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Jose Torres v. Nassau County Jail

May 19, 2011

JOSE TORRES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NASSAU COUNTY JAIL, SGT. KRUTE SHIELD #53, CPL. SIKINGS SHIELD #315, CO AQUILINA, CO CALIFANO, CPL MCCANN, DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

Pending before the Court is the civil rights Complaint of incarcerated pro se plaintiff Jose Torres ("Plaintiff") brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Upon review of the Plaintiff's financial declaration in support of the application, the Court finds that Plaintiff's financial status qualifies him to file this action without prepayment of the filing fees. Accordingly, the application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. However, for the reasons that follow, the Complaint is sua sponte dismissed with prejudice as against defendant Nassau County Jail and with leave to file an Amended Complaint against Nassau County.

BACKGROUND

According to the brief, handwritten Complaint submitted on the Court's civil rights complaint form, Plaintiff received a "ticket" from defendant Sikings for allegedly clogging his toilet, an offense that Plaintiff denies. (Compl. at ¶ IV). Plaintiff claims that Defendant Krute "did my hearing and I got 14 days on 1/6/11." (Id.). Plaintiff was then "sent to M.O. on 1/9/11, where I'm lock[ed] in the cell [that was] real dirty [and had] mice droppings, spit on the walls, [and] smell[ed] like piss." (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant McCann did not allow Plaintiff to clean the cell. (Id.). According to the Complaint, on January 10, 2011, Plaintiff was "called to mental health," where Defendant Aquilina broke Plaintiff's glasses and kicked Plaintiff's feet. (Id.). Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants Aquilina, McCann and two unnamed officers have "threatened to hurt" him and Defendant Califano called Plaintiff a "spic" over the loud speaker. (Id.).

As a result of the foregoing, Plaintiff claims that he "fear[s] for his life." (Id.). Plaintiff has left blank the section on the Complaint that calls for a description of any injuries suffered or medical treatment received arising from the events complained of. Nevertheless, Plaintiff seeks $2 million in damages for unspecified "pain and suffering" as well as "disciplinary action against all stated jail officers." (Id. at ¶ V.).

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 ("PLRA")

The PLRA, 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); Abbasv. 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 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).

A. 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 the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured.

42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. To state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must "allege that (1) the challenged conduct was attributable at least in part to a person acting under color of state law and (2) the conduct deprived the plaintiff of a right guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States." Rae v. County of Suffolk, No. 07-CV-2138 (RMM) (ARL), 2010 WL ...


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