United States District Court, D. Vermont
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (Doc. 5)
M. Conroy United States Magistrate Judge
Diheim Young, proceeding pro se, brings this action
pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1346, 2671-2680, for monetary damages against
the “Department of Corrections, Medical Staff,
Correction Officers, ” and Northwest State
Correctional Facility (NWSCF). (Doc. 4 at 1.) Young alleges that
his rights were violated at NWSCF. (Id. at 4.)
Specifically, he asserts that as a pretrial detainee,
officers “forgot [he] was in the cell, ” and he
“rec[ei]ved inadequate dental care while in
prison.” (Id.) He also appears to be asserting
that he was retaliated against for grieving his situation.
pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc.
5.) Young has not filed a Response to the Motion.
reasons that follow, I recommend that the Court GRANT
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 5).
purposes of deciding Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, the
Court accepts as true the factual allegations contained in
the Complaint, see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)), and views those facts “‘in
the light most favorable'” to Young, Grullon v.
City of New Haven, 720 F.3d 133, 139 (2d Cir. 2013)
(quoting Chase Grp. Alliance LLC v. City of N.Y.
Dep't of Fin., 620 F.3d 146, 148 (2d Cir. 2010)).
Complaint's allegations are minimal. It appears that
Young is-or was at one point during the relevant time
period-a pretrial detainee at NWSCF. (Doc. 4 at 4.) On March
27, 2015, while a pretrial detainee, he received
“inadequate dental care.” (Id.) His care
was inadequate because officers forgot him in his cell, thus
denying him “medical attention.” (Id. at
7.) He also alleges that he tried to grieve his situation to
the officers “on the Housing Unit, ” but the
result was as follows: they told Young “that they
‘forgot [he] was in the cell'” (id.
at 4), and Young “ended up getting restrain[ed] and
escorted to solitary confi[ne]ment.” (Id.)
Complaint alleges both that he did not use the prisoner
grievance procedure (id. at 3), but also that he
“wrote several letters exhausting [his] administrative
remedies and [hasn't] received any responses at
all” (id. at 4).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Nielsen v. Rabin, 746 F.3d 58, 62 (2d Cir. 2014)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678); see also
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Also, on a 12(b)(6) motion,
“the Court may consider documents attached as an
exhibit [to the complaint] or incorporated by reference,
documents that are ‘integral' to plaintiff's
claims, even if not explicitly incorporated by reference, and
matters of which judicial notice may be taken.”
Thomas v. Westchester Cty. Health Care Corp., 232
F.Supp.2d 273, 275 (S.D.N.Y. 2002) (citations omitted).
“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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “Although
plausibility is not a ‘probability requirement, '
[p]laintiffs must allege facts that permit ‘more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.'” Turkmen v. Hasty, 789 F.3d
218, 233 (2d Cir. 2015) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
principles guide a plausibility determination. See
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “First, the tenet that a
court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in
a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.”
Id. “[T]hreadbare recitals of the elements of
a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice.” Turkmen, 789 F.3d at 233
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “Second,
only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief
survives a motion to dismiss.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
“Determining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id. (citing
Iqbal v. Hasty, 490 F.3d 143, 157-58 (2d Cir. 2007),
rev'd, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)).
as here, a complaint is filed pro se, it “must
be construed liberally with ‘special solicitude'
and interpreted to raise the strongest claims that it
suggests.” Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 515
(2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Hill v. Curcione, 657 F.3d
116, 122 (2d Cir. 2011)). “This policy of liberally
construing pro se submissions is driven by the
understanding that ‘[i]mplicit in the right of
self-representation is an obligation on the part of the court
to make reasonable allowances to protect pro se
litigants from inadvertent forfeiture of important rights
because of their lack of legal training.'”
Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471,
475 (2d Cir. 2006) (per curiam) (alteration in original)
(quoting Traguth v. Zuck, 710 F.2d 90, 95 (2d Cir.
1983)). Consequently, when parties seek dismissal of pro
se complaints, “courts ‘apply[ ] a more
flexible standard to evaluate their sufficiency than we would
when reviewing a complaint submitted by counsel.'”
Thompson v. Pallito, 949 F.Supp.2d 558, 571 (D. Vt.
2013) (alteration in original) (quoting Lerman v. Bd. of
Elections in the City of N.Y., 232 F.3d 135, 140 (2d
Cir. 2000)). Still, a complaint filed by a pro se
plaintiff “must state a plausible claim for
relief.” Hogan, 738 F.3d at 515.
Federal Tort Claims Act
first page of the Complaint, Young indicates that he is
bringing suit pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
(Doc. 4 at 1.) Defendants assert that “[t]here is . . .
no cause of action against a state or state employees created
by the FTCA.” (Doc. 5 at 1.) I agree.
FTCA “allows plaintiffs to seek damages from the United
States for certain torts committed by federal
employees.” Simmons v. Himmelreich, 136 S.Ct.
1843, 1845 (2016) (citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b),
2674). The statute reads as follows:
[D]istrict courts . . . shall have exclusive jurisdiction of
civil actions on claims against the United States, for money
damages, accruing on and after January 1, 1945, for injury or
loss of property, or personal injury or death caused by the
negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the
Government while acting within the scope of his office or
employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a