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Henry C. Latham v. Tyson

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NOT FOR PUBLICATION EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


November 13, 2012

HENRY C. LATHAM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TYSON, DEFENDANT. HENRY C. LATHAM,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SAINT MARY HOSPITAL; GERALDINE LATHAM, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: John Gleeson, United States District Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Pro se plaintiff Henry C. Latham filed these actions on September 14, 2012. I consolidate these actions and grant his requests to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 solely for the purpose of this Order. Because I am unable to determine what claim he is advancing in either action, I dismiss the complaints without prejudice.

A. Discussion

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), a district court shall dismiss an in forma pauperis action if it determines that the action "(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." A pro se complaint, however, "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)) (internal quotation marks omitted), and this Court must liberally construe a pro se plaintiff's pleadings and interpret his complaint to raise the strongest arguments it suggests. McPherson v. Coombe, 174 F.3d 276, 280 (2d Cir. 1999).

Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a complaint "shall contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The statement should be plain because the principal function of pleadings under the Federal Rules is to give the adverse party fair notice of the claim asserted so as to enable him to answer and prepare for trial. Although courts must give pro se pleadings a liberal construction, "the basic requirements of Rule 8 apply to self-represented and counseled plaintiffs alike." Wynder v. McMahon, 360 F.3d 73, 79, n.11 (2d Cir. 2004).

Construing Latham's complaints liberally, I find that they fail under Rule 8 because both complaints are both illegible and unintelligible.*fn1 If a pro se complaint does not comply with the requirements of Rule 8, a court may dismiss the complaint "on its own initiative." Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir. 1988). Dismissal for non-compliance with Rule 8 is appropriate here because the complaint is "so confused . . . [or] otherwise unintelligible that its true substance, if any, is well disguised." Id. (citation omitted); see also Iwachiw v. New York State Dep't of Motor Vehicles, 396 F.3d 525, 527-28 (2d Cir. 2005) (affirming dismissal of a pro se complaint because unintelligible).

B. Conclusion

The complaints are dismissed without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). In forma pauperis status is denied for purpose of an appeal because any appeal from this order would not be taken in good faith. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3).

So ordered.

JOHN GLEESON, U.S.D.J.


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