United States District Court, S.D. New York
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
COLLEEN McMAHON, Chief United States District Judge:
appearing pro se, brings this action asserting that
Defendant violated her rights by applying for Medicaid on her
behalf without her consent. By order dated November 19, 2019,
the Court granted Plaintiff's request to proceed without
prepayment of fees, that is, in forma pauperis. The
Court dismisses the complaint for the reasons set forth
Court must dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint,
or portion thereof, that is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see Livingston v.
Adirondack Beverage Co., 141 F.3d 434, 437 (2d Cir.
1998). The Court must also dismiss a complaint when the Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 12(h)(3). While the law mandates dismissal on any of these
grounds, the Court is obliged to construe pro se
pleadings liberally, Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66,
72 (2d Cir. 2009), and interpret them to raise the
“strongest [claims] that they suggest, ”
Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471,
474-75 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted) (emphasis in original).
sues the City of New York for actions taken by the City's
Human Resource Administration (HRA), the Department of Social
Services (DSS), and Bellevue Hospital Center (Bellevue)
Billing Department. She asserts that Bellevue and the City
agencies violated New York Social Services Law § 366-b
when Bellevue, without her consent, applied for and received
Medicaid on her behalf. Plaintiff seeks monetary compensation
and attaches to the complaint a settlement agreement with her
terms to settle the matter.
following facts are taken from the complaint. Plaintiff
arrived at Bellevue on the night of December 22, 2009, and
became an inpatient from December 23, 2009, to January 6,
2010. She repeatedly told the hospital staff that she did not
want to pay her hospital medical bills and she did not want
Medicaid. But on February 17, 2010, an unknown person
violated her “proprietary, personal and confidential
information” by filling out and submitting to
“HRA/DSS” an “unauthorized” Medicaid
application “for Vetere” without her consent.
(ECF No. 2, 2.) At the time, Plaintiff was a “competent
functional adult” and she had not waived rights under
the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA). (Id. at 3.) At a later date, Medicaid
payment for Plaintiff's hospital stay was disbursed to
Medicaid was used to pay her hospital bills, Plaintiff
contacted the New York State Medicaid Inspector General, who
directed Plaintiff to contact the United States Department of
Health & Human Services' Office for Civil Rights
(OCR) concerning her HIPAA claims. Plaintiff filed a
complaint with OCR, but it “could not assist.”
(Id. at 5.) Plaintiff has also contacted various
state agencies concerning the unauthorized Medicaid
application, to no avail.
brings this action as a “constitutional claim, ”
contending that under New York Social Services Law §
366-b, no individual “is allowed by law to officially
fill, file and submit HRA/DSS Medicaid Application ‘for
Vetere.'” (Id. at 2, 8.) She asserts that
the unauthorized Medicaid application is a “false
instrument” under state law and constitutes Medicaid
fraud. (Id. at 4, 8.) Plaintiff also indicates that
Bellevue and the City agencies violated her privacy rights
under HIPAA. Plaintiff seeks $1.5 million dollars in damages.
Section 1983 and New York Social Services Law §
Plaintiff brings this action against the City of New York
asserting constitutional claims, the complaint is construed
as being brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983
provides redress for a deprivation of federally protected
rights by persons acting under color of state law. 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983; Flagg Bros., Inc. v. Brooks, 436 U.S.
149, 155-57 (1978).
Plaintiff's assertions fail to show that a right secured
by the Constitution or laws of the United States was
violated, as required for a § 1983 claim. See West
v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48-49 (1988). Her main
contention is that when Bellevue filled out and submitted the
unauthorized Medicaid application and HRA and DSS approved
the application and disbursed Medicaid payment for her
hospital bills, those actions violated New York Social
Services Law § 366-b. But a violation of state law, without
more, does not give rise to a claim under § 1983.
See Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183, 195 (1984) (an
official's violation of a state statute or regulation
does not, by itself, make the official liable under §
1983); Pollnow v. Glennon, 757 F.2d 496, 501 (2d
Cir. 1985) (“[A] violation of state law is not
cognizable under § 1983.”) Smith v.
O'Connor, 901 F.Supp. 644, 647-48 (S.D.N.Y. 1995)
(“An individual's right to have the relevant state
laws strictly obeyed is not a federal right protected by the
Civil Rights Act of 1871 or the Constitution of the United