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Cruz v. Nassau Sheriffs Dep't

November 15, 2010


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


Presently pending before the Court is the application of incarcerated pro se plaintiff Leonardo Valdez Cruz ("Plaintiff")to proceed in forma pauperis filed together with a Complaint alleging violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment Constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"). The application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. However, for the reasons set forth below, the Complaint is sua sponte DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as against Nassau County Sheriffs Department and DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as against Nassau County, Corporal Donoughly, Michael J. Sposato, Officer Mcathy, Officer Thomas ans John Does 1 and 2 with leave to file an Amended Complaint.


Plaintiff purports to allege violation of his Eighth Amendment rights due to the negligent and reckless disregard of his safety during his incarceration at the Nassau County Correctional Center. According to the Complaint, during February 2010, several items of "contraband" were left unattended in Tier B4D at the Nassau County Correctional Center. Unidentified correction officers are alleged to have allowed an unidentified inmate, who had been placed in administrative segregation because he was considered a threat to himself and others, to enter Tier B4D without supervision. Subsequently, this inmate procured an item of contraband, in this case a broom, and began attacking the Plaintiff. (Compl. at ¶ IV). Plaintiff contends that he was locked in his cell, defenseless, as the inmate attacked him. The Complaint describes that Plaintiff's screams for help went unanswered until after the inmate broke the broom stick turning it into a spear and then stabbed Plaintiff in his left leg. As a result, Plaintiff alleges that he needed medical treatment for his injuries. (Compl. at ¶ IV).

Plaintiff further alleges that, on February 24, 2010, he was transferred from Tier B4D to Tier B4C. Plaintiff contends that he informed an unidentified officer that it would be unsafe for him to move to Tier B4C because he had previously been involved in conflicts with other inmates housed there. (Compl. at ¶ IV).

Plaintiff alleges that notwithstanding his request not to be transferred, he was nonetheless moved to Tier B4C, and upon entrance into the Tier Plaintiff was "accosted by an inmate with his fist balled up and arms swinging." (Compl. at ¶ IV). According to the Complaint, Plaintiff sought assistance from the unidentified correction officer present who, rather than stop the altercation, stated, "[l]ets [sic] see if you can fight a man." (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that he suffered unspecified injuries during this attack and again needed medical attention. Plaintiff further contends that the correction officer permitted this altercation because of a personal prejudice against Plaintiff due to the allegation that Plaintiff killed the mother of Plaintiff's children. (Id.).

Plaintiff seeks $20 million as compensation for unspecified injuries suffered due to the failure of the Sheriff's Department and correction officers to ensure his safety in Nassau County Correctional Center. (Compl. at ¶¶ IV and V).


I. In Forma Pauperis Application

Upon review of Plaintiff's declaration in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that Plaintiff's financial status qualifies him to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. 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); 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 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 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 ...

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