United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
Elizabeth A. Wolford, United States District Judge
John Kevin Daley ("Plaintiff) filed this action on April
27, 2016, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming
violations of his constitutional rights. (Dkt. 1). Plaintiff
filed an amended complaint on May 26, 2016. (Dkt. 4). Each of
the above-named Defendants ("Defendants") has filed
a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. (See Dkt.
15; Dkt. 21; Dkt. 26; Dkt. 27; Dkt. 35; Dkt. 48; Dkt. 51).
Plaintiff filed two motions for more definite statements
(Dkt. 59; Dkt. 69) as to Defendants' motions to dismiss.
Additionally, Plaintiff filed motions to opt out of
alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") (Dkt. 53);
for injunctive relief (Dkt. 9); for a Federal Bureau of
Investigation ("FBI") investigation (id);
and for an extension of time (Dkt. 10). Plaintiff also
requests an order of the Court appointing a special
prosecutor. (See Dkt. 100 at ¶23). Finally,
Defendants Dr. Won Hoon Park and Erie County, New York filed
motions for injunctive relief. (Dkt. 82; Dkt. 92).
reasons set forth below, the amended complaint is dismissed
without prejudice for failure to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a). Plaintiff will have the opportunity to amend his
complaint one final time.
for the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's motions for
more definite statements are denied; his motion to opt out of
ADR is granted; his motion for injunctive relief is denied;
his motion for an FBI investigation is denied; and his motion
for an extension of time is denied as moot. To the extent
that Plaintiff requests an order of the Court appointing a
special prosecutor, such request is denied.
Defendants Dr. Won Hoon Park and Erie County, New York's
motions for injunctive relief are denied without prejudice.
claims violations of his constitutional rights by Defendants
in connection with his involuntary hospitalization. (Dkt. 4).
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, is a self-described
"Born Again Christian." (Id. at ¶ 2).
A vast majority of his voluminous amended complaint-which is
175 pages in length including attachments-and other motion
papers recite biblical passages, state that opposing parties
and Court officials worship Satan, and express
Plaintiff's devotion to his religious beliefs, with
little or no relevance to Plaintiff's claims in this
suit. (See, for example, Dkt. 4).
amended complaint is nearly devoid of factual information
regarding Plaintiff's claims. His claims seem to arise
from a psychiatric hospitalization that occurred in early
2015. (See Id. at ¶25). Plaintiff alleges that
he was hospitalized because he had sent a letter to residents
of Orchard Park, New York. (See Id. at ¶
28(b)). Plaintiff asserts that each Defendant conspired to
harass Plaintiff, to unreasonably search and seize Plaintiff,
and to have Won Hoon Park, M.D. ("Dr. Park"),
torture Plaintiff while he was hospitalized. (See
generally id.). Plaintiff contends that each Defendant
failed to act with reasonable cause and due care, and
violated Plaintiff's First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. (See Id. at ¶¶ 30(4),
47, 50, 55, 65).
first claim alleges that Defendant Town of Orchard Park
("Town of Orchard Park"), through Police Officer
Robert Simmons ("Simmons"), harassed Plaintiff with
"the same series of questions, over and over
again." (See Id. at ¶¶ 25-27, 30(4)).
second claim alleges that Simmons unreasonably searched and
seized Plaintiff without reasonable cause because Plaintiff
had mailed the aforementioned letters to a "Ms. S"
and to Simmons himself. (See Id. at ¶¶
third claim alleges that Defendant Twin City Ambulance Corp.
("Twin City") "[r]ecklessly performed malice,
oppression, retaliation, harassment and Persecution toward
Plaintiff." (Id. at ¶37). A female
employee in the Twin City ambulance tasked with transporting
Plaintiff to Defendant Erie County Medical Center
("ECMC") allegedly told Plaintiff he would be held
at ECMC "for quite a length of time." (Id.
at ¶ 38). Plaintiff further claims that the same
employee told Plaintiff to watch what he did and said when he
got out of the ambulance, and during his time at ECMC.
fourth claim alleges that Defendant Town of Tonawanda
("Town of Tonawanda")-through Defendant Police
Officers Frank Bartolotta ("Bartolotta"), Dave
Humphrey ("Humphrey"), and Dave Gennuso
("Gennuso")-acted in cooperation with the other
named Defendants to harass Plaintiff with repeated
questioning, again in retaliation for the letters Plaintiff
sent to "Ms. S" and Simmons. (See Id. at
¶¶ 43-44). Plaintiff alleges the same violations
against Bartolotta in claim five. (See Id. at
sixth claim alleges that Defendant Erie County, New York
("Erie County")-through Executive Mark C. Poloncarz
("Poloncarz") and ECMC-harassed Plaintiff
"with the same series of questions, over and over again,
" in retaliation for Plaintiff's letters to
"Ms. S" and Simmons. (Id. at ¶¶
seventh claim alleges that ECMC, acting through its employees
in the psychiatric department, harassed Plaintiff and did not
act with reasonable cause or due care. (Id. at
eighth claim alleges that Defendant U.P.P., Inc.
("UPP")-through its employees Dr. Park and
Defendant Matthew Ruggieri, M.D. ("Dr. Ruggieri")-
"[r]ecklessly performed malice, oppression, retaliation,
harassment and Persecution toward Plaintiff."
(Id. at ¶ 67). Plaintiff provides no further
factual information in his eighth claim, or in his ninth
claim against Dr. Ruggieri. (See Id. at ¶¶
Plaintiff's claims, he alleges that Dr. Park attempted to
torture Plaintiff between January 27, 2015, and February 2,
2015, presumably the dates of Plaintiff's
hospitalization. (See Dkt. 4). Plaintiff's tenth
cause of action alleges that Dr. Park tortured Plaintiff, but
provides no further factual information. (See Id. at
attaches numerous documents to his complaint. Many are
seemingly irrelevant to the claims Plaintiff raises. However,
Plaintiff includes: a copy of his letter to "Ms. S"
(Dkt. 4-4 at 5-10); letters from Plaintiff to Simmons
(id. at 10-21); Plaintiff's "response"
to an invoice from Twin City (id. at 25);
Plaintiff's "response" to an invoice from UPP
(Dkt. 4-5 at 1-3); and Plaintiff's "Patient Health
Summary" dated February 4, 2015, from ECMC (id.
prays for general damages, special and exemplary damages,
attorneys' fees, and seeks preliminary and permanent
injunctions against the Defendants, restraining them from
"interfering with Plaintiff's lawful speech, lawful
Faith (Religious) Expressions, Subjecting him to malicious,
oppressive, retaliating, and harassing, Persecution via
Searches, Seizures, Arrest, IMPRISONMENT, and Violation of
[Plaintiff's] Personhood under similar circumstances
while doing Street Preaching. . . ." (Dkt. 4 at ¶
30(3)). Plaintiff also seeks meetings with Defendants so that
Defendants can apologize to Plaintiff for the way he was
treated. (See Id. at ¶¶ 30, 60, 76).
Motions to Dismiss
A. Standard of Review
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the party's claim
for relief." Zucco v. Auto Zone, Inc., 800
F.Supp.2d 473, 475 (W.D.N.Y. 2011). A court should consider
the motion "accepting all factual allegations in the
complaint and drawing all reasonable inferences in the
Plaintiff's favor." Ruotolo v. City of N.Y,
514 F.3d 184, 188 (2d Cir. 2008) (quoting ATSI
Commc'ns, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98
(2d Cir. 2007)). To withstand dismissal, a plaintiff must set
forth "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 complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
does not need detailed factual allegations, a Plaintiff's
obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his
'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." Id. at 555
(citations omitted). Thus, "at a bare minimum, the
operative standard requires the plaintiff to provide the
grounds upon which his claim rests through factual
allegations sufficient to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level." Goldstein v. Pataki, 516
F.3d 50, 56-57 (2d Cir. 2008) (citations omitted).
addition, "[i]t is well settled that pro se litigants
generally are entitled to a liberal construction of their
pleadings, which should be read to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest." Green v. United
States, 260 F.3d 78, 83 (2d Cir. 2001) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
Plaintiff Has Not Established the Need for More Definite
has filed two motions for more definite statements regarding
Defendants' motions to dismiss. (See Dkt. 59;
Dkt. 69). One refers to ECMC, Dr. Park, and Erie County, plus
"ALL OTHER OF THE TEN (10) TOTAL DEFENDANTS." (Dkt.
59). The other motion refers only to the Town of Orchard Park
and Simmons. (Dkt. 69). Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 allows a party to
move "for a more definite statement of a pleading to
which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague
or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a
response." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). Such a motion "must
point out the defects complained of and the details
motions fail for two reasons. First, a motion to dismiss is
not a "pleading" under the Federal Rules.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 7(a). Rule 12(e) allows a motion
for a more definite statement "of a pleading. . .
." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). Therefore, according to the plain
language of the Federal Rules, Plaintiff cannot move for a
more definite statement of Defendants' motions to
dismiss. See 5C C. Wright, A. Miller, et al.,
Federal Practice & Procedure § 1376 (3d ed.
2016) [hereinafter Federal Practice] ("[A] Rule
12(e) motion . . . can be addressed only to a pleading to
which a responsive pleading is permitted; it has no
application to other pleadings or motions.") (internal
even if Plaintiff could so move, Plaintiff's voluminous
motion papers fail to specify a single vague or ambiguous
statement in any of Defendants' motions to dismiss.
(See Dkt. 59; Dkt. 60; Dkt. 61; Dkt. 69; Dkt. 70;
Dkt. 71). Plaintiff's motions for more definite
statements thereby fail to comply with the requirements of
Plaintiff's motions for more definite statements (Dkt.
59; Dkt. 69) are denied.
Plaintiff Timely Amended the Complaint
addressing the merits of Defendants' motions to dismiss,
the Court must first determine the proper pleading to which
those motions are addressed. Defendants ECMC, UPP, Dr.
Ruggieri, and Dr. Park argue that Plaintiff's filing of
an amended complaint violated Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). (Dkt. 15-2
at 3-4; Dkt. 26-3 at 4-5; Dkt. 27-7 at 3). Rule 15(a)(1)
allows a party to file an amended pleading, without consent
of the opposing party or leave of court, within 21 days of
its service, or within 21 days after the service of a
responsive pleading or Rule 12(b), (e), or (f) motion.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). All other amendments require opposing
party consent or leave of court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2).
argue that Plaintiff never served the original complaint,
and, because no service issued, Plaintiff was not allowed to
file an amendment as of right under Rule 15(a)(1). Rule 15(a)
is intended to allow a party to include matters in an amended
pleading where those matters were initially overlooked or
unknown. 6 Federal Practice § 1473. "The
purpose of the amendment-as-of-right provision is to avoid
judicial involvement in the pleading process when there is
little reason for doing so." 6 Federal Practice
§ 1480. Further, "[i]t is the rule in this circuit
that, 'after the filing of (an initial) complaint, the
action remains pending in an inchoate state until service is
completed.'" Int'l Controls Corp. v.
Vesco, 556 F.2d 665, 665 (2d Cir. 1997) (citation
although Plaintiff did not serve the original complaint
before filing the amended complaint-leaving the amended
complaint outside of the technical language of Rule
15(a)(1)-this Court finds that Plaintiff's amendment is
valid without consent or leave of the Court. This action was
in an inchoate state until the complaint was served. Amending
a complaint before service avoids judicial involvement in the
pleading process. There is no logical reason for the Rules to
allow an amendment as-of-right after service has occurred,
while simultaneously disallowing such an amendment before
service. Perhaps repeated amendments before service would run
afoul of the Federal Rules, but that is not the case here.