United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
A. Dooley United States District Judge
plaintiff, Shawn Crocker (“Crocker”), commenced
this civil rights action asserting claims for violation of
his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection
of the laws in connection with an administrative segregation
hearing. Following the Court's, Hall, D.J., initial
review, one claim remained, a Procedural Due Process Clause
claim relating to a change in the charges against him.
Initial Review Order, Doc. No. 9, at 5-7. The defendants have
filed a motion for summary judgment. They argue that
Crocker's claims are barred by the release and settlement
agreement he entered in another case, Crocker v.
Murphy, No. 3:13-cv01774(JCH). For the reasons that
follow, the defendants' motion is granted.
motion for summary judgment may be granted only where there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56(a),
Fed. R. Civ. P.; see also Nick's Garage, Inc. v.
Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 875 F.3d 107, 113-14 (2d Cir.
2017). “A genuine issue of material fact exists if
‘the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'”
Nick's Garage, 875 F.3d at 113-14 (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986)). Which facts are material is determined by the
substantive law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
“The same standard applies whether summary judgment is
granted on the merits or on an affirmative defense
….” Giordano v. Market Am., Inc., 599
F.3d 87, 93 (2d Cir. 2010).
moving party bears the initial burden of informing the court
of the basis for its motion and identifying the admissible
evidence it believes demonstrates the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party meets this
burden, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Wright
v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266 (2d Cir. 2009). He cannot
“‘rely on conclusory allegations or
unsubstantiated speculation' but ‘must come forward
with specific evidence demonstrating the existence of a
genuine dispute of material fact.'” Robinson v.
Concentra Health Servs., 781 F.3d 42, 34 (2d Cir. 2015)
(citation omitted). To defeat a motion for summary judgment,
the nonmoving party must present such evidence as would allow
a jury to find in his favor. Graham v. Long Island
R.R., 230 F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000).
the court is required to read a self-represented
“party's papers liberally and interpret them to
raise the strongest arguments that they suggest, ”
Willey v. Kirkpatrick, 801 F.3d 51, 62 (2d Cir.
2015), “unsupported allegations do not create a
material issue of fact” and do not overcome a properly
supported motion for summary judgment. Weinstock v.
Columbia Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000).
events underlying Crocker's claim in this case occurred
in 2015. Doc. No. 27-2, ¶ 2. At the time this action was
brought, Crocker was party to another suit, Crocker v.
Murphy, No. 3:13-cv-1774(JCH), which also arose out of
his conditions of confinement. On July 6, 2018, to resolve
that pending matter, Crocker signed a settlement agreement
and release. Id., ¶ 3. The settlement agreement
and release contained the following language:
By executing this Release and Settlement Agreement, the
Plaintiff hereby agrees to release and forever discharge the
Defendants, the State of Connecticut, its employees,
officers, officials, agents, or representatives, of any kind,
and their heirs, successors, and assignees, from all actions,
causes of action, suits, claims, controversies, damages, and
demands of every nature and kind, including costs,
attorneys' fees, and monetary and equitable relief, which
the Plaintiff and his heirs, successors, and assignees ever
had, now have, or hereafter can, shall, or may have for,
upon, or by reason of any matter, cause, or thing whatsoever
from the beginning of the world until and including the date
Plaintiff signs this Release and Settlement Agreement,
including but not limited to acts arising out of, or in any
way related to the incidents or circumstances which formed
the basis for the above-captioned lawsuit, including but not
limited to such actions as may have been or in the future may
be brought in the federal courts, the courts of the State of
Connecticut, the courts of any other state or jurisdiction,
any state or federal administrative agency, or before the
Connecticut Officer of the Claims Commissioner pursuant to
Connecticut General Statutes § 4-141 et seq. This
Release and Settlement Agreement includes, but is not limited
to, all causes of action alleging violations of the
Plaintiff's state and federal constitutional rights, his
rights arising under the statutes and laws of the United
States, under the statutes and laws of the State of
Connecticut, under the statutes and laws of any other state
or jurisdiction, and causes of action available under the
Id., ¶ 4 & Ex. A at 1-2. In a separate
paragraph, the release also provided: “[T]he State of
Connecticut will pay to the Plaintiff the total sum of three
thousand seven hundred dollars and zero cents ($3, 700.00) in
full and final settlement of these and any and all other
counsel signed the document on July 10, 2018. Id.,
¶ 5 & Ex. A. at 4. In exchange for entering the
settlement agreement and release, Crocker received $3,
700.00. Id., ¶ 6 & Ex. B.
Defendants seek summary judgment because, they assert, the
release Crocker signed applies to the claims ...