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Brooks v. County of Nassau

United States District Court, E.D. New York

October 9, 2014

RALIK BROOKS, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF NASSAU, et al., Defendants

For Ralik Brooks, Plaintiff: Philip M. Hines, Held & Hines, LLP, Brooklyn, NY.

For County Of Nassau, Nassau County Police Department, Detective James Gilroy, Serial No. 8693, individually and in his official capacity, Detective Robert J. Lashinsky, Shield No. 1214, individually and in his official capacity, Defendants: Andrew Reginald Scott, Office of the Nassau County Attorney, Mineola, NY.

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Plaintiff Ralik Brooks brings this civil rights action against the County of Nassau (" County" ) and the Nassau County Police Department (" NCPD" ), as well as against named and unnamed Nassau County police officers in their individual and official capacities, including Detective James Gilroy (" Gilroy" ) and Detective Robert J. Lashinsky (" Lashinsky" ). Brooks asserts claims for violation of various federal constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § § 1983, 1985(3) and 1986, and supplemental state claims under New York law for negligence, intentional torts, and statutory and constitutional violations. Before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss various claims under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (" FRCP" ). Plaintiff concedes that certain claims should be dismissed but otherwise opposes the motion.


For purposes of this motion, the allegations of the complaint can be stated as follows: On or about May 30, 2013, the defendant police officers, attempting to locate Brooks, entered his residence without permission, warrant, or exigent circumstances and with their weapons drawn, causing him to fear imminent harm. Complaint ¶ ¶ 2, 34. Upon locating Brooks, one of the defendant police officers unnecessarily sprayed Brooks with pepper spray while jokingly repeating, " Don't resist. Stop resisting." Id. ¶ ¶ 3, 36. Brooks did not resist arrest, and he did not threaten to harm or verbally or physically abuse any of the defendant police officers. Id. ¶ ¶ 37-38. While Brooks was suffering the effects of the pepper spray, one of the defendant police officers handcuffed him, placed him face down on the floor, and stepped on the back of his neck. Id. ¶ 40. As that officer restrained Brooks, defendant Gilroy pistol-whipped Brooks in the head, causing him to lose consciousness and suffer physical injuries. Id. The defendant police officers then searched Brooks' residence without his permission, a search warrant, or any legal cause. Id. ¶ 41. Defendant Lashinsky then falsely arrested Brooks on charges of resisting arrest, causing Brooks to be wrongfully incarcerated and maliciously prosecuted. Id. ¶ 42.

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During and following his arrest, Brooks requested that defendants decontaminate and/or remove the pepper spray from his face and eyes, but they ignored and denied his requests. Id. ¶ 44. Thereafter, defendants denied Brooks reasonable and necessary medical care and an opportunity to shower the chemicals off for three days, causing him to suffer additional physical, psychological, and emotional injuries and deprivation and violation of his civil rights. Id.

Brooks alleges that the defendant police officers and their supervisors lied, submitted false statements, and purposefully failed to investigate the incident, all to prevent exposure of the unlawful conduct, and that the County failed to take any corrective action against the defendant police officers. Id. ¶ ¶ 43, 45.

Brooks asserts four federal claims and eight " pendant state claims." As for the federal claims, the first claim asserts violation of Brooks' federal constitutional rights under § 1983 by, inter alia, false arrest, deliberate indifference to his medical needs, failing to intervene, unlawful search, and excessive force. Id. ¶ ¶ 47-72. The second claim asserts conspiracy to deprive Brooks of his federal constitutional rights and conspiracy to " cover up" the acts of the defendant police officers under § § 1985(3) and 1986. Id. ¶ ¶ 73-84. The third claim asserts municipal liability for the actions alleged in the first and second claims, in that the alleged deprivation of Brooks' constitution rights resulted from " customs, policies, usages, practices, procedures and rules" of the County. Id. ¶ ¶ 85-97. The fourth claim asserts a failure to protect based on the defendant police officers' failure to " intervene, mitigate and/or stop the abuses set forth herein at any time during the happening of said incident or thereafter." Id. ¶ ¶ 98-109.

As for the state claims, Brooks asserts the following eight claims: (1) " Assault, Battery and Conspiracy," id. ¶ ¶ 110-118; (2) " Negligent Hiring, Training, Supervision and Retention," id. ¶ ¶ 119-127; (3) " Intentional and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress" ( Id. ¶ ¶ 128-132); (4) " Negligence," id. ¶ ¶ 133-138; (5) " Failure to Protect," id. ¶ ¶ 139-145; (6) " Violation of New York Constitution and Statutes," by, inter alia, use of excessive force, depriving Brooks' of due process, and deliberate indifference to his medical needs, id. ¶ ¶ 146-152; (7) " Failure to Provide Medical Treatment," id. ¶ ¶ 153-158; and (8) " Prima Facie Tort," id. ¶ ¶ 159-162. Regarding the state claims, the complaint further asserts that before filing this action Brooks applied to the New York State Supreme Court for permission to serve a late notice of claim pursuant to New York General Municipal Law (" GML" ) § 50-e. Id. ¶ 107. Ultimately, as Brooks' concedes, the motion was denied. See Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss, at 6.

Defendants move to dismiss, arguing (1) that any claims against NCPD must be dismissed because NCPD is merely an administrative arm of the County and cannot sue or be sued; (2) that all of the supplemental state claims must be dismissed based on Brooks' failure to comply with the notice of claim requirements of GML § § 50-e and 50-i; ...

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