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Dudley v. Singas

United States District Court, E.D. New York

November 13, 2017

BRIAN KEITH DUDLEY, #13009249, Plaintiff,


          Joan M. Azrack United States District Judge.

         On March 18, 2016, incarcerated pro se plaintiff Brian Keith Dudley (“plaintiff”) commenced this action against Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas (“D.A. Singas”), Assistant District Attorney Michael Bushwack (“A.D.A. Bushwack”), Assistant District Attorney Jene Kang (“A.D.A. Jene Kang”), P.O. Gregory Nicholson, Shield #2953/Serial #8342 (“P.O. Nicholson”), P.O. John Monell, Shield #3440/Serial #8916 (“P.O. Monell”), Nassau County, P.O. Joseph Sedita, Shield #1951/Serial #8398 (“P.O. Sedita”), and the Nassau County District Attorney's Office (“D.A's Office” and collectively, “defendants”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”), alleging a deprivation of his constitutional rights. Accompanying the complaint is an application to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court grants plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis and sua sponte dismisses the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), 1915A(b)(1) for the reasons that follow.

         I. BACKGROUND

         All material allegations in the complaint are assumed to be true for the purpose of this Order. See, e.g., Rogers v. City of Troy, New York, 148 F.3d 52, 58 (2d Cir. 1998) (stating in reviewing a pro se complaint for sua sponte dismissal, a court is required to accept the material allegations in the complaint as true).

         Plaintiff's voluminous complaint is submitted on the Court's Section 1983 complaint form with an additional 150 pages of exhibits. Plaintiff seeks to challenge his criminal prosecution and conviction in state court.

         According to the complaint, plaintiff was charged with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. (Compl. at 5.) Plaintiff claims that he was not intoxicated and alleges that the circumstances surrounding the accident “do not reasonably lead to the exclusive hypothesis of my recklessness.” (Id.) Rather, plaintiff alleges that the “accident occurred when the pedestrian crossed the street against the traffic signal” and that the victim was an alcoholic. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff claims that he was not read his Miranda rights at the time of his arrest and that the results of the “breath test” administered to plaintiff at the scene were “defective” because plaintiff's asthma inhalers (Albuterol and Advir) affected the test. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff claims that he has been “incarcerated for over two years on these fraudulent charges” and claims “entitlement to either release from custody or a felony exam. . . .” (Id. at 8.) In the space on the complaint form that calls for a description of any injuries suffered as well as any medical treatment required and/or received, plaintiff alleges: “Negligence, wrongful imprisonment, malicious prosecution, severe mental anguish, and pain and suffering.” (Id. ¶ IV.A.) For relief, plaintiff seeks, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages in total sum in excess of $10 million. (Id. at ¶ V.)

         When plaintiff filed his complaint, he was still awaiting trial on the charges against him. However, on April 28, 2017, plaintiff submitted a letter to the Court indicating that he was convicted in state court and is now seeking to vacate that conviction through a motion brought pursuant to N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 440.10 in state court. According to plaintiff's April 28, 2017 submission, plaintiff was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree and violations of N.Y. V.T.L. § 1192(2) and & §511(1). Plaintiff received a sentence of 5-15 years of imprisonment.


         A. 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 fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Therefore, plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted.

         B. Standard of Review

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act requires a district court to screen a civil complaint brought by a prisoner against a governmental entity or its agents and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint is “frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Similarly, pursuant to the in forma pauperis statute, a court must dismiss an action if it determines that it “(i) is frivolous or malicious, (ii) fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or (iii) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court must dismiss the action as soon as it makes such a determination. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         Pro se submissions are afforded wide interpretational latitude and should be held “to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam); see also Boddie v. Schnieder, 105 F.3d 857, 860 (2d Cir. 1997). In addition, the court is required to read the plaintiff's pro se complaint liberally and interpret it as raising the strongest arguments it suggests. United States v. Akinrosotu, 637 F.3d 165, 167 (2d Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (citation omitted); Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009).

         The Supreme Court has held that pro se complaints need not even plead specific facts; rather the complainant “need only give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); cf. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(e) (“Pleadings must be construed so as to do justice.”). However, a pro se plaintiff must still plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (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 (2009) (citations omitted). The plausibility standard requires “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. at 678. While ...

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