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Anthony Bennett v. D.S.D. Habeck

August 15, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles J. Siragusa United States District Judge



Siragusa, J. Plaintiff Anthony Bennett ("Plaintiff") filed this pro se action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The case is now before the Court on Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, filed April 6, 2012, ECF No. 16. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants Defendants' application.


The Complaint in this action consists mostly of incoherent rambling. Compl., Dec. 1, 2011, ECF No. 1. However, nonetheless, the Court has attempted to construe the Complaint broadly in a light most favorable to Plaintiff.

Plaintiff has been, for all relevant times, an inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional and Community Services ("DOCCS"), housed at various facilities. In the present action, Plaintiff makes allegations involving events at three different DOCCS locations: Franklin Correctional Facility ("Franklin"), Upstate Correctional Facility ("Upstate"), and Wyoming Correctional Facility ("Wyoming"). The named defendants in the action are D.S.D. Habeck of Franklin (Hearing officer) of Corr. Fac. ("Habeck"); Jamie Sterns (CFFAII) of Franklin Corr. Fac. ("Sterns"); C.O. McGrath of Franklin Corr. Fac. ("McGRath"); Sergeant Cross of Upstate Corr. Fac. ("Cross"); R. Shaw (S.C.C.) of Wyoming Corr. Fac. ("Shaw"); and B. Herman (voc. supervisor) Wyoming Corr. Fac. ("Herman"). Compl. at 2 (names and titles of defendants taken as written in the Complaint).

First, at Franklin, Plaintiff alleges that Sterns and McGrath filed false misbehavior reports against him. Sterns allegedly fabricated offensive comments made to her by Plaintiff, and McGrath allegedly conspired with a non-party to fabricate an incident of violent threats made to them by Plaintiff. In regard to these two misbehavior reports, Plaintiff was given a disciplinary hearing before Habeck on July 20, 2011. Plaintiff claims that Habeck was unfair and biased in the administration of the hearing because Habeck "was very personal in his defending this person Sterns." Compl. at 5. Plaintiff was placed in the Special Housing Unit ('SHU") as a result of the hearing. The decision of the hearing was administratively reversed on appeal on October 25, 2011. Compl. at 16. Plaintiff was released from the SHU accordingly.*fn1

Next, Plaintiff alleges that Cross, at Upstate, improperly took some of his legal materials. Cross wrote Plaintiff a misbehavior report for possessing the materials, and Plaintiff was given a disciplinary hearing before a non-party. Plaintiff was found guilty on all charges at the hearing. However, the decision of the hearing was reversed and expunged on September 8, 2011.

Lastly, at Wyoming, Plaintiff makes vague allegations that he "is experiencing the same thing in Wyoming correctional facility from R. Shaw and B. Herman." Compl. at 7. Plaintiff, however, makes no specific allegations and provides no context or facts to support this conclusion.


Motion to Dismiss

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554 (2007), clarified the standard to be applied to a 12(b)(6) motion:

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a Plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Id. at 555 (citations and internal quotations omitted). See also, ATSI Communications, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007) ("To survive dismissal, the plaintiff must provide the grounds upon which his claim rests through factual allegations sufficient 'to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'") (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly) (footnote omitted); Iqbal v. Hasty, 490 F.3d 143, 2007 WL 1717803 (2d Cir. Jun. 14, 2007) (Indicating that Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly adopted "a flexible 'plausibility standard,' which obliges a pleader to amplify a claim with some factual allegations in those contexts where such amplification is needed to render the claim plausible[,]" as opposed to merely conceivable.) When applying this standard, a district court must accept the allegations contained in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Burnette v. Carothers, 192 F.3d 52, 56 (1999), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1052 (2000). On the other hand, "[c]onclusory allegations of the legal ...

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