United States District Court, E.D. New York
SANDRA J. FEUERSTEIN, District Judge.
On January 6, 2014, incarcerated pro se plaintiff Damion Ishmael Brown ("plaintiff") filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") against the Nassau County Police Department ("NCPD"); Nassau County Sheriff Department ("NCSD"); John Nyugen ("Nyugen"); and three (3) "John Doe" defendants, identified only as officers employed by the NCSD (collectively, "defendants"), accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
Since plaintiff's financial status, as set forth in his declaration in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, qualifies him to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fees, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), his application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. However, for the reasons set forth below, the claims against the NCPD, NCSD and Nyugen, and as construed to be against the County of Nassau ("the County"), are sua sponte dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim for relief.
II. The Complaint
Plaintiff alleges that on October 17, 2013, while he was incarcerated at the Nassau County Correctional Center ("NCCC"), he was assaulted by three (3) unidentified corrections officers on the 72 Hour Holding Unit during the 5:00-8:00 p.m. shift. (Compl. at ¶¶. A.-D.) Specifically, plaintiff alleges:
"I was being transferred from the 72 hour holding unit * * * and during the process of being searched by 3 Correction staff members I was asked why was I complaining about the toilet the day before, so I told them why and because I hissed my teeth, the officer searching me from behind while my hands where [sic] on the wall and my feet apart, lift me up by the crotch and shoulders in the air and body slam me into the concrete floor[.] * * * While on the floor they stomped on my body and feet then proceeded to apply pepper spray to my face and use excessive force."
( Id. at ¶ II. D.)
Following the alleged assault, plaintiff was taken to the trauma room where an x-ray was taken of his back, his cuts were bandaged, ice was applied to his head and he was given pain medication. ( Id. at ¶ III.) According to plaintiff, his "toe nails [of his right foot] have fallen out;" there is "no more hair growing at th[e] spot on [his] head" where it was "cut open;" and he "is still being treated for [his] head and back pains." ( Id. )
Plaintiff also alleges that he "was illegaly [sic] arrested by the 3rd Precinct without an [sic] warrant and out of their jurisdiction based upon a false complaint from John Nyugen." (Id. at ¶ II D.)
As a result of the foregoing, plaintiff seeks to recover punitive and compensatory damages in the amount of five million dollars ($5, 000, 000.00) each. ( Id at ¶ V).
A. Standard of Review
Under both the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and the in forma pauperis statute, 29 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), a district court must dismiss a complaint if it 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. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i-iii). 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) (citation omitted), and to construe them "to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Gerstenbluth v. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, 728 F.3d 139, 142-43 (2d Cir. 2013) (quotations 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. Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 621 F.3d 111, 124 (2d Cir. 2010), aff'd ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 1659, 185 L.Ed.2d 671 (2013) (citing ...