Neptune v. Brooklyn Public Library et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER, granting pltff's 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 USC sec. 1915. For the reasons discussed below, the Court dismisses the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be gran ted. The Court certifies pursuant to 28 USC sec. 1915(a)(3) that any appeal would not be taken in good faith and therefore in forma pauperis status is denied for purpose of an appeal. (Ordered by Judge William F. Kuntz, II on 12/7/2012) c/m (Galeano, Sonia)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
RALPH M. NEPTUNE.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
-againstBROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY; CHOE [sic]
WASSERMAN, Esq.; ULDIS SKRODELlS.
KUNTZ, United States District Judge:
Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at the Brooklyn House of Detention, filed the instant pro
se complaint and alleges that the Brooklyn Public Library, Ms. Skrodclis, the librarian at the
Cadman Plaza West branch, and Ms. Wasserman, the General Counsel for the Library, violated
his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court grants plaintiff's request to
proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S. C. § 1915. For the reasons discussed below, the
Court dismisses the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Plaintiff states that on May 15, 2012, he was involved in an altercation with another
patron at the Brooklyn Public Library. 1 Compl. at 4, ~IV. Plaintiff alleges that the patron was
watching ''porn" on the library's computer and when plain tifT asked him to turn off the computer,
the patron struck him with a chair. ld. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.
The Court notes that plaintiff identified by his Book & Case Number -1411206559- was
arrested on May 15, 2012, on the charge of First Degree Assault. His next court appearance is
scheduled for December I 0, 2012 in Kings County Supreme Court. Sec http://a073-ilsweb.nyc.gov/inmatelookup/pages/commnn/tind.jsf (Last visited December 3, 20 12).
Standard of Review
Under 28 U.S. C. § 1915A, a district court "shall review, before docketing, if feasible or,
in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a
prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Upon review, a district court shall dismiss a prisoner's complaint
sua sponte if the complaint is "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted; or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."
Id.; Liner v. Goard, 196 F.3d 132, 134 & n.l (2d Cir. 1999) (noting that under PLRA, sua sponte
dismissal of frivolous prisoner complaints is not only permitted but mandatory); see also
Ortiz v. Winter, 185 F.3d 8, II (2d Cir. 1999).
Moreover, at the pleadings stage of the proceeding, the Court must assume the truth of
nonconclusory factual allegations" in the complaint. Kiobel v. Royal Dutch
Petroleum Co., 621 F.3d Ill, 123 (2d Cir. 2010) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)).
A complaint must plead sufficient facts to ''state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."
Bell At!. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
It is axiomatic that pro se complaints are held to less stringent standards than pleadings
drafted by attorneys and the Court is required to read the plaintiffs prose complaint liberally and
interpret it raising the strongest arguments it suggests. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007);
Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Sealed Plaintiffv. Sealed Defendant #I, 537 FJd 185,
191-93 (2d Cir. 2008).
In order to maintain a § 1983 action, plaintiff must allege two essential elements. First,
·'the conduct complained of must have been committed by a person acting l.Ulder color of state
law." Pitchell v. Callan, 13 F.3d 545, 547 (2d Cir. 1994). Second, "the conduct complained of
must have deprived a person of rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution or
laws of the United States.'' Id. '·Section 1983 itself creates no substantive rights, [but] provides
only a procedure for redress for the deprivation of rights established elsewhere." Svkcs v. James,
13 F.Jd 515. 519 (2d Cir. 1993) (citing City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 816
As the Supreme Court has held, "the under-color-of-state-law element of§ 1983 excludes
from its reach merely private conduct, no matter how discriminatory or wrongful." American
Manufacturers Mutual Insurance Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40, 50 (1999) (internal quotation
marks omitted); cf. Brentwood Acad. v. Tenn. Secondary Sch. Athletic Ass'n, 531 U.S. 288,295
(2001) ("[S]tate action may be found if, though only if, there is such a 'close nexus between the
State and the challenged action' that seemingly private behavior 'may be fairly treated as that of
the State itself.'") (quoting Jackson v. Metro. Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345,351 (1974)).
Here, all of the defendants are private actors. First. the Brooklyn Public Library does not
act under color of state law. Brcytman v. New York Public Library, No 05 Civ. 10453,2007 WL
541693, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 21, 2007) (the New York City Library is not a governmental
institution); Gilliard v. New York Public Library System, 597 F.Supp. 10691074-1075 (S.D.N.Y.
1984) (same). Moreover, the remaining defendants are private individuals. Thus, p1aintifffails to
state a claim against the named defendants.
Whereas ordinarily the court would allow plaintiff an opportunity to amend his
complaint, see Cruz v. Gomez, 202 F.3d 593, 597-98 (2d Cir. 2000), it need not afford that
opportunity here where it is clear from plaintiffs submissions that there is no possibility of a
plausible § 1983 claim against these defendants. Therefore, any attempt to amend the complaint
would be futile. Cuoco v. Moritsugu, 222 F.3d 99, 112 (2d Cir. 2000) (denying leave to amend a
prose complaint where amendment would be futile).
Accordingly, plaintiffs complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3) that any appeal would not be taken in good faith and therefore in forma pauperis
status is denied for purpose of an appeal. Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 444-45
United States D/ct Judge
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
December 7, 2012
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