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Willis v. City of New York

United States District Court, E.D. New York

September 12, 2014

TYREEK WILLIS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, YAUDY FERNANDEZ, AND LAWRENCE GAYLORD Defendants.

LAW OFFICES OF BRYAN J. SWERLING, Bryan Joshua Swerling, New York, NY, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

Jennifer L. Koduru, ZACHARY W. CARTER, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, New York, NY, Attorneys for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN GLEESON, District Judge.

Tyreek Willis brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 against New York City (the "City") and New York City Police Officers Yaudy Fernandez and Lawrence Gaylord, alleging that defendants violated his civil rights while he was detained at the Transit District 33 Police Precinct on February 23, 2011. Defendants have moved under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to dismiss all of Willis's claims except his claim of excessive force. For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

A. Factual Allegations

Willis alleges the following facts, which I accept as true for the purposes of deciding this motion. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 71 (2d Cir. 2009).

On February 23, 2011, at approximately 11:00 p.m., Willis was being held at the Transit District 33 Police Precinct in Brooklyn. Third Am. Compl. ¶¶ 24, 26, ECF No. 22. At some point while being detained at the precinct, Willis's handcuffs were removed and he was asked by a police officer to walk up to a desk to be fingerprinted. Id. ¶ 27. After his handcuffs were removed, Willis was "attacked, beat, choked, battered, intimidated, kicked, threatened, menaced, chased, jumped on, pushed to the ground, thrashed... and further assaulted" by Fernandez and Gaylord. Id. ¶ 29. Willis claims that this attack was totally unprovoked and that it caused him "severe and permanent injuries." Id. ¶ 31.

According to Willis, the defendants also "deprived [him] of his constitutional right to immediate medical treatment and failed to protect him once he became a prisoner...." Id. ¶ 55. Willis alleges that the City either knew or should have known about their employees' "propensity to engage in the[se] illegal and wrongful acts, " id. ¶ 44, and that the City has a "policy and/or custom" to "improperly and inadequately investigate citizen and other complaints of police misconduct, " Id. ¶ 46, and also a "policy and/or custom... to fail to take the steps to discipline, train, supervise or otherwise correct the improper, illegal conduct of the individual defendants in this and in similar cases...." Id. ¶ 47.

B. Procedural History

Willis filed the complaint on February 12, 2014, asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 for excessive force, municipal liability, delay and denial of medical treatment, and failure to protect while in custody. Willis has amended the complaint twice, once on February 20, 2014, and most recently on August 7, 2014. On July 16, 2014, defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss all of Willis's claims except the excessive force claim.[1] Oral argument was held on September 12, 2014.

DISCUSSION

A. The Standard of Review

To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must allege sufficient facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In making this determination, a court should assume all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint to be true "and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) ("Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above a speculative level... on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." (internal citation omitted)). However, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere ...


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