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Griffin v. Pasqual

United States District Court, N.D. New York

August 25, 2014

MANDI T. GRIFFIN, Plaintiff,
EVELYN and STEVE PASQUAL, [1] Geraldine Pediatric Care, Defendants.

MANDI T. GRIFFIN, Plaintiff pro se


ANDREW T. BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.

The Clerk has sent to the Court for review a complaint, together with an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") (Dkt. Nos. 1, 2), filed by plaintiff Mandi T. Griffin. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 2). Plaintiff brings this complaint on a form for civil rights complaints, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. at 1) (Dkt. No. 1).

Plaintiff appears to be complaining about the care received by her daughter, "V.G." at the defendants' facility in California. Plaintiff seeks an investigation and thirty million dollars in damages. (Compl. at CM/ECF p.10).

I. IFP Application

A review of plaintiff's IFP application shows that plaintiff declares she is unable to pay the filing fee. (Dkt. No. 2). This court agrees, and finds that plaintiff is financially eligible for IFP status. 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.

II. Facts

In her extremely vague complaint, [2] plaintiff appears to allege that her daughter V.G. was discharged from the defendants' facility in California on an unknown date, based on the plaintiff's change of medical insurance carriers. (Comp. at CM/ECF p.7) (First Cause of Action) Plaintiff states that defendants threatened to call "Social Services" to terminate plaintiff's parental rights based on "abandonment, " even though all the facility staff knew that plaintiff needed to obtain military housing and obtain the proper adaptive equipment, necessary for V.G.'s survival. Id.

Plaintiff's "Second Cause of Action" states that when defendants discharged V.G., defendant Evelyn Pascual informed plaintiff that V.G.'s medication had been "reduced, " and that she no longer needed her seizure medication because she was no longer having seizures. (Compl. at CM/ECF p. 8). Plaintiff states that after her daughter's "untimely death, " plaintiff found records, showing that V.G. had not been "winged off"[3] her medication. Instead, she had been "stripped" of her medication. ( Id. ) This allegedly showed deliberate indifference and "put V.G. at risk." ( Id. )

Finally, plaintiff alleges that after she was "arraigned and indicted for the death of [her] daughter V.G., " plaintiff's trial attorney spoke to defendant Pascual and Crystal Dixon, [4] who had very "nice" things to say about plaintiff. ( Id. ) Plaintiff alleges that these two individuals told plaintiff's attorney that plaintiff had been "properly trained to care for V.G. However, plaintiff claims that she received no specialized training, nor had she received any certification related to caring for V.G.'s specific condition. ( Id. at CM/ECF p.9). Plaintiff claims that she learned to care for V.G. by observing staff on plaintiff's "daily visits." Plaintiff alleges that at V.G.'s funeral, the staff was very generous to V.G.'s father and gave him a check for $500.00. ( Id. )

In her "Relief" section, plaintiff states that the Geraldine Pediatric Care owners were "deliberately indifferent" toward V.G., and that any reasonable person would have told plaintiff that V.G.'s medication was reduced and that she had been "winged off." ( Id. ) Plaintiff claims that this was "another prelude to [V.G's] untimely death." ( Id. at CM/ECF p.10). Plaintiff then makes some random statements about the "No Child Left Behind Clause" being extended to children with special needs. ( Id. ) Plaintiff states that the "solution" is not to solicit a parent to sign over his or her rights to the child, and that plaintiff feels as though she was "penalized for not signing her over." ( Id. )

As stated above, plaintiff has filed this action on a form that is used for civil rights actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As will be discussed below, section 1983 is not a proper basis for this court's jurisdiction based on the facts stated by plaintiff. Because plaintiff is pro se, [5] the ...

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