United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
September 5, 2019, Jeffrey Schlosser, a pretrial detainee
currently confined at the Hartford Correctional Center in
Connecticut, brought a complaint pro se and in
forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Probation Officer Channon Elzea, Probation Officer Miriam
Mendoza, Attorney Charity Hemingway, and Connecticut Superior
Court Judge Kathleen E. McNamara. Compl., Doc. No. 1. As best
as I can discern from his complaint, Schlosser seeks damages
and injunctive relief against the defendants for acting with
deliberate indifference to his medical needs. For the
following reasons, his complaint is dismissed without
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I 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. 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 plausible right to
relief. Bell Atlantic 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. Nevertheless, it is
well-established that “[p]ro se
complaints ‘must be construed liberally and interpreted
to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest.'” 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)); see
also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir.
2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro
is currently charged in two different state cases with
violating his probation for a second time, in violation of
Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-32. State v.
Schlosser, No. H12M-CR11-0236734-S (Conn. Super. Ct.
Nov. 1, 2018); State v. Schlosser, No.
H12M-CR12-0237931-S (Conn. Super. Ct. Oct. 30, 2018). In the
instant case, he is suing his two probation officers, Elzea
and Mendoza, for acting with deliberate indifference to his
medical needs by failing to procure treatment for him at the
Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
See Compl. at 2-3. He claims that Elzea and Mendoza
“sent [him] to the wrong programs” or treatment
centers, which did not properly treat his mental illness.
See Id. at 2-3, 11.
state a plausible Fourteenth Amendment claim that state
officials acted with deliberate indifference to his medical
needs, Schlosser must allege facts showing:
that the defendant-official acted intentionally to impose the
alleged condition, or recklessly failed to act with
reasonable care to mitigate the risk that the condition posed
to the . . . detainee even though the defendant-official
knew, or should have known, that the condition posed an
excessive risk to health or safety.
Taylor v. City of New York, 2018 WL 1737626, at *12
(S.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2018) (quoting Darnell v.
Pineiro, 849 F.3d 17, 35 (2d Cir. 2017)); see also
Garcia v. University of Conn. Health Care Ctr., 2018 WL
5830840, at *9 (D. Conn. Nov. 7, 2018). The allegations in
the complaint do not state a plausible claim for deliberate
indifference to medical needs.
complaint consists almost entirely of legal conclusions and
arguments as opposed to facts. He has not provided facts
showing that Elzea or Mendoza acted recklessly with respect
to his medical conditions while they monitored his probation.
The complaint is devoid of dates, locations, and descriptions
of the event(s) from which I can infer that Elzea and Mendoza
violated his constitutional rights. Therefore, I dismiss the
claims against those defendants without prejudice, and will
permit Schlosser one opportunity to amend his complaint to
state a plausible constitutional claim.
Schlosser's claims against Attorney Hemingway, the public
defender who represented him in his prior violation of
probation proceeding, and Judge McNamara, who presided over
that proceeding, cannot proceed in this action. It is
well-established that claims against public defenders are not
cognizable in a section 1983 action because public defenders
do not act under color of state law when representing their
clients and performing traditional attorney functions.
See Peay v. Ajello, 470 F.3d 65, 68 (2d Cir. 2006);
Rodriguez v. Weprin, 116 F.3d 62, 65-66 (2d Cir.
1997). As for Judge McNamara, she is entitled to
“absolute immun[ity] for all claims for damages
relating to actions taken in h[er] judicial capacity, whether
sued in h[er] individual or official capacity.”
Szymonik v. Connecticut, 2019 WL 203117, at *7 (D.
Conn. Jan. 15, 2019) (quoting LeDuc v. Tilley, 2005
(WL 1475334, at *6 (D. Conn. June 22, 2005)). Because
Schlosser is suing Hemingway and McNamara based on their
handling of his violation of probation proceeding, his claims
must be dismissed.
claims against Elzea and Mendoza are dismissed
without prejudice subject to amendment. If Schlosser
wishes to pursue claims against these two defendants, he may
file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days from the
date of this Order. The amended complaint must allege
facts, not merely legal arguments, showing how Elzea
and Mendoza violated Schlosser's constitutional rights.
Failure to file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days
from the date of this Order will result in a dismissal of the
complaint with prejudice.
claims against Attorney Hemingway and Judge McNamara are
dismissed with prejudice. Schlosser may not
reassert claims against ...