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COYLE v. COYLE

February 9, 2004.

TIMOTHY COYLE, Plaintiff, -against- SUSAN COYLE, individually, PAMELA OLSEN, Detective/Agent, individually and in her official capacity as an officer of the Nassau County Police Department, STEVEN DEGRAZIANO, Lieutenant, individually and in his official capacity as an officer of the Nassau County Police Department, THE NASSAU COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT, and THE COUNTY OF NASSAU, Defendants


The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARTHUR SPATT, District Judge Page 2

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Timothy Coyle ("Coyle" or the "plaintiff") commenced this action against his former wife Susan Coyle, Detective Pamela Olsen ("Detective Olsen"), Officer Steven Degraziano ("Officer Degraziano"), the Nassau County Police Department ("Police Department"), and the County of Nassau ("County"), alleging claims for false arrest and abuse of process. Pending before the Court is a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Fed.R. Civ. P.") by Detective Olsen, Officer Degraziano, the Police Department, and the County (collectively, the "County defendants"). For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is granted.

  I. BACKGROUND

  The following facts are taken from the complaint which the Court construes as true in deciding the present motion. Although not entirely clear from the complaint, it appears that based on a separation or divorce agreement, the plaintiff and his former wife Susan Coyle were required to transfer their two minor children to each other inside the Eighth Precinct, Police Department for purposes of visitation. On October Page 3 4, 2002, the plaintiff met Susan Coyle in front of the precinct to pick up his children. At that time, the plaintiff asked Susan Coyle if she had informed the childrens' two schools to place him on the schools' Emergency Notification List. In response, she stated, "this is not the time or the place for these discussions." The plaintiff then asserted, "if you don't put me on the school's Emergency Notification List, I will prepare a motion tomorrow." She responded by stating "do what you think is best." In the complaint, Coyle explains that the "motion" was referring to an Order To Show Cause Motion to compel Susan Coyle to place his name on the Emergency Notification List.

  After the plaintiff left the precinct's parking lot with the children, Susan Coyle walked into the Police Department and filed a Domestic Incident Report and a

  Supporting Deposition, both of which are annexed to the complaint. In the Supporting Deposition, she stated:

  My husband Timothy Coyle was outside of the Station House waiting when I pulled up. We are supposed to exchange the children inside of the Police Station. When I proceeded to return to my car after giving him the children, my husband Timothy Coyle began a verbal argument with me about the children. When I told him that this was not the time or place for these discussions he stated "I will do something tomorrow." The subject stated this in a threatening tone. I fear for my safety. I feel threatened by this remark. The subject Timothy Coyle is in violation of order # 2002N02022 Index #0-4878-02 issued on 05/06/02 in effect until 11/06/02 by Judge Julianne Eisman Nassau County Family Court. I want my husband Timothy Coyle arrested for violating the order of protection. The above information is true and accurate as I Page 4 know it to be. P.O. Carlo Maltempi is writing this statement on my behalf.

  The top of the Supporting Deposition stated that "any false statement made in this deposition is punishable as a class A misdemeanor pursuant to Section 210.45 of the Penal Law." According to Coyle, Detective Olsen and Officer Degraziano "had no probable cause to believe that plaintiff committed a criminal act and no arrest warrant had been issued for plaintiff." In addition, the plaintiff states the Susan Coyle initiated the arrest to restrict his access to their children.

  The next day, when he dropped off his two children inside the precinct, several police officers directed the plaintiff to go to the second floor of the precinct to talk to detectives. Coyle informed the officers that he could not talk to the detectives because he was in a hurry. Two officers, who are not identified in the complaint, blocked the exit of the precinct and told Coyle that he had no choice but to go see the detectives. Shortly thereafter, Coyle was arrested and charged with violating New York State Penal Law Section 215.50(3) for Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree for violating the Order of Protection issued on behalf of Susan Coyle.

  The plaintiff claims that Detective Olsen was the arresting officer and that Officer Degraziano signed the paperwork approving the arrest. When he was arrested, the plaintiff was handcuffed and fingerprinted. Officer Degraziano directed other police officers from the Police Department to transport the plaintiff to the Nassau Page 5 County Central Booking facility where he was eventually booked and forced to spend a night in a Nassau County jail.

  On June 24, 2003, the plaintiff appeared for a hearing before Nassau County Court Judge Claire Weinberg. At the hearing, Susan Coyle testified on behalf of the prosecution. When asked by the plaintiff's counsel "what did Mr. Coyle mean when he stated `I will do something tomorrow,'" she answered, "I don't know." The plaintiff was found not guilty as to the charge of Criminal Contempt in the Second Degree.

  The plaintiff contends that Susan Coyle "continued and encouraged the criminal proceeding against the plaintiff by failing to honor a STIPULATION OF SETTLEMENT (hereinafter Stipulation) in Her Divorce Action," dated January 15, 2003, which stated, in part, that "[a]ny and all District Court actions in which either party is a defendant shall be discontinued provided the District Attorney consents to the discontinuance." According to the plaintiff, Susan Coyle intentionally failed to notify the District Attorney regarding this provision of the Stipulation and participated as a witness against the plaintiff to ensure that the District Court action would not be discontinued.

  On July 7, 2003, the plaintiff commenced this action, asserting claims for false arrest and abuse of process, in violation of the ...


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