United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Omar Awad was a prisoner in the custody of the Connecticut
Department of Correction at the time that he filed the
complaint in this action. He alleges that a state court
ordered him to reside at a private treatment facility where
he was subject to loathsome living conditions. Because I
conclude that Awad has failed to allege that any of the
defendants he has named were state actors, I conclude that he
has not alleged plausible grounds for relief under federal
law, and therefore I will dismiss his complaint.
was a prisoner at Garner Correctional Institution at the time
that he filed this lawsuit, and he has since been released
and lives elsewhere in Connecticut. His complaint names
several defendants. The first named defendant is
“Sierra Pre-Trial Program, ” which Awad describes
as an “inpatient/residential, drug and mental health
program” located at an address of 48 Howe Street in New
Haven, Connecticut. The second and third named defendants are
“Gail Sanches, ” who is alleged to have been the
Sierra program director, and someone named
“Stanly” who is alleged to have been the Sierra
program manager. The complaint also lists numerous John and
Jane Doe defendants with very little description of anything
they allegedly did.
following facts as alleged in the complaint are assumed to be
true solely for purposes of my initial evaluation of the
complaint. On November 20, 2015, a court ordered Awad to
receive inpatient rehabilitation and mental health treatment
at the Sierra Pre-Trial Program for 90 days. See
Doc. #1 at 6 (¶ 1). He remained at the Sierra Pre-Trial
Program facility for seventy-seven days. Ibid.
Sierra Pre-Trial Program facility was infested with bed bugs,
roaches, and parasites. Ibid. (¶ 3). At night,
Awad had difficulty sleeping because of bed bug bites that
caused his body to itch. Id. at 7 (¶ 4). He
could not sleep without taking medication. Ibid.
Awad informed Sanches and Stanly about the insect
infestation, but they ridiculed him and ignored his
complaints. Id. at 7-8 (¶¶ 5-16).
also alleges that the portions of food he received each day
were small and did not fill him up. Id. at 8-9
(¶¶ 17-18). Sanches and Stanly would not permit
Awad or any other residents at the facility to buy food from
outside vendors to store in the facility or to order takeout
meals. Id. at 9 (¶ 18).
point while still residing at the facility, Awad had a
catering job to earn money. Ibid. (¶¶
19-20). But Sanches got him fired from this job because of
her refusal to timely sign passes for him to leave the
program when he needed to be at work. Id. at 9-10
(¶¶ 21-24). Sanches subsequently
“violated” Awad for “writing her
up” regarding the sanitation and job issues.
Id. at 10 (¶ 25).
February 5, 2016, a judge sentenced Awad to 3 years of
imprisonment. Ibid. (¶ 25).After his
sentencing, Awad asked family members to go to the Sierra
Pre-Trial Program facility to retrieve $600 worth of personal
property and cash that he had left in his room. Doc. #1 at 10
(¶¶ 26-27). But Sanches would not let Awad's
family into the facility and would not return Awad's
personal property to his family members. Ibid.
(¶ 26). Awad eventually filed this federal court
complaint about two and a half years later on September 7,
2018. Doc. #1.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a
prisoner's civil complaint against a governmental entity
or governmental actors and “identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint-(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” If the prisoner is proceeding pro se,
the allegations of the complaint must be read liberally to
raise the strongest arguments that they suggest. See
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010).
Awad is no longer a prisoner, I need not decide for purposes
of this ruling whether the initial review requirement of
§ 1915A extends to a plaintiff who was imprisoned at the
time that he filed his complaint but who no longer remains in
prison. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c) (defining the
term “prisoner”); Johnson v. Hill, 965
F.Supp. 1487, 1488 n.2 (E.D. Va. 1997). Because Awad is
proceeding in forma pauperis, his complaint is
alternatively subject to review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). See Narcisse v. Dalphine, 2016 WL
6963024, at *1 n.1 (D. Conn. 2016).
recent years, the Supreme Court has set forth a threshold
“plausibility” pleading standard for courts to
evaluate the adequacy of allegations in federal court
complaints. A complaint must allege enough facts-as distinct
from legal conclusions-that give rise to plausible grounds
for relief. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Notwithstanding the rule of liberal
interpretation of a pro se complaint, a
pro se complaint may not survive dismissal if its
factual allegations do not meet the basic plausibility
standard. See, e.g., Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local
40, 790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015).
complaint alleges liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This
civil rights statute allows a plaintiff to seek relief
against a person who acts under color of state law to violate
a plaintiff's federal constitutional rights. A
prerequisite for any claim under § 1983 is that the
defendant have acted in a governmental capacity-that is, that
the defendant was a “state actor” for purposes of
the conduct that a plaintiff claims the defendant should be
liable. Put differently, a plaintiff may not maintain an
action under § 1983 against a private party unless the
plaintiff shows that the ...