Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Donna Veeder, Stacy Veeder and Brendan Veeder v. Steven Nutting

April 24, 2012

DONNA VEEDER, STACY VEEDER AND BRENDAN VEEDER, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
STEVEN NUTTING, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS AN INVESTIGATOR FOR THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE; DAVID BURNS, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS INVESTIGATORS FOR THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE; ROBERT J. MARTIN, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS INVESTIGATORS FOR THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE; KELLY STRACK, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS INVESTIGATORS FOR THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE; DREW MCDONALD, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS INVESTIGATORS FOR THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE; GEORGE PORT, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR CAPACITY AS LIEUTENANTS FOR THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE; STEPHEN HOGAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR CAPACITY AS AN ATTORNEY FOR THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mae A. D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge:

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

On June 8, 2010, Plaintiffs commenced this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants acted in violation of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. See Dkt. No. 1. On May 6, 2011 and May 17, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a first and second amended complaint. See Dkt. Nos. 25 and 27. In a March 2, 2012 Memorandum-Decision and Order, the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' partial motion for judgment on the pleadings. See Dkt. No. 50. Specifically, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims against the New York State Defendants in their official capacities and dismissed Defendants Burns, Strack, McDonald, Gilliam, Valoze, Hard and John Doe1 for lack of personal involvement. See id. at 16.

Currently before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of the Court's March 2, 2012 Memorandum-Decision and Order or, in the alternative, Plaintiffs' motion to amend their second amended complaint. See Dkt. No. 51.

II. BACKGROUND*fn1

A. Relevant background

On or about May 23, 2008, Garry Veeder, a civilian employee of the New York State Police, committed suicide in a detached outbuilding of his home. See Dkt. No. 27 at ¶ 20. Garry Veeder lived with his wife, Donna Veeder, and their two children, Stacy and Brendan Veeder, all Plaintiffs in the present action. See id. Plaintiff Donna Veeder discovered Garry Veeder's body, and a call was placed to the Albany County Sherriff's Department. See Dkt. No. 27 at ¶ 21. The Sherriff's Department responded to the scene, along with Emergency Medical Technicians ("EMTs"). See id.

At some point while Plaintiff Donna Veeder was in her house, a separate building from where Garry Veeder's body was discovered, she "noticed a notebook with a sticky-note on the outside addressed to [her] and her husband's attorney." See id. at ¶ 24. The notebook contained documents for the attorney, as well as "sealed envelopes addressed to each [P]laintiff" and additional family members. See id. at ¶ 25. Upon discovery of the notebook, Plaintiff Donna Veeder also became aware of the fact that "all members of the Sheriff's Department . . . had suddenly left the premises." See id. at ¶ 26. Plaintiff Donna Veeder, assuming she was alone, then carried the notebook upstairs, "so that the family could read the letters addressed to them when they became able." See id. at ¶ 27. At this time, Plaintiff Donna Veeder became startled by the presence of an unknown individual in her home, later identified as Defendant Steven Nutting, Investigator for the New York State Police. See id. at ¶ 29. Defendant Nutting was not wearing a uniform at the time. See id. Plaintiff Donna Veeder stated to Defendant Nutting, "[w]ho are you and what are you doing in my house?" See id. In response, Defendant Nutting handed Plaintiff Donna Veeder an identification card, but he allegedly refused to explain why he was there. See id. at ¶ 31. Defendant Nutting then "ordered [Plaintiff] Donna Veeder to turn over the notebook containing the letters [to him] . . . stating that it was 'evidence.'" See id. at ¶ 32. When Plaintiff Donna Veeder refused, replying that the notebook was "her property" and stating that the letters inside were "addressed to her" and other family members, Defendant Nutting then allegedly stated "I can do anything I want, lady, this is a crime scene until I say otherwise." See id. at ¶¶ 33-34. Defendant Nutting did not allow Plaintiff Donna Veeder to open any of the envelopes. See id. at ¶¶ 35-36.

At this point, Plaintiff Donna Veeder "became aware that other [D]efendants were conducting a room by room search of her house." See id. at ¶ 37. No Plaintiff had invited any Defendant into their home, and no Plaintiff had granted any Defendant permission to conduct a search. See id. at ¶ 38. Two Defendants, one of whom was Defendant Martin, then followed Plaintiff Stacy Veeder into Plaintiff Brendan Veeder's bedroom, where she was typing an e-mail to her boyfriend. See id. at ¶ 39. Defendant Martin advised Plaintiff Stacy Veeder that her computer was evidence, and asked if her father had left a note on the computer. See id. at ¶ 40. Plaintiff Stacy Veeder, attempting to get away from Defendant Martin, left her brother's room and went into her own bedroom. See id. at ¶ 41. Defendant Martin then followed Plaintiff Stacy Veeder into her bedroom. See id. at ¶ 42. Plaintiff Stacy Veeder continued to try and get away from Defendant Martin and the other unidentified Defendant who were "following her from room to room," but was unsuccessful. See id. at ¶ 43. Defendant Martin and the other Defendant then allegedly forced Plaintiff Stacy Veeder into an unmarked police automobile, which she attempted to exit but could not because Defendant Martin was holding the door shut. See id. at ¶¶ 44-45.

At this time, Plaintiff Donna Veeder telephoned her attorney "for advice with regard to [D]efendant Nutting's demand that the notebook and letters . . . be given to him." See id. at ¶ 50. Plaintiff Donna Veeder's attorney advised her not to surrender the material to Defendant Nutting. See id. Plaintiff Donna Veeder's attorney then spoke with Defendant Nutting on the phone and told him that "he did not have permission to take the notebook and letters." See id. at ¶ 51. Defendant Nutting allegedly stated that "I can do anything I want, this is a crime scene unless I say otherwise." See id. at ¶ 52. Defendant Nutting then assisted Plaintiff Donna Veeder in contacting her daughter, who was stationed on an Army base at the time, to inform her of her father's death. See id. at ¶¶ 53-54.

After this, Defendant Nutting placed a phone call to Defendant Hogan, attorney for the New York State Police, to consult with him. See id. at ¶ 61. Defendant Hogan "authorized [D]efendant Nutting to search the [P]laintiffs' home without a warrant, [despite] [P]laintiffs' objection." See id. Defendant Hogan also authorized Defendant Nutting to "seize any items he wished from [P]laintiffs' home." See id. at ¶ 65. Defendant Nutting then placed a second phone call to Defendant "John Doe7," an Assistant District Attorney, who authorized Defendant Nutting to search the Plaintiff's home without a warrant and "seize any items he wished." See id. at ¶¶ 63, 67. At this point, Defendant Nutting told Plaintiffs to get dressed and leave the house. See id. at ¶ 69. Over Plaintiff Donna Veeder's objection, Defendant Nutting "took the notebook and letters away from [her]." See id. at ¶¶ 75, 76.

Plaintiffs then went to stay at a friend's house until Plaintiff Donna Veeder's afternoon doctor's appointment. See id. at ¶ 78. At the appointment, Plaintiff Donna Veeder was diagnosed with "dangerously elevated blood pressure requiring immediate attention." See id. at ¶ 79. After the appointment, Plaintiff Donna Veeder received a phone call from her brother stating that he had "just read an article on the internet describing the contents of the notes which [D]efendant Nutting had taken from [P]laintiffs." See id. at ¶ 80. Additionally, local television news stations also reported on the "contents of the notes taken from [P]laintiffs." See id. at ¶ 81. Plaintiffs then returned to their home and discovered that Defendants had "conducted a thorough search of [their] home and taken a briefcase" that belonged to Plaintiff Donna Veeder. See id. at ¶ 82. At no time was any warrant to search or seize Plaintiffs' property issued. See id. at ¶¶ 83, 85.

On May 23, 2008, at approximately 3:30 p.m., the Albany County Coroner officially ruled Garry Veeder's death a suicide. See id. at ΒΆ 89. On May 27, 2008, Defendant George Port, Lieutenant for the New York State Police, opened and photocopied the letters that Garry Veeder had left ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.