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Choudhary v. United States Postal Service

United States District Court, E.D. New York

April 14, 2015

CHOTAN CHOUDHARY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

SANDRA J. FEUERSTEIN, District Judge.

On July 25, 2014, pro se plaintiff Chotan Choudhary ("plaintiff") filed a complaint against United States Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe and the United States Postal Service ("USPS"), accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis. [Docket Entry Nos. 1, 2]. By Order dated November 14, 2014, the application to proceed in forma pauperis was granted and the complaint was sua sponte dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim for relief. [Docket Entry No. 6]. Plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days. Id. On December 12, 2014, plaintiff filed an amended complaint. [Docket Entry No. 7 ("Amended Complaint" or "Am. Compl.")].

I. Discussion

A. The Amended Complaint

Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, submitted on the Court's general amended complaint form, alleges that the basis for the Court's subject matter jurisdiction is federal question (Am. Compl. ¶ II.A.), however, plaintiff alleges that "28 U.S.C. § 1332, " the diversity jurisdiction statute, is the "federal Constitutional, statutory, or treaty right [] at issue." Id. ¶ II.B. Plaintiff asserts that events giving rise to his claim occurred on March 12, 2013 at the "U.S.P.S. Building" in Melville, New York. Id. ¶ III.A-B. Plaintiff alleges the following in the fact section of the Amended Complaint:[1]

The arbitration didn't gave [sic] me oppourtunity [sic] to keep my side to arbitrator, even no leeter [sic] was sent to me that U.S.P.S. [sic] going to arbitrate. I didn't have any notice that arbitration was going to be held on 03-12-2013. I suddeneley [sic] got letter that arbitration is already done, this is your arbitration decision, and your greivance [sic] is dismissed. Only plaintiff vs U.S.P.S. arbitration heard according to leeter [sic] I received from arbitrator panel [sic]. I saw in letter that plaintiff was fully unaware of arbitration decision that was heard in plaintiff absent.

Id. ¶ III.C. Although plaintiff alleges that he "didn't have any injury" ( id. ¶ IV), he seeks to "overturn arbitration award that is not a properly heard case by arbitrator. It was heard only by based [sic] on employer what ever fact provided. No oppourtunity [sic] to given plaintiff to submit plaintiff argument." Id. ¶ V.

B. Application of 28 U.S.C. § 1915

Under the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), 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.

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 Securities (USA) LLC, 728 F.3d 139, 142-43 (2d Cir. 2013) (quotations 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. Cnty. 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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). The pleading of specific facts is not required; rather a complaint need only give the defendant "fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quotations and citation omitted); see also Anderson News, LLC v. American Media, Inc., 680 F.3d 162, 182 (2d Cir. 2012), cert. denied by Curtis Circulation Co. v. Anderson News, LLC, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 846, 184 L.Ed.2d 655 (2013) (accord). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955). "Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual enhancement.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955); see also Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. ex rel. St. Vincent Catholic Med. Ctrs. Ret. Plan v. Morgan Stanley Inv. Mgmt. Inc., 712 F.3d 705, 717 (2d Cir. 2013) (accord). The plausibility standard requires "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937; see also In re Amaranth Natural Gas Commodities Litig., 730 F.3d 170, 180 (2d Cir. 2013).

C. The Amended Complaint Does Not Allege a Plausible Claim for Relief

Liberally construing the Amended Complaint, it appears that pro se plaintiff's claim arises under Section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., and/or the Postal Reorganization Act ("PRA"), 39 U.S.C. § 1208(b). Under Section 10 of the FAA, a district court may vacate an arbitration award

upon the application of any party to the arbitration - (1) where the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means; (2) where there was evident partiality or corruption in the arbitrators, or either of them; (3) where the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone the hearing, upon sufficient cause shown, or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material to the controversy; or of any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been prejudiced; or (4) where the arbitrators exceeded ...

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