United States District Court, E.D. New York
ANGEL AYBAR, JEFFREY CIMAN, MANUEL NOGUEIRA, and ROBERT RICART, Plaintiffs,
CITY OF NEW YORK, DETECTIVE MARK ROMAN, JOSE VARGAS, and DETECTIVE JASON ROBLES, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
KIYO A. MATSUMOTO, District Judge.
On September 18, 2012, plaintiffs Angel Aybar, Jeffrey Ciman, Manuel Nogueira, and Robert Ricart (collectively, "plaintiffs") commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ( See ECF No. 1, Complaint filed 9/18/12 ("Compl.").) The case, originally filed in the Southern District of New York, was transferred to this court on February 14, 2013. (ECF No. 7, Case Transfer dated 2/14/13.) On June 17, 2013, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, bringing claims of malicious prosecution, false arrest, and other violations of their Constitutional rights against the City of New York (the "City"), and Drug Enforcement Agency ("DEA") Taskforce Officers Mark Roman, Jose Vargas (collectively, "individual defendants"), and Jason Robles, in their individual and official capacities. ( See generally ECF No. 15, Amended Complaint filed 6/7/13 ("Am. Compl.").)
On October 16, 2013, the City filed a motion to dismiss all claims against the City. (ECF No. 24, City's Motion to Dismiss filed 10/16/13 ("City Mot."); ECF No. 25, Affidavit/Declaration in Support of City Mot. filed 10/16/13 ("City Aff."); ECF No. 26, Memorandum of Law in Support of City Mot. filed 10/16/13 ("City Br.").) Because plaintiffs failed to serve an opposition, request an extension of time to respond, or otherwise respond to the City's motion to dismiss on the dates ordered by the court, the court deemed the City's motion to be fully-briefed and unopposed on October 16, 2013. ( See Order dated 10/16/13.)
On May 15, 2014, individual defendants Roman and Vargas filed a motion to dismiss the claims against them. (ECF No. 33, Individual Defendants' Motion to Dismiss filed 5/15/14 ("Ind'l Defs.' Mot."); ECF No. 34, Individual Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss filed 5/15/14 ("Ind'l Defs.' Br.").) Plaintiffs again failed to serve an opposition to individual defendants' motion to dismiss or otherwise respond to the motion on the date ordered by the court, and on May 15, 2014, the court deemed the individual defendants' motion to dismiss fully briefed and unopposed. ( See Order dated 5/15/14.)
For the reasons set forth below, plaintiffs' complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
I. Factual Background
Plaintiffs' claims arise from an incident that occurred on or about November 20, 2008, in Queens, New York. (Am. Compl. at 2.) Plaintiffs allege that on or about November 20, 2008, they were arrested and charged with a violation of the Hobbs Act, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and illegal use of a firearm. ( Id. ) Plaintiffs were arrested by Jose Vargas and other members of the DEA Taskforce. ( See City Aff., Ex. B, Criminal Complaint dated 11/21/08.) On or about December 8, 2008, plaintiffs were indicted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on federal criminal charges. ( See City Aff., Ex. C, Criminal Indictment in Case No. 08-cr-007876 (JG), filed 12/8/08.) On September 18, 2009, plaintiffs were acquitted of all charges. (Am. Compl. at 6.) Plaintiffs allege, upon information and belief, that "at trial and under oath, members of the NYPD including Defendants, testified falsely, and fabricated the truth as to what occurred on and before the afternoon" of November 20, 2008. (Am. Compl. at 5.) In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants failed to testify that a criminal informant was involved in "setting up and negotiating" the crime for which they were arrested. ( Id. at 6.) Plaintiffs allege that they were wrongfully jailed after their arrest and prior to their acquittals. ( Id. )
Although far from a model of clarity, the Amended Complaint appears to raise claims of malicious prosecution, false arrest, and false imprisonment as against the City and individual defendants, and negligence as against the City. ( See Am. Compl. at 6-16.)
II. Procedural History
Throughout the duration of this case, plaintiffs have repeatedly failed, despite repeated warnings, to comply with court orders, including failing to submit any opposition to the City's and the individual defendants' motions to dismiss.
By Minute Order dated August 2, 2013, the court ordered plaintiffs to serve a copy of the Amended Complaint and amended summons on the individual defendants and file affidavits of service no later than August 9, 2013. The court advised plaintiffs that "failure to comply with this order will result in dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against the individual defendants with prejudice for failure to prosecute and to comply with court orders. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 41." (Minute Entry dated 8/2/13.) In addition, on August 10, 2013, the court ordered plaintiffs to respond to the City's August 9, 2013, letter requesting that the action be dismissed with prejudice as against the individual defendants, by August 13, 2013. ( See ECF No. 18, City Letter dated 8/9/13; Order dated 8/10/13.) Plaintiffs filed affidavits of service one day late, and did not file any response to the City's letter. ( See Order dated 8/30/13.) On August 30, 2013, the court found that dismissal of plaintiffs' claims against the individual defendants was not warranted, and ordered the parties to adhere to a briefing schedule for the City's motion to dismiss. ( Id. ) In addition, the court warned plaintiffs that "any future failure to comply with this court's orders, including the briefing schedule set forth below, may result in the dismissal of this entire action with prejudice pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b)." ( Id. ) As previously discussed, the City's motion to dismiss was deemed fully briefed and unopposed due to plaintiffs' failure to serve an opposition. ( See Order dated 10/16/13.)
On January 6, 2014, following a telephonic premotion conference to discuss the individual defendants' anticipated motion to dismiss, the court ordered plaintiffs to advise the court by January 17, 2014, as to whether they intended to pursue their action. (Minute Entry dated 1/6/14.) Plaintiffs were also warned that "failure to file a letter by 1/17/14 raises a strong likelihood that the court will dismiss the claim for failure to prosecute and... to comply with court orders. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 41." ( Id. )
In contravention of the court's order, plaintiffs failed to submit any letter by January 17, 2014. On January 23, 2014, the court gave plaintiffs "one last opportunity to comply with court orders, " and extended the deadline to respond to January 27, 2014. (Order dated 1/23/14.) The court noted that, "given [its] prior warnings and leniency in granting extensions in this case, plaintiffs are warned that failure to follow this court order will result in dismissal of the action with prejudice for failure to prosecute and comply with court orders pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41." ( Id. ) On January 27, 2014, plaintiffs filed a letter, affirming their desire to pursue the case. (ECF No. 29, Plaintiffs' Letter dated 1/27/14.) The parties ...