United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION RE: THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION
TO DISMISS (ECF NO. 43)
A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before this Court is the Defendants' motion to dismiss.
For the reasons articulated below, the Motion to Dismiss is
Plaintiff, Mark Edward Kittrell Lauray, (“Mr.
Lauray” or the “Plaintiff”) is presently
incarcerated. On June 10, 2014, he initiated this 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 action by way of a pro se complaint. The
operative complaint is the Amended Complaint, which was
initially filed by then-pro se Mr. Lauray on
December 8, 2014 and re-filed by Mr. Lauray's counsel on
October 13, 2016 after perfecting service of process. The
Amended Complaint names the Connecticut Department of
Corrections and several correctional personnel as defendants
(collectively, the “Defendants”).
case arises out of Mr. Lauray's transfer from
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution to Garner
Correctional Institution (“Garner”) on June 7,
2012. The day after his transfer, Mr. Lauray's counselor
realized, based on his last name, that he was the ex-husband
of a correctional officer at that facility (“Ms.
Lauray”). The mistake was explained to Mr. Lauray, who
was assured that Ms. Lauray was not working that day and that
he would be transferred to another facility. At the
recommendation of Captain Eason, Deputy Warden Hannah had Mr.
Lauray placed in segregated housing pending his transfer to
Cheshire Correctional Institution (“Cheshire”)
later that day. Prior to his placement in segregated housing,
Mr. Lauray was strip searched. After his arrival at Cheshire,
Mr. Lauray filed multiple grievances and a sexual assault
complaint in an effort to obtain redress for his treatment
while at Garner.
Plaintiff brings claims against Captain Eason, Deputy Warden
Hannah, and Officer Jenkins, all of whom work at Garner
(collectively, “Garner Defendants”). The
Plaintiff describes his experience at Garner as both
degrading and humiliating. He contends that the strip search
and his placement in segregated housing resulted from and was
in retaliation for a “sexual assault” complaint
Ms. Lauray had filed against Captain Eason prior to Mr.
Lauray's transfer to Garner.Specifically, the Plaintiff
alleges that he was accused of planning harm to Captain Eason
as a result of Ms. Lauray's previously filed complaint.
He also alleges that “the punishment [he] endured was
an act of revenge by Captain Eason” due to his
ex-wife's complaint. He further alleges that Deputy
Warden Hannah was party to the decision to retaliate against
him as a result of Ms. Lauray's complaint.
Plaintiff also brings claims against several correctional
officers, named and unnamed, who work at Cheshire or appear
to have been involved in the handling of his complaints while
at Cheshire (collectively, “Cheshire
Defendants”). As to the Cheshire Defendants, the
Plaintiff alleges that they did not take his grievances or
complaints seriously when he sought redress for his placement
in segregated housing and strip search at Garner.
December 14, 2016, the Defendants moved to dismiss the
Amended Complaint without prejudice because the Court had not
conducted an initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. The Defendants acknowledged that the Plaintiff's
counsel technically filed the Amended Complaint, but they
correctly observed that Mr. Lauray initially filed that
complaint while he was still proceeding pro se. The
Plaintiff responded that § 1915A screening was no longer
required because he was represented by counsel. The Plaintiff
further argued that even if § 1915A screening were
required the Amended Complaint should not be dismissed
because a claim for “[r]etaliation may be inferred by
the chronology of events.” The Plaintiff did not
elaborate on the specific contours of his
“retaliation” claim. However, the Plaintiff
stated that the retaliatory act, or adverse action he
suffered, was his placement in segregated housing and the
strip search at Garner. He further identified Captain Eason
as the driving force behind that adverse action. The
Plaintiff did not argue the existence of any other viable
non-retaliation claims in response to the first motion to
August 14, 2017, the Court (Covello, J.) issued a
ruling denying the first motion to dismiss. The Court agreed
that §1915A screening was unnecessary because the
Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the time the Amended
Complaint was filed. The Court further held that even if an
initial screening was required, the Court agreed with the
Plaintiff that the allegations in the Amended Complaint were
“sufficient to state a claim for retaliation.”
Defendants have now moved to dismiss this action in its
entirety for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the
grounds that the Plaintiff lacks standing to assert a First
Amendment retaliation claim based on a third party's (Ms.
Lauray's) protected speech. Unexpectedly, and notwithstanding
the allegations in the complaint that were set forth above,
the Plaintiff stated at oral argument that he is not
asserting a third party retaliation claim based on Ms.
Lauray's constitutionally protected conduct. In
particular, the Plaintiff clarified that he is not claiming
that his placement in segregated housing, and the
accompanying strip search, were in retaliation for Ms.
Lauray's complaint against Captain Eason. Nevertheless, a
fair reading of the Amended Complaint includes just such a
claim, and the Plaintiff did argue in his opposition
memorandum that a third party retaliation claim was
adequately pleaded in the Amended Complaint. Accordingly, to
the extent that a third party retaliation claim is asserted
and was not abandoned at oral argument, the Court considers
the merits of the Defendants' second motion to dismiss.
survive a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, a plaintiff “must allege facts that
affirmatively and plausibly suggest that it has standing to
sue.” Amidax Trading Grp. v. S.W.I.F.T. SCRL,
671 F.3d 140, 145 (2d Cir. 2011). To have standing to assert
the constitutional claims of another, a plaintiff must
demonstrate: “(1) injury to the plaintiff, (2) a close
relationship between the plaintiff and the third party that
would cause plaintiff to be an effective advocate for the
third party's rights, and (3) ‘some hindrance to
the third party's ability to protect his or her own
interests.'” Camacho v. Brandon, 317 F.3d
153, 159 (2d Cir. 2003) (quoting Campbell v.
Louisiana, 523 U.S. 392, 397 (1998)). In deciding a
motion to dismiss, the Court must accept as true all material
factual allegations in the complaint and construe all
reasonable inferences to be drawn from those factual
allegations in the plaintiff's favor. Amidax Trading
Grp., 671 F.3d at 145.
the Plaintiff alleges that he was strip searched and placed
in segregated housing as an “act of revenge” by
Captain Eason and others in retaliation for Ms. Lauray's
complaint against Captain Eason. Although the Amended
Complaint satisfies the first prong of Camacho,
injury to the plaintiff, it does not satisfy either the
second or third prongs. The Plaintiff does not allege in any
fashion that Ms. Lauray is incapable of vindicating her own
rights. Nor does he allege that he has a sufficiently close
relationship with Ms. Lauray so as to make him an effective
advocate for her rights. See Hardy v. Daly, No.
17-2906, 2018 WL 4631831, at *1 (2d Cir. Sept. 26, 2018)
(holding husband lacked standing to bring constitutional
claim on behalf of wife where he failed to articulate why his
wife was unable to protect her own interests); Roberts v.
EBay Inc., No. 6:14-cv-4904 (HMH) (MGB), 2017 WL
9289378, at *7 n.5 (D.S.C. July 29, 2017) (noting plaintiff
lacked third party standing to assert claims regarding PayPal
account in ex-wife's name where “there is no
evidence as to the relationship between the Plaintiff and his
ex-wife”). To the contrary, the Plaintiff alleges that
he has been divorced from Ms. Lauray for over eighteen years,
that he had no idea she was working at Garner at the time of