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Ramos v. Semple

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 21, 2019

JOSE E. RAMOS, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT S. SEMPLE, Commissioner, and WILLIAM MULLIGAN, Warden, Defendants.

          RULING ON MOTION TO RE-OPEN AND MOTION TO STRIKE

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge.

         On May 9, 2018, Jose E. Ramos (“Plaintiff”) filed a motion to re-open his civil rights lawsuit against Scott S. Semple and William Mulligan (“Defendants”) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in response to this Court's Initial Review Order dismissing his action for failure to state a claim. See Motion to Re-Open, filed May 9, 2018 (“Mot.”), ECF No. 13; Initial Review Order, dated Apr. 24, 2018 (“Init. Rev. Order”), ECF No. 9. Mr. Ramos also filed a motion to strike. Motion to Strike, dated May 9, 2018, ECF No. 12.

         For the reasons explained below, Mr. Ramos's motions are DENIED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On April 10, 2018, Mr. Ramos sued Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging: (1) that Defendants violated several of his federal constitutional rights by denying him access to the original envelopes from his incoming legal correspondence; and (2) that Defendant Mulligan interfered with his attempts to exhaust institutional remedies by denying his grievance with respect to the envelopes.[1] See Complaint, dated Apr. 10, 2018 (“Compl.”), ECF No. 1. Mr. Ramos was-and remains-incarcerated in the custody of the State of Connecticut Department of Correction at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut.

         On April 24, 2018, the Court issued an Initial Review Order dismissing Mr. Ramos's Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), finding that the confiscation of the envelopes from Mr. Ramos' legal mail did not violate his rights under the Fourth Amendment, Eighth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause, or the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. Init. Rev. Order at 4-8.

         The Court gave Mr. Ramos leave to file a motion to re-open, accompanied by a proposed amended complaint, by May 14, 2018-but only if he could “allege facts showing that the deprivation of his legal envelope violated any constitutionally protected right.” Id. at 8-9.

         On May 9, 2018, Mr. Ramos timely filed a motion to re-open accompanied by a proposed Amended Complaint. See Mot.; Pro Se Prisoner Civil Rights Amended Complaint, filed May 8, 2018 (“Proposed Am. Compl.”), ECF No. 13-1.

         That same day, Mr. Ramos also filed a motion to strike an amended complaint he claims to have filed on April 25, 2018. Motion to Strike, dated May 9, 2018, ECF No. 12.

         On June 1, 2018 and August 29, 2018, Mr. Ramos filed notices seeking to remind the Court of his pending motions and receive an update on his case. See ECF Nos. 14-15.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under Section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, the Court 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. This statute applies equally to the Court's initial review of complaints and to its review of proposed amended complaints. See Abrams v. Erfe, No. 3:17-cv-1570 (CSH), 2018 WL 3238825, at *2 (D. Conn. Jul. 3, 2018) (“Because the amended complaint will become the operative compliant in this action, the Court must perform its mandatory screening of the claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to determine whether they state claims upon which relief may be granted.”).

         In reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest[ ].” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007); see also 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)); Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants).

         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 right to relief. Bell Atl. 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. “Despite being subject to liberal interpretation, a pro se plaintiff's complaint still must ...


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