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LEE v. CITY OF NEW YORK

August 3, 2005.

DENNIS LEE, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, ET AL., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KEVIN FOX, Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

TO THE HONORABLE RICHARD C. CASEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

I. INTRODUCTION

  Dennis Lee ("Lee") commenced this action pro se pursuant to, inter alia, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, and 20 U.S.C. § 1681, alleging violations of his constitutional rights. Defendants City of New York ("City"), Orange County, Town of Chester, Volunteers of America-Greater New York, Inc. ("VOA") and City College of the City University of New York ("CCNY"), have moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that it fails to comply with the pleading requirements set forth in Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or, alternatively, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

  In addition, VOA has filed a counterclaim seeking an order enjoining Lee from filing any further pleadings in this court without the approval of the court as to form and legal sufficiency. Also, Lee has requested permission to amend his complaint to substitute the City University of New York for CCNY, and the Village of Chester for the Town of Chester.

  II. BACKGROUND

  Lee has commenced at least five pro se actions in this court during the past seven years. All of these actions have been dismissed for failure to prosecute, failure to comply with a court order, or failure to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. See Lee v. City of Buffalo, 98 Civ. 3141 (LAK) (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 9, 1998); Lee v. United States, 98 Civ. 7883, 1999 WL 335830 (S.D.N.Y. May 25, 1999); Lee v. United States, 00 Civ. 4163, 2000 WL 1597852 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 26, 2000), aff'd, Lee v. Underhill Wiping Cloth, 2001 WL 792540 (2d Cir. July 11, 2001); Lee v. United States, 02 Civ. 0095 (GEL) (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 28, 2002), aff'd, 2002 WL 31819609 (2d Cir. Dec. 16, 2002); Lee v. Volunteers of America, 02 Civ. 9794 (KMW) (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 25, 2003).

  Plaintiff commenced this action on April 9, 2004, against the City, Orange County, the Town of Chester, and the VOA. On May 19, 2004, plaintiff amended his complaint to add CCNY as a defendant. Determining the nature of Lee's claims is difficult. He appears to believe that he is the victim of a wide-ranging conspiracy to deprive him of his civil rights. The alleged conspirators include the City, the New York City Police Department ("NYPD"), the Department of Homeless Services ("DHS"), Orange County, the Town of Chester, VOA and CCNY.

  Lee's allegations appear to arise out of three separate incidents. One of these occurred on March 24, 2004. On this occasion, according to the arresting officer's report, Lee, while traveling on a DHS bus, assaulted a fellow passenger named Manuel Santiago ("Santiago"). According to Santiago, the bus had just arrived at Camp LaGuardia, a homeless shelter located in Orange County, New York; when Santiago asked Lee to move his bag so that Santiago could leave the bus, Lee began punching and biting him. Lee then forced Santiago onto the floor of the bus and refused to release him until the arresting officer arrived.

  Lee asserts that the fight was "fostered by the DHS and the VOA's staff in retaliation for attempting to enforce the rights [of] others in the class [Lee] belongs to. . . ." In contending that DHS and VOA were acting in retaliation for a previous action, Lee appears to be referring to a lawsuit in which he challenged the building of a fence and closing of a pathway near Camp LaGuardia. Lee also implicates Orange County in the alleged orchestration of the fight, and accuses the Town of Chester, New York, of violating his equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by requiring five hundred dollars in bail following Lee's arrest. Lee also contends that, at the time of his prosecution for the assault, he did not challenge evidence brought by the prosecutor because he feared that, if he did so, "the court and prosecutor would become vindictive and violate [Lee's] due process rights." Lee maintains that after he pled guilty to the assault charge, the prosecutor and the court "foreclosed through their efforts an appeal."

  The second incident to which Lee refers in his amended complaint occurred in or about November 2000. At that time, CCNY asked him to withdraw from a course in which he had enrolled. Lee claims that this action was the result of a conspiracy among CCNY, DHS and others, to deprive him of his civil rights. Lee also contends that CCNY discriminated against him on the basis of his gender.*fn1

  Apparently in support of his claim, Lee has provided letters from CCNY faculty members. The letters indicate, however, that Lee was asked to withdraw from the course he was attending because he behaved in a "disorderly manner" in a library lab, disturbed other students and used profanity.

  Finally, the amended complaint refers to an incident that took place on May 13, 2002. On that date, the NYPD stopped and searched a bus on which Lee was traveling. According to Lee, the bus was "surrounded by the police with guns drawn." It appears that the NYPD was acting on information it had received concerning the presence on the bus of an escaped rapist. Lee claims, however, that the bus was stopped as the result of a conspiracy on the part of the NYPD, VOA and DHS to harass and intimidate him. ...


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