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Morales v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

October 6, 2014

CYNTHIA MORALES, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK et al., Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Cynthia Morales, Plaintiff: David Mark Harrison, Brooklyn, NY; David I. Pankin, Pankin & Harrison PLLc, Brooklyn, NY.

For The City of New York, Defendant: Curt Peter Beck, LEAD ATTORNEY, NYC Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel (NYC), New York, NY; Eric Howard West, Nyc Law Department, New York, NY.

For Thomas Aiello, Annabelle Nieves, Sean O'Toole, Robert T. Johnson, Nancy D. Killian, Defendants: Curt Peter Beck, LEAD ATTORNEY, NYC Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel (NYC), New York, NY.

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OPINION AND ORDER

JESSE M. FURMAN, United States District Judge.

This case is one of seven civil rights suits pending before this Court arising out of prosecutions in the 1990s for a pair of murders in the Bronx. Six people were convicted in New York State court of one or both of the murders, but all of their convictions have since been overturned, in part as a result of evidence that points to others as the perpetrators of at least one of the murders. All six of those criminal defendants have since brought suit against members of the New York City Police Department (" NYPD" ) and other Defendants, alleging various violations of their constitutional rights. In one case, initially brought by Israel Vasquez, the Court recently denied summary judgment to the defendants, see Vazquez v. City of New York, No. 10-CV-6277 (JMF), 2014 WL 4388497 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 5, 2014), and the parties are all but ready for trial. The remaining cases, brought by Eric Glisson (now known as Eric Field), Michael Cosme, Cathy Watkins, Carlos Perez, and Devon Ayers, were filed earlier this year and are now in discovery. See Watkins v. City of New York, 14-CV-887 (JMF); Field v. City of New York, 14-CV-1378 (JMF); Cosme v. City of New York, 14-CV-1653 (JMF); Perez v. City of New York, 14-CV-1654 (JMF); Ayers v. City of New York, 14-CV-1655 (JMF).

The instant case differs from the others in that it is not brought by one of the people who were prosecuted and convicted for the murders. Instead, the plaintiff is Cynthia Morales, the daughter of Eric Field. Morales was born only one week before the murder for which her father was convicted and incarcerated for nearly eighteen years. She sues members of the NYPD (together, the " NYPD Officers" ), prosecutors from the Bronx District Attorney's Office (together, the " Prosecutors,"

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and, together with the NYPD Officers, the " Individual Defendants" ), and New York City (the " City," and, together with the Individual Defendants, " Defendants" ), alleging federal civil rights and state tort claims on her own behalf. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 8-25, 72-97 (Docket No. 19)). Specifically, she alleges (1) pursuant to Title 42, United States Code, Section 1983, violation of her constitutional right to intimate association; (2) violations of Title 42, United States Code, Sections 1981, 1985, and 1986; (3) negligent infliction of emotional distress; (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (5) malicious prosecution.

Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Defendants now move to dismiss the Amended Complaint. (Docket No. 24). For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

The facts relevant to this motion, taken from the Amended Complaint and assumed to be true, can be summarized briefly. See, e.g., Kalnit v. Eichler, 264 F.3d 131, 135 (2d Cir. 2001).[1] Plaintiff was born on January 12, 1995. (Am. Compl. ¶ 52). Five days later, on January 17, 1995, a woman named Denise Raymond was murdered. (Am. Compl. ¶ 35). Two days after that, on January 19, 1995, a livery cab driver named Baithe Diop was shot and killed in his taxi nearby. (Am. Compl. ¶ 27). Detectives Michael Donnelly, the lead investigator in the Diop case, and Thomas Aiello, both Defendants here, came to believe that the murders were connected. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 14-15, 32, 45). In the months that followed, they arrested Plaintiff's father and six other people (the five who have brought civil rights suits in this Court and another, Charles McKinnon, who was later acquitted) for one or both murders. The state's case against the criminal defendants was based, in large part, on the testimony of a homeless drug addict, Miriam Tavares, who claimed to have witnessed the Diop murder through her bathroom window, and the testimony of Cathy Gomez, who was sixteen years old at the time. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 33-34, 39, 45, 49). Gomez has since recanted her testimony, and claimed that Defendants fed her details of the crimes. (Am. Compl. ¶ 35). More ...


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