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Tatum v. Suffolk County New York

November 3, 2009

WAYMAN TATUM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUFFOLK COUNTY NEW YORK, SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE FIRST PRECINCT, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Pending before the Court is an application from pro se Plaintiff Wayman Tatum ("Plaintiff") to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that Defendants abridged Plaintiff's constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"). For the reasons discussed herein, Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED, but the Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that on February 11, 2009, Suffolk County Police Officers stopped Plaintiff while he was driving from Suffolk to Nassau County. According to Plaintiff, the officers "apprehended [Plaintiff] by throwing a flashlight into the driver side window, glass and the flashlight hit [Plaintiff] in [his] face[,] then the officers grabbed [Plaintiff] by [his] head and arm and threw [Plaintiff] to the ground." (Compl. ¶ IV.) Plaintiff alleges that he was hit and kicked and the only reason the officers stopped the "Rodney King rendition style beating" was because Plaintiff was bleeding from the back of his head and his mouth. Plaintiff seeks $800 million in damages.

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.

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 files his claim pursuant to 42 ...


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