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Lopez v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

October 10, 2014

CHRISTIAN LOPEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, and DETECTIVE RICARDO BOCACHICA (SHIELD # 919), Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

P. KEVIN CASTEL, District Judge.

Christian Lopez brings this action against the City of New York ("City"), the New York City Police Department ("NYPD"), and its employee, Detective Ricardo Bocachica. He alleges that Bocachica and another police officer brutally arrested him, without probable cause, leading to his imprisonment and prosecution on charges that were eventually dismissed. Lopez asserts four claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and two claims under New York state law.

The City now moves to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., for failure to state a claim for relief. For the reasons discussed, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the complaint, and are accepted as true for the purposes of this motion. On September 10, 2010, at 4 p.m., as he stood with his brother and nieces talking on his phone in front of the building where his friend lived, in the Bronx, Lopez was approached by Detective Bocachica and another police officer. (Compl. ¶¶ 10-14.) The officers searched him, "viciously" throwing him to the ground, but did not find any contraband. (Compl. ¶¶ 14, 15, 17.) They then arrested him and brought him to the police station, where he was fingerprinted. (Compl. ¶¶ 17-20.) He was arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court, and charged with felony level possession of a controlled substance. (Compl. ¶ 20.) He was incarcerated for seven days and then released on bail. (Compl. ¶ 22.) On or about July 28, 2011, a grand jury returned an indictment against Lopez in Supreme Court, Bronx County, charging him with criminal sale of cocaine and criminal possession of cocaine. (Compl. ¶ 24; People v. Salgado and Lopez, Indictment No. 2317-11, Sup. Ct., Bronx Cnty.) Charges remained pending against him until his case was finally dismissed on April 10, 2013. (Compl. ¶ 23-25.)

Lopez, represented by counsel, filed his complaint on March 11, 2014. (Dkt. No. 1.) The City moved to dismiss on July 30, 2014. (Dkt. No. 8.) The motion was fully briefed as of August 29, 2014. (Dkt. Nos. 9, 12, 13.)

DISCUSSION

I. Standard Governing Motions to Dismiss

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id . "The plausibility standard... asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id . Legal conclusions and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action" are insufficient to state a claim. Id.

On a motion to dismiss, the Court is limited to facts as stated in the complaint, but it may consider exhibits or documents incorporated by reference without converting the motion into one for summary judgment. See Int'l Audiotext Network, Inc. v. AT&T , 62 F.3d 69, 72 (2d Cir. 1995).

II. Claims against the NYPD

The NYPD is not a juridical entity separate from the City of New York. It is a non-suable agency of the City. See N.Y. City Charter § 396 ("All actions and proceedings for the recovery of penalties for the violation of any law shall be brought in the name of city of New York and not in that of any agency, except where otherwise provided by law."). At the outset, then, Lopez's claims against the NYPD must be dismissed. See Jenkins v. City of N.Y. , 478 F.3d 76, 93 n.19 (2d Cir. 2007) (approving the district court's conclusion that the NYPD is nonsuable).

III. Section ...


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