The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kahn, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION & ORDER
Presently before the Court is a motion to dismiss brought by defendants
Hines, Vardine, and Mercado ("Defendants") For the reasons stated
herein, Defendants' motion is granted.
On or about December 20, 1996, defendants Vardine and Mercado were
allegedly involved in an undercover operation conducted by members of the
New York State Police ("NYSP") wherein they posed as drug purchasers and
bought drugs from an unidentified suspect. According to the alleged
standard procedure of the operation, the suspect was not arrested at the
time of sale. Despite numerous attempts to return to the scene and
complete the arrest, Defendants allegedly never saw the suspect again
Plaintiff alleges that defendants Mercado and Vardine then sent the
Troy City Police Department ("TPD") a still photograph from a video tape
taken from the officer's vehicle on the night in question. Plaintiff
alleges that a TPD officer identified Plaintiff as the individual in the
picture. Defendants Mercado and Vardine were then allegedly informed of
the officer's identification by other employees of the TPD.
Plaintiff alleges that defendant Mercado, without any further attempt
to confirm the suspect's identity, testified to a Rensselaer County Grand
Jury that Plaintiff had sold drugs to him on the night of the operation.
Moreover, Plaintiff alleges that, before testifying, defendant Mercado
had been made aware of the possible existence of a photograph of
Plaintiff on file which could be used either to confirm that Plaintiff
was the suspect or to exonerate him.
On the basis of defendant Mercado's testimony, an indictment was voted
against Plaintiff and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Pursuant to
the warrant, Plaintiff was arrested on or about February 5, 1997.
Plaintiff alleges that defendants Mercado and Vardine, despite being put
on notice of the fact that he had been taken into custody, still did not
make any effort to confirm that he was the suspect. On February 6, 1996,
Plaintiff was arraigned in Rensellaer County Court and bail was set.
Because Plaintiff was allegedly unable to post bail, he was forced to
remain in jail until March 24, 1997.
Plaintiff alleges that, at a hearing on or about March 24, 1997, the
County Court judge, during an inquiry into the strength of the
government's proofs made a comparison between the still photograph and
Plaintiff and determined that it was obvious that the "wrong person" was
in custody. At the same hearing, Plaintiff alleges that defendant
Mercado, having finally viewed Plaintiff, informed defendant Lovell, the
prosecuting district attorney, that Plaintiff was not the suspect who had
sold him drugs on the night in question.
On June 12, 1998, Plaintiff filed an action in the New York State Court
of Claims alleging malicious prosecution.*fn1 Following a trial,
Plaintiffs claims were dismissed by the court on May 31, 2000. Plaintiff
filed the present action on April 12, 2000, seeking damages for
"deprivations of his constitutional rights as secured by
42 U.S.C. § 1981, 1983, and 1985, and by the Fourth Amendment, and
the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment
of the United States Constitution." Defendants Hines, Vardine, and
Mercado move to dismiss Plaintiffs claims against them on the following
grounds. (1) claims are barred by the doctrines of collateral estoppel
and res judicata; (2) Plaintiffs complaint fails to state a cause of
action against defendant Hines; (3) the claims against Defendants in
their of official capacities are barred by the Eleventh Amendment;*fn2
(4) the complaint fails to state a cause of action under the equal
protection or due process clauses: and (5) the claims are barred by the
statute of limitations.*fn3
A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12
(b)(6), for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,"
must be denied "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim [that] would entitle him to
relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80
(1957). In assessing the sufficiency of a pleading, "all factual
allegations in the complaint must be taken as true," LaBounty v. Adler,
933 F.2d 121, 123 (2d Cir. 1991), and all reasonable inferences must be
construed in favor favor the plaintiff, Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232,
286, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974); see also Bankers Trust Co. v.
Rhoades, 859 F.2d 1096, 1099 (2d Cir. 1988) (applying the principle of
construing inferences in favor of plaintiff).
[C]onsideration is limited to the factual allegations
in [the] complaint, which are accepted as true, to
documents attached to the complaint as an exhibit or
incorporated in it by reference, to matters of which
judicial notice may be taken, or to) documents either
in plaintiffs' ...