United States District Court, N.D. New York
DEMETRIA CLARE LUNNY, Plaintiff, pro se.
ANDREW T. BAXTER, District Judge.
The Clerk has sent to the court a complaint, filed on a form for civil rights actions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, together with an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"), filed by pro se plaintiff, Demetria Clare Lunny. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 2).
I. IFP Application
Although plaintiff has not properly completed the IFP form, other documents submitted by plaintiff in this case show that plaintiff is indigent. Thus, the court will assume that she meets the financial criteria for IFP.
In addition to determining whether plaintiff meets the financial criteria to proceed IFP, the court must also consider the sufficiency of the allegations set forth in the complaint in light of 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which provides that the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that the action is (i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).
In determining whether an action is frivolous, the court must consider whether the complaint lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Dismissal of frivolous actions is appropriate to prevent abuses of court process as well as to discourage the waste of judicial resources. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327; Harkins v. Eldridge, 505 F.2d 802, 804 (8th Cir. 1974). Although the court has a duty to show liberality toward pro se litigants, and must use extreme caution in ordering sua sponte dismissal of a pro se complaint before the adverse party has been served and has had an opportunity to respond, the court still has a responsibility to determine that a claim is not frivolous before permitting a plaintiff to proceed. Fitzgerald v. First East Seventh St. Tenants Corp., 221 F.3d 362, 363 (2d Cir. 2000) (finding that a district court may dismiss a frivolous complaint sua sponte even when plaintiff has paid the filing fee).
To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is "plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555). The court will now turn to a consideration of the plaintiff's complaint under the above standards.
In her civil rights complaint, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff names as a defendant, Lucille Soldato, the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services ("DSS") in Utica, New York. Plaintiff claims that, on an unspecified date,  she went to DSS to advise a "Representative" of plaintiff's financial status. (Compl. at CM/ECF p.2). Plaintiff alleges that she was unable to obtain funds from her "spouse, " due to an order of protection filed against him. Plaintiff states that she complied with all the DSS requirements for "assistance, " but that she was "taken out of DSS" on an unspecified date because she continued to ask for assistance after she was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. ( Id. )
Plaintiff claims that, defendant Soldato "beliddled [sic]" plaintiff in front of a room full of people and told her that she was the commissioner, and that DSS could not help plaintiff by adding funds to her account because the money was already going toward her rent. ( Id. ) Plaintiff states that Ms. Tianya Smith informed the plaintiff that once DSS obtained her diagnosis, she would receive money. (Compl. at 3). Plaintiff alleges that when she told defendant Soldato that Ms. Smith had advised plaintiff about the money, Ms. Soldato became irate and told plaintiff "that is not her responsibility, " and then advised plaintiff's landlord that "they" would not be receiving any other money. ( Id. ) Plaintiff claims that this violates her "Disability Rights" and her "Civil Rights." ( Id. )
Plaintiff complains bitterly about the way that she has been treated by DSS, stating that she has given DSS every "documentation, " but that she has been misunderstood, undermined, disrespected, and belittled in front of numerous individuals in the DSS waiting room by other representatives of the DSS. (Compl. at 4). She states that she is a "woman of all nations" and should be treated in a "human and kind" manner. (Compl. at 5). Plaintiff also alleges that defendant Soldato and Mrs. Smith were responsible for plaintiff's ongoing mental outburst and excessive crying. However, "thanks to officers" who escorted plaintiff to the psychiatric ward, she was able to receive medical attention so that she may "face society in a sound state of mind." ( Id. )
Plaintiff seeks substantial monetary relief for "pain and suffering, " stress, and "unable to get my point across because of disability." (Compl. at 7). She also seeks relief because the defendant has belittled and embarrassed her. Finally she seems to state that this Human Services employee showed "total detachment" and was not willing to assist with plaintiff's case. ( Id. )
Plaintiff has attached sixty-seven pages of exhibits to her complaint. (Dkt. No. 1-1). Plaintiff may be attempting to show that she submitted the proper papers to DSS to prove her financial status, among other things. The exhibits also contain a great deal of medical information relating to the plaintiff. Plaintiff's exhibits also include an "Appointment Confirmation" with the Social Security Administration in conjunction with a future application for Supplemental Security ...