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Hill v. Griffin

United States District Court, Second Circuit

May 2, 2013

MICHAEL HILL, Plaintiff,
PATRICK GRIFFIN, Superintendent, et al., Defendants.


MICHAEL A. TELESCA, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Pro se plaintiff Michael Hill ("Hill" or "Plaintiff"), an inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Presently before the Court is the motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("F.R.C.P.") 8(a) by Defendants Patrick Griffn, Superintendent of Southport Correctional Facility ("Southport")); William Hopkins, Deputy Superintendent; Angela Bartlett, Deputy Superintendent of Programs; Michael Sheahan, Deputy Superintendent of Security; Sharon Smith, Laundry Supervisor; Scott Hodge, Law Library Supervisor; Harry Hetrick, Corrections Captain; Karen Bellamy, Director of Inmate Grievance Program; Sabrina Vonhagn, Inmate Grievance Supervisor; Brian Fischer, Commissioner of DOCCS; Frederick Butler, Corrections Sergeant; Anthony Manzo, Corrections Officer; Craig Skelly, Corrections Officer; John Squires, Corrections Office; Norman Bezio, Director of Special Housing; Robert Murphy, Corrections Officer; Denise Fuller, Mental Health Unit Chief; John Winant, Corrections Sergeant; Jeremy Clement, Nurse; William Atwood, Corrections Sergeant; Drew Onifer, Corrections Officer; Albert Prack, Director of Special Housing; and Herman Lebson, Teacher.[1]

II. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed his original complaint (Docket No. 1) on July 19, 2010. After the Court reviewed the complaint with respect to the criteria set out in 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A and directed service of the summons and complaint, the Court granted plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint (Docket No. 5). Plaintiff's amended complaint (Docket No. 6) was filed on December 5, 2010. Due to its voluminous size, it was manually filed.

On April 6, 2011, after reviewing Plaintiff's Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1), the Court dismissed a number of additional parties named in the Amended Complaint. The Court also dismissed, on the basis of prosecutorial immunity, Paragraphs 86-88 of the First Cause of Action and the entire Tenth Cause of Action alleging selective enforcement of African-American and Latino prisoners. See Decision at 7-8 (Docket No. 8). The Eleventh and Thirteenth Causes of Action, alleging conspiracy to prevent prisoners from bringing criminal charges against corrections officers, were dismissed as a matter of law based upon the failure of the selective enforcement claim. See Decision at 8-9 (Docket No. 8).

The remaining Defendants have moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint on the basis that it fails to comply with F.R.C.P. 8(a)'s pleading requirements and the Western District of New York's Local Rules of Civil Procedure 5.2, 10(a)(2), 10(a)(4), and 10(b)(5). Defendants also contend that application of the "three strikes rule" set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) requires revocation of Plaintiff in forma pauperis status and dismissal without prejudice subject to Plaintiff's payment of the filing fee.

For the reasons the follow, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted. In addition, the Court has sua sponte exercised its discretion to dismiss with prejudice several of Plaintiff's claims because, as a matter of law, they fail to state a claim, and repleading would be futile.

III. Discussion

A. The Three Strikes Rule

Section 1915(g) of Title 28 U.S.C. provides that

[i]n no event shall a prisoner bring a civil action... under this section if the prisoner has, on 3 or more occasions, while incarcerated..., brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(g); see also, e.g., Harris v. City of New York , 607 F.3d 18, 20 (2d Cir. 2010) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

When a district court becomes aware that a plaintiff, to whom it has granted in forma pauperis status, has already filed three lawsuits that qualify as "strikes" for purposes of § 1915(g), it should revoke in forma pauperis status and dismiss the complaint. Here, as Hill points out, the three strikes rule does not apply because he has paid the filing ...

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