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Flores v. Roman

United States District Court, N.D. New York

December 24, 2014

SILVANO ROMAN, et al., Defendants.

JOHNNY FLORES, Plaintiff, pro se.


ANDREW T. BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.

The Clerk has sent to the court a complaint, together with an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"), filed by pro se plaintiff, Johnny Flores. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 2).

I. IFP Application

A review of plaintiff's IFP application shows that he declares he 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

Based upon the facts as stated by plaintiff, it is unclear what plaintiff is attempting to allege. He states that "[b]ack in 2006, " he faxed some papers from a fax machine, belonging to defendants Silvano Roman and Sonia Rodriguez. (Complaint "Compl." at 1). Plaintiff claims that these two defendants were the "first witnesses" to his invention, and "apparently they disclosed information of [his] invention to the public without my permission." ( Id. ) Plaintiff states that between 2007 and 2008, he went to the police department to complain that "something" was going to happen in the future due to the defendants' disclosure of this information.

In May of 2013, there was a "raid" due to "drug problems, " and the Observer-Dispatch newspaper published a picture showing a "homemade barricade, " using what plaintiff refers to as the "Amazing 2 × 4." Plaintiff claims that this "shows" a part of his "invention" that was "stolen" by defendants Roman and Rodriguez. Plaintiff claims that he complained to Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. Plaintiff also states that in August of an unknown year, there was a fire at House # 3 in Utica.[1] Plaintiff claims that the firemen could not break the doors down with a sledge hammer because of the "barricade" that was blocking the door where the fire started. (Compl. at 2). Plaintiff told the fire department that defendants Roman and Rodriguez put the barricade on the door intentionally. Id.

When the fire was completely out, plaintiff went to "investigate" himself. (Compl. at 3). He states that he saw the barricade and the "holes to the hinges exactly made of [his] invention that was stolen." ( Id. ) Plaintiff claims that he told defendant Roman that what he did "in regards to the barricade" was "wrong." Plaintiff claims that people's lives could be in danger and that, because a picture of the barricade was in the newspaper, drug dealers could use "this" and put people's lives at risk. The plaintiff asks that the court "contact" Oneida County District Attorney McNamara. Plaintiff also states that "this is also with Invent Help Beverly Stack Representative to my Idea." (Compl. at 4).

III. Discussion

When a plaintiff is pro se, the court must interpret the complaint liberally. Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed Defendants, 537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008). The court considers all possible grounds for relief that plaintiff could be raising. See Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994) (pro se papers are interpreted liberally to raise the strongest arguments suggested therein). Based upon the facts stated above, determining what plaintiff might be trying to allege in this case is very difficult. He talks about an "invention" and about defendants Rodriguez and Roman "apparently" disclosing information about this invention to the "public." Plaintiff ...

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