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Hughes v. Nassau County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, E.D. New York

January 8, 2018

DAVID HUGHES, #16003688, Plaintiff,
v.
NASSAU COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, ARMOR CORRECTIONAL HEALTH INC., MARCELLE MORCOS, Medical Director, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Joan M. Azrack, United States District Judge

         On August 4, 2017, incarcerated pro se plaintiff David Hughes filed an in forma pauperis complaint against the Nassau County Sheriff's Department (“NCSD”), Armor Correctional Health Inc. (“Armor”), and Armor's Medical Director, Marcelle Morcos (“Morcos”), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) alleging a deprivation of his Constitutional rights. Plaintiff also filed an application for the appointment of pro bono counsel to represent him in this case.

         Because the in forma pauperis application submitted by plaintiff was incomplete, the Court instructed plaintiff, by Notice of Deficiency dated August 11, 2017 (“Notice”), to complete and return the enclosed in forma pauperis application within fourteen (14) days from the date of the Notice. On August 24, 2017, plaintiff timely filed a proper in forma pauperis application. Plaintiff has also filed a number of letters with the Court since August 2017, none of which are relevant to the Court's analysis. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis and sua sponte dismisses his claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), 1915A(b). Plaintiff's application for the appointment of pro bono counsel is denied without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiff alleges a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that he received inadequate medical care while incarcerated at the Nassau County Correctional Center (“NCC”). Plaintiff alleges that, upon his arrival at NCC on May 28, 2016, his personal, orthopedic footwear was exchanged for “sneakers, ” which plaintiff claims “posed an unreasonable serious risk of harm involving detainee's health.” (Compl. at 4.) Plaintiff claims to suffer “from knee issues, degenerative back, neuromuscular” problems. (Id.) Plaintiff also claims to have had an “undiagnosed bacterial infection” on his feet that required prescription medication. (Compl. at 5.) According to the complaint, plaintiff did not receive medical treatment despite his “intense disabling foot symptoms and pain involving discharge aside from evident abscess.” (Id.) Although plaintiff acknowledges that he was given cortisone injections in both knees “from outside orthopedic doctor (Montero) who came here, ” plaintiff seeks to recover a compensatory and punitive damages award in the amount of $2 million for his lack of treatment. (Id. at 6-7.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. In Forma Pauperis Application

         Upon review of plaintiff's declarations in support of his application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court finds that plaintiff is qualified to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fees. 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 to dismiss the complaint, either in part or in its entirety, if it 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, the 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 “‘detailed factual allegations'” are not required, “[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         C. ...


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