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Lewis v. Michaud

United States District Court, N.D. New York

January 17, 2018

SHAWN LEWIS, Plaintiff,
v.
PAULA MICHAUD, et al., Defendants.

          SHAWN LEWIS Plaintiff, Pro Se

          REPORT-RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER

          DANIEL J. STEWART United States Magistrate Judge

         The Clerk has sent to the Court for review a Complaint filed by pro se Plaintiff Shawn Lewis. Dkt. Nos. 1, Compl & 1-1, Suppl. in Support of Compl. Plaintiff has not paid the filing fee and has submitted two Applications to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) that are substantively the same. Dkt. Nos. 2 & 5, IFP Apps. By separate Order, dated January 17, 2018, this Court granted Plaintiff's Applications to Proceed IFP. Now, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court will sua sponte review the sufficiency of the Complaint.

         I. DISCUSSION

         A. Pleading Requirements

         Section 1915(e) of Title 28 of the United States Code directs that, when a plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         In reviewing a pro se complaint, a court has a duty to show liberality toward pro se litigants, see Nance v. Kelly, 912 F.2d 605, 606 (2d Cir. 1990), and should exercise “extreme caution . . . in ordering sua sponte dismissal of a pro se complaint before the adverse party has been served and both parties (but particularly the plaintiff) have had an opportunity to respond.” Anderson v. Coughlin, 700 F.2d 37, 41 (2d Cir. 1983) (emphasis in original) (citations omitted). Nonetheless, the court has a responsibility to determine that a claim is not frivolous before permitting it to proceed. Thomas v. Scully, 943 F.2d 259, 260 (2d Cir. 1991) (“Section 1915(d) gives the court the power to dismiss a pro se complaint sua sponte if the complaint is frivolous.”). A complaint “is frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).

         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) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Although 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 Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         Allegations that “are so vague as to fail to give the defendants adequate notice of the claims against them” are subject to dismissal. Sheehy v. Brown, 335 F. App'x 102, 104 (2d Cir. 2009). Indeed, a complaint cannot be maintained against a defendant who is listed in the caption, but against whom no facts are alleged in the body of the complaint. Cipriani v. Buffardi, 2007 WL 607341, at *1 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 20, 2007) (citation omitted); see also Casino v. Rohl, 2014 WL 5425501, at *6 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 23, 2014).

         Furthermore, a court's initial review of a complaint under § 1915(e) must encompass the applicable standards of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a pleading must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction . . .;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or ...

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