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Walters v. Suffolk County

June 4, 2009

KENNETH A. WALTERS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUFFOLK COUNTY, SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE DEPT., STONY BROOK MEDICAL CENTER, POLICE OFFICER MILLER, JOHN DOE, RN JANE DOE, DR. JOHN DOE, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Kenneth A. Walters ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Suffolk County, Suffolk County Police Department, Stony Brook Medical Center ("Stony Brook"), Police Officer Miller, John Doe, Registered Nurse Jane Doe, and Doctor John Doe ("Defendants"). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his constitutional rights during his arrest and subsequent medical treatment. Accompanying Plaintiff's Complaint is a request to proceed in forma pauperis. Upon review of Plaintiff's application, the Court grants Plaintiff in forma pauperis status. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). However, for the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed against Suffolk County Police Department, Stony Brook Medical Center, John Doe, Registered Nurse Jane Doe, and Doctor John Doe in their official capacities.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges on January 26, 2008, at about 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., a 911 call reported that someone had broken into a card store in Ronkonkoma, New York. Plaintiff alleges that an individual attempting to make a citizens arrest tackled Plaintiff to the ground and choked him until he became unconscious. According to Plaintiff, when he regained consciousness, Plaintiff was still on the ground and Police Officer Miller was kicking him about the head, chest, and back.

Plaintiff claims that when he was brought to Stony Brook Medical Center for his injuries, Police Officer Miller tried to deprive him of treatment. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of Police Officer Miller's demands, medical treatment was delayed and a nurse inserted a larger than necessary catheter into his penis. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges another medical staff member at the hospital inflicted substantial pain upon the Plaintiff through "pain stimulant[s]" in order to fully awaken him from his semi-unconscious state. (Compl. ¶¶ 9, 10.)

Plaintiff alleges that some of the pain stimulants used included pouring cold water into the Plaintiff's eyes, inserting something into the Plaintiff's ears causing a perforated ear drum, and intentionally dropping Plaintiff to the ground.

Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that Suffolk County failed to train and supervise its police force and medical agents to provide prompt medical treatment to an arrestee. (Compl. ¶¶ 1-3.) Plaintiff further states Suffolk County has customs and policies allowing police to use excessive force and prevent medical treatment from being provided to an arrestee. (Id.)

DISCUSSION

I. In Forma Pauperis Application

Upon review of Plaintiff's declaration in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court determines that the Plaintiff's financial status qualifies him to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Therefore, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.

II. Application of the Prison Litigation Reform Act

The 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act, codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1915, requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint if the action is frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). The Court is required to dismiss the action as soon as it makes such a determination. See id.

Since Plaintiff is incarcerated and seeks relief against government officials, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A also requires that the Court dismiss the complaint sua sponte if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

Courts are obliged to construe the pleadings of a pro se Plaintiff liberally, particularly allegations of civil rights violations. See Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed Defendant, 537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008); McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004). If a liberal reading of the complaint "gives any indication that a valid claim might be stated," courts ...


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