United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION TO AMEND CASE CAPTION AND MOTION TO
A. Bolden United States District Judge
August 13, 2018, Omar Thomas (“Plaintiff”) sued
Jhon Aldi, Captain Dougherty, Lieutenant Tammaro, Lieutenant
Papoosha, and Lieutenant Chevalier (“Defendants”)
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his civil
rights. See Complaint, dated Aug. 13,
2018 (“Compl.”), ECF No. 1.
Thomas, who is currently incarcerated at MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, generally
alleged that Defendants failed to transfer him to protective
custody, despite the fact that several other inmates had
threatened his physical safety. Id. at 6-9. As a
result, he allegedly sustained multiple physical injuries
during altercation with those inmates on January 20, 2018 and
June 11, 2018 and suffered extreme emotional distress since
the incidents. Id.
October 2, 2018, the Court acknowledged that Mr. Thomas
intended to name eleven defendants and directed the Clerk of
the Court to amend the case caption to include all eleven
defendants. See Initial Review Order, dated Oct. 2,
2018 (“Order”), ECF No. 8, at 2-3. In addition,
the Court noted that Mr. Thomas failed to allege sufficient
facts to put each defendant on notice of what he or she did
that violated Mr. Thomas' rights. Id.
Accordingly, the Court ordered Mr. Thomas to file an Amended
Complaint that included the names of all Defendants in the
case caption and alleged specific facts indicating what
actions each defendant took, or failed to take, that violated
Mr. Thomas' rights. Id. at 3.
Thomas has filed two motions in response to the Court's
Order. In the first motion, entitled “Motion to Amend
Caption, ” Mr. Thomas lists all eleven Defendants from
the original Complaint-as the Court directed. Motion to Amend
Caption, filed October 12, 2018, ECF No. 9. He also attempts
to comply with the Court's Order by describing his legal
claims against the six defendants that were previously only
mentioned in the body of the Complaint, but he does not
include sufficiently specific facts indicating what actions
they took or failed to take.
Thomas also includes in the caption of the “Motion to
Amend Caption” ten additional defendants who were not
previously named, stating that he wishes to add them
“in a retaliation complaint that was recently
e-filed”: Counselor Supervisor Stanley, Correctional
Officer Briatico, Correctional Officer Swol, Correctional
Officer Thompson, Correctional Officer Gardiner, Correctional
Officer Sheehan, Correctional Officer Andreas, Correctional
Officer Velvalle, Correctional Officer Rodriguez, and Mail
second motion, entitled “Motion to Amend Retaliation
Complaint, ” Mr. Thomas states that he wishes to bring
a retaliation complaint against these ten additional
defendants. Motion to Amend Retaliation Complaint, filed Oct.
12, 2018, ECF No. 10. His motion includes a statement of
facts, but these facts all reference events that occurred
after he filed the Complaint, with most occurring in late
September and early October 2018. See Id. at 2-9.
These facts do not relate to the original claims made in the
Complaint concerning Defendants' alleged failure to
transfer him to protective custody.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2), multiple defendants
may be sued together in a single action if two criteria are
satisfied: (1) the claims “aris[e] out of the same
transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions and
occurrences”; and (2) “any question of law or
fact common to all defendants will arise in the
action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2).
will constitute the same transaction or occurrence under the
first prong of Rule 20(a) is approached on a case by case
basis.” Kehr ex rel. Kehr v. Yamaha Motor Corp.,
U.S.A., 596 F.Supp.2d 821, 826 (S.D.N.Y. 2008) (citation
omitted). “In construing the term ‘transaction or
occurrence' under Rule 20, many courts have drawn
guidance from the use of the same term in Rule 13(a),
applying to compulsory counterclaims.” Barnhart v.
Town of Parma, 252 F.R.D. 156, 160 (W.D.N.Y. 2008)
(citation omitted); see Kehr, 596 F.Supp.2d at 826
(citing Blesedell v. Mobil Oil Co., 708 F.Supp.
1408, 1421 (S.D.N.Y. 1989)). As the Second Circuit has
observed in the Rule 13 context, whether a counterclaim
arises out of the same transaction as the original claim
depends upon the logical relationship between the claims and
whether the “essential facts of the various claims are
so logically connected that considerations of judicial
economy and fairness dictate that all the issues be resolved
in one lawsuit.” Harris v. Steinem, 571 F.2d
119, 123 (2d Cir. 1978); see also Kehr, 596
F.Supp.2d at 826 (“Applying this reasoning to the terms
used in Rule 20 ‘ . . . would permit all
‘logically related claims' by or against different
parties to be tried in a single proceeding.'”)
(quoting Blesedell, 708 F.Supp. at 1421).
Court concludes that the two sets of claims Mr. Thomas wishes
to pursue in this action are not related. The Complaint
concerned Mr. Thomas' request for transfer to protective
custody and the alleged assaults by gang members in January
2018 and June 2018. Mr. Thomas states that the retaliation
claims he seeks to add all arose after he filed this action
in August 2018-but the facts do not appear to allege that
this retaliation is directly related to either the filing of
the Complaint or the underlying allegations. The statement of
facts in his Motion to Amend Retaliation Complaint makes no
reference to any of the defendants from the Complaint or the
incidents underlying the Complaint. Thus, the two sets of
claims do not present any questions of law or fact common to
Court therefore DENIES Mr. Thomas'
requests to add ten new defendants and to file additional
claims against them that are unrelated to the original
Complaint in this lawsuit. Should Mr. Thomas wish to pursue
those claims, he must do so in a separate
Court ordered Mr. Thomas to file an Amended Complaint
alleging “specific facts indicating what actions each
defendant took-or, in his opinion, failed to take-that
violated his constitutional rights.” Order at 3. Mr.
Thomas has not, however, complied with the Order.
Court will afford Mr. Thomas one last opportunity to file an
Amended Complaint.The Amended Complaint shall include only
the eleven existing defendants in the case caption and should
include three sections: (1) a statement of facts describing
the events underlying his claims and specifically indicating
what each defendant allegedly did or did not do; (2) a
statement of the legal claims asserted against each
defendant; and (3) a request for relief.
Amended Complaint shall be filed by March 1,
2019. The Court will then review the Amended
Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to determine whether
Mr. Thomas has stated sufficient facts “to afford each
Defendant fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon
which they are based and to ...