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Lee v. Demarco

United States District Court, E.D. New York

November 20, 2014

GEORGE LEE, Plaintiff,
SHERIFF VINCENT F. DEMARCO, CHARLES EWALD, JOSEPH T. CARACAPPA, JOHN P. MEYERRICKS, each in their own individual and official capacity, Defendants.


SANDRA J. FEUERTEIN, District Judge.

I. Introduction

On August 13, 2013, incarcerated pro se plaintiff George Lee ("plaintiff') filed a complaint in this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") against Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco ("DeMarco"), Charles Ewald ("Ewald"), Joseph T. Caracappa ("Caracappa"), and John P. Meyerricks ("Meyerricks") (collectively, "defendants"), accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Upon review of plaintiff's declarations in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that his financial position qualifies him to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Accordingly, the application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. However, for the reasons that follow, the complaint is dismissed with prejudice unless plaintiff files an amended complaint on or before December 30, 2014.[1]

II. The Complaint

Plaintiff's brief, handwritten complaint, submitted on the Court's Section 1983 complaint form, alleges in its entirety that:

On January 2nd, 2013 I was being harassed by an officer working the morning shift on 4EN where I was housed. He told me that I "act Black" and I was "a wanna-be N____r." This officer then told me, a while later, that I had a "call out." When he let me out of the Sally Port punched me in the face and repeatly [sic] kicked me in the back and ribs. The incident caused me to stay at Peconic Bay Medical Center for 5 days suffering from traumatic pneumothorax and a gash above my eye requiring stitches. My family contacted Internal Affairs who are investigating. The officer involved told me, "I will kill you if you talk about this."

Compl. at ¶ IV. As a result, plaintiff seeks to recover $20 million ($20, 000, 000) for "punitive and compensatory damages. Id. at ¶ V. Plaintiff also seeks to have the "officer involved removed from his job." Id.

II. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

Under both the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), 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. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b), 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).

It is axiomatic that district courts are required to read pro se complaints liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (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 Sec. (USA) LLC, 728 F.3d 139, 142-43 (2d Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks 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. County of Suffolk, 607 F.3d 31, 33 (2d Cir. 2010); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (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 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). While the plausibility standard "does not require detailed factual allegations, " it "demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Id. (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); accord Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. ex rel. Saint Vincent Catholic Med. Ctr. Ret. Plan v. Morgan Stanley Inv. Mgmt. Inc., 712 F.3d 705, 717 (2d Cir. 2013). The plausibility standard requires "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868; see also In re Amaranth Natural Gas Commodities Litig., 730 F.3d 170, 180 (2d Cir. 2013).

C. Section 1983

Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code provides, ...

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