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Duryea v. County of Livingston

April 26, 2007

RYAN M. DURYEA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE COUNTY OF LIVINGSTON, THE LIVINGSTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, SHERIFF JOHN M. YORK, INVESTIGATOR RON HUFF, DEPUTY BOE LANGLESS, DEPUTY DANIEL RITTENHOUSE, DEPUTY WILLIAM BAKER, MAJOR RAY ELLIS, DEPUTY ANDREW EICHHORN, DEPUTY MICHAEL ANNE, AND OTHER KNOWN OR UNKNOWN MEMBERS OF THE LIVINGSTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Ryan M. Duryea ("plaintiff" or "Duryea") brings this action against the County of Livingston (the "County"), the Livingston County Sheriff's Office ("LCSO"), Sheriff John M. York ("Sheriff York"), Investigator Ron Huff ("Huff"), Deputy Boe Langless ("Langless"), Deputy Daniel Rittenhouse ("Rittenhouse"), Deputy William Baker ("Baker"), Major Ray Ellis ("Ellis"), Deputy Andrew Eichhorn ("Eichhorn"), Deputy Michael Anne ("Anne"), (collectively "defendants"), alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights, and that they were otherwise negligent when they took him into police custody on June 7, 2005, due to bench warrants issued for his arrest from both Drug Treatment Court and the County Court. Defendants move to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), alleging that plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and that they are entitled to a dismissal as a matter of law. For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint is granted as to all defendants except the County of Livingston dismissing Counts I (battery), II (excessive force), III (false arrest), V (negligent hiring, training and supervision claim), VI (intentional infliction of emotional distress claim), and VIII (§ 1985(3) claim). Defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint with prejudice is granted as to the County of Livingston only as it relates to Counts III and V.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was arrested on bench warrants in the State of Florida. On June 7, 2005, after signing a waiver for his extradition from Florida to New York, defendants Rittenhouse and Huff arrived at the Collier County Jail to transport plaintiff back to New York. According to the Complaint, while en route from Florida to the Rochester Airport, defendants repeatedly questioned plaintiff regarding a series of church burglaries. Plaintiff responded that he knew nothing about the crimes.

At approximately 11:00 p.m. on June 7, 2005 defendants Huff and Rittenhouse arrived in Livingston County and were in the process of transporting plaintiff to the Livingston County Jail by automobile. The Complaint alleges that during this final leg of the trip, the officers taunted plaintiff that he was "probably going to get 5 to 10 years." See Plaintiff's Complaint at ¶ 21. At this point, plaintiff opened up the unlocked door of the automobile and began to run. See id. at ¶ 24. Rittenhouse caught plaintiff and "body slammed" him to the ground. See id. at ¶ 26. Plaintiff claims he heard another car arrive and then he felt punches to the back of his head and a kick to his back. According to the Complaint, Rittenhouse punched plaintiff directly in the face, smashing his nose. See id. ¶¶ 27-30. The defendants cuffed plaintiff and placed him in a police car. The Complaint states that the defendants dragged the plaintiff while he was barefoot up the stairs in such a manner that plaintiff repeatedly fell. Further, upon arrival in the booking room, defendants punched and choked plaintiff, then turned off the lights and continued the beating. See id. ¶¶ 33-37.

According to the Complaint, during plaintiff's incarceration Huff directed that plaintiff receive no visitors or phone calls and when plaintiff asked if he could call his lawyer, he was told he could not do so. See ¶¶ 39-42. Plaintiff claims he also asked to see a doctor because of his injuries but his requests were continually denied. After five days at the Livingston County Jail, a physician within the jail finally examined plaintiff and stated that his nose was broken. See id. ¶¶ 40 and 55. However, plaintiff was told that any attempt to reset the nose at that time could do more damage than good. See id. In addition, the Complaint indicates that plaintiff's parents met with Sheriff York on June 15, 2005 regarding plaintiff's mistreatment and Sheriff York's response was "What your son alleges is bullshit." See id. ¶ 48.

Plaintiff was indicted for (1) Escape; (2) Resisting Arrest; (3) Felony Criminal Mischief; (4) Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief; and (5) Assault. After trial, plaintiff was found guilty of Escape in the 2d Degree, a Class E Felony and Resisting Arrest, a Class A Misdemeanor. The jury also found plaintiff not guilty of both counts of Criminal Mischief and one count Assault.

Plaintiff filed a timely Notice of Claim pursuant to General Municipal Law § 50-i on September 1, 2005 naming all of the defendants in this law suit. All defendants through counsel examined plaintiff in a hearing pursuant to § 50-h of the General Municipal Law ("50-h") on January 30, 2006 while plaintiff was incarcerated at the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, New York. On August 25, 2006, plaintiff filed this law suit against defendants in the Western District of New York.

DISCUSSION

I. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for dismissal of the complaint where the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must ascertain, after presuming all factual allegations in the pleading to be true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, whether or not the plaintiff has stated any valid ground for relief. Ferran v. Town of Nassau, 11 F.3d 21, 22 (2nd Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1014, 115 S.Ct. 572 (1994). The court may grant a Rule 12(b)(6) motion only where "`it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Allen v. Westpoint-Pepperell, Inc., 945 F.2d 40, 44 (2d Cir. 1991) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)).

Plaintiff alleges seven causes of action stemming from the events of June 7, 2005: (1) battery; (2) use of excessive force; (3) false arrest; (4) malicious prosecution; (5) negligent hiring, training and supervision; (6) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (7) denial of plaintiff's civil and constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 including denial of right to counsel and denial of medical attention; and (8) conspiracy to violate civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1985.

II. Plaintiff's Claims of Battery, Excessive Use of Force, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and Negligent Hiring, Training and ...


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