Pierre v. The People Of The State Of New York et al
MEMORANDUM & ORDER denying 29 Motion to Compel; denying 3 Motion for TRO; denying 5 Motion to Seal; finding as moot 21 Motion to Stay; granting 26 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff 's motion for a temporary restraining order (Docket Entry 3) is DENIED; Plaintiff's motion to seal (Docket Entry 5) is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE; Plaintiff's motion to stay (Docket Entry 21) is FOUND TO BE MOOT; Judge Ferrell's mo tion to dismiss (Docket Entry 26) is GRANTED; and Plaintiff's motion to compel (Docket Entry 29) is DENIED. The Clerk of the Court is directed to TERMINATE Judge Ferrell, the People of the State of New York, the Nassau County District Court, and the Nassau District Attorney's Office as Defendants in this action. Furthermore, Plaintiff's claims against ADA Bonomo and ADA Singas are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Plaintiff must file an Amended Complaint within thirty (30) days of the date of this Memorandum and Order detailing her claims against ADA Bonomo and ADA Singas or her case will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. If Plaintiff fails to file an Amended Complaint within the time allowed, her Complaint will be dismissed with prejudice and this case will be marked closed. The Clerk of the Court is directed to mail a copy of this Order to the pro se Plaintiff. So Ordered by Judge Joanna Seybert on 1/26/2016. C/M; C/ECF (Valle, Christine)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
GERTRUDE JEAN PIERRE,
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK,
NASSAU COUNTY COURT, NASSAU DISTRICT
COURT, NASSAU DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S
OFFICE, HON. TRICIA FERRELL,
JULIANNE BONOMO, and MADELINE SINGAS,
Gertrude Jean Pierre, pro se
PO Box 2066
Garden City, NY 11531
and Judge Tricia
and Madeline Singas
New York State:
Christina H. Bedell, Esq.
NYS Office of the Attorney General
Nassau Regional Office
200 Old Country Road, Suite 240
Mineola, NY 11501
Pablo A. Fernandez, Esq.
Nassau County Attorney’s Office
One West Street
Mineola, NY 11501
SEYBERT, District Judge:
Plaintiff Gertrude Jean Pierre (“Plaintiff”) commenced
this action pro se against Defendants New York State, Nassau County
(“Judge Ferrell”), Assistant District Attorney Julianne Bonomo
(“ADA Bonomo”), Assistant District Attorney Madeline Singas (“ADA
Several motions are pending before the Court: (1)
Plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order (Docket Entry
3); Plaintiff’s motion to seal and redact (Docket Entry 5);
Ferrell’s motion to dismiss (Docket Entry 26); and Plaintiff’s
motion to compel (Docket Entry 29).
For the foregoing reasons,
Plaintiff’s motions are DENIED and Judge Ferrell’s motion to
dismiss is GRANTED.
However, in a lengthy memorandum of law filed in
support of her motion for a temporary restraining order, Plaintiff
makes varied and outlandish claims about the conduct of an ongoing
criminal case brought against her by the Nassau County District
In the beginning of her brief, Plaintiff
generally asserts that “[t]here’s a group of assassins on long
island who have tie[s] and are of the government and they have
stolen from me, filed [a] false report, change[d] court’s record,
abducted me from my home, threw me in jail and have cornered me
not to have any legal defense.”
(Pl.’s Br., Docket Entry 4, at
Plaintiff was charged with aggravated harassment in the
second degree for threatening an attorney she hired to obtain a
Ferrell’s Br., Docket Entry 25, at 2.)
Plaintiff alleges in her brief, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that
(1) she was falsely arrested and subjected to excessive force
during her arrest, (2) she was maliciously prosecuted (3) that her
due process rights were violated when Judge Ferrell ordered her to
be fingerprinted and undergo a psychological evaluation.
Br. at 17, 38-41).
Plaintiff seeks an injunction dismissing her criminal
case in state court, which the County Defendants oppose on numerous
(Pl.’s Br. at 12-14; Cty. Defs.’ Opp. Br., Docket
Plaintiff also asks the Court to seal and redact
certain information from her filings.
In addition, Judge Ferrell
has moved to dismiss this case against her arguing that she is
immune from suit.
Courts are obliged to construe the pleadings of a pro se
See Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed Defendant,
537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008); McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d
sufficient facts to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.
Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (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, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009) (citation
The plausibility standard requires “more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Id. at 678;
accord Wilson v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 671 F.3d 120, 128 (2d Cir.
While “‘detailed factual allegations’” are not required,
“[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
A district court has the inherent power to dismiss a
case, sua sponte, if it determines that the action is frivolous or
the court lacks jurisdiction over the matter.
Fitzgerald v. First
E. Seventh St. Tenants Corp., 221 F.3d 362, 363-364 (2d Cir. 2000).
“An action is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or
fact--i.e., where it is ‘based on an indisputably meritless legal
baseless.’” Scanlon v. Vermont, 423 F. App’x 78, 79 (2d Cir. 2011)
(summary order) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327,
109 S. Ct. 1827, 1832, 104 L. Ed. 2d 338 (1989) (alteration in
original)); see also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33, 112 S.
Ct. 1728, 1733, 118 L. Ed. 2d 340 (1992) (“[A] finding of factual
frivolousness is appropriate when the facts alleged rise to the
level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not
there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict
In addition, Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure provides, in relevant part, that a complaint “must
contain: . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2).
Essentially, Rule 8 ensures that a complaint provides a defendant
with sufficient notice of the claims against it.
See FED. R. CIV.
P. 8; Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. “When a complaint
fails to comply with these requirements [contained in Rule 8], the
district court has the power, on motion or sua sponte, to dismiss
Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 86 (2d Cir. 1995)
(citing Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir. 1988)).
Attorney’s Office, and the Nassau County District Court are
Barred by the Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity
Constitution generally prohibits a private citizen from suing a
state and its agencies in federal court.
See Trivedi v. N.Y.S.
Unified Court Sys. Off. of Court Admin., 818 F. Supp. 2d 712, 734
(S.D.N.Y. 2011) aff’d sub nom. Seck v. Off. of Court Admin., 582
F. App’x 47 (2d Cir. 2014).
In an effort to halt the criminal
case against her, Plaintiff named as Defendants “the People of the
State of New York,”1 the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office,
and the Nassau County District Court.
All of these entities,
however, are all immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment and
must be dismissed.
New York State
“The Eleventh Amendment bars a suit by a citizen of a
state against that state or one of its agencies, absent the state’s
consent to such a suit or an express statutory waiver of immunity.”
Woodward v. Off. of Dist. Atty., 689 F. Supp. 2d 655, 659 (S.D.N.Y.
In addition, “[i]t is well-established that New York has
not consented to § 1983 suits in federal court, and that § 1983
was not intended to override a state’s sovereign immunity.”
The Court assumes that Plaintiff attempted to name the State of
New York as a defendant in this action rather than “the People
of the State of New York.”
v. Bd. of Regents, 367 F. App’x 191, 192 (2d Cir. 2010) (internal
maintained against New York State.
The Nassau County District Court
“State agencies and similar divisions of the state are
‘entitled to assert the state’s Eleventh Amendment immunity where,
for practical purposes, the agency is the alter ego of the state
and the state is the real party in interest.” Levi v. New York,
No. 10-CV-3980, 2010 WL 5559520, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 22, 2010)
(quoting Santiago v. N.Y. State Dept. of Corr. Servs., 945 F.2d
25, 28 n.1 (2d Cir. 1991).
Just like the State of New York, the
New York Unified Court System is immune from suit pursuant to the
Eleventh Amendment because it is an administrative arm of the
Gollomp v. Spitzer, 568 F.3d 355, 366 (2d Cir. 2009) (“So
far as we can observe, every court to consider the question of
whether the New York State Unified Court System is an arm of the
State has concluded that it is, and is therefore protected by
Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity.”); Levi, 2010 WL 5559520,
at *3 (“The Supreme Court is not a suable entity, but is ‘a part
of the judicial arm of the State of New York.’” (quoting Zuckerman
v. App. Div., 2d Dept., Sup. Ct. of N.Y., 421 F.2d 625, 626 (2d
Cir. 1970)). Plaintiff’s claims against the Nassau County District
Court are therefore entirely barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office
individuals from suing the District Attorney’s Office, an arm of
Quiles v. City of N.Y., No. 01-CV-
10934, 2002 WL 31886117, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 27, 2002);
Jing Gan v. City of New York, 996 F.2d 522, 536 (2d Cir. 1993)
(“When prosecuting a criminal matter, a district attorney in New
York State, acting in a quasi-judicial capacity, represents the
State not the county.”) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted)); Woodward 689 F. Supp. at 658 (holding that “the District
Attorney’s Office is not a suable entity”).
Here, Plaintiff seeks
to hold the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office liable for
bringing a criminal case against her.
The Eleventh Amendment
District Attorney’ S Office.
II. Plaintiff Cannot Maintain Her Suit against Judge Ferrell
asserts a § 1983 claim against Judge Ferrell for ordering her to
(1) be fingerprinted and (2) undergo a psychological evaluation in
her criminal case.
However, “[s]ection 1983 suits for damages are
absolutely barred against judicial actors for actions performed in
their official capacities.”
Hodges v. Mangano, 28 F. App’x 75, 77
(2d Cir. 2002); Young v. Selsky, 41 F.3d 47, 51 (2d Cir. 1994)
(“Judges enjoy absolute immunity from personal liability for “acts
quotation marks and citation omitted).
Judge’s are immune for
judges would be subject to harassment and intimidation and would
thus ‘lose that independence without which no judiciary can either
be respectable or useful.’”
Id. (quoting Butz v. Economou, 438
U.S. 478, 509, 98 S. Ct. 2894, 2912, 57 L. Ed. 2d 895 (1978)).
There is no question that Judge Ferrell was acting in her official
capacity when she ordered Plaintiff to be fingerprinted and to
undergo a psychological evaluation.
Therefore, she absolutely is
immune from suit and must be DISMISSED from this action.
III. Plaintiff’s Claims Against the Prosecutors in Her Criminal
under § 1983 in suits seeking damages for acts carried out in their
Thompson v. Gentz, No. 06-CV-1743,
2007 WL 1202765, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2007). Absolute immunity
“applies not only in the courtroom, but also in connection with
the decision whether or not to commence a prosecution.”
However, “only qualified immunity applies to acts taken by a
prosecutor in an administrative or investigative role.”
J. & W.
Trading & Leasing Inc. v. New York, No. 15-CV-0327, 2015 WL
[prosecutor] is or is not entitled to absolute immunity for his or
her conduct depends on the function being performed at that time.”
Hill v. City of N.Y., 45 F.3d 653, 656 (2d Cir. 1995).
Plaintiff’s allegations are less than clear, she appears to take
issue with ADA Bonomo and ADA Singas for bringing a criminal case
against her for harassment.
Although Plaintiff also alleges that
she was falsely arrested, she fails to explain which Defendants
she believes were responsible for any Fourth Amendment violations.
Thus Plaintiff’s allegations solely implicate the decisions the
prosecutors made in their official roles, for which they are
entitled to absolute immunity.
To the extent Plaintiff seeks to
sue ADA Bonomo and ADA Singas in their official capacity as
prosecutors, Plaintiff’s allegations are DISMISSED.
light of Plaintiff’s pro se status, and in an abundance of caution,
the Court will allow Plaintiff to replead her allegations against
ADA Bonomo and ADA Singas.
See Thompson v. Carter, 284 F.3d 411,
416 (2d Cir. 2002) (“[W]hen addressing a pro se complaint, a
district ‘court should not dismiss without granting leave to amend
at least once when a liberal reading of the complaint gives any
indication that a valid claim might be stated.’” (quoting Branum
v. Clark, 927 F.2d 698, 705 (2d Cir. 1991)).
IV. Plaintiff’s Motion to Seal and Redact
Plaintiff also filed a motion asking the Court redact
any personal information she included in her filings.
However, the Court will not parse through Plaintiff’s
lengthy brief in search of the personal information she describes
in her letter motion.
If Plaintiff wishes to replace the brief
she filed with a redacted version, she must file the redacted copy
and clearly indicate the location of the information she wishes to
redact in her motion.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion for a
Plaintiff’s motion to seal (Docket Entry 5) is DENIED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE; Plaintiff’s motion to stay (Docket Entry 21) is FOUND
TO BE MOOT; Judge Ferrell’s motion to dismiss (Docket Entry 26) is
GRANTED; and Plaintiff’s motion to compel (Docket Entry 29) is
The Clerk of the Court is directed to TERMINATE Judge
Ferrell, “the People of the State of New York,” the Nassau County
District Court, and the Nassau District Attorney’s Office as
against ADA Bonomo and ADA Singas are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Plaintiff must file an Amended Complaint within thirty (30) days
[BOTTOM OF PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]
of the date of this Memorandum and Order detailing her claims
against ADA Bonomo and ADA Singas or her case will be DISMISSED
The Amended Complaint must contain “a short and
plain statement” explaining why Plaintiff is entitled to relief.
FED. R. CIV. P. 8 (emphasis added).
Plaintiff is cautioned that an
Amended Complaint completely replaces the original Complaint and
therefore all factual allegations and claims that Plaintiff wishes
to pursue must be included in the Amended Complaint.
Complaint shall be clearly labeled “Amended Complaint” and shall
bear the same docket number as this Memorandum and Order, 15-CV3577, and shall be filed within thirty (30) days from the date of
this Memorandum and Order.
If Plaintiff fails to file an Amended
Complaint within the time allowed, her Complaint will be dismissed
with prejudice and this case will be marked closed.
The Clerk of
the Court is directed to mail a copy of this Order to the pro se
/s/ JOANNA SEYBERT______
Joanna Seybert, U.S.D.J.
26 , 2016
Central Islip, New York
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