Baker v. New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision et al
DECISION AND ORDER: ORDERED, that pursuant to the Court's review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, Plaintiff's claims are DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to comply with the pleading standards and state a claim. ORDERED that if Plain tiff wishes to proceed with this action, he must file a signed amended complaint that cures the pleading defects identified above in this Decision and Order. ORDERED that, upon Plaintiff's full compliance with this Decision and Order, the Cler k shall return the file to this Court further review. ORDERED that if Plaintiff fails to fully comply with the terms of this Decision and Order within thirty (30) days from its filing date, the Clerk shall enter Judgment indicating that this action is DISMISSED, without further order of this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. ORDERED that, upon Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief (Dkt. No. 2 ) is DENIED. Signed by Chief Judge Glenn T. Suddaby on 1/9/18. (served on plaintiff by regular mail) (alh, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS AND COMMUNITY
SUPERVISION, et. al.,
Plaintiff, Pro se
Woodbourne Correctional Facility
99 Prison Road
PO Box 1000
Woodbourne, NY 12788
GLENN T. SUDDABY
United States District Judge
DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Ralph Baker ("Plaintiff") commenced this action by filing a pro se Complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. No. 1 ("Compl."). Plaintiff, who is presently confined at
Woodbourne Correctional Facility ("Woodbourne C.F."), has paid the full filing fee of $400.00.
Plaintiff also filed a motion for preliminary injunctive relief. Dkt. No. 2.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, a court must review any "complaint in a civil action in which
a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity" and must "identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the
complaint, 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." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115, 116 (2d Cir. 1999) (per
curiam) (Section 1915A applies to all actions brought by prisoners against government
officials even when plaintiff paid the filing fee).
Additionally, when reviewing a complaint, the Court may also look to the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a pleading
which sets forth a claim for relief shall contain, inter alia, "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The purpose
of Rule 8 "is to give fair notice of the claim being asserted so as to permit the adverse party
the opportunity to file a responsive answer, prepare an adequate defense and determine
whether the doctrine of res judicata is applicable." Hudson v. Artuz, No. 95 CIV. 4768, 1998
WL 832708, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 1998) (quoting Powell v. Marine Midland Bank, No. 95CV-0063 (TJM), 162 F.R.D. 15, 16 (N.D.N.Y. June 23, 1995) (other citations omitted)).
A court should not dismiss a complaint if the plaintiff has stated "enough facts to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(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 (2009). While the court should construe the
factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, "the tenet that a court must
accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal
conclusions." Id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Rule 8
"demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Id.
Thus, a pleading that contains only allegations which "are so vague as to fail to give the
defendants adequate notice of the claims against them" is subject to dismissal. Sheehy v.
Brown, 335 F. App'x 102, 104 (2d Cir. 2009).
While pro se parties are held to less stringent pleading standards, the Second Circuit
has held that "district courts may dismiss a frivolous complaint sua sponte even when the
plaintiff has paid the required filing fee." See Fitzgerald v. First E. Seventh St. Tenants Corp.,
221 F.3d 362, 364 (2d Cir. 2000). Indeed, "district courts are especially likely to be exposed
to frivolous actions and, thus, have [a] need for inherent authority to dismiss such actions
quickly in order to preserve scarce judicial resources." Id. A cause of action is properly
deemed frivolous "where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
SUMMARY OF THE COMPLAINT1
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which establishes a cause of
action for "the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws' of the United States." German v. Fed. Home Loan Mortgage Corp., No. 93 Civ.
In the Complaint, Plaintiff cites to pages and lines of the Parole Board Hearing transcript. See
Compl., generally. The transcript is annexed to Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order. See Dkt.
6941, 885 F.Supp. 537, 573 (S.D.N.Y. May 8, 1995) (citing Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n,
496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983)) (footnote omitted); see also Myers v.
Wollowitz, No. 6:95-CV-0272 (TJM/RWS), 1995 WL 236245, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 10, 1995)
(stating that "§ 1983 is the vehicle by which individuals may seek redress for alleged
violations of their constitutional rights." (citation omitted)). "Section 1983 itself creates no
substantive rights, [but] . . . only a procedure for redress for the deprivation of rights
established elsewhere." Sykes v. James, 13 F.3d 515, 519 (2d Cir. 1993) (citation omitted).
The Court will construe the allegations in the Complaint with the utmost leniency. See, e.g.,
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972) (holding that a pro se litigant's complaint is to be
held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.").
Plaintiff commenced this civil rights action arising out of his confinement in the custody
of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS").
Plaintiff names five defendants in the caption and the list of parties: DOCCS; Commissioners
of Parole Tina Stanford ("Stanford"), Joseph P. Crangle ("Crangle"), and Marc Coppola
("Coppola"); and Commissioner of Correctional Services Glenn S. Goord ("Goord"). See
Compl. at 1-3. Plaintiff's claims are asserted against the individual defendants in their official
capacity. See id.
In September 2014, Plaintiff was convicted of Grand Larceny, Attempted Grand
Larceny, and Offering a False Instrument and sentenced to serve an aggregate term of
imprisonment of four to twelve years. Compl. at 5; Dkt. No. 2 at 1; Dkt. No. 2-4 at 27. On
December 16, 2015, Plaintiff appeared, via video conference, for a Parole Board Hearing
("the Hearing"). Compl. at 4.; Dkt. No. 2-4 at 1. The Parole Board Panel ("the Panel")
included Stanford, Crangle, and Coppola. Dkt. No. 2-4 at 1. During the Hearing, the Panel
presented questions related to Plaintiff's convictions. Compl. at 4, 5. The Panel denied
Plaintiff parole and ruled in favor of continued confinement for twenty-four months. Id. at 5;
Dkt. No. 2-4 at 15. The Panel considered the seriousness of Plaintiff's offense, Plaintiff's
disciplinary and programming record, Plaintiff's demeanor during the hearing, and Plaintiff's
failure to take responsibility for his actions.2 Dkt. No. 2-4 at 15-16.
Construed liberally, Plaintiff claims that: (1) Defendants subjected him to an unlawful
Parole Board Hearing in violation of his constitutional rights; and (2) his Eighth Amendment
rights were violated due to deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. See Compl.
at 5. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief restraining defendants from "practicing, policy, and
procedure of Executive Law § 259-i and 7 NYCRR § 251.2-2."3 See id. at 5.
Plaintiff's next Parole Hearing is scheduled for March 2018. See
http://nysdoccslookup.doccs.ny.gov (last visited Jan. 2, 2018).
Executive Law § 259-i provides, in pertinent part:
Discretionary release on parole shall not be granted merely as a reward for good conduct or efficient
performance of duties while confined but after considering if there is a reasonable probability that,
if such inmate is released, he will live and remain at liberty without violating the law, and that his
release is not incompatible with the welfare of society and will not so deprecate the seriousness of
his crime as to undermine respect for law. In making the parole release decision, the procedures
adopted pursuant to subdivision four of section two hundred fifty-nine-c of this article shall require
that the following be considered: (i) the institutional record including program goals and
accomplishments, academic achievements, vocational education, training or work assignments,
therapy and interactions with staff and inmates; (ii) performance, if any, as a participant in a
temporary release program; (iii) release plans including community resources, employment,
education and training and support services available to the inmate; (iv) any deportation order
issued by the federal government against the inmate while in the custody of the department and any
recommendation regarding deportation made by the commissioner of the department pursuant to
section one hundred forty-seven of the correction law; (v) any current or prior statement made to
the board by the crime victim or the victim's representative, where the crime victim is deceased or
is mentally or physically incapacitated; (vi) the length of the determinate sentence to which the
inmate would be subject had he or she received a sentence pursuant to section 70.70 or section
70.71 of the penal law for a felony defined in article two hundred twenty or article two hundred
twenty-one of the penal law; (vii) the seriousness of the offense with due consideration to the type
of sentence, length of sentence and recommendations of the sentencing court, the district attorney,
the attorney for the inmate, the pre-sentence probation report as well as consideration of any
mitigating and aggravating factors, and activities following arrest prior to confinement; and (viii) prior
criminal record, including the nature and pattern of offenses, adjustment to any previous probation
or parole supervision and institutional confinement.
Plaintiff claims that the Panel's decision was "arbitrary and capricious" because the
Panel failed to develop a Transitional Accountability Plan ("TAP") as required by Corrections
Law § 71-a and failed to consider his COMPAS risk assessment.4 Dkt. No. 2-4 at 28, 29.
Plaintiff also asserts that the Panel erroneously placed emphasis on the severity of his
criminal history without considering mitigating factors including Plaintiff's conduct during
incarceration. Id. at 30-33.
In order to state a valid Section 1983 claim for violating the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment, a plaintiff must allege he or she was deprived of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law. See Bedoya v. Coughlin, 91 F.3d 349, 351 (2d Cir.
N.Y. Exec. Law § 259-i.
7 NYCRR § 251-2.2 is entitled "Function of the review officer" and involves the review of
misbehavior reports. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 7, § 251-2.2.
New York Corr. Law § 71-a provides:
Upon admission of an inmate committed to the custody of the department under an
indeterminate or determinate sentence of imprisonment, the department shall
develop a transitional accountability plan. Such plan shall be a comprehensive,
dynamic and individualized case management plan based on the programming and
treatment needs of the inmate. The purpose of such plan shall be to promote the
rehabilitation of the inmate and their successful and productive reentry and
reintegration into society upon release. To that end, such plan shall be used to
prioritize programming and treatment services for the inmate during incarceration and
any period of community supervision. The commissioner may consult with the office
of mental health, the office of alcoholism and substance abuse services, the board
of parole, the department of health, and other appropriate agencies in the
development of transitional case management plans.
N.Y. Corr. Law § 71-a.
COMPAS is a risk-assessment instrument used to "inform decision-making throughout the various
phases of incarceration and community supervision." See www.doccs.ny.gov (last visited Nov. 3, 2015).
COMPAS is used to develop an Inmate's Case Plan or TAP, which is reviewed quarterly. See id.
1996). In Heck v. Humphrey, 512. U.S. 477 (1984), the Supreme Court held that a Section
1983 action seeking money damages is not cognizable if a decision in favor of the plaintiff
would necessarily invalidate a criminal conviction unless that conviction or sentence "has
been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal . . . , or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus[.]"
Id. at 486–87.5 "Heck uses the word 'sentence' interchangeably with . . . 'continuing
confinement' and 'imprisonment,' " thus, any shortening of a term of confinement will be
subject to the rule in Heck. Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U .S. 74, 83–84 (2005) (quoting Heck,
512 U.S. at 483, 486) (other citation omitted); see also Jude v. New York State, No. 07 Civ.
5890, 2009 WL 928134, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2009) (citing cases). Indeed, an inmate's
Section 1983 action is barred by Heck "(absent prior invalidation)—no matter the relief sought
(damages or equitable relief), no matter the target of the prisoner's suit . . . if success in that
action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of confinement or its duration." Wilkinson,
544 U.S. at 81–82 (emphasis in original); see also Bodie v. Morgenthau, 342 F.Supp.2d 193,
201 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (denying plaintiff's request for injunctive relief where plaintiff sought "to
compel specific action pertaining to the content of [his] parole records"). Heck does not bar
1983 actions that do not "spell immediate or speedier release for plaintiff" or a request for
prospective injunctive relief. See Wilkinson, 544 U.S. at 82; Boddie v. N.Y.S. Div. of Parole,
No. 08-CV-911, 2009 WL 1033786, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 17, 2009).
Plaintiff is presently in DOCCS' custody and was in DOCCS' custody when he filed this
civil action. See Compl., generally. While the Complaint does not include any specific
Absent such a showing, an inmate may only seek relief in the federal courts through a petition
for habeas corpus. See Jenkins v. Haubert, 179 F.3d 19, 23 (2d Cir.1999).
request for immediate release, in the motion for injunctive relief, Plaintiff seeks to overturn the
Panel's decision and moves for immediate release. See Dkt. No. 2-4 at 35. To the extent
that the Complaint could be construed as seeking release, Plaintiff's claims are dismissed
without prejudice pursuant to Heck, on the ground that habeas corpus is his sole federal
remedy. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973) ("[W]hen a state prisoner is
challenging the very fact or duration of his physical imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a
determination that he is entitled to immediate release or a speedier release from that
imprisonment, his sole federal remedy is a writ of habeas corpus."); see also Channer v.
Mitchell, 43 F.3d 786, 787 (2d Cir. 1994) ("habeas corpus—not a § 1983 action—provides the
sole federal remedy where a state prisoner challenges the fact or duration of his
imprisonment[.]"); Hall v. NYS Division of Parole, 225 F.3d 645 (table), 2000 WL 1186256 at
*2 (2d Cir. Aug. 21, 2000) (suit for declaratory and injunctive relief and damages, challenging
constitutionality of parole guidelines dismissed; claims could only be brought as habeas
petition); Jenkins v. Daubert, 179 F.3d 19, 23 (2d Cir.1999) ("[W]here the fact or duration of a
prisoner's confinement is at issue, § 1983 is unavailable, and only [habeas relief under 28
U.S.C .] § 2254(b) with its exhaustion requirement may be employed."); see also Bodie, 342
F.Supp.2d at 202 (citing Amaker v. Weiner, 179 F.3d at 48, 52 (2d Cir. 1999)) (dismissal is
without prejudice; if a plaintiff's conviction or sentence is later declared invalid or called into
question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, the suit may be reinstated).6
The Court will not sua sponte convert this action into a petition for habeas corpus relief. See
Romer v. Travis, No. 00 CIV 8671, 2001 WL 220115, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 31, 2001) ("Conversion, initially
justified because it harmlessly assisted the prisoner-movant in dealing with legal technicalities, may result in a
disastrous deprivation of a future opportunity to have a well-justified grievance adjudicated.")
Conversely, regarding Plaintiff's request to preclude Defendants from applying the
standards set forth in Executive Law § 259-i and 7 NYCRR § 251-2.2 at future parole
hearings, the Court is unable to conclude that Plaintiff's due process claims would be barred
by Heck. See Walker v. Mattingly, No. 09-CV-845, 2010 WL 276748, at *2 (W.D.N.Y. Jan.
20, 2010); see also Walker, No. 09-CV-845, Decision and Order, Dkt. No. 5 at 5 (W.D.N.Y.
Oct. 29, 2009) (citing Wilkinson for the proposition that the plaintiff's claims challenging the
procedural grounds upon which his parole was denied may be viable under § 1983).7
It is well established that prisoners do not have a constitutional right to parole.
Greenholtz v. Inmates of Neb. Penal & Corr. Complex, 442 U.S. 1, 7 (1979). "[T]he mere fact
that [plaintiff] has been denied parole does not violate any provision of the Constitution, much
less the Eighth Amendment." Sheppard v. New York State Div. of Parole, No. 10 CIV. 5376,
2011 WL 2610695, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. June 28, 2011). "Where a state has created a statutory
scheme for parole, the Due Process Clause protects prisoners insofar as they 'have a
legitimate expectancy of release that is grounded in the state's statutory scheme.' " Barna v.
Travis, 239 F.3d 169, 170–72 (2d Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (citing Greenholtz, 442 U.S. at
11–13). "New York's parole scheme is not one that creates in any prisoner a legitimate
expectancy of release." Barna, 239 F.3d at 171.
Plaintiff claims he was improperly denied parole because the Panel failed to develop a
TAP, failed to consider his COMPAS risk assessment, and erroneously placed emphasis on
the "severity of his offense and criminal history." See Compl. at 4-5; Dkt. No. 2-4 at 30. "An
In Walker, the Court noted that "[w]hile one would presume that plaintiff would be seeking his
immediate release from the alleged delay in his release," the plaintiff had not pled as such. Walker, No. 09-CV845, Decision and Order, Dkt. No. 5 at 5. The Court took "no position" as to the merits of the plaintiff's claims
and directed the defendants to address Heck and Wilkinson in responsive pleadings. Id.
inmate's federally-protected liberty interest in parole release is limited to not being denied
parole for arbitrary or impermissible reasons." Villalobos v. New York Div. of Parole, No. 09
CIV 8431, 2010 WL 3528926, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 23, 2010) appeal dismissed and
remanded sub nom. Villalobos v. New York State Div. of Parole, 475 F. App'x 400 (2d Cir.
2012). However, "[d]enial of parole is neither arbitrary nor capricious when the Parole Board
relies on the factors defined by New York statute." Romer, 2003 WL 21744079, at *6 (citing
Davis v. Thomas, 256 F. Supp. 2d 190, 191 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) ("[D]enial of parole may be
justified on the basis of reasonable considerations defined by statute, including the inmate's
criminal history and seriousness of the offense for which he is in custody.")) (other citation
and footnote omitted). "The arbitrary or capricious reasons must be based on inappropriate
consideration of a protected classification or an irrational distinction, or on any other
unconstitutional grounds." Mabry v. Cuomo, No. 11 CIV. 4456, 2012 WL 1711549, at *2
(S.D.N.Y. May 9, 2012) (citation omitted).
With respect to Plaintiff's arguments related to TAP and COMPAS, New York
Correction Law § 71-does not create a liberty interest in parole. The language in section 71a, "relates to the existence of programs and tools, and their respective goals." Hodge v.
Griffin, No. 13 CIV. 1977, 2014 WL 2453333, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. June 2, 2014). The statute,
"does not mandate the achievement of such goals with respect to each and every inmate, nor
is there [a] provision in [. . .] the statute for a guarantee of release upon an individual
inmate's successful completion of the educational programming." Id. (the petitioner's
argument that his right to rehabilitation was violated in connection with the denial of parole,
based upon section 71-a and other sections of the New York Correction Law was meritless).
Here, the Panel relied upon "discipline and program participation, [Plaintiff's] risk and
needs assessment, and [Plaintiff's] needs for successful reentry into the community." Dkt.
No. 2-4 at 15. The Panel also considered Plaintiff's criminal history, failure to complete
programming, and "poor" disciplinary record including keep lock time and "other sanctions."
Id. at 15-16. The Panel concluded that Plaintiff's behavior during the hearing suggested that
he was a "victim and took no responsibility for [his] actions and minimized [his] previous
unlawful behavior." Id. at 16. "New York Executive Law Section 259-i, [. . .], explicitly
requires Parole Boards to consider the seriousness of the inmate's crime." Robles v.
Dennison, 449 F. App'x 51, 53 (2d Cir. 2011) (New York's courts have interpreted Section
259–i(2)(c)(A) to allow the denial of parole based on the severity of the offense of conviction);
see also Hodge, 2014 WL 245333, at *13 ("[t]he nature of the petitioner's crime bears on
'whether his release is compatible with the welfare of society...' "). While Plaintiff disagrees
with the Panel's decision, other than conclusory allegations, the Complaint is void of any facts
or argument to plausibly suggest that Plaintiff was denied release arbitrarily or capriciously.
Accordingly, because Plaintiff has failed to establish that he enjoyed a protected liberty
interest in parole release, the alleged deficiencies in the consideration of his parole do not
state a claim upon which relief can be granted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and is dismissed
Plaintiff claims that he is "totally blind" and that he did not receive any medical
treatment for his eyes until 2015.8 Dkt. No. 2-4 at 3. "It is well settled that, in order to
It is unclear what relief, if any, Plaintiff is seeking with respect to any Eighth Amendment claim.
establish a defendant's individual liability in a suit brought under § 1983, a plaintiff must show,
inter alia, the defendant's personal involvement in the alleged constitutional deprivation."
Grullon v. City of New Haven, 720 F.3d 133, 138 (2d Cir. 2013). Thus, "a Section 1983
plaintiff must 'allege a tangible connection between the acts of the defendant and the injuries
suffered.'" Austin v. Pappas, No. 04-CV-7263, 2008 WL 857528, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31,
2008) (quoting Bass v. Jackson, 790 F.2d 260, 263 (2d Cir. 1986)) (other citation omitted).
If the defendant is a supervisory official, a mere "linkage" to the unlawful conduct
through "the prison chain of command" (i.e., under the doctrine of respondeat superior) is
insufficient to show his or her personal involvement in that unlawful conduct. See Polk Cnty.
v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325 (1981); Richardson v. Goord, 347 F.3d 431, 435 (2d Cir. 2003);
Wright, 21 F.3d at 501. In other words, supervisory officials may not be held liable merely
because they held a position of authority. Black v. Coughlin, 76 F.3d 72, 74 (2d Cir. 1996).
Prior to Iqbal, the Second Circuit held that supervisory personnel may be considered
"personally involved" only if they (1) directly participated in the alleged constitutional violation,
(2) failed to remedy that violation after learning of it through a report or appeal, (3) created, or
allowed to continue, a policy or custom under which the violation occurred, (4) had been
grossly negligent in managing subordinates who caused the violation, or (5) exhibited
deliberate indifference to the rights of inmates by failing to act on information indicating that
the violation was occurring. Colon v. Coughlin, 58 F.3d 865, 873 (2d Cir. 1995) (citing
Williams v. Smith, 781 F.2d 319, 323-24 (2d Cir. 1986)).9 Plaintiff cannot premise Section
The Second Circuit has not yet addressed how the Supreme Court's decision in Iqbal affected
the standards in Colon for establishing supervisory liability. See Grullon v. City of New Haven, 720 F.3d 133,
139 (2d Cir. 2013) (noting that Iqbal may have “heightened the requirements for showing a supervisor's personal
involvement with respect to certain constitutional violations” but not reaching the impact of Iqbal on Colon
because the complaint “did not adequately plead the Warden's personal involvement even under Colon”); see
1983 liability on a defendant's position in the prison hierarchy. See Colon, 58 F.3d at 874. "A
prison official may be found to have had a sufficiently culpable state of mind if he participated
directly in the alleged event, or learned of the inmate's complaint and failed to remedy it, or
created or permitted a policy that harmed the inmate, or acted with gross negligence in
managing subordinates." Gaston v. Coughlin, 249 F.3d 156, 164 (2d Cir. 2001) (citations and
internal quotations omitted).
Here, the Complaint is void of factual allegations suggesting that any named defendant
was personally involved in Plaintiff's medical treatment. In the absence of factual allegations
sufficient to plausibly suggest that defendants were personally involved in conduct that
violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights, the complaint fails to state a cognizable claim against
them and is subject to dismissal. See Cipriani v. Buffardi, No. 06–CV–0889 (GTS/DRH),
2007 WL 607341, *1 (N.D.N.Y. Feb.20, 2007) ("[d]ismissal is appropriate where a defendant
is listed in the caption, but the body of the complaint fails to indicate what the defendant did to
the plaintiff") (citation omitted).
MOTION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
Preliminary injunctive relief "is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should
not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion."
Moore v. Consol. Edison Co. of New York, Inc., 409 F.3d 506, 510 (2d Cir. 2005) (quoting
Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997)). "[T]his circuit has required a party seeking
a preliminary injunction to show: (a) irreparable harm and (b) either (1) a substantial
also Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 519 n.3 (2d Cir. 2013) (expressing “no view on the extent to which [Iqbal]
may have heightened the requirements for showing a supervisor's personal involvement with respect to certain
constitutional violations[.]”) (citing Grullon, 720 F.3d at 139).
likelihood of success on the merits of the claim, or (2) sufficiently serious questions going to
the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping
decidedly toward the party requesting the preliminary relief." Citigroup Global Mkts., Inc. v.
VCG Special Opportunities Master Fund Ltd., 598 F.3d 30, 35, 38 (2d Cir. 2010) (internal
quotation marks omitted). However, when the moving party seeks a "mandatory injunction
that alters the status quo by commanding a positive act," the burden is even higher. N.Y.
Civil Liberties Union v. N.Y. City Transit Auth., 684 F.3d 286, 294 (2d Cir. 2011). Thus, a
mandatory preliminary injunction "should issue only upon a clear showing that the moving
party is entitled to the relief requested, or where extreme or very serious damage will result
from a denial of preliminary relief." Citigroup Global Mkts., 598 F.3d at 35 n.4 (internal
quotation marks omitted). "The district court has wide discretion in determining whether to
grant a preliminary injunction." Moore, 409 F.3d at 511.
"To prevail on a motion for preliminary injunctive relief, the moving party must establish
a relationship between the injury claimed in the motion and the conduct giving rise to the
complaint. Levesque v. Clinton County, No. 10-CV-787 (DNH/DEP), 2012 WL 6948779, at
*11 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 28, 2012) (citing inter alia Omega World Travel, Inc. v. Trans World
Airlines, 111 F.3d 14, 16 (4th Cir. 1997) (holding that a preliminary injunction may not be
issued to prevent an injury or harm which was not caused by the wrong claimed in the
underlying action); see also Allen v. Brown, No. 96-CV-1599 (RSP/GJD), 1998 WL 214418,
*4 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 28, 1998) (denying request for injunctive relief where allegations in
application were unrelated to claims asserted in the complaint and, thus, plaintiff "failed to
establish either a likelihood of succeeding on the merits of his underlying claim, or sufficiently
serious questions going to the merits of such claim and a balance of hardships tipping
decidedly toward" him).
Here, Plaintiff seeks an order preventing the Parole Board from using "boilerplate"
language in future decisions and from considering Plaintiff's criminal history, including the
Presentence Investigation Report.10 Dkt. No. 2 at 1; Dkt. No. 2-1 at 1-2; Dkt. No. 2-2 at 1-2.
Plaintiff also seeks to restrain the Parole Board from applying Executive Law § 259-i at future
Parole Board Hearings. Id. As Plaintiff seeks a mandatory injunction, he must meet the
higher standard and establish a clear or substantial likelihood of success of show that
extreme or very serious damage would result in the absence of the requested relief. See
Tom Doherty Assocs., Inc. v. Saban Entm't, Inc., 60 F.3d 27, 34 (2d Cir. 1995). Construing
Plaintiff's motion in the light most favorable to him as a pro se litigant, the Court finds that he
has failed to substantiate any allegations of irreparable harm with evidence in admissible
form. At this juncture, Plaintiff has failed to assert any viable cause of action and all
allegations in the Complaint have been dismissed. Moreover, in his motion for injunctive
relief, Plaintiff fails to provide any specific facts establishing the likelihood of success on the
merits or extreme or serious damage. For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's motion for
preliminary injunctive relief (Dkt. No. 2) is denied.
To the extent that Plaintiff seeks an order of this Court directing his immediate release from civil
commitment, that request is denied. See Dkt. No. 2-4 at 35. Plaintiff may seek release only in a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus; he may not seek such relief in a Section 1983 suit. See Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167,
176 (2001) (noting that federal habeas corpus review is used to challenge the legality of a state court order of
civil commitment); Buthy v. Comm'r of Office of Mental Health of N.Y.S., 818 F.2d 1046, 1051 (2d Cir. 1987)
(petitioning for a writ of habeas corpus, after fully exhausting state court remedies, is the appropriate method for
an individual to challenge the fact or duration of his involuntary civil commitment in a forensic unit of a psychiatric
hospital) (citing, inter alia, Souder v. McGuire, 516 F.2d 820, 823 (3d Cir. 1975) ("There is no question about the
appropriateness of habeas corpus as a method of challenging involuntary commitment to a mental institution.");
O'Beirne v. Overholser, 287 F.2d 133, 136 (D.C. Cir. 1960) ("Habeas corpus is the traditional means of seeking
release from illegal confinement. It is the normal means in this jurisdiction of testing the legality of detention in a
mental hospital, whether based on civil or criminal proceedings."))).
WHEREFORE, it is hereby
ORDERED, that pursuant to the Court's review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, Plaintiff's
claims are DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to comply with the pleading standards
and state a claim; and it is further
ORDERED that if Plaintiff wishes to proceed with this action, he must file a signed
amended complaint that cures the pleading defects identified above in this Decision and
Order; and it is further
ORDERED that, upon Plaintiff's full compliance with this Decision and Order, the Clerk
shall return the file to this Court further review; and it is further
ORDERED that if Plaintiff fails to fully comply with the terms of this Decision and Order
within thirty (30) days from its filing date, the Clerk shall enter Judgment indicating that this
action is DISMISSED, without further order of this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; and it is further
ORDERED that, upon Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief (Dkt. No. 2) is DENIED; and
it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall serve a copy of this Decision and Order on
Plaintiff in accordance with the Local Rules.
January 9, 2018
Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby
Chief U.S. District Judge
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