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Karris v. Varulo

United States District Court, E.D. New York

April 10, 2014

BRIAN JOHN KARRIS, #12A5656, Plaintiff,
v.
RAY VARULO, Assistant District Attorney, GARY J. WEBER, Honorable Judge, and THOMAS J. SPOTA, III, District Attorney, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

SANDRA J. FEUERSTEIN, District Judge.

I. Introduction

On February 18, 2014, incarcerated pro se plaintiff Brian J. Karris ("plaintiff') filed a complaint in this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") against Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Ray Varulo ("ADA Varulo"); the Honorable Gary J. Weber ("Judge Weber"), former acting Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Suffolk; and Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota, III ("D.A. Spota") (collectively, "defendants"), accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis. On February 26, 2014, plaintiff filed an amended complaint against the same defendants, accompanied by another application to proceed in forma pauperis.

Since plaintiff's financial status, as set forth in his declarations in support of his applications 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 applications to proceed in forma pauperis are granted. However, for the reasons set forth below, the amended complaint is sua sponge dismissed in its entirety with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii) and 1915A(b)(2) on the basis that it seeks monetary relief against defendants who are immune from such relief.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

In his amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that he was falsely arrested on June 28, 2010; wrongfully indicted for assault in the first degree and attempted robbery in the first degree; and incarcerated for over two (2) years on a four hundred thousand dollar ($400, 000.00) bond until he was acquitted, following a bench trial before Judge Weber, on January 14, 2012. (Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 6, 7). According to plaintiff, defendants "maliciously prosecuted th[e] bench trial even though on record' [he] wanted [a] jury trial * * *." (Am. Compl. at ¶ 6).

Plaintiff claims to have suffered "mental health psychosis as well as physical injuries with a very bad prognosis * * *." (Am. Compl. at ¶ 7.) According to plaintiff, the head psychiatrist at the Riverhead County Jail ordered him to take the anti-psychotic drug, Abilify, 15 mg, "for severe clinical depression" and he attended an "outside rehibilitation [sic] for [his] physical injuries."[1] Plaintiff asserts claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution and unlawful imprisonment in violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and seeks to recover damages in the amount of fifty-five million dollars ($55, 000, 000.00). (Id. at ¶ 9.)

III. Discussion

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). 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 ).

"In determining immunity, [courts] accept the allegations of [the plaintiff's] complaint as true." Kalina v. Fletcher, 522 U.S. 118, 122, 118 S.Ct. 502, 139 L.Ed.2d 471 (1997); see also Shmueli v. City of New York, 424 F.3d 231, 233 (2d Cir. 2005) ("In determining whether the [prosecutors] are entitled to absolute immunity * * *, [courts] accept the allegations of [the plaintiff's] amended complaint as true.")

B. Section 1983

Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code provides, in relevant part:

"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by ...

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