United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER
Michael P. Shea, United States District Judge
plaintiff, Angel Gonzalez, is currently incarcerated at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution. He initiated this
action by filing a civil rights complaint against fourteen
State of Connecticut Department of Correction medical staff
members. On January 12, 2018, the court granted the plaintiff
leave to file an amended complaint, dismissed the amended
complaint without prejudice for failure to comply with Rules
8 and 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and
directed the clerk to enter judgment for the defendants and
close the case. See IRO, ECF No. 17 at 10-11. The
court informed the plaintiff that he could move to reopen the
case if he sought to file a second amended complaint that
complied with Rules 8 and 20, Fed.R.Civ.P. and included only
one of the five claims or sets of claims identified by the
court in its order. See Id. On January 16, 2018, the
Clerk entered judgment for the defendants.
January 19, 2018, the plaintiff filed a motion to reopen and
to file a second amended complaint, but on January 31, 2018,
moved to withdraw the motion. On February 7, 2018, the
plaintiff filed a second motion to reopen the case and to
file second amended complaint. On May 1, 2018, the court
granted the motion to withdraw the first motion to reopen and
denied the second motion to reopen and motion to file a
second amended complaint without prejudice. See Order, ECF
No. 24. The court concluded that the proposed second amended
complaint did not comply with its order dismissing the
complaint or Rules 8 or 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. The court permitted the plaintiff one more
opportunity to file a second amended complaint that met the
pleading and joinder requirements of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and its order dismissing the complaint.
before the court is the plaintiff's third motion to
reopen and to file a second amended complaint and the
plaintiff's motion to amend the proposed second amended
complaint attached to the third motion to reopen. For the
reasons set forth below, the motion to amend the proposed
second amended complaint is denied and the third motion to
reopen and to file a second amended complaint will be
Motion to Reopen and to File a Second Amended Complaint [ECF
plaintiff seeks to reopen the case and to file a second
amended complaint to comply with the court's initial
review order, which dismissed the complaint without
prejudice, and the court's orders denying his second
motion to reopen. The plaintiff contends that the proposed
second amended complaint attached to the motion to reopen
asserts only one claim or set of claims in compliance with
the court's orders and the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure governing joinder.
review of the proposed second amended complaint reflects that
the plaintiff has chosen to pursue his claims of improper
treatment or lack of treatment at Cheshire for symptoms
related to a surgical procedure he underwent in 2009.
See Proposed Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 27-1 at
3-20. Because the proposed amended complaint seeks to pursue
only one set of claims related to the plaintiff's medical
treatment at Cheshire from 2012 to 2017, it satisfies Rule 20
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
motion to reopen and to file a second amended complaint is
granted to the extent that it seeks to reopen the case and to
the extent that it seeks to file a second amended complaint
to pursue only the claims against Dr. Ruiz, Nurse Ventrella,
Nurse Jane Doe, Nurse John Doe, and Director Maurer regarding
medical treatment or lack of medical treatment during his
confinement at Cheshire from late 2012 to May 31, 2017. The
Clerk is directed to docket pages 3 to 45 of the motion file
a second amended complaint, [ECF No. 27], as the Second
Motion to Amend the Motion to Reopen [ECF No. 28]
plaintiff seeks to revise the request for punitive damages
included in the Second Amended Complaint. Specifically, the
plaintiff seeks to add a request for punitive damages against
the defendants in their official capacities. A request for
monetary damages against a defendant in his or her official
capacity is barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159 (1985) (Eleventh
Amendment, which protects the state from suits for monetary
relief, also protects state officials sued for damages in
their official capacity); Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S.
332, 342 (1979) (Section 1983 does not override a state's
Eleventh Amendment immunity). Thus, it would be futile to
permit the plaintiff to amend his prayer for relief to
include a request for punitive damages against the defendants
in their official capacities. See Cuoco v.
Moritsugu, 222 F.3d 99, 112 (2d Cir. 2000) (a district
court need not grant leave to amend when amendment would be
“futile”). Accordingly, the motion to amend, the
prayer for relief in the Second Amended Complaint, is denied.
Second Amended Complaint
indicated above, the Second Amended Complaint names Dr.
Ricardo Ruiz, Nurse Jane Ventrella, Nurse Jane Doe, Nurse
John Doe, and Director of Health Services Kathleen Maurer as
defendants. In addition to punitive and compensatory damages,
the plaintiff also seeks injunctive and declaratory relief.
Standard of Review
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the court must review prisoner
civil complaints against governmental actors and
“dismiss ... any portion of [a] 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. Rule 8 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).
detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A
claim has facial plausibility when a plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A
complaint that includes only “‘labels and
conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement, '” does not meet the facial
plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)).
Although courts still have an obligation to interpret
“a pro se complaint liberally, ” the
complaint must still include sufficient factual allegations
to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris
v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations
August 4, 2009 at Corrigan Correctional Institution, the
plaintiff sustained an injury to his face while playing
basketball in the recreation yard. See Second Am.
Compl. at 7 ¶ 1. On August 14, 2009, the plaintiff
underwent surgery at University of Connecticut Health Center
(“UCONN”) to repair the injuries to his face.
See Id. ¶ 2.
nine months to a year after his surgery, the plaintiff began
to experience painful tingling, itching, and burning
sensations all over his head, face, neck, and upper chest.
See Id. ¶ 3. The sensations caused the
plaintiff to scream in pain and to experience paranoia,
anxiety, and panic attacks. See Id. ¶ 4.
about March 10, 2011, prison officials transferred the
plaintiff to Cheshire Correctional Institution
(“Cheshire”). See Id. ¶ 5. At some
point in 2012, the plaintiff submitted a request to be seen
at sick call for the painful tingling, itching, and burning
sensations that he continued to experience all over his head,
face, neck, and upper chest. See Id. ¶ 5.
weeks after a Cheshire medical provider examined him, Dr.
Ruiz evaluated the plaintiff's symptoms. See Id.
¶ 7. Dr. Ruiz determined that the plaintiff's
symptoms were caused by his exposure to the shower water at
Cheshire and prescribed an anti-fungal ointment,
clotrimazole, to treat the symptoms. See Id. at 8
end of 2012, the plaintiff requested to be seen by Dr. Ruiz
regarding the painful tingling, itching, and burning
sensations that he continued to experience all over his head,
face, neck, and upper chest. See Id. ¶ 12. In
January 2013, Dr. Ruiz examined the plaintiff in response to
his complaint that the clotrimazole ointment had not
alleviated his symptoms. See Id. ¶¶ 13-14.
Dr. Ruiz prescribed a different ointment, triamcinolone
acetonide, to treat the plaintiff's symptoms. See
Id. ¶ 15.
months later, the plaintiff requested to be seen by Dr. Ruiz
because the triamcinolone acetonide ointment was not
alleviating his symptoms. See Id. at 9 ¶ 16. A
month after submitting his request for treatment, Dr. Ruiz
re-evaluated the plaintiff's symptoms. See Id.
¶ 17. During the appointment, the plaintiff requested
that Dr. Ruiz prescribe Lubriderm lotion for his skin and
that he refer him to be evaluated by a dermatologist or a