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Guadagni v. New York City Transit Authority

January 27, 2009

LOUIS GUADAGNI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY, NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY, METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, POLICE OFFICERS "JOHN DOE" AND "JANE DOE," DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sifton, Senior Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On May 2, 2008, plaintiff Louis Guadagni filed a complaint against defendants the New York City Transit Authority ("Transit Authority")*fn1 and Police Officers "John Doe" and "Jane Doe," alleging (1) false arrest; (2) false imprisonment; (3) defamation (including slander, libel, slander per se and libel per se); (4) malicious prosecution; (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (6) abuse of process; (7) invasion of privacy; (8) wrongful suspension from employment; (9) violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1988, based on, inter alia, unspecified violations of the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; and (10) negligent hiring and training of police officers. Presently before this Court is defendant Transit Authority's motion to dismiss the claims against it pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), or alternatively for a more definite statement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e), or for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the reasons that follow, the Transit Authority's motion to dismiss is granted, and the remaining motions are denied as moot. Plaintiff requests and is hereby granted leave to amend his complaint within 30 days of the filing of this memorandum opinion.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are drawn from the complaint, documents referred to therein and incorporated by reference, documents in plaintiff's possession and relied upon by plaintiff, and matters of which this Court may take judicial notice. See Kramer v. Time Warner, Inc. 937 F.2d 767, 773 (2d Cir. 1991) (district court may consider "documents attached to the complaint as exhibits or incorporated in the complaint by reference" on motion to dismiss); Brass v. American Film Techs., Inc., 987 F.2d 142, 150 (2d Cir. 1993) (district court may consider "documents either in plaintiffs' possession or of which plaintiffs had knowledge and relied on in bringing suit" on motion to dismiss); Fed. R. Evid. 201 (setting forth conditions under which court may take judicial notice of certain matters). Plaintiff's allegations are accepted as true for the purposes of defendants' motion to dismiss, and all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of plaintiff as the nonmoving party. See Patel v. Searles, 305 F.3d 130, 135 (2d Cir. 2002).

Defendant Transit Authority is a public authority and public benefits corporation under the Public Authorities Laws of the State of New York. See Declaration of Gena Usenheimer dated Sept. 8, 2008 ("Usenheimer Decl."), Ex. B (copy of plaintiff's complaint filed in New York Supreme Court, Kings County, on May 2, 2008) ("Compl.") ¶¶ 3-5; Pub. Auth. Law § 1200 et seq. On and before May 4, 2007, plaintiff Louis Guadagni was employed by defendant Transit Authority as a train operator. Id. ¶¶ 88-89.

Some time prior to May 4, 2007, plaintiff suffered an unspecified work-related injury and was disabled from performing his duties as a train operator. Id. ¶¶ 90-92. As a result of this injury, plaintiff filed for and received worker's compensation benefits. Id. ¶ 93.

In approximately December of 2005, defendants commenced an investigation of plaintiff for unstated reasons, which involved taking pictures of plaintiff and filming him without his knowledge or consent. Id. ¶¶ 94-95, 97-98, 100.

On May 4, 2007, plaintiff was arrested by unknown officers. Id. ¶¶ 63-67. The New York City Police Department Arrest Report relating to plaintiff's May 4, 2007 arrest reflects charges against plaintiff for, inter alia, grand larceny, insurance fraud, and falsification of business records. See Declaration of James Manning dated Sept. 8, 2008, Ex. 2 (copy of plaintiff's May 4, 2007 arrest report). The report also states that plaintiff filed a worker's compensation claim, but that an investigation revealed that the claim was fraudulent. Id.

In May of 2007, plaintiff was suspended from his employment without pay or benefits. Compl. ¶¶ 112-15.

In August of 2007, defendant Transit Authority published an article in the "Special Investigations Unit Reporter" accusing plaintiff, among others, of insurance fraud. See Declaration of Gerard A. Lucciola dated November 26, 2008 ("Lucciola Decl."), Ex. 4 (copy of article). Specifically, defendant Transit Authority alleged that plaintiff filed a worker's compensation claim while employed by the Transit Authority based on an alleged back injury, but that plaintiff continued to own and operate a supermarket while claiming he was unable to work. See id.

Plaintiff alleges that all conditions and requirements precedent to the commencement of this action have been complied with, and that pursuant to § 50-H of the General Municipal Law, oral examination of him by the Transit Authority "has been conducted or waived." Compl. ¶ 79. In making these allegations, plaintiff relied on the following documents exchanged between his attorneys and counsel for defendants, which are in his actual or constructive possession:

(1) A notice of claim*fn2 by plaintiff filed with defendant Transit Authority on August 1, 2007, see Usenheimer Decl., Ex. A;

(2) A demand for a statutory hearing*fn3 dated August 24, 2007, to be held on September 17, 2007, sent by the Transit Authority to counsel for plaintiff, see Usenheimer Decl., Ex. C;

(3) A letter dated September 13, 2007 from plaintiff's attorneys seeking an adjournment of the hearing on the grounds that plaintiff "has a criminal action pending against him," see Usenheimer Decl., Ex. D;

(4) A letter dated October 30, 2007 from the Transit Authority to counsel for plaintiff adjourning the statutory hearing to December 12, 2007, see Usenheimer Decl., Ex. E;

(5) A stipulation dated December 2, 2007 adjourning the statutory hearing to March 20, 2008, ...


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