United States District Court, E.D. New York
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK NAQUNNE JACKSON, #XXXXXXXXX, Plaintiff,
CHRISTOPHER DEVANE, ESQ., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
SANDRA J. FEUERSTEIN, District Judge.
On March 9, 2015, incarcerated pro se plaintiff Naqunne Jackson ("plaintiff") filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") against Christopher Devane, Esq. ("Devane" or "defendant") [Docket Entry No. 1 ("Complaint" or "Compl.")] with an application to proceed in forma pauperis. [Docket Entry No. 2].
A review of the declaration in support of the application to proceed in forma pauperis establishes that plaintiff's financial status qualifies him to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a); 1915(a)(1). Therefore, plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. However, for the reasons that follow, the Complaint is sua sponte dismissed.
Plaintiff's Complaint, submitted on the Court's Section 1983 complaint form, alleges that, on September 25, 2013, Devane was "chosen by a Nassau County Judge to represent plaintiff on a criminal matter." Compl., at 6. According to the Complaint, Devane "not only provided ineffective assistance, but made the proximate causes of this action in purposefull [sic] deception willful deceit, forging signatures, providing the court with unknown and unauthorized unilateral pleas' plus other various [indecipherable] actions against plaintiff's liberty interests..." Id. at 7-8. Plaintiff claims that the state court judge denied plaintiff's application to have Devane relieved as his criminal defense attorney. Id. According to the Complaint, Devane deprived plaintiff of his "U.S. Const. Amendment Protections 6th and 14th while acting under color of New York State law." Id. at 10. For relief, plaintiff seeks to recover a monetary damages award of $40 million for "redress in compensation and punitive damages." Id. at 11 and ¶ V.
A. In Forma Pauperis Application
Upon review of plaintiff's declaration in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that plaintiff's financial status qualifies him to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Therefore, plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is granted.
B. Application of 28 U.S.C. § 1915
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)(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. 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 (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 wellpleaded, 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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 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.'" Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (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, 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." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678; see also In re Amaranth Natural Gas Commodities Litig., 730 F.3d 170, 180 (2d Cir. 2013).
1. Section 1983
Tile 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides, in ...