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Reyes v. Board of Education of Bellmore & Merrick School District

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 24, 2014

ELLEN REYES, as parent and natural guardian of Joy Reyes, Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE BELLMORE & MERRICK SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant.

For Plaintiff: Ellen Reyes, pro se.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

JOANNA SEYBERT, District Judge.

Pro se plaintiff Ellen Reyes ("Plaintiff"), as parent and natural guardian of her daughter, Joy Reyes ("Reyes"), filed a Complaint in this Court pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et. seq., ("IDEA") against the Board of Education of the Bellmore and Merrick School District ("Defendant") alleging that the Defendant failed to provide Reyes a "Free Appropriate Public Education ("FAPE") in a safe environment" in violation of federal law. Plaintiff further claims that the Defendant violated Reyes's unspecified constitutional rights and "United States Disabilities Act Laws." (Compl. at 1.)

Accompanying the Complaint is an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Upon review of Plaintiff's declaration in support of her application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that Plaintiff's financial status qualifies her to commence this action without prepayment of the Court's filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Accordingly, the application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. However, for the reasons that follow, the Complaint is sua sponte DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for failure to allege a plausible claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (B)(ii).

BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff's brief Complaint alleges the following in its entirety:[2]

Ellen Reyes as parent and nature guardian (hereinafter "Parent" or "Mother") of Joy Reyes (hereinafter "Joy or Student") date of birth 1/17/994, Joy Reyes was illegally kicked out from John F. Kennedy High School (February 1, 2012, and February 2, 2012), bullied, mental abuse, physical abuse, harassed, denied lunch and bathroom visits, in 9th, 10th and 11th grades by Bellmore & Merrick School District. Bellmore & Merrick School District failure to provide Joy Reyes a Free Appropriate Public Education in a safe environment (the Federal statute provides that a Free Appropriate Public Education' include special education (20 USC section 1401(a) (18)). Bellmore & Merrick School District violated Joy Reyes Student's Constitutional rights. Bellmore and Merrick School District are in violations of the United States Disabilities Act Laws. Joy Reyes by Parent and Natural Guardian, Ellen Reyes is prosecuting relief for mental and physical damages.

(Compl. at 1.) Annexed to the single page Complaint are an additional 126 pages largely comprised of multiple copies of portions of letters from Plaintiff to the New York State Department of Education, the Bellmore Merrick School District, and Frederick Brewington, Esq., as well as copies of Reyes's report cards, and prescriptions for physical and occupational therapy for Reyes. (See Compl., exhibits 1-6 annexed thereto.) Although Reyes is alleged to be twenty (20) years old, the Complaint and in forma pauperis application are signed only by Plaintiff.

DISCUSSION

I. In Forma Pauperis Applications

Upon review of Plaintiff's declaration in support of her application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that Plaintiff's financial status qualifies her 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.[3]

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).

Courts are obliged to construe the pleadings of a pro se plaintiff liberally, see Sealed Pl. v. Sealed Def., 537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008), and to interpret pro se papers "to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'" Corcoran v. N.Y. Power Auth., 202 F.3d 530, 536 (2d Cir. 1999) (quoting McPherson v. Coombe, 174 F.3d 276, 280 (2d Cir. 1999) (additional citation omitted)). Moreover, at the pleadings stage of a 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, 124 (2d Cir. 2010) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)), aff'd, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 1659, 185 L.Ed.2d 671 (2013). 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, 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, 556 U.S. at 678. The plausibility standard requires "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted ...


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