United States District Court, S.D. New York
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
GREGORY H. WOODS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:
order dated September 20, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff
Kimberly Bernice Brown, of Baltimore, Maryland, who appears
pro se and proceeds in forma pauperis,
leave to file a second amended complaint. On November 5,
2019, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint and an
application for the Court to request pro bono
counsel. Plaintiff invokes the Court's diversity
jurisdiction. She sues the National Basketball Association
(“NBA”), of New York, New York, and Tamera Young,
a professional basketball player, of Smyrna, Georgia.
Plaintiff seeks more than $1, 000, 000 in damages. For the
reasons discussed below, the Court dismisses this action.
Court must dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint,
or any portion of the complaint, 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).
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 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted, emphasis in original).
But the “special solicitude” in pro se
cases, id. at 475 (citation omitted), has its limits
- to state a claim, pro se pleadings still must
comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
which requires a complaint to make a short and plain
statement showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.
United States Supreme Court has held that under Rule 8, a
complaint must include enough facts to state a claim for
relief “that is plausible on its face.” Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim
is facially plausible if the plaintiff pleads enough factual
detail to allow the Court to draw the inference that the
defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. In reviewing
the complaint, the Court must accept all well-pleaded factual
allegations as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009). But it does not have to accept as true
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, ” which are essentially just legal conclusions.
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
After separating legal conclusions from well-pleaded factual
allegations, the Court must determine whether those facts
make it plausible - not merely possible - that the pleader is
entitled to relief. Id. at 678-79.
The Court's September 20, 2019 order
September 20, 2019 order, the Court determined that
Plaintiff's amended complaint and its
supplements did not allege sufficient facts to state a
claim for relief against the NBA, then the sole defendant.
Plaintiff alleged in her amended complaint that she had an
agreement with the NBA, she did not attach a copy of it or
describe the parties' obligations under it. She alleged t
hat Tamera Young, a professional basketball player, made
unwanted advances toward her, and that she complained to the
NBA, but the NBA terminated its agreement with her and took
no action on her complaints. She further alleged that the
NBA, Young, and others have been tracking, slandering,
bullying, and tormenting her, as well as discriminating
against her. But Plaintiff did not allege any plausible facts
suggesting that the NBA itself carried out those acts. Nor
did she allege any facts suggesting how the NBA is legally
responsible for Young's conduct or anyone else's
those reasons, the Court determined that Plaintiff had failed
to state a claim against the NBA. (See ECF 10, at
4-6.) The Court granted Plaintiff leave to file a second
amended complaint to allege any facts sufficient to state a
claim for relief.
Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint
allegations in her second amended complaint are similar to
those in her amended complaint. But unlike her amended
complaint, Plaintiff's second amended complaint names
both the NBA and Tamera Young as defendants.
alleges that she had some sort of business agreement with the
NBA regarding the creation of a television program about
female professional basketball players, including Young. She
states that the “relationship . . . between [her] and
the [NBA], [was] both written and verbal.” (ECF 12, at
9.) She alleges that she was “a hired writer and
producer, ” and that “the contract was verbally
agreed upon by the team of Aldo DiCuffa, Vice President [of]
Programming with NBA [E]ntertainment.” (Id.)
She also alleges that she “was hired to produce a six
episode docuseries about the lifestyle[s] of five
professional female basketball players for ‘Off the
Court[:] Inside the WNBA.'” (Id.) She
further alleges that her salary for “a ...