United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [DOC.
CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. Senior United States District Judge
se plaintiff Jersey Osorio is an incarcerated prisoner
who pled guilty under the Alford doctrine in Connecticut
State Superior Court, County of Litchfield, in December
2011to one charge of fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of
injury to a minor, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-21. This charge
stemmed from an incident of sexual assault which involved a
fourteen-year-old girl he met on the internet. Following his
plea, on February 10, 2012, Osorio was sentenced to 9 years
of imprisonment. He is currently housed at Brooklyn
Correctional Institution, located at 59 Hartford Road,
time he was charged and sentenced, Osorio was a resident of
Massachusetts. He brings this action against the State of
Connecticut, protesting his conviction in Connecticut state
court. In particular, he asks this Court to vacate his
conviction for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and to
release him from prison. Plaintiff describes himself as a
"real flesh and blood man/woman, a State Citizen and
Inhabitant of the County of Berkshire, Massachusetts"
and demands "written proof (verified and demonstrated
evidence) of jurisdiction over His Proper Person." Doc.
1, at 3. He argues that "[a] court, " in this case
the Connecticut Superior Court in which he was convicted,
"cannot confer jurisdiction where none exists and cannot
make a void proceeding valid." Id.
State of Connecticut moves to dismiss Plaintiff's action
on three grounds. Doc. 6. Defendant asserts that Eleventh
Amendment sovereign immunity bars the claim against the
state. Doc. 6-1, at 1. In addition, Defendant argues that the
entire action is barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477, 480-81 (1994), in which the United States Supreme
Court clarified that "[t]he federal habeas corpus
statute, . . . [28 U.S.C. § 2254], requires that state
prisoners first seek redress in a state forum." Finally,
and in any event, Defendant maintains that Plaintiff's
claim is "patently frivolous" and thus subject to
dismissal. Doc. 6-1, at 1 (citing United States v.
Jagim, 978 F.2d 1032, 1036 (8th Cir. 1992),
in which a Colorado native appellant's arguments
regarding Idaho's prosecution of him were "without
merit, patently frivolous, and . . . rejected without
expending any more of the Court's resources"). This
Ruling resolves Defendant's motion.
Court notes at the outset that Plaintiff has failed to
respond to the Defendant's motion to dismiss [Doc. 6] and
the requisite twenty-one (21) day filing period to respond
has expired. Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7(a)(2),
"[f]ailure to submit a memorandum in opposition to a
motion may be deemed sufficient cause to grant the motion,
except where the pleadings provide sufficient grounds to deny
the motion." D.Conn. L. Civ. R. 7(a)(2). To ensure
notice to Plaintiff, Defendant served its motion to dismiss
upon him at both his address of record in Massachusetts and
his actual address in Brooklyn C.I. See Doc. 6-1, at
to the substance of Defendant's motion to dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the
Court will review and analyze the Complaint to determine
whether it fails to state a claim.
Standard of Review
Defendant brings this motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for "failure to state a
claim, " under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must
also review a prisoner's civil complaint "seek[ing]
redress from a governmental entity" and dismiss any
portion that "(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief." See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2).
case at bar, Plaintiff provided a Massachusetts address as
his address of record and did not designate his claim as a
prisoner action. Nonetheless, he is an incarcerated prisoner
who is suing a governmental entity to contest his conviction.
His action is thus subject to initial screening by the Court
under § 1915A.
analyzed under Rule 12(b)(6) or § 1915A, the standard of
review for dismissal for failure to state a claim is set
forth in the United States Supreme Court's seminal
holding of Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). Under Iqbal, the complaint "must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'"
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S 544, 570
(2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678. The complaint must provide "more than the
accusation." Id. "A pleading that offers
'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will
[ultimately] . . . be a context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense." Id. at 663-64. When
"well-pleaded factual allegations" are present,
"a court should assume their veracity and then determine
whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to
relief." Id. at 679. Factual disputes do not
factor into a plausibility analysis under Iqbal and
all allegations contained in the complaint are assumed to be
true, this tenet is 'inapplicable to legal
conclusions.'" LaMagna v. Brown, 474
Fed.Appx. 788, 789 (2d Cir. 2012) (quoting Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678). See also Amaker v. New York State Dept.
of Corr. Servs., 435 Fed.Appx. 52, 54 (2d Cir. 2011)
(same). Accordingly, the Court is not "bound to accept
conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as
factual conclusions." Faber v. Metro. Life Ins.
Co., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting Rolon
v. Henneman, 517 F.3d 140, 149 (2d Cir. 2008) (internal
quotation marks omitted)). Consequently, "[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
respect to pro se litigants, it is well-established
that "[p]ro se submissions are
reviewed with special solicitude, and 'must be construed
liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments
that they suggest.'" Matheson v. Deutsche Bank
Nat'l Tr. Co., 706 Fed.Appx. 24, 26 (2d Cir. 2017)
(quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470
F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)(per curiam)). See also Sykes
v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013)
(same); Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d
Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for
pro se litigants); Boykin v. KeyCorp., 521
F.3d 202, 214 (2d Cir. 2008) ("A document filed pro
se is to be liberally construed and a pro se
complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.") (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007)); Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed
Defendant, 537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008) (Where the
plaintiff proceeds pro se, a court is "obliged
to construe his pleadings liberally.") (quoting
McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir.
2004)); Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir.
2007) ("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]
being subject to liberal interpretation, a pro se
plaintiff's complaint still must "state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." Mancuso v.
Hynes, 379 Fed.Appx. 60, 61 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Therefore, even in a
pro se case, "threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice." Chavis v.
Chappius, 618 F.3d 162, 170 (2d Cir. 2010) (citation and
internal quotation ...