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Esquilin v. Schriro

United States District Court, S.D. New York

June 19, 2014

SHAMAR ESQUILIN, Plaintiff,
v.
DORA SCHRIRO, COMMISSIONER, et al., Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER

KATHERINE B. FORREST, District Judge.

Pro se plaintiff Shamar Esquilin[1] commenced this action, on or about May 30, 2013, [2] for alleged violations of his federal and New York state constitutional rights while he was incarcerated at a New York City Department of Correction ("DOC") facility on Rike rs Island. (See Compl. at 1, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff brings this action against defendants DOC Commissioner Dora Schriro, an unidentified "John Doe" DOC Captain, and DOC Officers Kevin Reynolds, Ruben Hernandez, and Delia Hill-Grant (the "DOC Officer Defendants"), and seeks injunctive relief and money damages. (Id. at 4-5.)

This action was transferred to the undersigned on August 22, 2013. On November 14, 2013, defendants moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 49.) Plaintiff opposed the motion on December 21, 2013, and defendants filed their reply in further support of their motion to dismiss on January 9, 2014. (ECF Nos. 55-57.)

For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED and this action is dismissed, subject to the Court's instructions below.

I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff alleges that, on December 14, 2012, at approximately 3:50 p.m., in a housing unit at Otis Bantum Correctional Center ("OBCC"), the DOC Officer Defendants, supervised by the John Doe DOC Captain, conducted a random search of him and other male pretrial detainees. (Compl. ¶ 1.)

According to plaintiff, during the search, he and the other detainees were ordered to remove their footwear and placed their bare feet on the floor of the housing unit. (Id. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff alleges that he and the other detainees were thus exposed to "bacteria and germs" and were placed "in a position to possibly contract foot fungus and/or other medical problems." (Id.) Plaintiff next alleges that he and the other detainees were ordered to remove their pants and underwear, to turn around, and to squat for a visual body cavity inspection. (Id. ¶ 5.) Plaintiff alleges that a "body cavity inspection form" was not completed for the search, and that the search was not recorded on video. (Id. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff alleges that these steps were required by DOC policies and procedures. (Id.)

Plaintiff alleges the DOC Officer Defendants set up portable partitions during the search, but that the partitions were either not set up correctly, were old and worn, or were otherwise inadequate. (Id. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff also alleges that female DOC officers were able to view him and the other male detainees while they were being strip searched. (Id. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff alleges that, during the search, he was told by a DOC Officer to "sue us, you are just making my job easier" in response to his complaints about the search. (Id. ¶ 13.)

Plaintiff also alleges, generally, that he was strip searched in a similar manner when he was in the intake area preparing to go to court at Rikers Island, and that these searches were in "plain view" and conducted without partitions.[3] (Id. ¶¶ 7-8.) Plaintiff alleges that, during these searches, he was required to remove his footwear, walk through an x-ray machine, remove his pants and underwear, and to bend over for a visual body cavity inspection. (Id. ¶ 8.)

Plaintiff alleges that he suffered humiliation and emotional distress as a result of these strip searches. (Id. if 15.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Igbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in plaintiffs favor, but does not credit "mere conclusory statements" or "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action." Id.

"[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers...." Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, the Court "liberally construe[s] pleadings and briefs submitted by pro se litigants... reading such submissions to raise the strongest arguments they suggest." Bertin v. United States , 478 F.3d 489, 491 (2d Cir. 2007). However, even a prose complaint must plead "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." ...


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