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Howery v. Chanis

United States District Court, E.D. New York

June 26, 2017

LENORE HOWERY, Plaintiff,
v.
JUDGE ABIGAIL CHANIS, individually and in her official capacity as Justice of the NYS Worker's Compensation Court of Suffolk County, New York; and BOARD PANEL EMPLOYEES LOREN LOBBAN, MARGARET BARBERIS, and ELLEN O. PAPROCKI, Defendants.

          For Plaintiff: Lenore Howery, pro se

         For Defendants: No appearances.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          JOANNA SEYBERT, U.S.D.J.

         On December 27, 2016, pro se plaintiff Lenore Howery (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) against Workers' Compensation Law Judge Abigail Chanis, Judge of the New York State Workers' Compensation Court of Suffolk County, New York (“Judge Chanis”) and three Workers' Compensation Board Members, Loren Lobban (“Lobban”), Margaret Barberis (“Barberis”), and Ellen O. Paprocki (“Paprocki” and collectively, “Defendants”), accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff seeks to sue Judge Chanis in her individual and official capacity.[1]

         Upon review of the 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. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Therefore, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. However, for the reasons that follow, the Complaint is sua sponte DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)-(iii).

         BACKGROUND[2]

         Plaintiff seeks to challenge the December 14, 2016 decision of the New York State Workers' Compensation Board Panel, which affirmed a determination made by Judge Chanis.[3] Plaintiff also seeks to challenge the alleged conduct of Judge Chanis during the underlying proceedings concerning Plaintiff's Workers' Compensation claim. Plaintiff alleges that Judge Chanis accused Plaintiff of, inter alia, “intentionally providing an incorrect social security number to the NYS Worker's Compensation Board . . .”, and potentially committing “fraud” in connection with her claim for benefits. (Compl. at 2-3.) Plaintiff also claims that Judge Chanis silenced her during the April 2016 hearing and did not permit Plaintiff to consult with her attorney during the proceeding. (Compl. at 2.) Thus, Plaintiff claims a deprivation of her First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Compl. ¶ II, and at 2-4.)

         For relief, Plaintiff seeks “injunctive relief commanding defendant to reverse and/or nullify the Decision of the Board and have my case removed to another Court” as well as any declaratory and further “relief as this Court deems appropriate and just” including the “costs of litigation.” (Compl. at 5.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. In Forma Pauperis Application

         Upon 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 fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Therefore, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.

         II. Application of 28 U.S.C. § 1915

         Section 1915 of Title 28 requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). The Court is required to dismiss the action as soon as it makes such a determination.

         Courts are obliged to construe the pleadings of a pro se plaintiff liberally. See Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed Defendant, 537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008); McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004). However, a complaint must plead sufficient facts to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citation omitted). The plausibility standard requires “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. at 678; accord Wilson v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 671 F.3d 120, 128 (2d Cir. 2011). While “‘detailed factual ...


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