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Romain v. Nassau County Police Dep't

July 22, 2010

MATTHEW ROMAIN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NASSAU COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT, POLICE OFFICER BEN JACOB, SHIELD #3312, DETECTIVE LAWRENCE SCHEINBERG, SHIELD #984, P.O. KEVIN VARGAS, P.O. ANTHONY RAYMOND, P.O. RYAN LUNT, DETECTIVE JEFFERY SCHILLING, P.O. JUAN C. GIRON, JON DOES 1-6, DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

Before the Court is the pro se Complaint of incarcerated plaintiff Matthew Romain ("Plaintiff") against the Nassau County Police Department, Police Officer Ben Jacob, Detective Lawrence Scheinberg, P.O. Kevin Vargas, P.O. Anthony Raymond, P.O. Ryan Lunt, Detective Jeffrey Schilling, Police Officer Juan C. Giron and six unnamed officers of the Nassau County Police Department, 5th Precinct, alleging violation of his Fourth Amendment right against the use of excessive force, as protected by 42 U.S.C. § 1983, accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff's request for permission to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED and, for the reasons that follow, the Complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE against the Nassau County Police Department and is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE against the remaining Defendants.

BACKGROUND

According to the Complaint, the Plaintiff was arrested on April 4, 2009, taken to the 5th Precinct and "was severely beaten, denied water and denied to use the bathroom for a period that was more than 20 plus hours without food and water." Compl. at IV. The Complaint alleges that Defendant Police Officers Ben Jacob, Kevin Vargas, Anthony Raymond, Ryan Lunt and Juan C. Giron "took turns as [Plaintiff] was handcuffed and kicked and punched repeatedly." Id. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Police Officers Jacob and Vargas "both had me down on the floor somewhere in the basement applying pressure to my neck in the sleeper hold until I passed out." Id. According to the Complaint, these Defendants then told Plaintiff that unless he gave a "statement of what the detectives wanted to hear then they were going to strip me nacked [sic], cuff me by my hands and feet and sodomize me with a metal pole." Id. Plaintiff claims that after 31/2 hours of "torture" by the Defendant police officers, Plaintiff "finally agreed to give a statement." Id. With regard to Detectives Shilling and Scheinberg the Complaint alleges that these Defendants "witnessed the beating and did nothing." Id.

As a result of the alleged beating, Plaintiff claims that he had a "tooth knocked out from punches" as well as pain in his neck, back, abdomen and jaw. Compl. at IV.A. Accordingly, Plaintiff seeks $200 million in damages for his "pain and suffering" and mental anguish.*fn1

DISCUSSION

I. In Forma Pauperis

Having reviewed Plaintiff's declaration in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that he is qualified to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Accordingly, Plaintiff's request for permission to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.

II. 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); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) & (b); Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). The Court is required to dismiss the action as soon as it makes such a determination. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

It is axiomatic that pro se complaints are held to less stringent standards than pleadings drafted by attorneys and the Court is required to read the Plaintiff's pro se Complaint liberally and interpret it as raising the strongest arguments it suggests. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed. 2d 1081 (2007); Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 101 S.Ct. 173, 66 L.Ed. 2d 163 (1980); Pabon v. Wright, 459 F.3d 241, 248 (2d Cir. 2006); McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004) ("[W]hen the plaintiff proceeds pro se, . . . a court is obliged to construe his pleadings liberally, particularly when they allege civil rights violations."). Moreover, at this stage of the proceeding, the Court assumes the truth of the allegations in the Complaint. See Hughes, 449 U.S. at 10; Koppel v. 4987 Corp., 167 F.3d 125, 127 (2d Cir. 1999).

III. Section 1983

Section 1983 provides that:

[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by ...


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