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Jeffrey Russell v. Sheriff Vincent Demarco

April 26, 2012

JEFFREY RUSSELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHERIFF VINCENT DEMARCO, WARDEN CHARLES EWALD AND JOHN DOE, DOCTOR, DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

Before the Court is the Complaint of incarcerated pro se plaintiff Jeffrey Russell ("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 Doctor - Name and Employee Identification Number unknown" (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)(ii); 1915A(b).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that: On or around December 30th, approximately 11:35 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, Medical Staff (i.e. Facility Doctor) Name and Employee Identification Number unknown . . . fell in clear violation of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Whereas [he] 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 in the presence of officers and other inmates in a blatant display of unethical professional behavior . . . .

Compl. at ¶ IV, and pages 1-2 annexed thereto. Plaintiff has also attached to his Complaint a copy of a grievance form dated December 30, 2011 wherein he describes that the unidentified Defendant Doctor revealed the results of Plaintiff's blood test that Plaintiff was positive for the HIV virus. Id. and page 3 annexed to the Complaint. For relief, Plaintiff seeks to recover two million dollars ($2 million) in monetary damages 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." (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 ...


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