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Blond v. City of Schenectady

October 26, 2010

MARK W. BLOND, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF SCHENECTADY, MAYOR BRIAN STRATTON, SPD CHIEF CHAIRES, SPD OFFICER DANIEL MCDONALD, SPD OFFICER ST. ONGE (PHONETIC SPELLING), SPD DET. SHERRI BARNES, INDIVIDUALLY, AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES,. DEFENDANTS.



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

DECISION and ORDER

Plaintiff commenced the instant action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against officials and employees of the City of Schenectady alleging his constitutional rights were violated while he was arrested and interrogated by the police. Defendants now move to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). Plaintiff cross-moves to amend his Complaint.

I. FACTS

For purposes of the instant motion, the following factual allegations are deemed to be true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in Plaintiff's favor.

On May 4, 2008, Plaintiff walked out the back door of his house. Defendant City of Schenectady Police Officer McDonald approached Plaintiff in an aggressive manner and "nearly broke the plaintiff's arm" before placing him in handcuffs. Plaintiff did not resist Officer McDonald. Without being informed of his Miranda warnings or advised of the charges against him, Plaintiff was placed in the back of McDonald's car so McDonald could question third parties. While in the car, Plaintiff asked Officer St. Onge to "disable his car that was parked in the back yard of the apartment." Officer St. Onge slammed the door shut in Plaintiff's face. "[T]he plaintiff made a second attempt to have his property protected with the same result of officer St. Onge slamming the police car door shut on the plaintiff." "This made the already alcohol induced plaintiff angry, in which he began hitting his head against the police car window (rear passenger side)." Officer St. Onge observed Plaintiff hitting his head against the window, but did nothing. Plaintiff hit his head against the police car window 4-5 times, after which the window shattered.

Plaintiff was not bleeding and did not sustain any cuts from having broken the car window. McDonald "ran from the backyard to the front and tried to rip the plaintiff out of the window that was broken." McDonald "then decided to open the police car door, where he and officer St. Onge tried to push [Plaintiff] into a [f]ire [h]ydrant." "[P]laintiff was instead pushed by both officer's [sic] to the ground where the glass was, [where] both officer's [sic] began kneeing the plaintiff in his lower back and the back side of his neck." Plaintiff's face was "pressed into the glass on the ground." McDonald sprayed a can of pepper spray in Plaintiff's face.

Plaintiff was left "on the ground with his face burning in pain" for approximately 30 minutes until another vehicle arrived to transport him to the police station. During this time, Plaintiff asked if he could use the hose to rinse the pepper spray from his eyes and face. The officers did not respond to Plaintiff's request.

Plaintiff was transported to the police station where pictures were taken of his face. After the pictures were taken, Plaintiff was permitted to rinse his face and eyes. Plaintiff believed he had glass in his eyes "from the oficer's [sic] pressing his face into the glass on the ground." An ambulance was called and Plaintiff was taken to the hospital. "The nurse flushed out the plaintiff's eyes and found no glass." "The plaintiff was released from the hospital feeling dizzy back into the custody of the Schenectady police, where Defendant Detective Sherri Barnes question[ed] the plaintiff without his attorney and after his head injury."

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

a. Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). A Rule 12(c) motion is "designed to provide a means of disposing of cases when the material facts are not in dispute between the parties." 5C Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1367 (3d ed. 2010). A motion under Rule 12(c) is only useful if "all material allegations of fact are admitted or not controverted in the pleadings and only questions of law remain to be decided by the district court." Id.

The standard of review for a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) is the same as for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Cleveland v. Caplaw Enter., 448 F.3d 518, 521 (2d Cir. 2006); Sharpe v. Taylor, 2009 WL 1743987 at *6 (N.D.N.Y. June 18, 2009). The Court must "accept as true the factual allegations of the complaint, and draw all inferences in favor of the pleader." Rosner v. Bank of China, 349 F. App'x 637, 638 (2d Cir. 2009). To survive a motion to dismiss, the Complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ---U.S. ----, ----, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A court should not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim if the factual allegations sufficiently "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

The Court recognizes Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and, accordingly, his pleadings are held to a "less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Ferran v. Town of Nassau, 11 F.3d 21, 22 (2d Cir. 1993) (quoting Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980)). Plaintiff's pleadings "must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006); Pabon v. Wright, 459 F.3d 241, 248 (2d Cir. 2006); Brownell v. Krom, 446 F.3d 305, 310 (2d Cir. 2006); Forsyth v. Fed'n Employment & Guidance Serv., 409 F.3d 565, 569 (2d Cir. 2005). ...


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