Morgan v. Murphy
To prevail in a §1983 suit, a plaintiff must establish that the defendants acted under color of state law and that the plaintiff was deprived of a constitutionally or federally protected right. The pro se plaintiff prisoner sued eight attorneys who work for the Inmates' Legal Assistance Program, alleging that they failed to provide proper legal services, in violation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Allegedly, the plaintiff requested legal representation with respect to a Freedom of Information Act claim. Attorneys appointed to represent indigent litigants are not considered to act under color of state law, because they act as the state's adversary and do not act on behalf of the state. Here, the court found that the eight attorneys who work for Inmates' Legal Assistance, pursuant to a contract with the State of Connecticut, do not act under color of state law, for purposes of §1983. The plaintiff's complaint also failed to adequately allege a conspiracy between one or more of the eight attorneys and state officials, to allege a §1983 conspiracy claim. The court dismissed the plaintiff's conspiracy claim as conclusory. The plaintiff also alleged that former Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Attorney General George Jepsen misused taxpayer money, because they allegedly authorized the payment of millions of dollars to settle claims filed by the employees of the Department of Correction. The plaintiff's complaint did not allege any injury to himself, and the court found that he lacked standing to assert claims against former Attorney General Blumenthal and Attorney General Jepsen. The District Court dismissed the plaintiff's federal claims and did not exercise jurisdiction over state-law claims.