United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
William M. Skretny United States District Judge.
before this Court is an Amended Complaint and Motion for
Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis by pro se Plaintiff
Anthony Aikens, who is a prisoner confined at the Attica
Correctional Facility. (Docket Nos. 2 and 3.) Because
Plaintiff meets the statutory requirements of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915 (a), his request to proceed in forma pauperis
will be granted. The granting of this status triggers the
screening provisions in 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 (e)(2)(B)
and 1915A. Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion
for a Temporary Restraining Order. (Docket No. 4.) For the
reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's claims will proceed
to service, but his request for a temporary restraining order
will be denied.
alleges that on January 11, 2016, at 3:30 p.m., Defendant
Porter directed him to retrieve the “disposition
ticket” from his cell that explained why Plaintiff had
lost recreation privileges. (Amended Complaint, p. 2.)
Plaintiff retrieved the “ticket” and proceeded to
the Corrections Officers' desk, where he informed
Defendant Porter that he had a question to ask.
(Id.) Defendant Porter refused to let Plaintiff ask
his question and instead said, “You don't ask
questions here. I do the asking here.” (Id.)
then asked to speak to a sergeant. (Id.) In
response, Defendant Porter called in a disturbance.
(Id.) He then ordered Plaintiff against the wall and
searched him. (Id.) After the search, Defendant
Porter punched Plaintiff “in his lower spine and right
side while Plaintiff was on the wall.” (Id.)
Plaintiff then fell to the floor screaming, at which time
officers responding to the disturbance call arrived and took
Plaintiff to the Special Housing Unit (“SHU”).
(Id. at 3.)
SHU, Plaintiff asked to be seen in the medical unit, because
he was experiencing “severe pain in his lower back and
knumbness [sic] in both legs.” (Id.) His
request was denied and he was threatened with being stripped
and placed naked on suicide watch, presumably if he did not
stop asking to go to the medical unit. (Id.)
filed a grievance concerning the assault on January 14, 2016,
which the Superintendent denied on February 1, 2016.
(Id. at p. 22.) Plaintiff then appealed the denial
of his grievance on February 25, 2016, but has not received a
decision. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff therefore alleges
that he has exhausted his administrative remedies.
(Id. at pp. 3-6.)
incident also resulted in a Tier III disciplinary hearing on
January 15, 2016, at which the hearing officer, Defendant
Awopetu, asked Plaintiff whether he had witnesses.
(Id. at pp. 6, 10.) Plaintiff stated that he had no
witnesses at that time. (Id. p. 6) He then proceeded
to present his case, arguing that Defendant Porter assaulted
him and aggravated a preexisting injury such that he could
not sleep. (Id.) Plaintiff also presented medical
documents concerning his preexisting injury. (Id.)
At the conclusion of Plaintiff's presentation, Defendant
Awopetu stated that he needed to adjourn the proceeding so
that he could hear from the officer who wrote the
hearing continued on January 26, 2016. (Id. at 10.)
At that time, Plaintiff advised Defendant Awopetu that he now
wanted to call witnesses, but did not know their names, only
their locations. (Id. at pp. 6, 7.) Defendant
Awopetu refused to allow Plaintiff to call his witnesses,
because he did not want to further delay the hearing.
(Id.) At the conclusion of the hearing that day,
Defendant Awopetu found Plaintiff guilty of one of the four
charges against him and sentenced him to, inter
alia, 180 days in the SHU, with 80 days
deferred. (Id. at 10.)
appealed Defendant Awopetu's decision the same day it was
rendered. (Id. at 19.) On February 1, 2016,
Defendant Sticht denied Plaintiff's appeal. (Id.
at 22.) Plaintiff further appealed to the Commissioner, who,
through Defendant Rodriguez, modified Plaintiff's
sentence (reducing SHU to 90 days) but otherwise denied the
appeal. (Id. at 21.)
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 (e)(2)(B) and 1915A (a), the
Court is required to conduct an initial screening of this
Amended Complaint. In evaluating the Amended Complaint, the
Court must accept as true all of the factual allegations and
must draw all inferences in Plaintiff's favor. See
Larkin v. Savage, 318 F.3d 138, 139 (2d Cir. 2003) (per
curiam); King v. Simpson, 189 F.3d 284, 287 (2d Cir.
1999). While “a court is obliged to construe [pro
se] pleadings liberally, particularly when they allege
civil rights violations, ” McEachin v.
McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004), even
pro se pleadings must meet the notice requirements
of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wynder
v. McMahon, 360 F.3d 73 (2d Cir. 2004).
comply with Rule 8, “[s]pecific facts are not
necessary, ” and the plaintiff “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) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted);
see also Boykin v. Keycorp, 521 F.3d 202, 213 (2d
Cir. 2008) (discussing pleading standard in pro se
cases after Twombly: “even after
Twombly, dismissal of a pro se claim as
insufficiently pleaded is appropriate only in the most
unsustainable of cases.”).
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. "To
state a valid claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the
plaintiff must allege that the challenged conduct (1) was
attributable to a person acting under color of state law, and
(2) deprived the plaintiff of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States." Whalen v. County of Fulton, 126 F.3d
400, 405 (2d Cir. 1997) (citing Eagleston v. Guido,
41 F.3d 865, 875-76 (2d Cir. 1994)).