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Coleman v. Annucci

United States District Court, E.D. New York

December 28, 2017



          MARGO K. BRODIE, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Shawn Coleman, proceeding pro se and presently incarcerated at the Willard Drug Treatment Center located in Seneca County, New York (“Willard”), filed the above-captioned action on August 21, 2017 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Anthony J. Annucci, A. Preston, H. Wilkerson, Marie Felix-Jones and E. Blackmon.[1] (Compl. at 1, Docket Entry No. 1.) Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is granted. For the reasons set forth below, the Court dismisses Plaintiff's claims against Annucci. Plaintiff's claims against Preston, Wilkerson, Felix-Jones and Blackmon may proceed.

         I. Background

         The Court assumes the truth of the factual allegations in the Complaint for the purpose of this Memorandum and Order. On August 25, 2014, Plaintiff reported to a meeting with his parole officer at the New York State Division of Parole area office located at 92-36 Merrick Boulevard in Queens County, New York. (Compl. at 3-4.) During the meeting with his parole officer, [2] Preston, whom Plaintiff alleges is the “Region Director” at the parole office Plaintiff reports to, was called into the room, and Preston “started to talk to [Plaintiff] in a very disrespectful manner.” (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff was handcuffed for approximately two hours, after which time he was released and told to report for entry into a program assigned by Plaintiff's parole officer. (Id.) On August 29, 2014, Plaintiff reported to an Arms Acres drug rehabilitation center (“Arms Acres”) to begin a treatment program.[3] Plaintiff attended Arms Acres for approximately four weeks, when he was informed by his parole officer that Arms Acres reported that Plaintiff tested positive during a drug test. (Id.) Plaintiff's parole officer ordered Plaintiff to take a second drug test, the results of which were negative. (Id.) Upon overhearing that Plaintiff previously failed a drug test, Preston asked Plaintiff's parole officer whether Plaintiff had been subsequently tested. (Id.) Plaintiff's parole officer responded that Plaintiff had been tested a second time, and that the results were negative. (Id.) Preston then informed Plaintiff that he would be transported to Rikers Island or Edgecombe Treatment Program (“Edgecombe”) for forty-five days.[4] (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff asserts that Preston “violated [his] [d]ue [p]rocess [rights] . . . maliciously prosecuted [him] without cause, which resulted in [his] false arrest (wrongful confinement) and [he] was denied [his] [e]qual [p]rotection.” (Id.)

         On or about September 14, 2015, Plaintiff requested permission from his parole officer to go to Allentown, Pennsylvania, for job training. (Id.) When Plaintiff did not receive a response, he attended the job training and was offered a job. (Id.) Plaintiff thereafter informed his parole officer about the job offer. (Id.) The senior parole officer was informed, [5] and Plaintiff was penalized for not receiving permission in advance, prohibited from accepting the job offer, and required to report to his parole officer more frequently. (Id.) Plaintiff complied with the new reporting requirements for approximately five weeks. (Id.) At a subsequent parole meeting, Preston overheard a comment by the senior parole officer that Plaintiff left the state without permission, and ordered that Plaintiff be given an ankle monitor. (Id. at 5-6.) Plaintiff alleges that Preston thus “violated [his] [d]ue [p]rocess [rights] by imposing such sanction without a hearing or need” and also denied him “[e]qual [p]rotection” of the law. (Id. at 6.)

         On or about December 2, 2015, Plaintiff and his fiancée went to the parole office to submit a transfer application in connection with Plaintiff's change of address to New Jersey. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff was informed by the senior parole officer and Preston that his application would be denied because he and his fiancée were not married. (Id.)

         Between January of 2016 and May of 2016, Preston visited Plaintiff's job on at least three occasions, “causing conflict with [Plaintiff] and [his] employer.” (Id.) Plaintiff was “on a delivery truck” during Preston's first visit, and Preston informed Plaintiff's parole officer, Defendant Blackmon, [6] that Plaintiff was not working. (Id. at 6-7.) Upon reporting to the parole office, Plaintiff explained that he had been making deliveries, but was told he had to obtain a letter of employment, “which started a chain of events jeopardizing [Plaintiff's] employment.” (Id.) According to Plaintiff, Preston visited Plaintiff's job on two subsequent occasions. (Id.)

         After Plaintiff was told to report to parole, Preston instructed Blackmon to “write out a special condition” prohibiting Plaintiff from driving. (Id.) Plaintiff's license was suspended at the time, but he had been “working to pay off all violation fines so [he] could obtain [his] license.” (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Preston's conduct violated his due process and equal protection rights, and that Blackmon failed to protect Plaintiff. (Id.)

         On or about May 16, 2016, Plaintiff was arrested at his place of employment for an alleged parole violation after Blackmon and others allegedly observed Plaintiff operating a motor vehicle. (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff was incarcerated for approximately six months and lost his job. (Id.)

         On or about February or March of 2017, after leaving work and before a scheduled parole meeting, Plaintiff asked Defendant Felix-Jones, his new parole officer, whether the meeting could be rescheduled because Plaintiff had to report to work in six hours. (Id.) After being given initial permission, Plaintiff was informed that Preston wanted Plaintiff to come in to the parole office. (Id.) Plaintiff was kept at the parole office from approximately 1:00 PM to 8:57 PM and alleges that he was held “maliciously” and forced to miss work. (Id. at 9.)

         On or about April 10, 2017, Plaintiff reported to parole and informed Felix-Jones that he was applying for a job that required him to obtain his commercial driver's license. (Id.) After Felix-Jones denied Plaintiff's request to proceed in obtaining such license, Plaintiff spoke separately with Defendant Wilkerson, a senior parole officer at the office, who informed him that he should be permitted to obtain his commercial driver's license and that he could file a grievance for the denial. (Id.) According to Plaintiff, Wilkerson did not otherwise assist him. (Id.)

         On or about April 20, 2017, Plaintiff was served a “violation of release report” signed by Felix-Jones and Wilkerson. (Id. at 10.) On June 5, 2017, “under the supervision of Anthony J. Annucci . . . and Preston, ” Plaintiff was subjected to a drug and alcohol test. (Id.) In connection with the test, “defendants . . . filed incomplete . . . documents which defendants utilized to find plaintiff guilty, ” in violation of Plaintiff's due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment as well as “Article I, section 6 of [the] N[ew] Y[ork] State Constitution.” (Id.) On June 5, 2017, Plaintiff was “sentenced by judicial sanction” to forty-five days at Edgecombe, and given a scheduled release date of August 10, 2017. (Id.) On July 20, 2017, Plaintiff was subsequently removed from Edgecombe and placed in a special housing unit at Ulster Correctional Facility (“Ulster”). (Id. at 11.) While at Ulster, Plaintiff was assaulted and “confined without cause, without a disciplinary or pending ticket.” (Id.) On or about July 27, 2017, Plaintiff was reassigned to Willard, “per direction of Albany's decision (Anthony Annucci).” (Id.) Plaintiff was informed that he was being reassigned because, “through correspondence dated July 28, 2017 (Subject) (Amended Decision Notice), ” his “parole revocation was amended” unlawfully without a hearing. (Id.)

         Plaintiff seeks $2, 500, 000 in compensatory damages against the defendants “in their official capacities” and also seeks $1, 000, 000 in punitive damages “in their individual capacities.”[7] (Id. at 12.)

         II. ...

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