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Yin v. Alvarado

United States District Court, W.D. New York

June 26, 2017

JIE YIN, Plaintiff,
v.
VICTOR ALVARADO, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          ELIZABETH A. WOLEORD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Jie Yin ("Plaintiff) filed claims against the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority ("NFTA") and NFTA Police Officer Victor Alvarado ("Alvarado") (collectively, "Defendants") (Dkt. 7; Dkt. 73), alleging that she had suffered a deprivation of her constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Dkt. 6).[1] The Court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis on September 16, 2011. (Dkt. 4).

         Although Plaintiff commenced the lawsuit pro se, she was subsequently represented by counsel, but the Court granted that counsel's motion to withdraw. (Dkt. 41). On October 22, 2015, the Court appointed pro bono counsel to represent Plaintiff. (Dkt. 47).

         Defendants moved for summary judgment on February 1, 2016. (Dkt. 53). On May 19, 2016, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of NFTA, finding that Plaintiff had failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact to support her allegations that NFTA "maintain[ed] an unlawful policy of permitting its employee officers to engage in excessive uses of force without repercussion. . . ." (Dkt. 72 at 2). However, the Court denied summary judgment with respect to Alvarado because "there [were] disputed issues of material fact with respect to Plaintiffs excessive use of force and unlawful seizure/detention claims. . . ." (Id. at 1).

         The remaining claims against Alvarado proceeded to a jury trial commencing on September 26, 2016, and on September 29, 2016, a verdict was returned in favor of Alvarado. (Dkt. 105). Judgment was entered in favor of Alvarado on October 31, 2016, (Dkt. 106), and on November 1, 2016, Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal. (Dkt. 107). At that same time, Plaintiffs counsel was terminated as her attorney, and Plaintiff has returned to hex pro se status.

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs May 11, 2017, motion seeking free copies of the trial transcript pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 753(f). (Dkt. 111). Plaintiff makes the following argument in support of her motion:

[P]laintiff is proceeding pro se. Because of questions of the [sic] fact and law raised at trial, and confusion of the jury, . . . [P]laintiff believes . . . there is reasonable cause the jury reached a wrong verdict. . . . [P]laintiff is disable[d] . . . [and her] only income is SSI.

(Id. at 3).

         Counsel for Alvarado filed an attorney affirmation in opposition to Plaintiffs motion, arguing that "Plaintiff does not articulate with any detail at all 'substantial questions' to be raised on appeal or that her appeal is not frivolous." (Dkt. 113 at 4).

         Counsel also contends that Plaintiffs assertion of juror confusion is made "without basis or elaboration." (Id.). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs motion is denied.

         DISCUSSION

         The relevant statutory provision upon which Plaintiff bases her motion provides as follows:

Each reporter may charge and collect fees for transcripts requested by the parties, including the United States, at rates prescribed by the court subject to the approval of the Judicial Conference. He shall not charge a fee for any copy of a transcript delivered to the clerk for the records of court. . . . Fees for transcripts furnished in other proceedings to persons permitted to appeal in forma pauperis shall also be paid by the United States if ...

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