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Rosa v. Alexander

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 1, 2019

VICTOR ROSA, Plaintiff,
v.
MS. ALEXANDER, ET AL., Defendants.

          RULING RE: COMPLAINT AND PENDING MOTIONS

          JANET C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, Victor Rosa (“Rosa”), is confined at Garner Correctional Institution. He has filed a civil rights complaint pro se pursuant to section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code against New Britain Superior Court Judge Alexander (“Judge Alexander”) and Public Defender Ashley Richards (“Attorney Richards”)[1] as well as motions for default, for default judgment, and to proceed in forma pauperis. Judge Alexander has filed a Motion to Dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, Rosa's Motions will be denied, the Complaint will be dismissed with leave to amend, and Judge Alexander's Motion to Dismiss will be dismissed without prejudice as moot.

         I. PENDING MOTIONS

         In the “Motion of Response, of Relief by Defendant, Monetary Relief of (300, 000), Of Objection” (“Motion for Default”), Rosa claims that he served both defendants with a summons. See Motion for Default (Doc. No. 14) at 1. Rosa seeks entry of default against the defendants for failure to respond to the Complaint.

         Judge Alexander signed a Waiver of Service of Summons form on December 6, 2018, and filed an appearance and a Motion to Dismiss on January 2, 2019. See (Doc. Nos. 19-21). The docket reflects no evidence that Attorney Richards was served with a copy of the Complaint. Thus, neither Attorney Richards, nor Judge Alexander, is in default for failure to appear or plead. Accordingly, the Motion for Default is denied.

         In the second motion, Rosa requests the entry of a default judgment against the defendants in the amount of $300, 000 for failure to respond to the Complaint. See Motion Default Judgment (Doc. No. 16) at 1. Because neither Judge Alexander, nor Attorney Richards, is in default for failure to plead, the Motion for Default Judgment is denied.

         In the third motion, Rosa seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis. See Mot. Proceed IFP (Doc. No. 17). Because the court has already granted Rosa leave to proceed in forma pauperis, see Order (Doc. No. 15), the Motion is denied as moot.

         II. COMPLAINT

         Rosa alleges that on June 2, 2018, New Britain police officers stopped and searched him without a search warrant and arrested him multiple charges based on a complaint that he had threatened an individual with a gun. See Complaint (Doc. No. 1) at 6. He contends that Judge Alexander and Attorney Richards violated his Eighth Amendment rights in connection with his plea of guilty to the charge or charges for which he was arrested. Id. at 4.

         A. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to section 1915A(b) of title 28 of the United States Code, 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.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(A)(b). This standard of review “appl[ies] to all civil complaints brought by prisoners against governmental officials or entities regardless of whether the prisoner has paid [a] filing fee.” Shakur v. Selsky, 391 F.3d 106, 112 (2d Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         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). Although 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 the 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 omitted).

         B. Allegations

         Rosa alleges that on June 2, 2018, he was outside talking to a friend when another individual interrupted his conversation. See Compl. at 6. As soon as Rosa walked away from his friend and the other individual, New Britain police officers stopped and searched Rosa and then arrested him on multiple criminal charges. See id. at 3, 6. Rosa's arrest was based on a complaint made by an ...


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