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France v. Legal Aid Society

United States District Court, E.D. New York

May 12, 2014

MR. SIDNEY FRANCE, Plaintiff,
v.
LEGAL AID SOCIETY, MICHAEL F. BERGER (Legal Aid Society), Defendants.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

SANDRA J. FEUERSTEIN, District Judge.

On April 10, 2014, incarcerated pro se plaintiff Sidney France ("plaintiff") filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Legal Aid Society ("Legal Aid") and Legal Aid attorney, Michael F. Berger ("Berger"), with an application to proceed in forma pauperis.

A review of the declaration in support of the application to proceed in forma pauperis establishes that plaintiff's financial status qualifies him to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a); 1915(a)(1). Therefore, plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. However, for the reasons that follow, the complaint is sua sponte dismissed.

I. Background[1]

Plaintiff's complaint alleges that on February 6, 2014, he asked Berger to arrange for his "felony exam." Cowl. pp. 6-7. On March 7, 2014, plaintiff was indicted without a preliminary hearing. Id. at p. 7. Plaintiff states he is "writing [to the Court] to ask if the Legal Aid violated my right[s] on my felony [e]xam." Id. at 6. Plaintiff does not allege any injuries, nor does he seek any relief. DE 1.

II. Discussion

A. In Forma Pauperis Application

Upon review of plaintiffs 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 fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Therefore, plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is granted.

B. Application of 28 U.S.C. § 1915

Under the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), 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.

It is axiomatic that district courts are required to read pro se complaints liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (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 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." Harrington v. Cnty. of Suffolk, 607 F.3d 31, 33 (2d Cir. 2010); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (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 (2007). The pleading of specific facts is not required; rather a complaint need only give the defendant "fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quotations and citation omitted); see also Anderson News. LLC v. American Media, Inc., 680 F.3d 162, 182 (2d Cir. 2012), cert. denied by Curtis Circulation Co. v. Anderson News, LLC, 133 S.Ct. 846 (2013) (accord). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (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; see also Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. ex rel. St. Vincent Catholic Med. Ctrs. Ret. Plan v. Morgan Stanley Inv. Mgmt. Inc., 712 F.3d 705, 717 (2d Cir. 2013) (accord). The plausibility standard requires "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678; see also In re Amaranth Natural Gas Commodities Litig., 730 F.3d 170, 180 (2d Cir. 2013).

1. Section 1983

Tile 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides, in ...


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