Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

FOGEL v. SECRETARY OF AIR FORCE

January 4, 2005.

MANDEL FOGEL, Plaintiff,
v.
SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, and CIVILIAN MILITARY REVIEW BOARD, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARTHUR SPATT, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

Presently before the Court is a motion by the defendants Secretary of the Air Force and the Civillian Military Review Board (collectively the "Defendants") to dismiss the complaint filed by the pro se plaintiff Mandel Fogel (the "Plaintiff") based on the doctrine of res judicata, or in the alternative, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1); failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); and improper and untimely service pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2).

I. BACKGROUND

  This lawsuit was commenced on October 28, 2003 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Nassau. On January 20, 2004, the Defendants removed the action to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 1442(a)(1), and 1442a. On May 19, 2004, the Court denied the Plaintiff's motion to remand the case back to the Supreme Court of the State of New York finding that removal was proper in that agencies of the United States were defendants in the action.

  In his pro se complaint, the Plaintiff alleges that he was discriminated against under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when the Defendants denied him veteran status in 1982. In particular, the Plaintiff argues that the Defendants failed to apply the proper Department of Defense criteria when they determined that he was ineligible for veteran status. The Plaintiff claims that this failure constitutes discrimination under § 1983 because other individuals, such as Women Air Service Pilots, telegraph operators, dieticians, and physical therapists, were granted veteran status while the Plaintiff, a former member of the United States Maritime Service, was denied this status. According to the complaint, this denial was conduct that was illegal and in violation of the Plaintiff's rights and privileges under the Constitution and Civil Rights Act. The Plaintiff asks that he be accorded veteran status; that the Defendants issue to him a DOD 2214, otherwise known as a DD 2214 "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty;" and that he be given a military funeral with the United States flag draped over his coffin.

  In 2001, the Plaintiff commenced an action against the same defendants seeking substantially the same relief, specifically, "a declaratory judgment stating that [the Plaintiff] is a veteran for the purpose [of] receiving a military burial . . . and etching the image of the American flag on his gravestone." Fogel v. Department of Defense, 169 F. Supp. 2d 140, 142 (E.D.N.Y. 2001) (the "2001 Action"). The Plaintiff's 2001 Action was dismissed by this Court as time-barred. The Court also noted that "even if the complaint had been timely, the decision of the Secretary of the Air Force, dated January 23, 1982, which denied active military service status to the Maritime Service Training Organization would be affirmed on the ground that the decision is not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise contrary to law." Id. at 157-58. On June 14, 2002, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this Court's decision. See Fogel v. DOD, 36 Fed. Appx. 473, 474 (2d Cir. 2002).

  The Defendants argue, among other grounds, that the Plaintiff's previous action, which was dismissed on the merits and affirmed on appeal, precludes any subsequent action against the same parties based on the same events.

  II. DISCUSSION

  A. Standard of Review

  1. 12(b)(6) Standard

  In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a district court must "accept all of the plaintiff's factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw inferences from those allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Desiderio v. National Ass'n of Sec. Dealers, Inc., 191 F.3d 198, 202 (2d Cir. 1999). A complaint should not be dismissed "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Dangler v. New York City Off Track Betting Corp., 193 F.3d 130, 138 (2d Cir. 1999) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L.Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99, 102 (1957)). "The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." King v. Simpson, 189 F.3d 248, 287 (2d Cir. 1999) (quoting Villager Pond, Inc. v. Town of Darien, 56 F.3d 375, 378 (2d Cir. 1999)). "In addition to the forgoing standard governing Rule 12(b)(6) motions, the Court must be mindful of the relevant rules of pleading. In general, a plaintiff need only provide `a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and `all pleadings shall be construed as to do substantial justice,' Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(f)." Protter v. Nathan's Famous Sys., Inc., 904 F. Supp. 101, 105 (E.D.N.Y. 1995).

  2. The Plaintiff's Pro Se Status

  The Court is mindful that the plaintiff is proceeding pro se and that his submissions should be held "`to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. . . .'" Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9, 66 L. Ed. 2d 163, 101 S. Ct. 173 (1980) (per curiam) (quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972)). District courts should "read the pleadings of a pro se plaintiff liberally and interpret them `to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'" McPherson v. Coombe, 174 F.3d 276, 280 (2d Cir. 1999) (quoting Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994)). Nevertheless, the Court is also aware that pro se status "does not exempt a party from compliance with relevant rules of procedural and substantive law. . . ." Traguth v. Zuck, 710 F.2d 90, 95 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.