United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Lincoln D. Almond, United States Magistrate Judge.
before me for a report and recommended disposition (28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B)) is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
(ECF Doc. No. 44). Plaintiff objects. (ECF Doc. No. 57).
initiated this pro se action on October 19, 2015.
Since he is a prison inmate proceeding in forma
pauperis, the case was subject to initial screening
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
Plaintiff alleges a number of violations of his civil rights
by ACI officials and officers. Pursuant to the Court's
authority under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), Plaintiff was
ordered to amend his Complaint on three occasions to clarify
his claims and correct certain pleading deficiencies. (ECF
Doc. Nos. 6, 15 and 18). Ultimately, Plaintiff's Third
Amended Complaint was filed on May 16, 2016. (ECF Doc. No.
19). On May 23, 2016, Chief Judge Smith subjected the
Complaint to § 1915(e) screening and concluded that
Plaintiff “has stated sufficient facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” (ECF Doc. No.
20 at p. 4). Chief Judge Smith summarized the claim as
Ratliff alleges that he has been subjected to continuous
harassment, discrimination, threats against him, and bookings
for frivolous infractions, among other claims. (Third Am.
Compl. 1, ECF No. 19). According to Ratliff, this treatment
began when he was housed at the Intake Service Center,
continued after his assignment to Maximum Security, and
apparently persists to the present. (Id.) Ratliff
names as Defendants Ashbel T. Wall, Director of the Rhode
Island Department of Corrections, Assistant Director James
Weeden, Warden Matthew Kettle, Assistant Warden Jeff Aceto,
Captain Duffy, Lieutenant Burt, Correctional Officer Gardner,
Correctional Officer Largy, SIU Detective Corbral, and
Correctional Officer Dove. (Compl. 3, ECF 1.) Ratliff seeks
injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages,
restoration of good time credits, dismissal of his remaining
segregation confinement time, an out-of-state transfer, and
the return of personal property. (Third Am. Compl. 7-8, ECF
answered the Third Amended Complaint on October 3, 2016. (ECF
Doc. No. 29). A telephonic Rule 16 Conference was held on
January 10, 2017 and a Scheduling Order issued. (ECF Doc. No.
34). Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss at the
tail end of the pretrial period on October 19, 2017. (ECF
Doc. No. 44).
move pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., and argue
that Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed in
“total” due to the deficiencies noted in the
Motion. Defendants acknowledge that “[t]he bar is set
high for a movant under Rule 12.” (ECF Doc. No. 44 at
Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must construe the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, see
Negron-Gaztambide v. Hernandez-Torres, 35 F.3d 25, 27
(1st Cir. 1994); taking all well-pleaded
allegations as true and giving the plaintiff the benefit of
all reasonable inferences, see Arruda v. Sears, Roebuck
& Co., 310 F.3d 13, 18 (1st Cir. 2002);
Carreiro v. Rhodes Gill Co., 68 F.3d 1443, 1446
(1st Cir. 1995). If under any theory the
allegations are sufficient to state a cause of action in
accordance with the law, the motion to dismiss must be
denied. Vartanian v. Monsanto Co., 14 F.3d 697, 700
(1st Cir. 1994).
plaintiff need not plead factual allegations in great detail,
the allegations must be sufficiently precise to raise a right
to relief beyond mere speculation. See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) (abrogating the “no
set of facts” rule of Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 44-45 (1957)). “The complaint must allege
‘a plausible entitlement to relief' in order to
survive a motion to dismiss.” Thomas v. Rhode
Island, 542 F.3d 944, 948 (1st Cir. 2008)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 559). See also
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (“[w]hen
there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should
assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief”). The
Court of Appeals has cautioned that the
“plausibility” requirement is not akin to a
“standard of likely success on the merits, ” but
instead, “the standard is plausibility assuming the
pleaded facts to be true and read in a plaintiff's
favor.” Sepulveda-Villarini v. Dep't of Educ.
of Puerto Rico, 628 F.3d 25, 30 (1st Cir.
Judge Smith applied these standards during a rigorous
three-step screening process and ultimately concluded that
the Third Amended Complaint “cured the majority of the
deficiencies in…earlier complaints” and
contained “sufficient facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” (ECF Doc. No. 20 at p.
effectively ask the Court to reconsider that determination by
raising four targeted challenges to Plaintiff's Third
Amended Complaint. After thorough consideration of such
challenges in the context of the Complaint, I am not
convinced that reconsideration is warranted and do not
believe that Defendants have fully addressed the scope and
nature of the claims brought by Plaintiff.
Defendants contend that certain of Plaintiff's claims are
untimely. The statute of limitations for actions brought
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is drawn from the applicable
state law of personal injury. See Ayala-Sepulveda v.
Municipality of San German, 671 F.3d 24, 29 n.3
(1stCir. 2012). In Rhode Island, the personal
injury state of limitation period is three years. R.I. Gen.
Laws § 9-1-14; Esposito v. Town of N.
Providence, C.A. No. 04-302S, 2006 WL 2711736, at *5
(D.R.I. Sept. 21, 2006); Pascoag Reservoir & Dam, LLC
v. Rhode Island, 217 F.Supp.2d 206, 226 (D.R.I. 2002).
Defendants argue that the allegations found on pages 1-4 of
the Third Amended Complaint outline events that allegedly
occurred between 2007 and January 21, 2013. They argue that
such claims are time-barred because they were not filed
within the applicable three-year limitations period which
expired on January 20, 2016.
Third Amended Complaint alleges an ongoing pattern of
harassment and civil rights violations commencing in 2007 and
continuing until the present. Plaintiff initiated this case
on October 19, 2015 and thus, assuming relation back of
amendments under Rule 15(c), Fed. R. Civ. P., it encompasses
claims accruing on or after October 20, 2012. While
Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint may include some
distinct time-barred claims, it also asserts a number of
claims that are plainly not time-barred, and some of the
earlier incidents may be admissible as proof of motive or a
continuing course of conduct while not constituting a
distinct cause of ...