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Salemo v. Murphy

United States District Court, S.D. New York

February 28, 2014



THOMAS P. GRIESA, District Judge.

George Salemo, proceeding pro se, brings this action alleging that U.S. Secret Service Agent Maureen Murphy, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agent Bethanne Dinkins, and U.S. Probation Officer Marcela Bravo violated his constitutional rights during their investigation and arrest of him.

On September 27, 2012, the court dismissed Salemo's complaint but granted leave to amend. Salemo then filed his amended complaint on March 27, 2013. Defendants now move to dismiss the amended complaint.

The motion to dismiss is granted.

The Complaint

Salemo was suspected-and ultimately convicted-of presenting a forged $2.25-million U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency grant agreement as collateral for a loan to his company, Global Alliance for International Advancement, Ltd. ("GAIA"). In his complaint, Salemo alleges that he was the founder, incorporator, investor, and CEO of GAIA.

Salemo alleges that defendants pursued their investigation recklessly because of their personal contempt for him. For example, he alleges that defendants took and encouraged others to take documents and hard drives from GAIA headquarters without a warrant. Salemo alleges that when defendants did get a warrant, they "falsely applied for" it because the warrant listed "Intro World" as residing in the same office as GAIA. Defendants allegedly replaced Salemo in his role at GAIA with another GAIA employee, Troy Sargent, and had Salemo locked out of GAIA's offices. Defendants then allegedly allowed Sargent and others to gain unauthorized access to Salemo's and GAIA's bank accounts. When Salemo attempted to initiate civil and criminal proceedings against Sargent and other GAIA employees, defendants allegedly interfered and had the charges dismissed.

Salemo also alleges that defendants orchestrated attacks on his reputation. He claims that they authorized Sargent to contact Salemo's business associates, as well as the website Rip-Off Report, informing them that Salemo's enterprises were fraudulent.

Salemo contends that these events culminated in GAIA's bankruptcy.

Defendants also allegedly interfered with his personal property and housing in three ways. First, Salemo alleges that defendants harassed his landlord until she gave them clothes from his apartment. He alleges that defendants did not return all of this property. Second, he alleges that defendants told another landlord that Salemo was "an undesirable person" and then the landlord would not rent another apartment to him. Third, he alleges that Agent Dinkins confiscated his personal effects when Salemo was booked but never returned those items.

Additionally, Salemo alleges that defendants interfered with his Fifth Amendment right to liberty while he was in prison. He alleges that defendants kept him from being transferred to a halfway house because they informed prison officials that he would soon be indicted for forgery. He also alleges that defendants falsely told prison officials that he harassed a woman, which resulted in Salemo being moved to disciplinary housing for ten days.

Finally, Salemo claims that Dinkins and Murphy "suborned" evidence at Salemo's trial. Although it is very difficult to determine what Salemo intends to allege in this section of the complaint, he appears to list a series of allegations relating to evidence at his criminal trial that was either falsified or not appropriately disclosed by defendants.

He seeks compensatory and punitive damages totaling $58 million based on these alleged constitutional violations by federal agents under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics , 403 U.S. 388 (1971).

In Salemo's papers opposing the motion to dismiss, he not only repeats allegations from the complaint, but also adds new allegations. And many of these new allegations do not relate to defendants named in the complaint. In general, a party is not permitted to use its reply to a dispositive motion as a vehicle for amending its complaint. See Wright v. Ernst & Young LLP , 152 F.3d 169, 178 (2d Cir. 1998). And the court's opinion dated September 27, 2012, alerted Salemo that the court would not allow him to supplement his ...

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