United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, JR., United States District Court Chief
se Plaintiff Austin Vaughan has filed this action
seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has requested
permission to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF Nos. 1,
2. Also pending before the Court are two applications to
supplement the Complaint. ECF Nos. 4, 7.
Complaint is a largely disjointed litany of assorted
grievances, but read liberally, Plaintiff alleges that (1)
Judge Michael Schiano ruled against him during traffic court
proceedings in Ogden Town Court; (2) Odgen Police Officer
Ploof violated Plaintiff's rights by requiring him to
possess a valid driver's license while operating a motor
vehicle on public roads, (3) various prosecutors have
rebuffed his attempts to persuade them to file criminal
charges against other individuals; and (4) his vehicle was
seized and later sold by governmental officials.
reasons discussed below, (1) Plaintiff's request to
proceed as a poor person is granted, (2) the claims against
Judge Michael Schiano are dismissed with prejudice pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii); (3) the claims
against Officer Ploof regarding the driver's license
allegations are dismissed with prejudice pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i); (4) the claims regarding the
failure of prosecutors to bring criminal charges are
dismissed with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); (5) Plaintiff's claims regarding the
unlawful seizure of his care are dismissed with prejudice
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); (6) unless
Plaintiff files an amended complaint that cures the noted
deficiencies regarding the seizure and sale of his car, those
claims will be dismissed with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); (7) Plaintiff's application to
add Judge Murante as a Defendant to this case (ECF No. 4) is
DENIED; and (8) the October 24, 2016 application (ECF No. 7)
is STRICKEN from the record, and any relief sought by that
filing is DENIED AS MOOT.
Plaintiff has met the statutory requirements of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a), he is granted permission to proceed in
forma pauperis. Title 28, United States Code, Section
1915(e)(2)(B) provides that the Court shall dismiss a case in
which in forma pauperis status has been granted if,
at any time, the Court determines that the action (i) is
frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief. Section
1915 “provide[s] an efficient means by which a court
can screen for and dismiss legally insufficient
claims.” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d
Cir. 2007) (citing Shakur v. Selsky, 391 F.3d 106,
112 (2d Cir. 2004)).
reviewing the Complaint, the Court determines that the
majority of it must be dismissed under Section 1915(e)
because certain Defendants are immune from suit, and most of
Plaintiffs' claims are either frivolous or fail to state
a claim upon which relief could be granted. Unless Plaintiff
files an amended complaint that addresses the problems noted
below regarding his claim about the sale of his car, that
claim will also be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
Absolute Immunity: Judge Michael Schiano
claims against Judge Michael Schiano all relate to actions
that he took in his judicial role. As such, Judge Schiano is
entitled to absolute judicial immunity from the allegations
in the Complaint.
well settled that judges are absolutely immune from suit for
any actions taken within the scope of their judicial
responsibilities. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9,
10 (1991). Judicial immunity is not pierced by allegations
that the judge acted in bad faith or with malice, Pierson
v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554 (1967), even though unfairness
and injustice to a litigant may result on occasion.
Mireles, 502 U.S. at 9. Judicial immunity can be
overcome only if the court is alleged to have taken
non-judicial actions or if the judicial actions taken were
“in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.”
Id. at 11-12. The United States Supreme Court has
expressly applied the doctrine of judicial immunity to
actions brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See
Pierson, 386 U.S. at 547.
Complaint only alleges acts taken by Judge Schiano in his
judicial role during a case in Ogden Town Court. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's claims against Judge Schiano are precluded by
the doctrine of absolute judicial immunity and must be
dismissed with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Right to Drive Without a License
alleges that Officer Ploof conducted a traffic stop on May
20, 2014, and imposed on Plaintiff the allegedly
“unlawfull (sic) requirement” that he possess a
valid driver's license to operate a motor vehicle on
public roads. ECF No. 1 at 2. Plaintiff further alleges that
he “was not engaged in transportation (commerce) and
that I had a God given right to travel privately without a
license (privledge (sic)) that must be paid for which is a
tax and a fraud upon the people.” Id.
allegations are frivolous and must be dismissed. Despite
Plaintiff's pages of protestations to the contrary, it is
well settled that requiring individuals to possess a valid
driver's license to ...