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Burgos v. Huggins

United States District Court, N.D. New York

January 13, 2015

TOMAS BURGOS, Plaintiff,
v.
TROOPER A.M. HUGGINS; SPECIAL AGENT BRYAN HAAG; MAGISTRATE DAVID R. HOMER; MAGISTRATE CHRISTIAN F. HUMMEL; JUDGE GARY L. SHARPE; SHERIFF JACK MAHAR; COUNTY OF RENSSELAER, Defendants.

TOMAS BURGOS, Plaintiff, Pro se, Last Known Address: [1] Troy, New York.

REPORT RECOMMENDATION and ORDER

RANDOLPH F. TREECE, Magistrate Judge.

On June 9, 2014, pro se Plaintiff Tomas Burgos initiated this civil action asserting that the Defendants violated his rights pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. No. 1, Compl. Plaintiff also submitted a Motion for the Appointment of Counsel and, because he paid the filing fee, Summonses were duly issued by the Clerk of the Court. Dkt. No. 3. Thereafter, on August 15, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ("IFP") along with another Motion to Appoint Counsel. Dkt. No. 8, Mot. for IFP; Dkt. No. 9, Mot. to Appoint Counsel.

I. DISCUSSION

A. In Forma Pauperis Application

Turning first to Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed with this Action IFP, after reviewing the entire file (Dkt. No. 8), the Court finds that Plaintiff meets the requirement for economic need and thus may properly proceed with this matter in forma pauperis.

B. Applicable Standards of Review

Section 1915(e) of Title 28 of the United States Code directs that, when a plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, "the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal (i) is 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). Thus, it is a court's responsibility to determine that a plaintiff may properly maintain his complaint before permitting him to proceed with his action.

Moreover, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, a court must, as soon as practicable, sua sponte review "a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employees of a governmental agency" and must "identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(a) & (b); see also Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115, 116 (2d Cir. 1999) ( per curiam ).

In reviewing a pro se complaint, this Court has a duty to show liberality toward pro se litigants, see Nance v. Kelly, 912 F.2d 605, 606 (2d Cir. 1990), and should exercise "extreme caution... in ordering sua sponte dismissal of a pro se complaint before the adverse party has been served and both parties (but particularly the plaintiff) have had an opportunity to respond." Anderson v. Coughlin, 700 F.2d 37, 41 (2d Cir. 1983) (emphasis in original) (citations omitted). Therefore, a court should not dismiss a complaint if the plaintiff has stated "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. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Although the court should construe the factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not show[n]'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id. at 679 (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2)). Furthermore, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 "demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant- unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Thus, a pleading that only "tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement" will not suffice. Id. (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted). Allegations that "are so vague as to fail to give the defendants adequate notice of the claims against them" are subject to dismissal. Sheehy v. Brown, 335 F.Appx. 102, 104 (2d Cir. 2009).

C. Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A Bivens action is a judicially created remedy that allows individuals to recover for constitutional violations committed by federal agents, whereas, Section 1983 establishes somewhat parallel relief against state actors for violations of an individual's constitutional rights. Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14, 18 (1980) (" Bivens established that the victims of a constitutional violation by a federal agent have a right to recover damages against the official in federal court despite the absence of any statute conferring such a right."); Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) ("Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States."). Generally, case law under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 applies to Bivens cases and the same immunity standards apply to both actions. Chin v. Bowen, 833 F.2d 21, 24 (2d Cir. 1987).

Plaintiff's constitutional claims are problematic on multiple fronts. First, he has named parties who are absolutely immune from suit. And, second, he fails to state a cause of action for which relief can be granted. We address each of these obstacles below.

In liberally construing the Complaint, the Court recites the relevant facts contained therein. Because many of the facts contained in the Complaint relate to a federal prosecution against Plaintiff in the Northern District of New York, ...


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