ORDER OF SERVICE :
Plaintiff, currently incarcerated in Clinton Correctional Facility, brings this pro se action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that, while he was detained by the New York City Department of Correction (DOC), Defendants violated his constitutional rights. By order dated May 31, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff's request to proceed without prepayment of fees, that is, in forma pauperis.
Prisoners are not exempt from paying the full filing fee even when they have been granted permission to proceed in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court must dismiss a complaint, or portion thereof, that is frivolous or malicious, 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. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b); see Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). 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).
A. New York City Department of Correction (DOC)
Plaintiff's claims against the New York City Department of Correction must be dismissed because city agencies or departments do not have the capacity to be sued under New York law. See Omnipoint Commc'ns, Inc. v. Town of LaGrange, 658 F. Supp. 2d 539, 552 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) ("In New York, agencies of a municipality are not suable entities."); Hall v. City of White Plains, 185 F. Supp. 2d 293, 303 (S.D.N.Y. 2002) ("Under New York law, departments which are merely administrative arms of a municipality do not have a legal identity separate and apart from the municipality and cannot sue or be sued."); see also N.Y. Gen. Municipal Law Sec. 2 ("The term 'municipal corporation,' as used in this chapter, includes only a county, town, city and village.").
B. Waiver of Service
The Clerk of Court is directed to notify the New York City Department of Correction and the New York City Law Department of this order. The Court requests that the City of New York waive service of summons.
C. DOC Officer
Under Valentin v. Dinkins, a pro se litigant is entitled to assistance from the district court in identifying a defendant. 121 F.3d 72, 76 (2d Cir. 1997). In the complaint, Plaintiff supplies enough information to permit DOC to properly identify the officer, who Plaintiff alleges sprayed him with OC spray in the recreation area of housing unit 1AB on October 10, 2017. It is therefore ordered that the New York City Law Department, which is the attorney for and agent of DOC, shall ascertain the identity and badge number of the officer and the address where this Defendant may be served. The New York City Law Department shall provide this information to Plaintiff and the Court within sixty days of the date of this order.
Within thirty days of receiving this information, Plaintiff must file an amended complaint naming this officer as a Defendant. The amended complaint will replace, not supplement, the original complaint. An Amended Civil Rights Complaint form that Plaintiff should complete is attached to this order. Once Plaintiff has filed an amended complaint, the Court will screen the amended complaint and, if necessary, issue an order asking Defendant to waive service.
D. Local Civil Rule 33.2
Local Civil Rule 33.2, which requires defendants in certain types of prisoner cases to respond to specific, court-ordered discovery requests, applies to this action. Those discovery requests are available on the Court's website under "Forms" and are titled "Plaintiff's Local Civil Rule 33.2 Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents." Within 120 days of the date of this order, Defendants must serve responses to these standard discovery requests. In their responses, Defendants must quote each request verbatim.
The Clerk of Court is directed to mail a copy of this order to Plaintiff, together with an information package.
The Court dismisses Plaintiff's claims against the New York City Department of Correction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
The Clerk of Court is directed to electronically notify the New York City Department of Correction and the New York City Law Department of this order. The Court requests that Defendant City of New York waive service of summons.
The Clerk of Court is directed to mail a copy of this order and the complaint to the New York City Law Department at: 100 Church Street, New York, New York 10007.
An "Amended Complaint" form is attached to this order.
Local Civil Rule 33.2 applies to this action.
The Clerk of Court is directed to docket this as a "written opinion" within the meaning of Section 205(a)(5) of the E-Government Act of 2002.
The Court certifies under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this order would not be taken in good faith, and therefore in forma pauperis status is denied for the purpose of an appeal. Cf. Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 444-45 (1962) (holding that an appellant demonstrates good faith when he seeks review of a nonfrivolous issue). SO ORDERED. Dated: June 20, 2019
New York, New York
United States District Judge