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Vanbrocklen v. United States

April 7, 2010

RUSSELL VANBROCKLEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas J. McAVOY, Senior United States District Judge

DECISION & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

On March 26, 2009, the Court issued a Decision and Order that granted in part and denied in part Defendant's Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion. Dec. & Ord., dkt. # 19. After that decision, the sole remaining claim in this action is whether the manner of the search of Plaintiff in secondary screening was lawful within the context of the Fourth Amendment. Id. p. 17 ("All claims are dismissed except Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claim contained in the original Complaint asserting that the search conducted in secondary screening was unduly intrusive."). Thereafter, the Court denied Defendant's motion for reconsideration (dkt. # 25) and Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint (dkt. # 29) because an interlocutory appeal was pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Dec. & Ord., dkt. # 32. Both motions were denied without prejudice to renewal following resolution of the then-pending appeal. Id.

On September 23, 2009, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint "to include various State law violations . . . including negligent infliction of emotion distress, . . . negligence, [and] I am looking at others." Dkt. # 38. Plaintiff asserted that his appeal had been dismissed. Id. He did not include a proposed amended complaint with the motion. Id.

On October 5, 2009, the Second Circuit issued a Mandate dismissing Plaintiff's appeal. Dkt. 39. On October 16, 2009, Defendant filed opposition to Plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint, and renewed its motion for reconsideration of the Court's March 26, 2009 Decision and Order. Dkt. # 41. In the motion for reconsideration, Defendant seeks dismissal of the remaining Fourth Amendment claim. After being allowed additional time to respond to Defendant's motion, Plaintiff filed his opposition. Dkt. # 47.

On March 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed a "letter motion" requesting that the Fourth Amendment Claim "be the only claim to move forward," and seeking "a settlement conference" with the magistrate judge on that claim. Dkt. # 49.

The Court will address the pending motions seriatim.

II. DISCUSSION

a. Plaintiff's Motion to Amend his Complaint

Given Plaintiff's affirmative abandonment of any claim other than the Fourth Amendment claim that survived the Rule 12(b)(6) motion [dkt. # 49], and in light of Plaintiff's failure to provide a proposed amended complaint setting forth the basis for any other plausible claim, Plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint [dkt. # 38] is DENIED.

b. Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration

Defendant makes several arguments for reconsideration, the central argument of which is that Plaintiff's factual allegations fail to set forth a plausible Fourth Amendment claim. After careful consideration of the facts and applicable law, the Court agrees.

The remaining claim in this case arises from the events that transpired at the Albany International Airport ("Airport") on September 18, 2007 while Plaintiff was in the "secondary screening" location. According to Plaintiff, he went to the Airport on this date intending to board a commercial flight to California. When Plaintiff approached the metal detector at the entrance to the Airport's primary security screening location while seated in a wheelchair, a friendly TSA screener John Doe came over [and] put his hands on the Plaintiff[']s shoulder and started [] steering the Plaintiff towards the secondary screening area. The Plaintiff screamed out in extreme pain due to pain in the Plaintiff[']s left [testicle] (which felt worse than a testicular torsion).

The Plaintiff also lost control of his hands for several minutes. The Plaintiff[']s hands curved in and were mostly ...


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