United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. DOOLEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Doram Anthony Peterkin (“Peterkin”), currently
confined at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in
Uncasville, Connecticut, and his wife, Karol Peterkin, filed
this complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Peterkin contends that the defendants, Attorney Gary
Cicchiello, Cicchiello and Cicchiello LLC, and John Doe
provided ineffective assistance in several criminal matters
thereby depriving Peterkin of equal protection of the laws
and due process. The complaint was received on May 24, 2019,
and Peterkin's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis was granted on July 12, 2019.
section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, the
Court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any
portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief. Id. In reviewing a pro se
complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the
allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the
strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v.
Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). see also
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010)
(discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se
litigants). Although detailed allegations are not required,
the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the
defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon
which they are based and to demonstrate a right to relief.
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
(2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The
plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
2015, Peterkin and his wife retained Cicchiello and
Cicchiello LLC to represent him in four criminal cases.
Attorney Gary Cicchiello and an associated began working on
his cases. Doc. No. 1, ¶ 1. During the court
proceedings, Peterkin asked Attorney Cicchiello and his
associate to obtain judicial pretrial discovery, a bill of
particulars, an affidavit of criminal complaint, and all the
state's evidence against him. Peterkin never received any
of these items. Id., ¶ 2.
repeatedly asked Attorney Cicchiello and his associate to
seek return of seized property and file motions to suppress
and dismiss. They falsely told him such motions are not
permitted in Connecticut. Id., ¶ 4. They did
not adequately represent him in the criminal cases.
Id., ¶ 6.
Cicchiello intimidated and coerced Peterkin to accept a plea
agreement. Id., ¶ 7. Attorney Cicchiello lied
about the plea agreement. He told Peterkin that he would be
pleading to a charge of possession as a drug-dependent
person. Instead, Peterkin pleaded to a charge of intent to
sell as a non-dependent person. Id., ¶ 8.
preliminary matter, the Court notes that Peterkin's wife
Karol is identified in the caption as a plaintiff. As a
pro se litigant, Peterkin cannot assert claims on
behalf of his wife. See Berrios v. New York Hous.
Auth., 564 F.3d 130, 133 (2d Cir. 2009) (pro se
litigant can represent only himself). Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 11 requires that every pleading be signed by an
attorney of record or, if the litigant is not represented, by
the litigant herself. Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(a). Karol Peterkin did
not sign the complaint. In addition, to commence an action,
the plaintiffs must pay the filing fee or each plaintiff must
submit an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a) (requiring
parties to pay filing fee to commence action) and 1915(a)
(person may be excused from prepayment of filing fee by
seeking leave to proceed in formal pauperis). The
filing fee was not paid in this case and Karol Peterkin did
not submit a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. As
she has not complied with any of the requirements to commence
an action, all claims purportedly asserted by Karol Peterkin
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Peterkin must
allege that his constitutionally or federally protected
rights were violated by a person acting under color of state
law. A person acts under color of state law when he exercises
“some right or privilege created by the State …
or by a person for whom the State is responsible, ” and
is “a person who may fairly be said to be a state
actor.” Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S.
922, 937 (1982). “It is well established that private
attorneys … are not state actors for the purposes of
§ 1983 claims.” Licari v. Voog, 374
Fed.Appx. 230, 231 (2d Cir. 2010) (citing Rodriguez v.
Weprin, 116 F.3d 62, 65-66 (2d Cir. 1997)). Peterkin
alleges a private attorney-client relationship with Attorney