United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
Ralphie Hayes, proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging defendants at Orange County Jail
("OCJ") subjected him to an illegal body search in
violation of his constitutional rights.
the Court is defendants' unopposed motion to dismiss the
complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. #17).
reasons set forth below, the motion is GRANTED. However,
plaintiff is granted leave to file an amended complaint, with
the limitations explained below.
Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
purpose of deciding the pending motion, the Court accepts as
true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint,
and draws all reasonable inferences in plaintiffs favor, as
summarized below. The following facts are taken from the
complaint and the documents attached thereto or incorporated
by reference therein.
February 1, 2017, while plaintiff was an inmate at OCJ, the
inmates in plaintiffs housing unit were subjected to strip
searches. In conducting plaintiffs strip search, ERT Officer
Cardwell instructed plaintiff to "grab [his] butto[cks]
and spread them apart." (Compl. at 3).Plaintiff
initially refused to do so, and told Cardwell he was
violating plaintiffs rights. Cardwell allegedly
"forced" plaintiff to comply. (Id.).
alleges Sergeants Moreno and Zepplin authorized the search,
and Lieutenant Penny was the shift commander at the time.
Plaintiff also alleges seven other officers were in the
housing unit when plaintiff was searched.
February 5, 2017, plaintiff filed a grievance regarding the
search. On February 10, Sergeant Kiszka denied plaintiffs
grievance, noting the search was "within facility policy
and procedure." (Compl. Ex. A). Plaintiff appealed the
decision and Colonel Decker denied that appeal. Plaintiff
again appealed. On April 13, 2017, the New York State
Commission of Correction notified Sheriff Dubois of its
review and final disposition of plaintiff s grievance,
sustaining the prior denials.
claims "all parties involved conspire[d]." (Compl.
Standard of Review
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court evaluates the
sufficiency of the operative complaint under the
"two-pronged approach" articulated by the Supreme
Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal. 556 U.S. 662,
679 (2009). First, plaintiffs legal conclusions and
"[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements," are
not entitled to the assumption of truth and are thus not
sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Id. at
678; Havden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 161 (2d Cir.
2010). Second, "[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the allegations in the
complaint must meet a standard of "plausibility."
Id. at 678; Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 564 (2007). A claim is facially plausible
"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. at 678. "The plausibility standard
is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully." Id.
Court must liberally construe submissions of pro se
litigants, and interpret them "to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest." Triestman v. Fed.
Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006) (per
curiam) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Applying the pleading rules permissively is particularly
appropriate when, as here, a pro se plaintiff alleges civil
rights violations. See Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed
Defendant, 537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008). "Even
in a pro se case, however . . . threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice." Chavis v.
Chappius, 618 F.3d 162, 170 (2d Cir. 2010) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). Nor may the Court
"invent factual allegations" plaintiff has not
Plaintiffs Constitutional Claims
argue plaintiff has failed adequately to plead a violation of
his constitutional rights.
Eighth Amendment Claim
plaintiff appears to assert the body search violated his
Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual
the Eighth Amendment, conditions of confinement "must
not involve the wanton and unnecessary infliction of
pain." Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347
(1981). To state a claim for an Eighth Amendment violation,
"an inmate must allege: (1) objectively, the deprivation
the inmate suffered was 'sufficiently serious that he was
denied the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities,' and (2) subjectively, the defendant
official acted with 'a sufficiently culpable state of
mind . . ., such as deliberate indifference to inmate health
or safety.'" Walker v. Schult. 717 F.3d
119, 125 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Gaston v. Coughlin.
249 F.3d 156, 164 (2d Cir. 2001)) (alterations original).
is no "static test" to determine a sufficiently
serious deprivation under the objective prong. Blissett
v. Coughlin. 66 F.3d 531, 537 (2d Cir. 1995). Rather,
satisfaction of the objective prong is "context
specific." Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, ...