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.
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
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
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
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 ...