Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

DANIELS v. CITY OF NEW YORK

United States District Court, S.D. New York


May 24, 2004.

BERTRAM DANIELS, Plaintiff, V. THE CITY OF NEW YORK, et al. Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: GERARD E. LYNCH, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

On November 3, 2003, this Court dismissed plaintiffs Second Amended Complaint, which sought damages for an alleged false arrest, holding that the facts alleged in the Second Amended Complaint established probable cause as a matter of law, and therefore plaintiff could not sustain a claim for false arrest. Daniels v. City of New York, 03 Civ. 0809, 2003 WL 22510379 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 5, 2003). Noting, however, that the Second Amended Complaint appeared to seek relief for other alleged false arrests as well, although without providing sufficient factual allegations to evaluate the claims, the Court, solicitous of plaintiff's pro se status,*fn1 permitted him to file yet another amended complaint, if he wished to assert other claims. Plaintiff has done so, filing a Third Amended Complaint on November 21, 2003, and defendant moves to dismiss this complaint as well. The motion will be granted.

DISCUSSION

  Plaintiff Bertram Daniels is a 73-year-old man who has been arrested on several occasions on the complaint of a woman named Loretta Pagalisi. The Second Amended Complaint, dismissed in the Court's November 3 Order, primarily concerned an arrest for assault on February 17, 2002, following an altercation in a McDonald's restaurant in Manhattan. The current complaint primarily addresses two other arrests, on March 3 and 8, 2002, for violation of a protective order. The Third Amended Complaint suffers from the same defects as the prior pleadings and must be dismissed.

 I. Standard on a Motion to Dismiss

  In the context of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court accepts "as true the facts alleged in the complaint," Jackson Nat'l Life Ins. Co. v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 32 F.3d 697, 699-700 (2d Cir. 1994), and may grant the motion only if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Thomas v. City of New York, 143 F.3d 31, 36 (2d Cir. 1998) (internal citations omitted). To be deemed adequate at the pleading stage, a complaint need not use particular words nor demonstrate that plaintiff will prevail on the merits, but need only provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema NA., 534 U.S. 506, 512-13 (2002) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)). II. False Arrest Claims

  As the Court held in its November 3 Order, probable cause exists "when an officer has received information from some person — normally the putative victim or eyewitness — who it seems reasonable to believe is telling the truth, he has probable cause." Oliveira v. Mayer, 23 F.3d 642, 647 (2d Cir. 1994), cited in Daniels, 2003 WL 22510379, at *3. Plaintiff's complaint alleges on its face that on March 3 and March 8, New York City police officers arrested Daniels based on "statements . . . regarding plaintiff made by Pagalisi to the officers, which statements "falsely alleged that certain statements were made by plaintiff to Pagalisi. (3d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 26-29.) But, as the Court also clearly held in the November 3 Order, the ultimate truth or falsity of Pagalisi's statements is irrelevant to the legal question of probable cause, and thus to the question of whether Daniels can state a claim for false arrest. See, e.g., Gramenos v. Jewel Companies. Inc., 797 F.2d 432, 439 (7th Cir. 1986), cited in Daniels, 2003 WL 22510379, at *3.

  On February 22, 2002, following the arrest discussed in the November 3 Order, an order of protection was entered, directing Daniels to have "no contact whatsoever" with Pagalisi. (Bynon Aff, Ex. H.) This order of protection is a matter of public record, of which the Court can properly take judicial notice. It is similarly a public record that the arresting officers on each occasion in March filed complaints swearing that Pagalisi told the officers (a) that Daniels "waited for [Pagalisi] outside [her] church and followed [her] up approximately one-half block," and then "grab[bed]" Pagalisi by the arm and repeatedly said "I love you"; and (b) that Daniels approached Pagalisi and said "I'm glad to see you're OK and not hurt yet." (Id., Exs. I and J.) These actions, if true, unquestionably would have been violations of the protective order. As in his prior complaints, Daniels does not allege that Pagalisi did not provide this information to the officers, but only that what she told them was false. The complaint contains no allegations of any facts known to the officers at the time of Daniels' arrests that would cast any doubt on Pagalisi's allegations. Thus, even accepting for purposes of this motion the truth of Daniels's claim that Pagalisi lied to the officers, the complaint on its face establishes that the officers had probable cause to arrest Daniels on March 3 and 8. See Bernard v. United States, 25 F.3d 98, 102 (2d Cir. 1994). As a matter of law, the presence of probable cause means that an arrestee has no claim for false arrest; the claim must be dismissed.

  III. Admission to Bellevue

  The Third Amended Complaint also alleges that, after the February 17 arrest, Daniels was taken to Bellevue Hospital's "psychiatric section even though he was not mentally ill" (3d Am. Compl. ¶ 22), "detained for a period of eleven days" (id. ¶ 20), and thus "deprived of his right to a speedy arraignment and right to bail" (id. ¶ 25). All of this, plaintiff asserts, was the result of "negligence" and the "incorrect diagnosis" of a Bellevue physician. (Id. ¶¶ 23, 24.)

  The claims of "negligence" and "incorrect diagnosis" do not state claims for violation of Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment rights. Daniels was admitted to Bellevue pursuant to New York Mental Hygiene Law § 9.39 (Bynon Aff., Ex. G), which is consistent with constitutional requirements. See Project Release v. Prevost, 722 F.2d 960 (2d Cir. 1983). Daniels does not allege that constitutional procedures were ignored or violated, only that the doctors at Bellevue made a mistake. This does not state a federal claim.*fn2 The Constitution does require a prompt judicial determination of probable cause following a warrantless arrest. Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 125 (1975). Delay in arraignment is unreasonable if it is "motivated by ill will against the arrested individual," or if it amounts to "delay for delay's sake." County of Riverside v McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 56 (1991). But that is not the case here. The Third Amended Complaint acknowledges that the delay in Daniels's arraignment was motivated not by malice or disregard for his constitutional rights, but by negligent or erroneous diagnosis in connection with a civil commitment pursuant to N.Y.M.H.L. § 9.39. Under these circumstances, his detention was not the product of a delayed arraignment and judicial determination of probable cause for his arrest, but of the constitutionally-authorized civil commitment procedure. A delay of arraignment under these circumstances "is not unreasonable or unnecessary." Odom v. Bellevue Hospital Center, 93 Civ. 2794 (CSH), 1994 WL 323666, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. July 5, 1994).

  IV. State Law Claims

  As all of plaintiff's federal claims must be dismissed, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3); United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966); Valencia v. Lee, 316 F.3d 299, 305 (2d Cir. 2003). CONCLUSION

  For the reasons stated above, plaintiff's federal claims — the First, Second and Third Causes of Action, and the Seventh Cause of Action to the extent based on the United States Constitution — are dismissed for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Plaintiff's state law claims — the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Causes of Action, and the Seventh Cause of Action to the extent based on New York constitutional and statutory law — are dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

  SO ORDERED.


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.