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Alammani v. Norfolk County Correctional Facility

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

December 22, 2016

ZIAD ARAFAT ALAMMANI, Plaintiff,
v.
NORFOLK COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          WILLIAM G. YOUNG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court directs the plaintiff to file an amended complaint.

         I. Background

         On November 30, 2016, pro se litigant Ziad Arafat Alammani (“Alammani”), who claims that his true identity is Iscandar Maax, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He names the Norfolk County Correctional Facility, where he is incarcerated, as the sole defendant.

         The complaint is sixty-four pages long, most of which consist only of single-spaced handwritten text. The pleading is difficult to understand, but the overall thrust appears to be that the plaintiff is falsely incarcerated because of mistaken identify. The plaintiff paid the $400 filing fee.

         II. Discussion

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, prisoner complaints in civil actions that seek redress from a governmental entity or officers or employees of a governmental entity are also subject to screening. This statute authorizes a federal court to dismiss a complaint sua sponte if the claims therein are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). In conducting this review, the Court liberally construes the complaint because the plaintiff is proceeding pro se. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

         A. Challenge to the Validity of Confinement

         Here, Alammani has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. To the extent he challenges the legality of his conviction and incarceration, he must proceed in habeas corpus. “Challenges to the validity of any confinement or to particulars affecting its duration are the province of habeas corpus . . . .” Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 750 (2004) (per curiam); see also Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81 (2005) (in a series of Supreme Court decisions, “the Court has focused on the need to ensure that state prisoners use only habeas corpus (or similar state) remedies when they seek to invalidate the duration of their confinement-either directly through an injunction compelling speedier release or indirectly through a judicial determination that necessarily implies the unlawfulness of the State's custody”). Under federal statute, a litigant must exhaust available state court remedies before he may seek habeas corpus relief in a federal court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b).

         Although Alammani couches his claim as one of mistaken identity and a request to correct a record to reflect his true identity, at its heart, the his claim is one challenging the validity of his confinement.

         B. Other Claims

         To the extent that Alammani plaintiff is not challenging the validity of his confinement, the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because the complaint does not meet the requirements of Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule 8(a)(2)”). Under this rule, a complaint must include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). At a minimum, the complaint must “give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Calvi v. Knox County, 470 F.3d 422, 430 (1st Cir. 2006) (quoting Educadores Puertorriqueños en Acción v. Hernández, 367 F.3d 61, 66 (1st Cir. 2004)). Although the requirements of Rule 8(a)(2) are minimal, “minimal requirements are not tantamount to nonexistent requirements.” Id. (quoting Gooley v. Mobil Oil Corp., 851 F.2d 513, 514 (1st Cir. 1988)).

         Here, Alammani has failed to provide a short and plain statement of his claim. Although the Court can discern within the pleading the theme of mistaken identity (which, for the reasons stated above, cannot be raised in federal court in a non-habeas civil action), the complaint is drafted such that no other claim is apparent. If the plaintiff is attempting to additional claims for relief, they ...


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