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Thomas v. O'Brien

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


March 27, 2009

GREGORY THOMAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES O'BRIEN, SYRACUSE POLICE OFFICER, OFFICER DADEY, OFFICER CUNNINGHAM, SGT. RATHBUN, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Norman A. Mordue, Chief U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

The Court having reviewed defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint and having accepted all factual allegations in the amended complaint*fn1 as true as required on a motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), the Court has determined that plaintiff has stated adequately claims for unlawful search and seizure, false arrest and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment*fn2, as well as a claim for denial of his right of equal protection also arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on alleged racial animus by defendants in initiating and executing plaintiff's arrest. Plaintiff's claim for unlawful seizure and deprivation of property is most adequately characterized as a claim for denial of due process rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Court finds that plaintiff's amended complaint sets forth in sufficient detail his claim for denial of due process rights.

The Court finds that plaintiff's claim under the Eighth Amendment for cruel and unusual punishment is unfounded since he was not a convicted inmate in custody at the time of the events alleged in the complaint. Finally, the Court agrees with defendants' contention that plaintiff's claim for punitive damages against defendants in their official capacities as City of Syracuse police officers must be dismissed although plaintiff may still pursue punitive damages against defendants to the extent his amended complaint may be interpreted to assert such claims against defendants in thir individual capacities.

Based thereupon, it is hereby

ORDERED that defendants' motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) to dismiss the Eighth Amendment claim for cruel and unusual punishment in plaintiff's amended complaint is

GRANTED; and it is further

ORDERED that defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's claim for punitive damages against defendants in their official capacities as City of Syracuse police officers in the amended complaint is also GRANTED; and it is further

ORDERED that the balance of defendants' motion to dismiss the balance of plaintiff's amended complaint is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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