United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Tatum (“Mr. Tatum”), currently incarcerated at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield,
Connecticut, and proceeding pro se, has sued Ivan
Ladd-Smith under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of
Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), which
permits suits against federal employees for violations of
federal constitutional rights. Mr. Tatum alleges that Mr.
Ladd-Smith (“Mr. Ladd-Smith”) has deprived him of
his right of access to the courts.
reasons that follow, the Complaint is
DISMISSED under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Ivan Ladd-Smith works for the Honorable Warren W. Eginton,
Senior United States District Judge in the District of
Connecticut. Mr. Tatum alleges that Mr. Ladd-Smith interfered
with Mr. Tatum's access to the courts by failing to mail
Mr. Tatum a copy of a ruling Mr. Ladd-Smith entered on the
February 13, 2015, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued
a mandate ordering that Mr. Tatum's motion for leave to
file a second or successive habeas petition be transferred to
the District of Connecticut. On May 5, 2015, Judge Eginton
issued an order to show cause, directing Mr. Tatum to file a
response addressing whether the limitations period on his
state habeas petition should be equitably tolled based on two
date stamps that preceded the filing date on the state court
docket. Mr. Ladd-Smith docketed the order in the matter of
Tatum v. Murphy, No. 3:12-cv-01193 (WWE).
10, 2015, recognizing that Judge Eginton had already once
denied Mr. Tatum's state habeas petition as untimely in
Tatum v. Murphy, No. 3:12-cv-01193 (WWE), the
Honorable Vanessa L. Bryant, United States District Judge in
the District of Connecticut, entered an order transferring
Mr. Tatum's case to the Second Circuit to determine
whether Mr. Tatum should be permitted to file a second or
successive habeas case. Although Mr. Tatum alleges that this
order was entered in Tatum v. Murphy, a review of
court records shows that the Order was entered in Tatum
v. Chapdelaine, No. 3:15-cv-00330 (VLB).
20, 2015, in Tatum v. Murphy, Judge Eginton
determined Mr. Tatum's habeas petition was untimely and
declined to reopen the case. On July 20, 2015, Judge Eginton
denied Mr. Tatum's motion for reconsideration. Mr. Tatum
alleges that the Court never responded to Mr. Tatum's
response to the Court's Order to show cause.
February 2016, Mr. Tatum allegedly filed a grievance against
Assistant Connecticut State Attorney General Tammara Grosso,
alleging negligence. The Grievance Panel allegedly sent Mr.
Tatum a copy of Judge Eginton's July 8, 2015, Order
dismissing his habeas petition as time-barred, a ruling
docketed by Mr. Ladd-Smith.
Tatum allegedly wrote to the District of Connecticut about
not receiving the ruling and allegedly received no response.
Mr. Tatum then filed an appeal with the Second Circuit
explaining his reasons for the delay in filing. The Court of
Appeals allegedly dismissed the appeal as untimely. Mr. Tatum
sought reconsideration en banc, which was denied.
Tatum then filed this lawsuit alleging that Mr. Ladd-Smith
has deprived him of his right to access the courts. See
Morello v. James, 810 F.2d 344, 346 (2d Cir. 1987)
(recognizing sources of the right of access to include the
First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Privileges
and Immunities Clause of Article IV, section 2). He seeks
injunctive relief, money damages, and attorney fees and
STANDARD OF REVIEW
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review prisoner civil
complaints against governmental actors 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.” Id.
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).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a
complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although detailed allegations are not
required, the complaint must include sufficient facts to
afford a defendant fair notice of the claims and the grounds
upon which they are based and to demonstrate a 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, ...