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Simmons v. Kelly

March 31, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard J. Sullivan, District Judge


Pro se Plaintiff Alphonso Simmons ("Plaintiff") brings this action for injunctive relief and damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, illegal delay in arraignment, and unconstitutional conditions of confinement in connection with his March 20, 2006 arrest and subsequent detention.

Plaintiff names as Defendants New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly ("Kelly"), Detectives Thomas Healy ("Healy"), Gus Blain ("Blain"), Albert Ramos ("Ramos"), Todd Olsen ("Olsen"),*fn1 Valsamakis Metaxas as ("Metaxas"),*fn2 Daniel Corcoran ("Corcoran"), Sergeant Patrick Santoli ("Santoli"), and John Does #1-4 (collectively, the "Defendants").

Defendants now move for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing, inter alia, that Plaintiff improperly seeks to challenge the validity of his conviction, that the principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel bar certain of Plaintiff's claims, and that Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.


A. Facts

The following facts are taken from the Amended Complaint ("AC"). The Court will recite only those facts necessary to resolve the instant motions, assumes these facts to be true for the purpose of deciding the instant motions, and must construe them in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. See Cleveland v. Caplaw Enters., 448 F.3d 518, 521 (2d Cir. 2006).

At approximately 10:00 p.m. on March 20, 2006, Plaintiff was arrested on an alleged outstanding warrant by Detectives Owen and Metaxas after a traffic stop for aggressive driving. (AC ¶ II.D, 45; Id. Ex. A ¶ 2.) Olsen and Metaxas then placed Plaintiff in handcuffs and transported him to the 19th Precinct of the New York Police Department in Manhattan. (AC ¶ 45.) Once at the 19th Precinct, Plaintiff alleges that he was placed in a cell, alone, without food or water. (Id. ¶ II.D.) Plaintiff alleges that he was then informed he had been arrested not on an outstanding warrant, but because a car matching his car was seen leaving the scene of a robbery. (Id. Ex. A ¶ 3.)

At 3:00 a.m. on March 21, 2006, while still at the 19th Precinct, Plaintiff requested food from Detective Healy. (Id. ¶ 21.) Plaintiff alleges that Healy told Plaintiff he could eat after questioning. (Id.) After two sessions of questioning, Plaintiff again asked Healy for something to eat; Healy replied that Plaintiff could "have anything [he] want[ed] once [he was] ready to cooperate." (Id. ¶ 22.) At 9:00 a.m. on March 21, 2006, Plaintiff requested food from Detective Olsen, who allegedly responded that he was not the arresting officer. (Id. ¶ 27.) When, at noon of the same day, Plaintiff asked Detective Ramos for food, Ramos informed Plaintiff that he could not have food because a line-up was being prepared. (Id. ¶ 28.)

Plaintiff alleges that he was held at the 19th Precinct for more than twenty-four hours,*fn3 then transferred to Central Booking at 100 Centre Street in Manhattan. (Id. ¶ 38.) Plaintiff claims he was then held a further twelve hours in the "pens" at Central Booking. At approximately 3:00 a.m. on March 22, 2006, while at Central Booking, Plaintiff was provided with two boxes of cereal and a carton of milk. (Id. ¶ 29.)

Plaintiff claims that he was held at the 19th Precinct for more than nineteen hours before he was charged with a crime, and that more than twenty hours from the time of his arrival passed before the felony complaint was signed. (Id. ¶ 38.) On March 22, 2006 in the "forenoon," Plaintiff was charged with Attempted Robbery in the First Degree. (Id. ¶ 13.) On June 24, 2006, Plaintiff filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in New York State Supreme Court. (Id. ¶ 15.) The petition was denied on July 17, 2006. (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff appealed the decision that day, but was notified by the Appellate Department that he could not appeal the denial of his habeas petition until he had been sentenced. (Id. ¶¶ 16-17.)

On August 30, 2006, Plaintiff was convicted by guilty plea of one count of Attempted Robbery, 1st Degree, and on September 19, 2006 was sentenced to ten years in prison and five years of supervisory release. Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal on September 19, 2006; as of the filing of the instant motion, Plaintiff's appeal was still pending. (Id. ¶¶ 18-19.) As of the date of this Memorandum and Order, Plaintiff remains incarcerated at Greenhaven Correctional Facility.*fn4

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff commenced the above-captioned action on June 21, 2006 - well before his guilty plea and sentencing. On August 14, 2006, the Honorable Kimba M. Wood, Chief District Judge, to whom this case was previously assigned, issued an order directing Plaintiff to submit an amended complaint within sixty days. Plaintiff filed the AC on October 12, 2006. On October 31, 2006, the action was reassigned from the docket of Judge Wood to that of the Honorable Kenneth M. Karas, District Judge. On September 4, 2007, the action was reassigned from the docket of Judge Karas to that of the undersigned. Defendants filed the instant motion on April 14, 2008. The motion was fully submitted on June 17, 2008.


"The standard for addressing a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is the same as that for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim." Cleveland, 448 F.3d at 521.

When considering motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, the Court must accept all well-pleaded allegations contained in the complaint as true, and must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. ATSI Commn'cs, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd, 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007). A plaintiff need not include "heightened fact pleading of specifics" to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, "but only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (holding that the "[f]actual allegations" alleged "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level"). A plaintiff thus must satisfy "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).

Because Plaintiff is appearing pro se, the Court shall "`construe [his complaint] broadly, and interpret [it] to raise the strongest arguments that [it] suggests.'" Weixel v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of N.Y., 287 F.3d 138, 146 (2d Cir. 2002) (quoting Cruz v. Gomez, 202 F.3d 593, 597 (2d Cir. 2000)); see also Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007) ("The policy of liberally construing pro se submissions is driven by the understanding that `[i]mplicit in the right to self-representation is an obligation on the part of the court to make reasonable allowances to protect pro se litigants ...

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