United States District Court, N.D. New York
MICHAEL GEORGE PRIOR, JR. Plaintiff, pro se
DECISION AND ORDER
K. SANNES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action was commenced pro se by plaintiff Michael George
Prior, Jr. in October 2017. See Dkt. No. 1
("Compl."). Plaintiff, who was confined at Franklin
Correctional Facility ("Franklin C.F.") in the
custody of the Department of Corrections and Community
Supervision ("DOCCS") when he filed this action,
was released to parole supervision shortly after filing his
complaint. See Dkt. No. 3;
http://nysdoccslookup.doccs.ny.gov. Plaintiff has paid the
$400.00 filing fee for this action in full.
the Court has the duty to show liberality towards pro se
litigants, Nance v. Kelly, 912 F.2d 605, 606 (2d
Cir. 1990) (per curiam), and must exercise extreme caution in
ordering sua sponte dismissal of a pro se complaint before
the adverse party has been served and the parties have had an
opportunity to respond, Anderson v. Coughlin, 700
F.2d 37, 41 (2d Cir. 1983), there is a responsibility on the
Court to determine whether plaintiff may properly proceed
with this action. See Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d
40, 42 (2d Cir. 1988) ("When a complaint does not comply
with the requirement [of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8] that it be short and
plain, the court has the power, on its own initiative or in
response to a motion by the defendant, to strike any portions
that are redundant or immaterial, . . . or to dismiss the
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a
pleading that sets forth a claim for relief shall contain
"a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief." See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The purpose of Rule 8 "is to give fair
notice of the claim being asserted so as to permit the
adverse party the opportunity to file a responsive answer, .
. . prepare an adequate defense, " and determine whether
the doctrine of res judicata is applicable. Hudson v.
Artuz, No. 95 CIV. 4768, 1998 WL 832708, at *1 (S.D.N.Y.
Nov. 30, 1998) (internal quotations and citations omitted).
Even pleadings submitted pro se must meet the notice
requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Wynder v. McMahon, 360 F.3d 73, 79 n.11
(2d Cir. 2004).
"liberal pleading principles" embodied in Rule 8 do
not permit dismissal for "failure in a complaint to cite
a statute, or to cite the correct one . . . . Factual alleg
ations alone are what matters." Wynder, 360
F.3d at 77 (internal quotations and citations omitted). A
court should not dismiss a complaint if the plaintiff has
stated "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atl. 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).
"Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice." Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
complaint in this action, plaintiff claims that he was denied
proper and adequate medical care during his confinement at
Franklin C.F. from approximately September 2014 through
October 2017. Compl. at 5. Plaintiff states that he arrived
at Franklin C.F. with "spinal injuries" which had
been inflicted during his arrest. Id. at 5.
Plaintiff contends that evaluation and treatment of those
injuries was improperly denied and delayed and, as a result,
his "health has deteriorated and his symptoms have
gotten "much worse." Id. Six individuals
identified as members of the Franklin C.F. medical staff are
named as defendants as are Supt. LaClair, Deputy Supt.
Meskunas, and "C.O.s Jhon Doe." Id. at 3.
Plaintiff seeks an award of damages. Id. at
review, the Court finds that plaintiff has not set forth in
the body of his complaint the factual allegations he relies
on in support of his claims that the defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in
violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Rather, plaintiff
states that he intends to provide the relevant facts in an
amended complaint and requests leave to submit a further
pleading. Compl. at 5. According to plaintiff, he
"fear[ed his] records would be destroyed by corrections
officers" and therefore sent them "home" in
anticipation of his release. Id. Plaintiff further
states that he filed his original barebones complaint because
he needed to commence this action "before the statute of
limitations runs out." Id.
as here, plaintiff has not alleged any facts in the body of
the complaint establishing how the defendants were
responsible for the alleged violations of his constitutional
rights, the complaint as drafted does not comply with the
"minimum pleading standards set forth in Rule
8(a)." Wynder, 360 F.3d at 79; see also
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664 ("Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice."). The Court therefore finds
that the allegations in the complaint "are so vague as
to fail to give the defendants adequate notice of the claims
against them." Sheehy v. Brown, 335
Fed.App'x 102, 104 (2d Cir. 2009); see also Fed.
R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
Second Circuit has held that a district court "should
not dismiss [a pro se plaintiff's complaint] without
granting leave to amend at least once when a liberal reading
of the complaint gives any indication that a valid claim
might be stated." Gomez v. USAA Fed. Sav. Bank,
171 F.3d 794, 795 (2d Cir. 1999) (internal quotation
omitted). In addition, the filing of an amended complaint in
this action is authorized by Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Rule 15(a)(1)(B) provides that a party may
amend its pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days
after service of a responsive pleading, and within other
specified time limitations not here relevant. Fed.R.Civ.P.
light of the foregoing, plaintiff is afforded the opportunity
to submit an amended complaint if he wishes to pursue his
claims in this action. Any amended complaint must set forth a
short and plain statement of the facts plaintiff relies on in
support of his claim that specific individuals named as
defendants in that pleading engaged in acts of misconduct or
wrongdoing which violated his constitutional rights.
Plaintiff's amended complaint, which shall supersede and
replace in its entirety the original complaint, must be a
complete pleading which sets forth all of the claims that
plaintiff wants this Court to consider as a basis for
awarding relief herein.
is advised that his failure to file an amended complaint
within thirty (30) days of the filing date of this Decision
and Order will result in dismissal of this action ...