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Bey v. Hylton

United States District Court, Second Circuit

December 16, 2013

DR. SHAMSUDDIN A. ABDUL-HAKIM BEY, Plaintiff,
v.
DIRECTOR STACIA HYLTON; U.S. MARSHAL JOSEPH R. GUCCIONE; U.S. MARSHALS JOHN DOES #1-3; and GRENADIER REALTY CORPORATION, Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER

PAUL A. ENGELMAYER, District Judge.

Plaintiff Shamsuddin A. Abdul-Hakim Bey ("Bey") alleges here that three U.S. Marshals unlawfully searched and seized him at gunpoint in the mailroom of his apartment building. He sues these three U.S. Marshals, whom he has not identified by name, as "John Doe" defendants. He also sues Stacia Hylton ("Hylton"), the Director of the U.S. Marshals Service; Joseph R. Guccione ("Guccione"), the then-U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of New York; and Grenadier Realty Corporation ("Grenadier"), which manages his apartment building. The defendants move to dismiss. For the reasons that follow, that motion is granted as to Hylton, Guccione, and Grenadier Realty Corporation and denied, for the time being, as to the John Doe Marshals.

I. Background

A. The Alleged Unlawful Search and Seizure[1]

On March 14, 2012, between 11:15 a.m. and 12:06 p.m., three U.S. Marshals, with guns drawn, approached Bey in the mail area of his apartment building at 1600 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. FAC ¶ 28; id. at 13;[2] SAC at 7.[3] The Marshals pointed their guns at his head. SAC at 7. One Marshal ordered Bey to lay face down on the ground. FAC ¶ 29; see also SAC at 7. When Bey did so, two Marshals searched him while another trained his gun on Bey's head. FAC ¶ 30; SAC at 7. They searched under Bey's shirt and in his pants pocket, but found only business cards. FAC ¶ 30; SAC at 7. After the Marshals told Bey to stand up, he asked them what probable cause they had to search and seize him. SAC at 7; FAC ¶ 31. The Marshals told Bey that his wallet had looked like a gun to them. SAC at 7; but see FAC ¶ 32 (the Marshals "ignored... Bey's question."). Bey told the officers that he did not consent to the search and seizure that had just occurred. FAC ¶ 32. The officers then refused to identify themselves-save one, who identified himself as Officer Pena, see Compl. at 13- hid their shields, and left. FAC ¶ 32. According to Bey, the officers at the time had "no basis to formulate a reasonable, articulate suspicion that [he] had engaged in or was about to engage in criminal conduct." Id. ¶ 29. Multiple witnesses were present. Compl. at 13.

Afterwards, Bey was "hospitalized for mental trauma, " which he also reported to mental health professionals. SAC at 7. He continues to "suffer[]... states of paranoia, delusions, hatred bitterly over these things, cannot sleep very well, [and] cannot eat properly because [he is] afraid of going in [his] kitchen by [his] apartment's front door." Id. at 8. He feels "imprisoned in my own apartment." Id.

B. The Original Complaint

On July 30, 2012, Bey filed a Complaint. Dkt. 2. The Complaint named as defendants Hylton, in her individual and official capacity as Director of the U.S. Marshals Service; Guccione, in his individual and official capacity as United States Marshal for the Southern District of New York; Raymond W. Kelly ("Kelly"), in his individual and official capacity as New York City Police Commissioner; Michael Bloomberg ("Bloomberg"), in his individual and official capacity as Mayor of New York City; the City of New York itself; and U.S. Marshals John Does 1 through 3, in their individual capacities. The Complaint alleged that defendants violated Bey's rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and committed torts under New York State law. Compl. ¶¶ 1; 25-28. It further alleged that Hylton, Gucccione, Kelly, Bloomberg, and the City had created a policy or practice of unconstitutional stop and frisk searches, and that Hylton, Kelly, Bloomberg, and the City had failed to screen, train, monitor, and discipline officers of the United States Marshals Service (USMS) and New York Police Department (NYPD). The Complaint also sought to link Bey's case to pending litigation against the City relating to its "stop and frisk" policies. Id. ¶¶ 2-6.

On September 4, 2012, the Court issued an Order directing the Clerk of Court to issue a summons as to defendants Hylton and Guccione. Dkt. 6. That Order also dismissed Bey's claims against defendants Kelly, Bloomberg, and the City of New York, for failure to allege their personal involvement in the alleged unlawful search and seizure, which Bey alleged had been conducted by U.S. Marshals, not NYPD officers.[4] See Dkt. 6 at 3. The Court also ruled that Bey had failed to provide sufficient information to enable the United States Marshals Service to identify the John Doe defendants, and therefore declined to order the United States Attorney to ascertain their identities and service addresses. Id. at 3 n.2.

C. The Amended Complaint

On October 9, 2012, Bey filed the FAC, see Dkt. 7, which was identical to his original Complaint, save that it did not include certain appended material, and added a final paragraph noting that pro se litigants are held to less stringent pleading standards, see id. at 12. The Court construed this filing as a request to reconsider its September 4 Order, and denied Bey's request for reconsideration. See Dkt. 8.

D. The Second Amended Complaint

On December 26, 2012, Bey filed a motion requesting leave to file the SAC, which he attached as an exhibit to his motion. Dkt. 12. On February 26, 2013, the Court issued an order accepting Bey's proposed SAC for filing. Dkt. 14 at 2.

The SAC incorporates Bey's previous filings by reference. SAC at 8. It also added Grenadier as a defendant. Id. at 7, 20-21. The SAC alleges that Grenadier, as Bey's landlord, was responsible for the search and seizure at issue because of its failure to keep the apartment building free from continued criminal activity, thereby creating the need for visits by law enforcement. The SAC also includes statements and documents describing the NYPD's "stop and frisk" policy, id. at 13, 15-19, and identifying Bey as a "Moorish American National Citizen" or "Sovereign Aboriginal Moorish American Citizen;" id. at 12, 29-34, 52. Finally, the SAC states that Bey was unable to provide sufficient identifying information about the Marshals because they were ...


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