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Maceo Johnson v. the County of Washington

January 20, 2011

MACEO JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE COUNTY OF WASHINGTON,*FN1 DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David R. Homer U.S. Magistrate Judge

REPORT-RECOMMENDATION and ORDER

Presently before this Court is an application to proceed in forma pauperis and a civil rights complaint filed by Maceo Johnson ("plaintiff" or "Johnson"). Dkt. Nos. 1-2. Johnson has not paid any fee relating to this action. Johnson seeks recovery of damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the alleged deprivation of his constitutional rights. Id. at 3, 6.

Because the pleading submitted by Johnson fails to satisfy the basic pleading requirements established by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the complaint fails to establish a cause of action under 42 U.S.C.§ 1983, the Court will give Johnson leave to file an amended complaint should he wish to avoid the dismissal of his action.

I. Discussion

A. Defendant Hon. Stan L. Pritzker

Johnson names Honorable Stan L. Pritzker, Washington County Family Court Judge, as a defendant. Johnson claims that Judge Pritzker directed that plaintiff withdraw a motion to dismiss a petition filed by the Washington County Department of Social Services. According to Johnson, because he refused to withdraw the motion to dismiss, Judge Pritzker withdrew Johnson's court-appointed counsel. See Compl. at 3. For the reasons stated below, the claims against Judge Pritzker should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and N.D.N.Y.L.R. Rule 5.4(a).

Section 1915(e), as amended, directs that the Court:

(2) [S]hall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that *** (B) the action ... (I) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

"Judges enjoy absolute immunity from personal liability for 'acts committed within their judicial jurisdiction.'" Young v. Selsky, 41 F.3d 47, 51 (2d Cir. 1994) (emphasis added) (quoting Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 (1967)). "The absolute immunity of a judge applies however erroneous the act may have been, and however injurious in its consequences it may have proved to the plaintiff." Young, 41 F.3d at 51 (internal quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, defendant Pritzker should be dismissed from this action with prejudice because he is absolutely immune from liability in this Section 1983 action.

(B) Rules Governing Pleading Requirements.

Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a pleading which sets forth a claim for relief shall contain, inter alia, "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The purpose of this Rule "is to give fair notice of the claim being asserted so as to permit the adverse party the opportunity to file a responsive answer, prepare an adequate defense and determine whether the doctrine of res judicata is applicable." Hudson v. Artuz, 1998 WL 832708, *1 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 1998) (quoting Powell v. Marine Midland Bank, 162 F.R.D. 15, 16 (N.D.N.Y.1995) (McAvoy, C.J.) (other citations omitted)).

Moreover, Rule 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in part:

(b) Paragraphs; Separate Statements. All averments of claim or defense shall be made in numbered paragraphs, the contents of each of which shall be limited as far as practicable to a statement of a single set of circumstances; and a paragraph may be referred to by number in all succeeding pleadings. Each claim founded upon a separate transaction or occurrence and each defense other than denials shall be stated in a separate count or defense whenever a separation facilitates the clear presentation of the matters set forth.

The purpose of Rule 10 is to "provide an easy mode of identification for referring to a particular paragraph in a prior pleading ...." Sandler v. Capanna, No. 92-4838, 1992 WL 392597, *3 (E.D.Pa. Dec. 17, 1992) (citing 5 C. Wright & A. ...


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