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Steven v. the City of Schenectay; Ryan Kent

January 21, 2011

STEVEN DEVARNNE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF SCHENECTAY; RYAN KENT; INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AGENT AND/OR EMPLOYEE AND POLICE OFFICER OF THE CITY OF SCHENECTADY AND THE CITY OF SCHENECTADY POLICE DEPARTMENT; C. SEMIONE INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN AGENT AND/OR EMPLOYEE AND POLICE OFFICER OF THE CITY OF SCHENECTADY AND THE CITY OF SCHENECTADY POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS.



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

DECISION and ORDER

Plaintiff Steven Devarnne commenced the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his constitutional rights and also asserting various state law claims arising out of his arrest and prosecution. Presently before the Court are: (1) Defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); and (2) Plaintiff's cross-motion for leave to amend.

I. FACTS*fn1 According to the proposed Amended Complaint, on September 4, 2009, at approximately 9:20 p.m., Defendants Kent and Semione, police officers with the City of Schenectady Police Department, had contact with Plaintiff outside the Schenectady High School. At approximately 9:25 p.m., Plaintiff was leaving a high school football game and was approaching his car when "one of the Defendant Officers approached Plaintiff, and in an unprovoked manner took out his police baton and struck Plaintiff and the other Defendant Officer pushed Plaintiff to the ground and contorted Plaintiff's arms to handcuff him." Proposed Am. Compl. at ¶ 14. "Plaintiff complained that his left arm was in severe pain, and as a result of Defendants['] acts, Plaintiff had sustained serious injury to his left arm which required medical treatment." Id. Defendants then arrested Plaintiff. On or about September 8, 2009, Plaintiff was arraigned on the criminal charges. Id. at ¶ 15. "[O]n July 7, 2000 [Plaintiff] received an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACOD) on the charges."

Id.*fn2

As a result of the foregoing, Plaintiff asserts claims for violations of his right to: (1) due process; (2) freedom from false arrest; (3) freedom from unlawful arrest and seizure; (4) freedom from excessive force; (5) freedom from unlawful imprisonment; and (6) freedom from malicious abuse of process. Plaintiff also asserts state law claims for false arrest, abuse of process, assault and battery, and negligence.

Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the Complaint and Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

"Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957)). "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations . . . a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 1964-65. "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. . . on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Id. at 1965. "'[T]he pleading must contain something more . . . than . . . a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.'" Id. at 1965 (quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004)). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A complaint does not suffice "if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement." Ashcroft, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations. Iqbal, at 1950. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. at 1949. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. 557) (internal quotations omitted).

III. DISCUSSION

a. Leave to File an Amended Complaint

Plaintiff moves for leave to file an amended complaint. In light of: (1) Rule 15's mandate that "[t]he Court should freely give leave when justice so requires;" (2) the fact that this case is in its infancy; and (3) and the proposed amended complaint does not add any new claims, but simply expands the factual allegations of the original complaint, the Court finds that Defendants will not be prejudiced by the proposed amendment. Accordingly, subject to the exceptions discussed below, the motion for leave to amend is granted. Because Defendants oppose the cross-motion for leave to amend on the ground that the proposed amendment would be futile, the Court will consider Defendants' motion to dismiss as applied to the proposed amended complaint.

b. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

Defendants move to dismiss the original Complaint and the proposed Amended Complaint on the ground that it fails to meet the requisite pleading standards. Defendants argue that the Complaint and proposed Amended Complaint (collectively referred to as the "Complaint") "offer[] ...


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