United States District Court, N.D. New York
PORTER Plaintiff Pro se Upstate Correctional Facility
DECISION AND ORDER
D'AGOSTINO United States District Judge.
before the Court is a complaint filed in June 2016 by pro se
plaintiff Larry Porter ("plaintiff") in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York
("Southern District"). Dkt. No. 1
("Compl."). By Order filed on January 10, 2017,
Chief United States District Judge Colleen McMahon of the
Southern District transferred this action to the Northern
District of New York ("Northern District"). Dkt.
No. 4 ("Transfer Order"). Plaintiff, who is
presently incarcerated at Upstate Correctional Facility
("Upstate C.F.") has paid the full filing fee of
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, a court must review any
"complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity" and must "identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of
the complaint, if the complaint . . . is frivolous,
malicious, or 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);
see also Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115, 116 (2d Cir.
1999) (per curiam) (Section 1915A applies to all actions
brought by prisoners against government officials even when
plaintiff paid the filing fee).
reviewing a complaint, the court may also look to the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure provides that a pleading that sets forth a
claim for relief shall contain "a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The purpose of Rule 8
"is to give fair notice of the claim being asserted so
as to permit the adverse party the opportunity to file a
responsive answer, prepare an adequate defense and determine
whether the doctrine of res judicata is applicable."
Hudson v. Artuz, No. 95 CIV. 4768, 1998 WL 832708,
at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 1998) (quoting Brown v.
Califano, 75 F.R.D. 497, 498 (D.D.C. 1977)).
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).
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 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.'" Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(a)(2)). Rule 8
"demands more than an unadorned,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
pro se parties are held to less stringent pleading standards,
the Second Circuit has held that "district courts may
dismiss a frivolous complaint sua sponte even when the
plaintiff has paid the required filing fee." See
Fitzgerald v. First E. Seventh St. Tenants Corp., 221
F.3d 362, 363 (2d Cir. 2000). Indeed, "district courts
are especially likely to be exposed to frivolous actions and,
thus, have [a] need for inherent authority to dismiss such
actions quickly in order to preserve scarce judicial
resources." Id. at 364. A cause of action is
properly deemed frivolous "where it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
establishes a cause of action for "'the deprivation
of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws' of the United States."
German v. Fed. Home Loan Mortgage Corp., 885 F.Supp.
537, 573 (S.D.N.Y. 1995) (citing Wilder v. Virginia Hosp.
Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983)) (footnote omitted); see also Myers v.
Wollowitz, No. 6:95-CV-0272 (TJM/RWS), 1995 WL 236245,
at *2 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 10, 1995) (stating that "§
1983 is the vehicle by which individuals may seek redress for
alleged violations of their constitutional rights."
(citation omitted)). "Section 1983 itself creates no
substantive rights, [but] . . . only a procedure for redress
for the deprivation of rights established elsewhere."
Sykes v. James, 13 F.3d 515, 519 (2d Cir. 1993)
sets forth claims arising out of his confinement in the
custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and
Community Supervision ("DOCCS"). In the complaint,
plaintiff refers to a lawsuit filed in March 2011 in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York. Compl. at 5. The lawsuit was filed by
inmates against various DOCCS officials claiming that lengthy
confinements in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU")
created an unconstitutional risk of harm to
inmates. Id. The plaintiffs in that action
sought injunctive and declaratory relief. Id. In
March 2014 and June 2014, plaintiff received two letters from
attorneys affiliated with the New York Civil Liberties Union
("NYCLU"), advising plaintiff of the aforementioned
§ 1983 class action. Compl. at 5-6. In a letter dated
October 21, 2014, Elena Landriscina, Esq. informed plaintiff
that the class action did not include a claim for money
damages. Id. at 6.
claims that he has been confined to disciplinary segregation
in the SHU for the last twenty-seven years. Compl. at 6.
Plaintiff was sentenced to SHU confinement in October 1989
and is not expected to be released until November
2018. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he has
been subjected to "prolonged" and
"extreme" isolation and inhumane conditions.
Id. at 6, 7. Plaintiff has been denied commissary,
recreation, personal clothing, and telephone privileges.
Id. at 7. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Donald
Uhler ("Uhler"), the Superintendent at Upstate
C.F., supervised and controlled the SHU and refuses to
"cut" plaintiff's SHU time. Compl. at 7.
Plaintiff also asserts that defendant Commissioner Anthony
Annucci ("Annucci") is aware of the widespread
DOCCS policy encouraging the use of SHU confinement because
Annucci was a defendant in the Southern District action.
Id. at 5-6. Plaintiff claims that his Fourteenth and
Eighth Amendment rights were violated and seeks monetary
damages. See Compl., generally.