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Taluker v. County of Rensselaer

United States District Court, Second Circuit

June 5, 2013

MICHAEL K. TALUKER, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF RENSSELAER, CITY OF TROY, CITY OF TROY POLICE DEPARTMENT, POLICE OFFICER CHARLES D. CASTLE, POLICE OFFICER BUTTOFUCCO, POLICE OFFICER McNULL, SERGEANT G.E. ANDERSON, and POLICE OFFICER JOHN DOE, Defendants.

MICHAEL K. TALUKDER, Auburn Correctional Facility, Auburn, New York, Plaintiff pro se

JAMES A. RESILA, ESQ., CARTER, CONBOY, CASE, BLACKMORE, MALONEY & LAIRD, P.C., Albany, New York, Attorneys for Defendant Rensselaer.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff commenced this action on November 30, 2012, seeking damages for alleged violations of his constitutional rights.

Currently before the Court is Defendant County of Rensselaer's ("Rensselaer") motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Dkt. No. 17 at 2. Defendant Rensselaer asserts that (1) Plaintiff failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted; (2) Plaintiff failed to state a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the municipality; (3) Plaintiff failed to state a claim for false imprisonment; (4) Plaintiff failed to state a claim regarding the violation of his due process rights; (5) Plaintiff failed to state a claim for malicious abuse of process; (6) Plaintiff failed to state a claim against Defendant Rensselear for New York State constitutional violations upon which relief can be granted; and (7) the district attorney's actions are protected by absolute immunity. See id. at 2-10.

II. BACKGROUND

On September 15, 2011, Defendant police officer John Doe ("Doe") stopped Plaintiff as Plaintiff walked down Old 6th Avenue in Troy, New York, because he looked suspicious. See Dkt. 1 at 1-2. Plaintiff gave Defendant Doe his identifying information, and Defendant Doe searched Plaintiff. See id. at 2. Defendant Doe found nothing, and told Plaintiff that he was "free to go, but [he] better get home & fast because if [he] was out when [the officer] came back around [he] wasn't going to make it home." See id. Two of Plaintiff's friends drove up to Plaintiff after seeing his interaction with Defendant Doe. See id. Plaintiff told his friends he needed to get home, and he was about to get in the car when two police cruisers pulled up with their lights on, blocking the car. See id. One of Plaintiff's friends ran from the scene, while the other instructed Plaintiff to enter the car, and drove away. See id.

When Plaintiff and his friend were pulled over, the police told them they had been pulled over because they had left the scene of a crime. See id. Plaintiff and his friend were brought to the City of Troy Police Department, where they were told that the police found 1, 500 milligrams of cocaine under the driver's seat of the car; Plaintiff and his friend explained that they had no knowledge of cocaine being in the vehicle. See id. Plaintiff and his friend were charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, and Loitering in the First Degree. See id. at 2-3.

Plaintiff had a preliminary hearing on September 20, 2011, at which Defendant police officers Buttofucco and Charles D. Castle ("Castle") gave inconsistent testimony regarding the location and quantity of drugs that were found in the vehicle. See id. at 3. Plaintiff was remanded to the Rensselaer County Jail pending grand jury action. Plaintiff testified at his grand jury on November 4, 2011. See id. Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Kennedy advised Plaintiff to plead guilty, but he refused. See id. Plaintiff was released from jail on November 5, 2011, pursuant to C.P.L. § 190.80, because the prosecution had failed to indict Plaintiff within forty-five days after a preliminary hearing. See id. On November 25, 2011, all charges against Plaintiff were dismissed pursuant to C.P.L. § 160.50. See id.

On November 30, 2012, Plaintiff commenced this action. See id. at 1. Plaintiff alleges that police officers under Defendant City of Troy's ("Troy") and Defendant Rensselaer's oversight illegally searched and unlawfully detained him without cause or due process. See id. at 3-4. Further, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Troy violated Plaintiff's right to due process by sending the case to the grand jury even though the relevant police officers' testimony were inconsistent at trial. See id. at 4.

Plaintiff claims that Defendants Castle, McNull, and Buttofucco illegally searched him, causing Plaintiff to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by being wrongfully accused and unlawfully detained. See id. Plaintiff argues that each officer did so under the color of law in the State of New York, County of Rensselaer, and City of Troy. See id. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Sergeant G.E. Anderson ("Anderson") allowed officers under his supervision to illegally search him, resulting in Plaintiff being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. See id. at 4-5. Lastly, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant John Doe ("Doe") made indirect threats to and illegally searched Plaintiff, causing Plaintiff to be wrongfully accused and unlawfully detained. See id. at 5.

Plaintiff requests that Defendant Rensselaer be ordered to institute requirements for training and enforcing policies against abuses of power. See id. at 5. Plaintiff requests that Defendant Troy be ordered to monitor its law enforcement, and that Defendant City of Troy Police Department be ordered to institute police training, oversight, and repercussions to ensure citizens' rights are upheld. See id. Plaintiff further requests that Defendants Castle, Buttofucco, McNull, Anderson, and Doe be reprimanded or terminated as police officers. See id. at 5-6. Plaintiff seeks $1, 000, 000.00 in punitive damages from each of the eight defendants. See id. Lastly, Plaintiff requests that Defendant Rensselaer be ordered to create a $10, 000, 000.00 fund to assist citizens who have been "Illegally Stopped, Searched, Frisked, & Detained in direct violation of their Constitutional Rights." See id. at 6.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure tests the legal sufficiency of the party's claim for relief. See Patane v. Clark, 508 F.3d 106, 111-12 (2d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). In considering the legal sufficiency, a court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts in the pleading and draw all reasonable inferences in the pleader's favor. See ASTI Commc'ns, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). This ...


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