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Joy v. State

September 30, 2010

DWAYNE JOY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF NEW YORK; BRIAN FISCHER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES; COUNTY OF ONONDAGA; AND AGENTS OF THE COUNTY OF ONONDAGA, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

On July 23, 2009, Plaintiff filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights resulting from the administrative imposition of post-release supervision and his subsequent arrest for violating the terms of his supervision. In addition to these federal Constitutional claims, Plaintiff alleges violations of section 8-B of the Court of Claims Act, false imprisonment, prima facie tort, and New York State constitutional violations.

Currently before the Court is Defendant New York State's and Defendant Brian Fischer's ("State Defendants") motion to dismiss and Defendant Onondaga County's and Defendants Agents of Onondaga County's ("County Defendants") motion for a more definite statement.

II. BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiff was convicted of Burglary and Grand Larceny, for which he served a determinate New York State prison term of seven years. At the conclusion of his sentence, Plaintiff was placed on post-release supervision. The New York State sentencing court did not impose a period of supervised release at the time of judgment. Pursuant to New York Penal Law § 70.45(1), the Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS") "administratively imposed" post-release supervision, which was mandated as part of every determinate sentence.

While on post-release supervision, Plaintiff violated the terms of his release on three separate occasions and was subsequently returned to custody. Plaintiff was released from custody after a successful New York State habeas corpus proceeding. Plaintiff now brings this civil rights action seeking recompense for the allegedly illegal imposition of post-release supervision and the periods of incarceration resulting from his violations of the terms of his illegally-imposed post-release supervision.

III. DISCUSSION

A. State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

1. Standard of Review for a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion

A motion to dismiss a complaint, brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, calls upon a court to gauge the legal sufficiency of the non-movant's pleading, using as a backdrop a pleading standard which is particularly unexacting in its requirements. See Patane v. Clark, 508 F.3d 106, 111-12 (2d Cir. 2007). In considering a pleading's legal sufficiency, a court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts in the pleading and draw all reasonable inferences in the pleader's favor. See ATSI Commc'ns, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). This presumption of truth, however, does not extend to legal conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50 (2009). Although a court's review of a motion to dismiss is generally limited to the facts presented in the pleading, the court may consider documents that are "integral" to that pleading, even if they are neither physically attached to, nor incorporated by reference into, the pleading. See Mangiafico v. Blumenthal, 471 F.3d 391, 398 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting Chambers v. Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 152-53 (2d Cir. 2002)).

To survive a motion to dismiss, a party need only plead "a short and plain statement of the claim," see Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), with sufficient factual "heft to 'sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief[,]'" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007) (quotation omitted). Under this standard, the pleading's "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right of relief above the speculative level," see id. at 555 (citation omitted), and present claims that are "plausible on [their] face," id. at 570. "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citation omitted). "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of "entitlement to relief."'" Id. (quoting [Twombly, 550 U.S.] at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955).

2. Plaintiff's Claims against Defendant State of New York and Defendant Fischer in his Official Capacity

The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution bars federal courts from exercising subject matter jurisdiction over claims against states absent their consent to such a suit or an express statutory waiver of immunity. See Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 90-100 (1984). It is well-settled that states are not "persons" under section 1983 and, therefore, that statute does not abrogate a state's Eleventh Amendment immunity. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). Moreover, this immunity extends to state agencies and state officials sued in their official capacities. See Mancuso v. N.Y. State Thruway Auth., 86 F.3d 289, 292 (2d Cir. 1996) (quotation omitted).

In the present matter, although Plaintiff does not oppose the State Defendants' motion to dismiss Defendant New York State on Eleventh Amendment immunity grounds, he does oppose the dismissal of Defendant Fischer in his official capacity. This argument has no merit because the case law is well-established that Plaintiff cannot sue Defendant Fischer in his official capacity.

Accordingly, the Court grants the State Defendants' motion to dismiss Defendant New York State and Defendant ...


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