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Barreto v. Eggers

October 17, 2009

JUAREZ E. BARRETO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MELISSA EGGERS, ADA; SUFFOLK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE; SUFFOLK COUNTY, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Juarez F. Barreto ("Plaintiff"), a frequent filer in this Court, proceeding pro se, commenced this action against Melissa Eggers, Assistant District Attorney; the County of Suffolk; and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office ("Defendants").*fn1

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by presenting prejudicial evidence at a grand jury proceeding and referring to him as a foreigner during a habeas proceeding. 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.

BACKGROUND

As best as the Court can discern from Plaintiff's handwritten Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on February 10, 2009, he testified before a grand jury in the District Attorney's Office in Suffolk County. (Compl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff alleges that, during the questioning by Assistant District Attorney Eggers, "illegal" evidence was introduced to the grand jury. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that two checks, bearing evidence that he was incarcerated, were introduced to the grand jury thereby prejudicing Plaintiff. Plaintiff further alleges that in May 2009, during a habeas corpus proceeding, members of the Suffolk County District Attorneys Office stated that the Plaintiff should not be granted bail reduction because of his prior record and because he was a "foreign alien." (Compl. ¶ 7.) Based on these allegations, Plaintiff seeks, among other things, criminal sanctions against Assistant District Attorney Eggers and one million dollars.

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 must grant leave to amend the complaint. See Cuoco v. Moritsugu, 222 F.3d 99, 112 (2d Cir. 2000). Notwithstanding the liberal pleading standards, all complaints must contain at least "some minimum level of factual support for their claims," Alfaro Motors, Inc. v. Ward, 814 F.2d 883, 887 (2d Cir. 1987). Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in relevant part, that a complaint "shall contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," and "[e]ach averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct." FED. R. CIV. P. 8.

Essentially, Rule 8 ensures that a complaint provides a defendant with sufficient notice of the claims against him. See FED. R. CIV. P. 8; Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir. 1988). In that vein, the Second Circuit has held that complaints containing only vague or conclusory accusations and no specific facts regarding the alleged wrongdoing do not allow defendants to frame an intelligent defense and are therefore subject to dismissal. See Alfaro Motors, 814 F.2d at 887.

A. Section 1983

Plaintiff does not specify the nature of his lawsuit other than alleging that Defendants violated Plaintiff's Constitutional Rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Compl. ΒΆ 1.) Accordingly, the Court liberally construes Plaintiff's claim as one pursuant to ...


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