United States District Court, N.D. New York
BAKER 14-R-1962 Plaintiff, Pro se Woodbourne Correctional
DECISION AND ORDER
T. SUDDABY United States District Judge
Ralph Baker ("Plaintiff") commenced this action by
filing a pro se Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Dkt. No. 1 ("Compl."). Plaintiff, who is presently
confined at Woodbourne Correctional Facility
("Woodbourne C.F."), has paid the full filing fee
of $400.00. Plaintiff also filed a motion for preliminary
injunctive relief. Dkt. No. 2.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, a court must review any
"complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity" and must "identify
cognizable claims or 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; or . . . seeks monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b);
see also Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115, 116 (2d Cir.
1999) (per curiam) (Section 1915A applies to all actions
brought by prisoners against government officials even when
plaintiff paid the filing fee).
when reviewing a complaint, the Court may also look to the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure provides that a pleading which sets forth
a claim for relief shall contain, inter alia,
"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) (quoting Powell v. Marine Midland
Bank, No. 95-CV-0063 (TJM), 162 F.R.D. 15, 16 (N.D.N.Y.
June 23, 1995) (other citations omitted)).
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). While
the court should construe the factual allegations in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, "the tenet that a
court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in
a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions."
Id. "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). Rule 8 "demands more than an unadorned,
Id. Thus, a pleading that contains only allegations
which "are so vague as to fail to give the defendants
adequate notice of the claims against them" is subject
to dismissal. Sheehy v. Brown, 335 Fed.Appx. 102,
104 (2d Cir. 2009).
pro se parties are held to less stringent pleading standards,
the Second Circuit has held that "district courts may
dismiss a frivolous complaint sua sponte even when the
plaintiff has paid the required filing fee." See
Fitzgerald v. First E. Seventh St. Tenants Corp., 221
F.3d 362, 364 (2d Cir. 2000). Indeed, "district courts
are especially likely to be exposed to frivolous actions and,
thus, have [a] need for inherent authority to dismiss such
actions quickly in order to preserve scarce judicial
resources." Id. A cause of action is properly
deemed frivolous "where it lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
SUMMARY OF THE COMPLAINT
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
establishes a cause of action for "the deprivation of
any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws' of the United States."
German v. Fed. Home Loan Mortgage Corp., No. 93 Civ.
6941, 885 F.Supp. 537, 573 (S.D.N.Y. May 8, 1995) (citing
Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498,
508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983)) (footnote
omitted); see also Myers v. Wollowitz, No.
6:95-CV-0272 (TJM/RWS), 1995 WL 236245, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. Apr.
10, 1995) (stating that "§ 1983 is the vehicle by
which individuals may seek redress for alleged violations of
their constitutional rights." (citation omitted)).
"Section 1983 itself creates no substantive rights,
[but] . . . only a procedure for redress for the deprivation
of rights established elsewhere." Sykes v.
James, 13 F.3d 515, 519 (2d Cir. 1993) (citation
omitted). The Court will construe the allegations in the
Complaint with the utmost leniency. See,
e.g., Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521
(1972) (holding that a pro se litigant's complaint is to
be held "to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.").
commenced this civil rights action arising out of his
confinement in the custody of the New York State Department
of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS").
Plaintiff names five defendants in the caption and the list
of parties: DOCCS; Commissioners of Parole Tina Stanford
("Stanford"), Joseph P. Crangle
("Crangle"), and Marc Coppola
("Coppola"); and Commissioner of Correctional
Services Glenn S. Goord ("Goord"). See
Compl. at 1-3. Plaintiff's claims are asserted against
the individual defendants in their official capacity. See
September 2014, Plaintiff was convicted of Grand Larceny,
Attempted Grand Larceny, and Offering a False Instrument and
sentenced to serve an aggregate term of imprisonment of four
to twelve years. Compl. at 5; Dkt. No. 2 at 1; Dkt. No. 2-4
at 27. On December 16, 2015, Plaintiff appeared, via video
conference, for a Parole Board Hearing ("the
Hearing"). Compl. at 4.; Dkt. No. 2-4 at 1. The Parole
Board Panel ("the Panel") included Stanford,
Crangle, and Coppola. Dkt. No. 2-4 at 1. During the Hearing,
the Panel presented questions related to Plaintiff's
convictions. Compl. at 4, 5. The Panel denied Plaintiff
parole and ruled in favor of continued confinement for
twenty-four months. Id. at 5; Dkt. No. 2-4 at 15.
The Panel considered the seriousness of Plaintiff's
offense, Plaintiff's disciplinary and programming record,
Plaintiff's demeanor during the hearing, and
Plaintiff's failure to take responsibility for his
actions. Dkt. No. 2-4 at 15-16.
liberally, Plaintiff claims that: (1) Defendants subjected
him to an unlawful Parole Board Hearing in violation of his
constitutional rights; and (2) his Eighth Amendment rights
were violated due to deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs. See Compl. at 5. Plaintiff seeks
injunctive relief restraining defendants from
"practicing, policy, and procedure of Executive Law
§ 259-i and 7 NYCRR § 251.2-2." See Id.
claims that the Panel's decision was "arbitrary and
capricious" because the Panel failed to develop a
Transitional Accountability Plan ("TAP") as
required by Corrections Law § 71-a and failed to
consider his COMPAS risk assessment. Dkt. No. 2-4 at 28, 29.
Plaintiff also asserts that the Panel erroneously placed
emphasis on the severity of his criminal history without