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Deronette v. City of New York

March 27, 2007

JEAN DERONETTE PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, KINGS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, AND LUC PIERRE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Johnson, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Jean Deronette ("Plaintiff") brings this action alleging that the City of New York, the New York City Police Department ("NYPD"), the Kings County District Attorney's Office, and Kings County Assistant District Attorney Luc Pierre (collectively "Defendants") violated his rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and New York State tort law. Presently before the Court is Pierre's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Motion to Dismiss"). For the reasons set forth herein, Pierre's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and Plaintiff is granted 30 days from the date of this Memorandum and Order to replead the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Causes of Action.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn1

On September 5, 2004, defendant Luc Pierre, a Kings County Assistant District Attorney ("ADA") and a church pastor, allegedly observed Plaintiff engaging in the following conduct within 100 feet of Pierre's church during Sunday Services: (1) putting multiple flyers on Pierre's automobile and on surfaces in the vicinity of the church, (2) yelling at the church Deacon, and (3) yelling at Pierre and parishioners inside the church. (Pl.'s Aff. in Opp., & 6, Exh. 2., at 1.) The subject of the flyers was the fact that Pierre "had criminal charges falsely brought against [Plaintiff] in a previous criminal complaint."*fn2 (Id.) Plaintiff's conduct caused Sunday Services at the church to be stopped that day. (Id.) On the previous day, Plaintiff and several other males were allegedly observed arguing with church parishioners, and placing flyers similar to those mentioned above on Pierre's automobile. (Id. at 2.)

Plaintiff alleges that Pierre attempted to have him arrested on September 4, 2004, for putting up flyers and posters, although this is not the "false arrest" of which Plaintiff now complains. (Compl. at & 18.) Plaintiff does not allege any other facts describing the events of September 4 and 5, 2004.

On November 22, 2004, "Detective Walker of the 67th Precinct Squad" of the NYPD arrested Plaintiff in connection with the events of September 4 and 5, 2004.*fn3

(Compl. at & 18.) On November 23, 2004, Kings County ADA Jeff Davis filed a criminal complaint charging Plaintiff with Disorderly Conduct in violation of New York Penal Law § 240.20(4), and Disruption or Disturbance of Religious Service in violation of New York Penal Law § 240.21. (Pl.'s Aff. in Opp., & 6, Exh. 2.) Pierre served as the informant for the criminal complaint. (Id.) The charges were later dismissed. (Compl. at & 36.)

On November 11, 2005, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendants alleging that his arrest and the charges brought against him, in connection with the events of September 4 and 5, 2004, violated his rights under federal and state law. Plaintiff named Pierre as a defendant in the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Causes of Action.*fn4 On February 6, 2006, Pierre filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint based on the following grounds: (1) as an ADA, Pierre is entitled to absolute and/or qualified immunity, and (2) the Complaint fails to state a claim for which relief may be granted.

JURISDICTION

The Court has jurisdiction over the federal law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343, and supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a)(2), a plaintiff's complaint must include a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." The statement of the claim must "give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

In considering a motion to dismiss a complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6), the Court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Bold Elec., Inc. v. City of N.Y., 53 F.3d 465, 469 (2d Cir.1995). Dismissal is appropriate only where it appears beyond doubt that a plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. See id. The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail, but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support his claims. See Villager Pond, Inc. v. Town of Darien, 56 F.3d 375, 378 (2d Cir.1995). A court must confine its consideration of a motion to dismiss "to facts stated on the face of the complaint, in documents appended to the complaint or incorporated in the complaint by reference, and to matters of which judicial notice may be taken." Allen v. WestPointPepperell, Inc.,945 F.2d 40, 44 (2d Cir.1991).

Even under the lenient pleading requirement of Rule 8(a)(2), conclusory allegations are insufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. See Manos v. Geissler, 377 F.Supp.2d 422, 425 (S.D.N.Y.2005). Courts need not accept as true pleadings expressing legal conclusions, speculation and unsubstantiated allegations "so broad and conclusory as to be meaningless." Decker v. Massey-Ferguson, Ltd., 681 F.2d 111, 120 (2d Cir.1982); see also Smith v. Local 819 I.B.T. Pension Plan, 291 F.3d 236, 240 (2d Cir.2002) (while the court must construe factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the court is not required to accept plaintiff's legal conclusions). "[A] court need not feel constrained to accept as truth conflicting pleadings that make no sense, or that would render a claim incoherent, or that are contradicted either by statements in the complaint itself or by documents upon which its pleadings rely, or by facts of which the court may take judicial notice." In re Livent, Inc. Noteholders Sec. Litig., 151 F.Supp.2d 371, ...


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