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Allen v. City of New York

United States District Court, E.D. New York

August 27, 2014

CARL ALLEN, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK; JUDITH MCMAHON; LEONARD RIENZI; ROBERT COLLINI; DANIEL DONOVAN; WANDA DEOLIVEIRA; LEO DUVAL; and ABC INSURANCE COS. 1-10, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

KIYO A. MATSUMOTO, District Judge.

On March 28, 2013, pro se plaintiff Carl Allen ("Plaintiff") filed an Amended Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of New York ("the City") and the Richmond County District Attorney, Daniel Donovan (collectively, "Defendants"), alleging violations of his federal constitutional rights during the course of his state court criminal proceedings. ( See ECF No. 11, Amended Complaint filed 3/28/13 ("Am. Compl.").) On November 1, 2013, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) ("Rule 12(b)(6)"). (ECF No. 23, Motion to Dismiss filed 11/1/13 ("Mot. to Dismiss"); ECF No. 25, Defendants' Memorandum of Law filed 11/1/13 ("Defs.' Mem.").) The Amended Complaint is dismissed for the reasons set forth below.

BACKGROUND

In April 2003, Plaintiff was arrested and charged with second degree murder in Richmond County, New York. (ECF No. 1, Complaint filed 10/1/12 ("Compl.") at 2.) He was released on bail in December 2003 but was not indicted until December 2010. ( Id. ) Shortly after the indictment, Plaintiff filed a pro se motion challenging the District Attorney's seven-year delay in pursuing the indictment. ( see ECF No. 1, Ex. 1, Judicial Conduct Complaint against Justice Leonard Rienzi, at 1.) Plaintiff's pro se motion was summarily denied by Justice Leonard Rienzi. ( See id. at 2.) In May 2012, Plaintiff requested leave from the state trial court to pursue an unspecified appeal in forma pauperis. ( See ECF No. 1, Ex. 2, Judicial Conduct Complaint against Justice Robert Collini, at 1.) Plaintiff's request was not ruled upon by presiding Justice Robert Collini, who instead forwarded Plaintiff's request to the Appellate Division. ( See id. )

On November 2, 2012, after a jury trial, Plaintiff was convicted of murder in the second degree under New York Criminal Procedure Law ("N.Y. C.P.L.") § 125.25. (ECF No. 24, Alison Moe Declaration in Support of Mot. to Dismiss filed 11/1/13 ("Moe Decl."), Ex. B, Certificate of Disposition dated 5/21/13.)[1] Plaintiff was sentenced to a term of twenty-five years to life in custody. ( Id. ) Plaintiff filed an appeal of his conviction in the New York Appellate Division, and the appeal is currently pending. (Moe Decl., Ex. C, Appellate Division Order dated 4/19/13 ("App. Div. Order").)

On October 1, 2012, while incarcerated in the Brooklyn Detention Complex, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this court, alleging the following:

(1) Throughout the course of the criminal proceedings in Richmond County, the Defendants violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. (Compl. at 1-9.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that the Richmond County state court justices who presided over his criminal proceedings improperly considered and/or ignored his motion challenging the seven-year delay of his prosecution and his request to pursue his appeal in forma pauperis, thereby denying his access to the courts and violating his due process and equal protection rights.[2] ( Id. at 2-4.)

(2) Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan and the assistant district attorney assigned to the state criminal proceeding, Wanda DeOliveira, "sought and obtained an indictment against [P]laintiff for murder in December of 2010" and conducted a "constitutionally deficient investigation and prosecution of [P]laintiff." ( Id. at 2-3.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that DeOliveira "lied and said there was new evidence which justified the protracted delay" in his prosecution. (ECF No. 1, Ex. 3, Grievance Committee Complaint against DeOliveira ("DeOliveira Grievance"), at 2.)

(3) Plaintiff's defense counsel, Leo Duval ("Duval"), deprived him of his constitutional due process rights by failing to adopt his pro se motion even though his defense counsel purportedly acknowledged that the motion had merit. (Compl. at 5.)

(4) The state court justices, prosecutors, and the defense counsel in his criminal proceeding conspired to deny Plaintiff due process and equal protection under the law. ( Id. )

(5) The City created a policy or custom under which the aforementioned alleged unconstitutional practices occurred and that the City routinely failed to train, monitor, and supervise its prosecutors regarding their constitutional duties. ( Id. at 6-7.)

(6) Ten unidentified insurance companies, "ABC Insurance Companies 1-10" were liable for the damages caused by defense counsel and the state court justices and prosecutors in their individual capacities. ( Id. at 5-6.)

Plaintiff sought monetary damages from Defendants and an "order for injunctive relief against Defendants and their employees from retaliating against [him]... or those representing him in this case." ( Id. at 8.)

On December 26, 2012, the court dismissed Plaintiff's claims but granted leave to replead his claims in an amended complaint (ECF No. 5, Memorandum & Order Dismissing Compl. dated 12/27/12 ("12/27 Order").) On March 28, 2013, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint dropping all charges against defendants DeOliveira, McMahon, Rienzi, Collini, and the ten unidentified insurance companies, but maintaining charges against the City and District Attorney Donovan. (Am. ...


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