United States District Court, E.D. New York
ANTHONY H. BAPTISTE, #453207, Plaintiff,
ROBERT A. MACEDONIO, GEORGE DUNCAN, Defendants.
M. Azrack United States District Judge
January 11, 2017, incarcerated pro se plaintiff
Anthony Baptiste filed a in forma pauperis complaint
against his defense attorneys in an underlying state court
criminal case, Robert A. Macedonio (“Macedonio”)
and George Duncan (“Duncan” and together,
“defendants”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(“Section 1983”) alleging a deprivation of his
constitutional rights. The Court grants plaintiff's
request to proceed in forma pauperis but, for the
reasons that follow, sua sponte dismisses the
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
handwritten complaint was submitted on the Court's
Section 1983 complaint form with an additional fifteen pages
and seeks to challenge the adequacy of the representation
provided by his privately retained attorneys during an
on-going state court criminal prosecution in Suffolk County
Court - Criminal Term under case number
00396B-2016. (Compl. ¶ II and attachments
thereto.) Plaintiff alleges, inter alia, that his
attorneys did not file motions on his behalf, shared
information about the case with plaintiff's parents, and
tried to coerce plaintiff to accept a guilty plea.
(Id.) As a result, plaintiff claims to have suffered
“stress” from being kept “in the
dark” about his case. (Id. ¶ II.A.)
Plaintiff claims he “was psychologically traumatized
and depressed” and seeks to recover a damages award in
total sum of $2, 535, 000. (Id. ¶ III.)
In Forma Pauperis Application
review of plaintiff's declaration in support of the
application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court
finds that plaintiff is qualified to commence this action
without prepayment of the filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1). Therefore, plaintiff's application to proceed
in forma pauperis is granted.
Standard of Review
se submissions are afforded wide interpretational
latitude and should be held “to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per
curiam); see also Boddie v. Schnieder, 105 F.3d
857, 860 (2d Cir. 1997). In addition, the court is required
to read the plaintiff's pro se complaint
liberally and interpret it as raising the strongest arguments
it suggests. United States v. Akinrosotu, 637 F.3d
165, 167 (2d Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (citation
omitted); Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir.
Supreme Court has held that pro se complaints need
not even plead specific facts; rather the complainant
“need only give the defendant fair notice of what the .
. . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted); cf.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e) (“Pleadings must be construed so as
to do justice.”). However, a pro se plaintiff
must still plead “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell
Atlantic 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) (citations omitted). The plausibility
standard requires “more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. at 678.
While “‘detailed factual allegations'”
are not required, “[a] pleading that offers
‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.'” Id. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
1983 provides that
[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State . . . subjects, or
causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . .
. to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the
party injured . . . .
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 “is not itself a
source of substantive rights, but a method for vindicating
federal rights elsewhere conferred by those parts of the
United States Constitution and federal statutes that it
describes.” Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137,
144 n. 3 (1979); Thomas v. Roach, 165 F.3d 137, 142
(2d Cir. 1999). In order to state a § 1983 claim, a
plaintiff must allege two essential elements. First, the
conduct challenged must have been “committed by a
person acting under color of state law.” Cornejo v.
Bell, 592 F.3d 121, 127 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting
Pitchell v. Callan, 13 F.3d 545, 547 (2d Cir.
1994)). Second, “the conduct complained of must have