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Jackson v. Fischer

United States District Court, W.D. New York

December 1, 2014

EARL JACKSON, 05-A-1445, Plaintiff,
v.
B. FISCHER, DOCS Commissioner, et al., Defendants.

DECISION AND ORDER

RICHARD J. ARCARA, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Earl Jackson, an inmate of the Green Haven Correctional Facility, had filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which failed, in all respects, to comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Docket No. 7, Decision and Order.)[1] The caption of the complaint named thirty defendants but the complaint itself contained " no specific factual allegations against any of the defendants." ( Id., at 5-6.) The complaint, instead, set forth only an "omnibus conclusory allegation" that stated:

All [defendants] acted in concert to deny me any/all entitlements including meals, medical care, safety, security, access to outside world, access to legal, personal property, allowing me to be harassed & assaulted by employees & inmates, damage, destruction, theft of personal legal property et al.

( Id. )

Upon review of the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b), the Court found that the complaint's "naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement" failed to comply with Rule 8 and had to be dismissed for failure to state a claim for relief upon which relief can be granted unless plaintiff filed an amended complaint which complied with Rules 8 and 10 and set forth claims upon which relief may be granted. ( Id., at 6 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations and citation omitted)). The Court offered plaintiff the following "guidance" if he decided to file an amended complaint:

the amended complaint should be captioned "Amended Complaint" and bear the same docket number as this Order. The body of the amended complaint should set forth factual allegations to support his claim against each named defendant, the dates or approximate dates and locations of all relevant events giving rise to plaintiff's claims, in accordance with Rules 8(a) and 10(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In order for plaintiff's claim(s) against any individual listed as a defendant in the caption of the amended complaint to go forward, such claim or claims must be supported in the body of the complaint by factual allegations against that defendant; defendant's failure to set forth any factual allegations against an individual named as a defendant will result in the dismissal of that individual as a defendant in this action. Plaintiff is further advised that any claim that two or more of the defendants acted in concert to deprive him of his rights should be supported by allegations of fact sufficient to establish an agreement among the alleged conspirators.

(Docket No. 7, Decision and Order, at 10.)

The Court's Order granting plaintiff leave to amend also noted both that (1) complaints containing only "conclusory, vague, or general allegations of a conspiracy to deprive a person of [his] constitutional rights" fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted, and (2) supervisory officials cannot be held liable under § 1983 based solely on the acts or omissions of their underlings. ( Id., at 7 (citations omitted)).

DISCUSSION

Sections 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(a) of 28 U.S.C. require the Court to conduct an initial screening of plaintiff's amended complaint, and provide that the Court shall dismiss a case in which in forma pauperis status has been granted, id., § 1915(e)(2)(B), or in which plaintiff is a "prisoner, " id., § 1915A, if the Court determines that the action (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. In evaluating the amended complaint, the Court must accept as true all of the factual allegations and must draw all inferences in plaintiff's favor. See Larkin v. Savage, 318 F.3d 138, 139 (2d Cir. 2003) (per curiam); King v. Simpson, 189 F.3d 284, 287 (2d Cir. 1999). While "a court is obliged to construe [ pro se ] pleadings liberally, particularly when they allege civil rights violations, " McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004), even pleadings submitted pro se must meet the notice requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wynder v. McMahon, 360 F.3d 73 (2d Cir. 2004). "Specific facts are not necessary, " and the plaintiff "need only give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. "To state a valid claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the plaintiff must allege that the challenged conduct (1) was attributable to a person acting under color of state law, and (2) deprived the plaintiff of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Whalen v. County of Fulton, 126 F.3d 400, 405 (2d Cir. 1997) (citing Eagleston v. Guido, 41 F.3d 865, 875-76 (2d Cir.1994)).

AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff's amended complaint (Docket No. 11), while providing more allegations and detail than the initial complaint, nonetheless fails to state claims upon which can be granted. Plaintiff's amended complaint does not include a caption and the Court presumes plaintiff incorporates by reference the caption of the initial complaint. The amended complaint lists the name of each defendant and then sets forth next to each name some generally conclusory allegations with respect to each defendant listed, none of which, as pled, set forth an actionable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For example, plaintiff alleges that defendant C.O. Strong "acted in concert with his coworkers... deliberately ignored [his] complaints of threats of being threatened by staff [and] inmates. Being denied/deprived of food meals [and] enemies verbalized plot to assault [him] with liquified body waste/chemical agents [and] place waste on gallery window/walls to give the appearance that [plaintiff] had thrown body wastes....") (Amended ...


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