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Andrew Zeigler v. Vincent Demarco

March 13, 2012

ANDREW ZEIGLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VINCENT DEMARCO, CHARLES EWALD, JOHN DOE, DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

Before the Court is the Complaint of incarcerated pro se plaintiff Andrew Zeigler ("Plaintiff") against Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, the Warden of the Riverhead Correctional Facility, Charles Ewald, and an unidentified "John Doe" described as a "facility medical staff [member]" (collectively, "Defendants") filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Upon review of Plaintiff's 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 fee. Accordingly, the application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. However, for the reasons that follow, the Complaint is sua sponte dismissed in part pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii); 1915A(b).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that: On or around December 30th, approximately 11:30 a.m. at the Suffolk County Jail located in Riverhead, New York, particularly on the fourth floor in the West-North Housing Section of the inmate living quarters . . . John Doe breached regulations involving the confidentiality of a patient's medical records or status. John Doe, on the above mentioned date without any regard to his sworn Hippocratic oath freely disseminated sensitive confidential medical information. . . . On the same date in question, John Doe . . . revealed to me via blood work results, that I had contracted Hepatitas(c) [sic]. After some careful deductive reasoning in conjunction with some personal investigative work as to how I could've succumbed to such condition after having a clean bill of health prior to any incarceration, as state medical records will reflect, it is concluded that such contraction could only be attributed to the Suffolk County Correctional Facility's poor hygenic [sic] practices in relation to their distribution of inmate razor/shaving procedures. It is firmly believed that such practice is executed with such negligence that often times clean shaving razors get mixed with used ones thereby creating a propensity for any blood borne infections. . . . It should be noted that I have not been treated for such condition . . .

Compl. at ¶ IV, and pages 1-2 annexed thereto. For relief, Plaintiff seeks to recover monetary damages in total sum of ten million dollars ($10 million) to compensate him for the "defamation of my character and obvious embarrassment in the unbridled release of patient information and the irreversible effects of my current health condition" as well as "federal review into the conduct of John Doe as it relates to the alleged malpractice and constitutional deprivation of privacy rights. Injunctive relief as it relates to the shaving razor distribution of the Suffolk County Jail." (Compl. 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 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 28 U.S.C. § 1915

Section 1915 of Title 28 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); 1915A(b). The Court is required to dismiss the action as soon as it makes such a determination. See id.

Courts are obliged to construe the pleadings of a pro se plaintiff liberally. Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed Defendant, 537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008); McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004). Moreover, at the pleadings stage of the proceeding, the Court must assume the truth of "all well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegations" in the complaint. Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 621 F.3d 111, 123 (2d Cir. 2010) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949--50, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009). However, a complaint must plead sufficient facts to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citations omitted). While "detailed factual allegations" are not required, "[a] pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S. Ct. at 1955).

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

42 U.S.C. § 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 who was 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. Cnty. of Suffolk, 693 F. Supp. 2d 217, 223 (E.D.N.Y. 2010) (quoting Snider v. Dylag, 188 F.3d 51, 53 (2d Cir. 1999)). Section 1983 does not create a substantive right; rather, to ...


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