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Walker v. City of New York

July 25, 2012

MARTISE WALKER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION/WARDEN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: P. Kevin Castel, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Martise Walker, proceeding pro se, brings this action against the City of New York ("NYC") and New York City Department of Correction/Warden ("DOC") alleging that defendants violated his civil rights by classifying him in the Security Risk Group ("SRG") with neither notice nor an administrative hearing.

Defendants move to dismiss the Complaint in its entirety for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff has not submitted papers opposing the motion to dismiss and has not requested an extension of his time to do so. For reasons to be explained, defendant's motion is granted.

BACKGROUND:

Plaintiff is a convicted inmate incarcerated at the Eric M. Taylor Center ("EMTC"), a facility at Rikers Island. (Def. Mem. at 3.) Plaintiff alleges that he was classified in the SRG, (Compl. at ¶ 11(D).), a classification used to denote gang members, (Def. Mem. at 3.). Plaintiff alleges, however, that he is not a gang member and that he was never given the opportunity to challenge being labeled as such. (Compl. at ¶ II(B, D).)

Plaintiff claims that his SRG status has caused direct violations of his Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights because he no longer possesses "freedom of movement." (Id. at ¶ II(D).) Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of his status, he cannot "work throughout [his] incarceration," causing him loss of access to future employment. (Id. at ¶ II(B), ¶ III.) Plaintiff alleges that SRG status also subjects the inmate to "constant searches, harassment, and constant surviellance [sic]." (Id. at ¶ III.) It also, according to plaintiff, "hieghtens [sic] the probability of punitive segregation [and] disciplinary action." (Id.)

Plaintiff alleges that the entire correctional system, including the EMTC Administration, the DOC Commissioner and the Board of Correction and Inmate Grievances, applies the SRG label disproportionately to minority inmates based on stereotypes held by correction officials. (Id. at ¶ II(D), ¶ V.)

Plaintiff indicated that he exhausted his administrative remedies by filing a grievance with "Inmate Grievance, Capt. of Security, Dep. of Security, Warden, BOC" and filing an Article 78 action. (Id. at ¶ IV.) There is no other information provided about these actions.

Plaintiff filed this action on December 28, 2011 alleging violations of his civil rights. Plaintiff seeks $100,000,000 in damages on behalf of himself and all minorities affected by the SRG label. (Id. at ¶ V.) Defendant moves to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

LEGAL STANDARD

To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "'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 555-56). A plaintiff must plead "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. However, "'detailed factual allegations'" are not necessary. Id (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56).

In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, all non-conclusory factual allegations are accepted as true, see id. at 678-79, and all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. See In re Elevator Antitrust Litig., 502 F.3d 47, 50 (2d Cir. 2007) (per curiam). Moreover, plaintiff's pro se pleadings are "'to be liberally construed.[and], however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Finally, an unopposed Rule 12(b)(6) motion is still subject to review on the merits. McCall v. Pataki, 232 F.3d 321, 322 (2d Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

Construing the Complaint liberally, it appears that plaintiff alleges that: (1) his due process rights were violated by the Warden, a person acting under color of state law, because he was not given an administrative hearing prior to his SRG classification; (2) his freedom of movement was restricted by his classification; (3) his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment was violated because, due to his SRG status, he cannot work throughout his incarceration; (4) his right to equal protection before the law, and that of his fellow minority inmates, was violated because minority males are "singled out" for SRG status; and (5) the City of New York had an official policy to target minorities in making SRG classifications.*fn1 The ...


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