United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION RE: MOTION TO DISMISS
A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
of the Case
November 23, 2018, the plaintiff, Treizy Treizon Lopez
(“Plaintiff”), a state prisoner currently
confined at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“MWCI”) in Suffield, Connecticut, filed a civil
rights complaint (“Compliant”) under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against ten Connecticut Department of Correction
(“DOC”) officials. Compl. (DE#1). The Plaintiff
claimed that these Defendants, in a variety of ways, violated
his First, Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights
while he was confined at the Manson Youth Institution
(“MYI”) in Cheshire, Connecticut. Id. On
January 4, 2019, by Initial Review Order the Court permitted
the Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim to proceed against
Captain Salvatore, Counselor Fortin, and Warden Butricks; his
First Amendment claim to proceed against Correction Officer
Garibaldi, and his Fourteenth Amendment claim to proceed
against CO Garibaldi, Counselor Mala, Salvatore, and
Lieutenant Eberle. Initial Review Order (DE#9) 20.
March 12, 2019, Garibaldi filed the instant motion to dismiss
the First Amendment claim against him on the grounds that (1)
the Plaintiff has failed to state a plausible claim for
relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and
(2) the claim is barred by the doctrine of qualified
immunity. Mot. to Dismiss (DE#19); Mem. of Law in Supp. of
Def. Garibaldi's Mot. to Dismiss (“Def.'s
Mem.”) (DE#19-1). The Plaintiff file his opposition to
the motion on June 3, 2019. Obj. to Def.'s Mot. to
Dismiss (“Pl.'s Obj.”) (DE#28). For the
following reasons, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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.”
Id. The plausibility standard is not a probability
requirement; the complaint must show, not merely allege, that
the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See id.
Court must accept as true the factual allegations in the
complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678.
This principle does not, however, apply to the legal
conclusions that the plaintiff draws in the complaint.
Id.; Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 555;
see also Amaker v. New York State Dept. of Corr.
Servs., 435 Fed.Appx. 52, 54 (2d Cir. 2011) (same).
Accordingly, the Court is not “bound to accept
conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as
factual conclusions.” Faber v. Metro. Life Ins.
Co., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting Rolon
v. Henneman, 517 F.3d 140, 149 (2d Cir. 2008) (internal
quotation marks omitted)). Moreover, “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atlantic
Corp., 550 U.S. at 555).
. . . the complaint was filed pro se, it must be
construed liberally with ‘special solicitude' and
interpreted to raise the strongest claims that it
suggests.” Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 515
(2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Hill v. Curcione, 657 F.3d
116, 122 (2d Cir. 2011)). Nevertheless, a pro se
complaint still must “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Mancuso v. Hynes, 379
Fed.Appx. 60, 61 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Ashcroft,
556 U.S. at 678).
and Procedural History
Court incorporates the following factual allegations in the
Complaint as stated in the Initial Review
In April of 2018, while being transferred from MYI to the
Bridgeport Correctional Center (“BCC”), the
Plaintiff was found to be in possession of compact discs
(“CDs”), which are considered contraband. Compl.
¶ 88. A correction officer at BCC gave the Plaintiff an
ultimatum of either revealing the identity of the person who
gave him the CDs or receiving a Class A disciplinary report
(“DR”) for possession of contraband. Id.
Because the Plaintiff was unwilling to cooperate with the
staff, he was placed in segregation immediately upon his
arrival at BCC. Id. The following day, the Plaintiff
was released from segregation, and his Class A DR was reduced
to a Class B DR. Id. at ¶ 89.
On June 20, 2018, the Plaintiff was transferred from BCC back
to MYI without notice that most of his personal property
would be left behind at BCC. Compl. ¶¶ 14-15. He
asked Correction Officer White why he had not been provided
with all of his property. Id. at ¶ 17. White
told the Plaintiff that, when the rest of his property
arrives from BCC, it would have to be inspected by Correction
Officer Lis because the Plaintiff was previously found to be
in possession of contraband. Id. The Plaintiff
signed for the property that had arrived and proceeded to his
housing unit. Id.
The next day, the remaining property arrived at MYI. Compl.
¶ 18. Although it had already been inspected at BCC and
cleared of any contraband, Correction Officer White conducted
another search and found a one-dollar bill, another
contraband item. Id. at ¶¶ 19-20. The bill
was discovered in a manila envelope that belonged to the
Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 21. After White's
search, the Plaintiff's property was stored in the MYI
storage room. Id. at ¶ 19.
On June 26, Officer Lis conducted another “targeted
search” of the Plaintiff's property, even though it
had been stored in the storage room and was only accessible
to MYI staff. Compl. ¶¶ 23-24. As a result of the
search, the Plaintiff was brought to segregation and placed
on administrative detention pending a security risk group
(“SRG”) affiliation. Id. at ¶ 26.
He received a DR for the SRG affiliation, and Officer White
issued him a DR for possession of contraband for the
one-dollar bill that was discovered in his personal items.
Id. at ¶¶ 26-27. The ...