Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

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

Ferlito v. County of Suffolk

November 19, 2007


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



Plaintiffs, Joseph Ferlito and Angelo Ferlito (collectively "Plaintiffs"), commenced this asserting claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as New York state law. Plaintiffs' claims all have their genesis in an altercation that apparently took place between the Plaintiffs and Defendants Christian Hubert ("Hubert") and Michael Turansky ("Turansky"), who are Suffolk County Police Officers. Presently before the Court is a motion seeking dismissal of (1) all Plaintiffs' state law claims against Suffolk County and (2) Angelo Ferlito's defamation claim against Defendant Steve Levy ("Levy") and Suffolk County. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.


The relevant facts alleged by Plaintiffs, which are accepted as true for purposes of this motion, are as follows. On July 24, 2005 at East Saltaire Road, Lindenhurst, New York, Plaintiffs were physically assaulted, beaten, detained and arrested, falsely charged, and incarcerated by Officers Turnsky and Hubert. All this occurred in the presence of Angelo Ferlito's child. As a result of the beating and actions of the police officers, the Plaintiffs were injured. Several months later, on November 17, 2005 the Long Island Press published an article about the July 25, 2005 incident in which Levy is quoted as saying "These brothers have a history of disorderly conduct and were resisting arrest." At the time of the statement, Levy was County Executive for Suffolk County. Angelo Ferlito is an attorney and the words are alleged to be harmful to his reputation as an attorney.

On or about October 19, 2005, Plaintiffs served a notice of claim. Because the content of this notice of claim is at issue on this motion, a description of its content is provided.*fn1 In its prefatory paragraph, the notice of claim states that the claimants are asserting their claims "against THE COUNTY OF SUFFOLK, New York and Suffolk County Police Officers TURNSKY and HUBERT to the extent said officers are employed or indemnified by THE COUNTY OF SUFFOLK . . . ." Notice of Claim at 1 (capitalization in original).*fn2 The notice then contains four sections. The first section contains the name and address of the Plaintiffs and their attorneys. The second section is entitled "nature of the claim(s)" and sets forth the following: "assault, battery, false arrest, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, use of excessive force, malicious prosecution and violations of claimants' rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983." Id. The third section is entitled "time, place and manner in which the claim arose" and contains a recitation of the events on July 24, 2005. The fourth section sets forth the amount of the claim.

Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed their complaint asserting the following causes of action: § 1983 claims against Hubert and Turansky (first cause of action) and Suffolk County (second cause of action); battery against Hubert, Turansky and Suffolk County (third cause of action); assault against Hubert, Turansky and Suffolk County (fourth cause of action); negligent, hiring, training and retaining against Suffolk County (fifth cause of action); "§ 1983 via false arrest" (sixth cause of action); common law false arrest (seventh cause of action)*fn3 ; and defamation against Levy and Suffolk County (eighth cause of action).


I. Motion to Dismiss: Legal Standard

Rule 8(a) provides that a pleading shall contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The Supreme Court recently clarified the pleading standard applicable in evaluating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). In Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, -- U.S.--, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007), the Court disavowed the well-known statement in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957) that "a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Id. at 45-46. The Twombly Court stated that this language "is best forgotten as an incomplete, negative gloss on an accepted pleading standard: once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." 127 S.Ct. at 1969. Instead, to survive a motion to dismiss under Twombly, a plaintiff must allege "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 1274.

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Id. at 1964-65 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

The Second Circuit has stated that Twombly does not require a universally heightened standard of fact pleading, but "instead requir[es] a flexible 'plausibility standard,' which obliges a pleader to amplify a claim with some factual allegations in those contexts where such amplification is needed to render the claim plausible." Iqbal v. Hasty, 490 F.3d 143, 157-58 (2d Cir. 2007). In other words, Twombly "'require[s] enough facts to 'nudge[plaintiffs'] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.'" In re Elevator Antitrust Litig., -- F.3d --, No. 06-3128-CV, 2007 WL 2471805, at *2 (2d Cir. Sept. 4, 2007) (quoting Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1974)).*fn4 As always, the Court must "accept[] ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

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