinaldi, Bruno, Shamma, Erfe, and Laffargue. Id.

         The Clerk of the Court thereafter informed the Court that it was unable to effect service on Defendants Mataos, Sterno, Lawler, and Williams. See Order, ECF No. 28. The Court, therefore, directed Mr. Michalski to file a notice with the full names and mailing addresses of those four Defendants. Id. The remaining Defendants submitted waivers of service packets, and their responses to the Amended Complaint came due on December 23, 2017. See ECF No. 38. Those Defendants have not yet submitted their responses.

         On December 27, 2017, Mr. Michalski filed this motion to amend the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 42). Because he was unable to obtain more information on Defendants Mataos, Sterno, Lawler, and Williams, Mr. Michalski seeks to remove those Defendants from the case. Mot. to Amend Compl. at 1. He also attached a Second Amended Complaint, adding two new defendants: Deputy Warden Hannah and Correction Officer Cardona and one more claim of deliberate indifference to safety, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, against Defendants Erfe and Hannah. See Id. at ¶¶ 173, 178.

         Plaintiff also filed a motion for an entry of default against defendants Semple, Rinaldi, Bruno, Shamma, Erfe, Laffargue, Valeriano, Milio, Yaharey, St. John, Tello, Ellis, Edwards, Viska, Robinson, Lopes, King, Buckland, and Whitehead for their failure to respond to the first amended complaint. Mot. for Entry of Def. ECF No. 43.

         II. MOTION TO AMEND

         A plaintiff may amend his complaint once as a matter of right within twenty-one days after service of the complaint or within twenty-one days after service of a responsive pleading (i.e. answer or motion to dismiss), whichever is earlier. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1)(A) and (B); O'dell v. Bill, 13 Civ. 1275 (FJS/TWD), 2015 WL 710544, *44 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 18, 2015). In all other cases, the plaintiff may amend the complaint only with leave from the Court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Rule 15(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that permission to amend a complaint “shall be freely given when justice so requires.” “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 omitted).

         The decision whether to grant leave to amend a complaint is within the Court's sound discretion. See Foman, 371 U.S. at 182. “The 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)).

         Here, more than twenty-one days have passed since the service of Mr. Michalski first amended complaint (ECF No. 16-1). The Clerk of the Court effected service of the Amended Complaint on October 24, 2017; see ECF No. 27; and Mr. Michalski filed this motion to amend the Amended Complaint on December 27, 2017. Thus, Mr. Michalski is no longer entitled to amend as a matter of right under Rule 15(a). Because Defendants have yet to submit their responsive pleadings, however, the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.