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Sims v. Securustecr.Net Connection

United States District Court, E.D. New York

April 8, 2014




On September 12, 2013, pro se plaintiff Shiroide Sims ("plaintiff') filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") against, the Suffolk County Correctional Facility (the "Suffolk Jail"), Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco ("Sheriff DeMarco") and Suffolk Jail Warden Charles Ewald ("Warden Ewald") (collectively, "defendants") seeking to challenge the conditions of his confinement at the Suffolk Jail, accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Upon review of plaintiff's declaration in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that plaintiff's financial status qualifies him to commence this action without prepayment of the 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 for failure to allege a plausible claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1).

I. The Complaint

Plaintiff alleges in his brief handwritten complaint[1] that he has been denied adequate access to telephone service during his incarceration at the Suffolk Jail as a pre-trial detainee. As a result, plaintiff seeks to recover damages totaling fourteen million dollars ($14, 000, 000.00).[2] Plaintiff's "Statement of Claim" alleges, in its entirety:[3]

1. Eighth Amendment Rights violation in adequate communication with the outside world: In that, when using the phone to contact family, loved ones and to handle personal affairs, as well as to contact your attorney's or the Courts; SecurusTech.Net has many "drop calls;" where its $1.95 for a connection and $.20 each additional minute; if you spoke to any attorney for two (2) minute's and the call is dropped; that's $3.55; And SecuruTech.Net AND Suffolk County Refuse to Reimburse those funds, Blaming it on each other.
2. Pre-Trial Detainee's, And the like, can not prepare an adequate defense due to: the system may hang up due to a noisy background (stating no 3rd party calls) when there are none.
3. Expenses of striving to buy phone time is "outrageous" on both ends; It's $5.00 for 10 or 15 minutes; in the local area, Attorney's or family when in the same state with an area code outside of 516 or 631, has to pay $10.00 with an account and $14 to $20.00 with credit cards.
4. Most Attorney's don't write nor visit pre trial detainee's and would rather speak to the defendant's by phone yet it's impossible to do so with such system.

(Compl. at 5-6). As a result, plaintiff claims that pre-trial detainees are "ruinable to fight or defend there criminal case's due to malicious intent to keep detainee's out of communication, " and that he has suffered "psychological trama, induced by the improper, inadequate excercise of the SecurusTech.Net phone system and S.C.C.F's limitation's of communication." ( Id at 6). In addition to plaintiff's fourteen million dollar ($14, 000, 000.00) demand, plaintiff requests that "Suffolk County Correctional Facility find and fund a better; cheaper phone system, that [is] Affordable for Both inmate's who choose to buy their own phone minute's; and for Family, love ones, and legal counsels to buy minute's at their end of the phone...." ( Id at 7).

II. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

Under both the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(0(2), a district court must dismiss a complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b), 1915(e)(2)(3); see Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007) (finding both Section 1915 and Section 1915A to be applicable to a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis ).

It is axiomatic that district courts are required to read pro se complaints liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct, 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976)); Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 515 (2d Cir. 2013), and to construe them "to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Gerstenbluth v. Credit Suisse Sec. (USA) LLC, 728 F.3d 139, 142-43 (2d Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Moreover, at the pleadings stage of the proceeding, the Court must assume the truth of "all well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegations in the complaint." Harrington v. Cnty. of Suffolk 607 F.3d 31, 33 (2d Cir. 2010); see also Ashcroft v. lqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).

Nevertheless, a complaint must plead sufficient facts "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). While the plausibility standard "does not require detailed factual allegations, " it "demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. "A pleading that offers 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). "Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual enhancement.' Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557); accord Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. ex rel. Saint Vincent Catholic Med. Ctr. Ret. Plan v. Morgan Stanley Inv. Mgmt. Inc., 712 F.3d 705, 717 (2d Cir. 2013). The plausibility standard ...

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