The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stein, District Judge.
Plaintiff Tony Bowles brings this action pro se pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendants have violated his
Constitutional rights by falsely arresting him, maliciously prosecuting
him, verbally harassing him and using excessive force during his arrest.
Plaintiff seeks $40 million in damages. Defendants move for judgment on
the pleadings pursuant to Fed. R.Civ.P. 12(c). For the following
reasons, defendants' motion is granted and the amended complaint is
The following allegations are taken from the amended complaint: Bowles
alleges that in "September and October 1997" he was "harassed and
verbally abused" in Riverbank State Park by defendant New York State Park
Police Officer J. Hardison. Amended Complaint at "fifth". On October 15,
1997, defendant "spotted [Bowles] in the park and informed him that the
park was closed, and ordered him to leave." Amended Complaint at "sixth".
Plaintiff allegedly "proceeded to leave, but was arrested and brought to
the park police station." Id. Officer Hardison allegedly "pushed and
shoved him while conducting a search" of Bowles. Id. He was held in a
cell for three hours, issued two summonses for disorderly conduct and
released. Id. One month later — November 17, 1997 — one of
the disorderly conduct charges was dismissed and the other was adjourned
in contemplation of dismissal ("ACD") and ultimately dismissed.*fn1
Amended Complaint at "seventh".
Plaintiff filed this action in November of 1997 against the State of
New York, the Riverbank State Park, and officer Hardison. Defendants have
now moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c).
Defendants contend that the Eleventh Amendment precludes this suit
against all three defendants. The parties have fully briefed this
motion, including the submission of a sur reply by plaintiff dated
January 8, 1999.
The standard governing a motion for judgment on the pleadings is
equivalent to the standard governing a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Sheppard v. Beerman,
18 F.3d 147, 150 (2d Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 816, 115 S.Ct.
73, 130 L.Ed.2d 28 (1994). Accordingly, in evaluating a Rule 12(c)
motion, a court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint and
must view the pleadings in the light most favorable to, and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party. See, e.g., Id.;
Madonna v. United States, 878 F.2d 62, 65 (2d Cir. 1989); New York
Criminal Bar Ass'n v. Newton, 1999 WL 14015, *1 (S.D.N Y Jan.13, 1999).
The Court "may not dismiss the complaint `unless it appears beyond doubt
that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which
would entitle him to relief.'" Madonna, 878 F.2d at 65 (quoting Conley
v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)). In
other words, "[j]udgment on the pleadings is appropriate if, from the
pleadings, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Burns Intern. Sec. Servs. Inc. v. International Union, United Plant Guard
Workers of America, 47 F.3d 14, 16 (2d Cir. 1995).
Moreover, as a pro se litigant, plaintiff is entitled to significant
liberality in how his pleadings are construed. A pro se plaintiffs
pleadings are held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers." Haines, 404 U.S. at 520-21, 92 S.Ct. 594; see Ortiz
v. Cornetta, 867 F.2d 146, 148 (2d Cir. 1989). Nevertheless, for the
following reasons, defendants' motion is granted.
I. The Eleventh Amendment Bars the Action Against the State of New York
The claim against the State of New York must be dismissed because the
Eleventh Amendment bars from federal court all section 1983 suits for
legal or equitable relief brought by citizens against unconsenting states
and agencies of those states. Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782, 98
S.Ct. 3057, 57 L.Ed.2d 1114 (1978) (per curiam); Edelman v. Jordan,
415 U.S. 651, 94 S.Ct. 1347, 39 L.Ed.2d 662 (1974); see also Quern v.
Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 99 S.Ct. 1139, 59 L.Ed.2d 358 (1979) (section 1983
does not override the immunity granted to states by the Eleventh
Amendment); Trotman v. Palisades Interstate Park Comm'n, 557 F.2d 35, 40
(2d Cir. 1977) (New York is an unconsenting state).*fn2
II. Riverbank State Park is not a "Person" and Cannot be Sued Pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
The claim against Riverbank State Park must be dismissed because
1983 provides that an action may be maintained against a "person" who has
deprived another of rights under the "constitution and laws."
42 U.S.C. § 1983. A park is not a "person" within the meaning of
section 1983. Cf. Spencer v. Doe, 139 F.3d 107, 111 (2d Cir. 1998) (state
agency is not a "person" under section 1983); Seergy v. Kings County
Republican County Committee, 459 F.2d 308, 313 (2d Cir. 1972) (New York
City Board of Elections is not a "person"); Zuckerman v. Appellate
Division, Second Dep't, Supreme Court, 421 F.2d 625, 626 (2d Cir. 1970)
(a court is not a "person"); Mathis v. Clerk of First Dep't, Appellate
Div., 631 F. Supp. 232, 235 (S.D.N.Y. 1986) (same).
III. False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution
No claim may be brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false
arrest or malicious prosecution if the plaintiff was convicted of the
offense for which he was arrested. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 489,
114 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383 (1994) ("[A] section 1983 cause of action
for damages attributable to an unconstitutional conviction or sentence
does not accrue until the conviction or sentence has been
invalidated."); Cameron v. Fogarty, 806 F.2d 380, 386-88 (2d Cir. 1986),
cert. denied. 481 U.S. 1016, 107 S.Ct. 1894, 95 L.Ed.2d 501 (1987)
(citations omitted); see also Dukes v. New York, 743 F. Supp. 1037,
1040-41 (S.D.N.Y. ...