United States District Court, E.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
DONNELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
24, 2017, the pro se plaintiff, Charlie Campbell,
brought this action against the Transit Adjudication Bureau
of the New York City Transit Authority ("NYCTA"),
for alleged violations of his constitutional rights. The
Court grants plaintiffs request to proceed in forma
pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 for the
purpose of deciding this motion but for the reasons discussed
below, dismisses this case sua sponte pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2)(B).
the pleadings in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
it appears that the defendant obtained a judgment against the
plaintiff and filed a lien against the plaintiffs New York
State income tax refund. As a result, the New York State
Department of Taxation and Finance offset the plaintiffs
state tax refund in the amount of $83.00. (Compl., ECF 1 at
8-11).The plaintiff argues that the lien was
improper because the underlying charges against him were
dismissed. To support these allegations, the plaintiff
attached a copy of a complaint that he filed in a prior
action against the City of New York, showing that a January
20, 1998, Notice of Violation for disorderly conduct was
dismissed. (Compl., ECF 1 at 13, 17); see also Campbell
v. City of New York et al, No. 97 Civ. 7442 (FB). The
notice from the New York State Department of Taxation and
Finance, however, shows that the offset was based on a
judgment of debt that occurred on December 19, 2013. (Compl.,
at 10). The plaintiff seeks monetary damages.
Standard of Review
se complaints are held to less stringent standards than
pleadings drafted by attorneys, and the Court is required to
read the plaintiff s pro se complaint liberally and
interpret it as raising the strongest arguments it suggests.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007); Hughes
v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Sealed Plaintiff v.
Sealed Defendant #7, 537 F.3d 185, 191-93 (2d Cir.
2008). Moreover, at the pleadings stage of the proceeding,
the Court must assume the truth of "all well-pleaded,
nonconclusory factual allegations" in the complaint.
Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 621 F.3d 111,
123 (2d Cir. 2010) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009)). A complaint must plead sufficient
facts to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face." BellAtl Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B),
however, a court is to dismiss an in forma pauperis
action if the action is "(i) frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief."
Rule of Civil Procedure 8 provides that "[a] pleading
that states a claim for relief must contain ... a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and that
"[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct,
" Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (a)(d)(1). This rule "does not
require 'detailed factual allegations, ' but it
demands more than an unadorned,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555). Pleadings should give "fair
notice" of a claim and "the grounds upon which it
rests" in order to enable the opposing party to answer
and prepare for trial, and to identify the nature of the
case. Dura Pharm. Inc. v. Broudo, 544 U.S. 336, 346
(2005) (internal quotation marks omitted); Swierkiewicz
v. Sorema, N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); see also
Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 86 (2d Cir. 1995)
("Fair notice is that which will enable the adverse
party to answer and prepare for trial, allow the application
of res judicata, and identify the nature of the case so it
may be assigned the proper form of trial.").
Section 1983 Claims
plaintiff asserts that the Court has jurisdiction over his
claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In order to maintain
an action under §1983 action, he must allege two
essential elements. First, "the conduct complained of
must have been committed by a person acting under color of
state law." Pitchell v. Callan, 13 F.3d 545,
547 (2d Cir. 1994) (citation omitted). Second, "the
conduct complained of must have deprived a person of rights,
privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws
of the United States." Id; see also McGugan v.
Aldana-Bernier, 752 F.3d 224, 229 (2d Cir. 2014)
("To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that defendants violated plaintiffs federal rights
while acting under color of state law."). Section 1983
"does not create a federal right or benefit; it simply
provides a mechanism for enforcing a right or benefit
established elsewhere." Morris-Hayes v. Board of
Educ. of Chester Union Free Sch. Dist., 423 F.3d 153,
159 (2d Cir. 2005) (citing Oklahoma City v. Tuttle,
471 U.S. 808, 816 (1985)).
order to allege a plausible Section 1983 claim against a
municipality, including a public benefit corporation such as
the NYCTA,  the plaintiff must allege the existence of
an official policy or custom that caused him to suffer the
deprivation of a constitutional right. See Monell v.
Department of Social Services of City of New York, 436 U.S.
658, 690-91 (1978); Jones v. Town of East Haven, 691 F.3d 72,
80 (2d Cir. 2012); George v. New York City Transit Auth, 13
Civ. 7986, 2014 WL 3388660, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. July 11, 2014)
(applying Monell to the New York City Transit
Authority). "Official municipal policy includes the
decisions of a government's lawmakers, the acts of its
policymaking officials, and practices so persistent and
widespread as to practically have the force of law."
Connickv. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 61 (2011).
the burden is on the plaintiff to 'demonstrate that,
through its deliberate conduct, the municipality was the
'moving force' behind the alleged injury.'"
Whitfield v. City of Newburgh, 08 Civ. 8516, 2015 WL
9275695, at *28 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 17, 2015) (quoting Roe v.
City of Waterbury, 542 F.3d 31, 37 (2d Cir. 2008)). The
gravamen of the plaintiffs complaint is that the defendant
improperly obtained a judgment against him and then sought a
lien against his tax refund. He does not allege any facts
that establish that an NYCTA policy or acts of NYCTA
employees caused the alleged civil rights violations.
Accordingly, he has not alleged a plausible Section 1983
claim for municipal liability. See Missel v. Cty. of
Monroe, 351 Fed.Appx. 543, 545 (2d Cir. 2009) ("The
allegations that [the defendant] acted pursuant to a
'policy, ' without any facts suggesting the
policy's existence, are plainly insufficient.");
Siino v. City of New York, No. 14 Civ. 7217, 2015 WL
4210827, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. Jul. 9, 2015) ("Plaintiffs
vague and conclusory assertions that the City of New York has
policies, practices and customs which violated her
constitutional rights are insufficient to meet the pleadings
standards required to establish liability under
to the extent that the plaintiff claims that the defendant
deprived him of his property by collecting on a judgment,
that claim is unavailing. To state a cause of action under
the Fourteenth Amendment based on the deprivation of
property, the plaintiff must show that an (1) that an
"established state procedure" deprived him of
property "without according him proper procedural
safeguards, " Logan v. Zimmerman Brush Co., 455
U.S. 422, 436 (1982), or (2) that "random and
unauthorized conduct" of a state employee resulted in
the intentional deprivation of property and that "a
meaningful postdeprivation [state] remedy for the loss [was
not] available, " Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S.
517, 533 (1984). Deprivation of property is only actionable
in federal court if the state does not provide procedural
safeguards or an adequate post-deprivation remedy for the
loss. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 542-43
(1981), overruled in part on other grounds by Daniels v.
Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-31 (1986).
instance, the plaintiff was entitled to adequate
post-deprivation proceedings at the Transit Adjudication
Bureau, see N.Y. Pub. Auth. L. § 1209-a, and to
judicial review pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice
Law and Rules in New York State ...