United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
6, 2018, Garland Knight, an inmate currently confined at
Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut,
brought a complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the Connecticut Department of Correction
(“DOC”) for violating his constitutional rights.
Compl., Doc. No. 1. He seeks damages and injunctive relief
against the DOC. Id. at 9. On September 26, 2018,
Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel granted Knight's
motion to proceed in forma pauperis. See
Order, Doc. No. 16. I am dismissing Knight's complaint in
this case for two reasons: (1) he cannot sue the DOC for
damages under section 1983, and (2) he has alleged the same
facts and raised the same claims in another pending civil
action in this court, Knight v. Semple, No.
Standard of Review
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I 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. 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 “[p]ro 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
alleges the following facts. On January 16, 2018, Knight was
sentenced in state court to seven years of incarceration,
execution suspended after two years, and three years of
probation for a controlled substance violation under section
21a-277(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes. Compl., Doc.
No. 1 at ¶ 1. He was sent to the Corrigan-Radgowski
Correctional Institution in Uncasville, Connecticut.
January 18, Knight received his Offender Accountability Plan
instructing him to obtain a job and referring him to
addiction services. Id. at ¶ 2. He also
received his Classification Review Sheet showing that his
“overall level” was 2. Id.
January 25, Knight met with Counselor Supervisor Doran who
informed him that a hearing on whether he would receive a
sexual treatment score based on non-conviction related
information would be held on January 29. Compl., Doc. No. 1
at ¶ 3. At the hearing before the Classification
Committee, Knight was asked to comment on a police report
from seventeen years ago. Id. at ¶ 4. Knight
vehemently denied the allegations in the report. Id.
Nevertheless, the Committee assigned Knight a sexual
treatment needs score of 3, revised his Offender
Accountability Plan, and transferred him to Brooklyn
Correctional Institution, a facility specializing in sex
offender treatment. Id. at ¶ 5.
appealed the classification decision on February 3, 2018.
Id. at ¶ 6. The appeal was denied on March 2,
2018. Id. at ¶ 9. Meanwhile, he attended
orientation at Brooklyn Correctional Institution.
Id. at ¶ 7.
is suing the DOC for “17 [plus] years of
discrimination” for treating him as a sex offender.
See Compl., Doc. No. 1 at 4. He claims that the
sexual offender classification policy of the DOC as applied
to his incarceration in early 2018 was discriminatory and
violated his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and
unusual punishment. Id. at 9.
is a state agency and is, therefore, not subject to liability
for damages under section 1983. See Will v. Michigan
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989) (state
agency not a person within meaning of § 1983); see
also Santos v. Connecticut Dept. of Corrections, No.
3:04-cv-1562 (JCH) (HBF), 2005 WL 2123543, *3 (D. Conn. Aug.
29, 2005) (DOC not person subject to liability under section
1983). Therefore, Knight cannot obtain damages against the
DOC in this action.
Knight has alleged the same facts and asserted the same
challenges to his sex offender classification in a previously
filed civil action in this court, Knight v. Semple,
No. 3:18-cv-703. In that case, Knight raised multiple
constitutional claims, including an Eighth Amendment claim
and a Fourteenth Amendment Due Process claim, against several
DOC officials for relying on the seventeen-year-old police
report to determine his sexual treatment needs score.
See Initial Review Order, Doc. No. 22, Knight v.
Semple, No. 3:18-cv-703, at 3. I dismissed his complaint
in that case for failure to state a claim under section
1915A(b)(1) but permitted Knight an opportunity to amend his
complaint by October 26, 2018. Id. at 9. This case
appears duplicative of the previously filed complaint and,
therefore, is subject to dismissal under the prior pending
action doctrine, which states that “where two lawsuits
in the same court include the same claims, ‘the first
suit [filed] should have priority.'” Webb v.
Arnone, No. 3:17-cv-1624 (SRU), 2018 WL 3651333, at *4
(D. Conn. Aug. 1, 2018) (quoting Adam v. Jacobs, 950
F.2d 89, 92 (2d Cir. 1991)).
administering its docket, a district court may dismiss a
second suit as duplicative of an earlier suit, unless there
are special circumstances, not present here, that favor
giving priority to the second.'” Id.
(quoting Taylor v. Rodriguez, 238 F.3d 188, 197 (2d
Cir. 2001)); see also Torrez v. Department of
Correction, No. 3:17-cv-1223 (SRU), 2017 WL 3841681, at
*3 (D. Conn. Sept. 1, 2017) (“Where two pending actions
address the same legal claims and conduct, the court may
dismiss the second action as long as the controlling issues
in the dismissed action will be ...