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Jefferson v. Soe

United States District Court, E.D. New York

July 6, 2017

KEVIN L. JEFFERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVEN SOE, Correction Officer; JAMES JOE, Commissary Officer; RICK ROE, Commissary Officer; TONY TOE, Corrections Sergeant; ZEUS ZOE, Warden of the SCJ; and COUNTY OF SUFFOLK, Defendants.

          For Plaintiff: Kevin L. Jefferson, pro se

          For Defendants: No appearances.

          ORDER

          JOANNA SEYBERT U.S.D.J.

         On May 30, 2017, incarcerated pro se plaintiff Kevin L. Jefferson (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint against the County of Suffolk (the “County”) and five (5) unidentified individuals alleged to work at the Suffolk County Jail (collectively, “Defendants”) alleging a deprivation of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”). Plaintiff's Complaint is accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis and an Order to Show Cause seeking the entry of a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction. By Electronic Order dated June 5, 2017, the undersigned denied Plaintiff's application for a Temporary Restraining Order and deferred ruling on the application for a Preliminary Injunction pending the determination of Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.

         Upon review of Plaintiff's declaration in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that Plaintiff's financial status qualifies him to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Accordingly, Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED and the Court ORDERS service of the Complaint by the United States Marshal Service (“USMS”) without prepayment of the filing fee. Plaintiff's Order to Show Cause seeking the entry of a Preliminary Injunction is DENIED for the reasons that follow.

         BACKGROUND

         I. The Complaint

         Plaintiff's brief Complaint alleges a deprivation of his First Amendment rights. More specifically, Plaintiff claims that, on May 11, 2017, his requests for grievance forms and “No Funds”[1]envelopes were denied by Steven Soe (“Soe”), James Joe (“Joe”), and Rick Roe (“Roe”). According to the Complaint, Plaintiff informed Joe and Roe that he needed envelopes in order to timely respond to a May 15, 2017 deadline to file a pleading in a pending civil case, Jefferson v. Rosenblatt, 13-CV-5918. (Compl. at 4.) Notwithstanding Plaintiff's “plea for assistance, ” Defendants allegedly denied Plaintiff's request. (Compl. at 4.) Accordingly, Plaintiff contends that Defendants, “intentionally and with full understanding and awareness of the impact of their individual and collective actions”, deprived Plaintiff of his “First Amendment freedoms (speech, the right of access to the court, and to petition for redress of grievances).” (Compl. at 4.) Plaintiff surmises that, given his lengthy litigation history against the County and its employees, together with his success in obtaining injunctive relief in Jefferson v. Doe, 08-CV-0204, Defendants' denials of grievance forms and/or envelopes are retaliatory. (See Exs. annexed to the Compl., generally.)

         For relief, Plaintiff seeks an award of compensatory damages in the amount of $250, 000 and punitive damages in the amount of $350, 000. (Compl. at 5.) Plaintiff also seeks “appropriate preliminary injunctive relief” and references his application for a Preliminary Injunction. (Compl. at 5.)

         II. The Application for a Preliminary Injunction

         Plaintiff's ex parte Order to Show Cause does not include a proposed order, nor does it include the specific conduct Plaintiff seeks to enjoin. As the Court can best discern, Plaintiff seeks a preliminary injunction enjoining the Defendants from denying his requests for grievance forms and envelopes, and/or imposing any adverse consequences for the exercise of Plaintiff's First Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleges, as grounds for his motion, that he has been identified as litigious by corrections staff and, in an effort to deter Plaintiff from filing further grievances and lawsuits, various jail privileges have been denied to him and other inmates, such as television time and lock-out time. In addition, Plaintiff alleges he was removed from his food cart service job without cause. (See Order to Show Cause, generally).

         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. ยง 1915(a)(1). ...


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