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Campbell v. Pallito

United States District Court, D. Vermont

January 5, 2016

GORDON E. CAMPBELL, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW PALLITO and DAVID MINER, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

WILLIAM K. SESSIONS, III, District Judge.

Plaintiff Gordon E. Campbell, Jr., proceeding pro se, brings this action against Defendants Andrew Pallito and David Miner in both their individual and official capacities. Pallito is the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Corrections ("Department"), and Miner is the District Manager of the Bennington Probation and Parole Office. In his complaint, Campbell alleges that the Department has failed to make a reasonable accommodation for his learning disabilities so that he can participate in a treatment program ordered as a condition of his probation. Campbell seeks both injunctive relief and $25, 000 in damages.

Now before the Court are Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings (ECF No. 24) and Campbell's motion to compel discovery (ECF No. 25). For the reasons explained below, Defendants' motion is granted, Campbell's motion is denied, and Campbell is granted leave to file an amended complaint within 30 days.

BACKGROUND

According to his complaint, Plaintiff Campbell began participating in a treatment program as a condition of probation in or around January 2014. ECF No. 3 at 2. Campbell alleges that he has been diagnosed with various learning disabilities and short-term memory deficit, and that he informed a Burlington[1] probation officer that he requires a reasonable accommodation for his intellectual disabilities in order to participate in treatment. ECF No. 3 at 2. Despite his request, Campbell claims that the Department has yet to provide him with an accommodation. ECF No. 3 at 2.

On May 7, 2014, Campbell filed this action against Defendants Pallito and Miner in both their individual and official capacities. ECF No. 3. Campbell asserts that the Department has denied him a reasonable accommodation and requests injunctive relief, as well as $25, 000 in damages. ECF No. 3 at 2-3. Defendants filed an Answer on July 7, 2014, ECF No. 7, and moved for judgment on the pleadings on March 9, 2015, ECF No. 24. Campbell filed his motion to compel discovery on March 18, 2015. ECF No. 25.

DISCUSSION

I. Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

A. Legal Standard

In deciding a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), district courts employ the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 160 (2d Cir. 2010). Accordingly, the Court will accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in Plaintiff's favor. Id. In order to survive a Rule 12(c) motion, Plaintiff's complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. (internal quotation omitted). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombley, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)).

Furthermore, in a case in which the plaintiff is unrepresented by counsel, a court "must interpret the factual allegations of a pro se complaint to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Grullon v. City of New Haven, 720 F.3d 133, 139 (2d Cir. 2013) (internal quotation omitted). "A pro se complaint should not be dismissed without the Court granting leave to amend at least once when a liberal reading of the complaint gives any indication that a valid claim might be stated." Id. (internal quotation and alterations omitted).

B. Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claim

In his complaint, Campbell explicitly states that he is bringing the present suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 3 at 2. Section 1983 provides a cause of action against "any person who, acting under color of state law, deprives another of a right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution or the laws of the United States." Thomas v. Roach, 165 F.3d 137, 142 (2d Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 1983). "Section 1983 itself creates no substantive rights; it provides only a procedure for redress for the deprivation of rights established elsewhere." Id. (internal citations omitted). Thus, to succeed on ...


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