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Gorman v. Rensselaer County

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 19, 2015

JOHN GORMAN, Plaintiff,
RENSSELAER COUNTY, et al., Defendants

Page 499

For John Gorman, Plaintiff: Patrick Sorsby, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of Patrick Sorsby, Albany, NY.

For Rensselaer County, Sheriff Jack Mahar, Anthony Patricelli, Tom Hendry, County Human Resources Manager, County Executive Kathleen Jimino, Defendants: Kevin G. Martin, LEAD ATTORNEY, Martin, Rayhill Law Firm, Utica, NY.

For Dr. William McIntyre, Public Safety Psychology PLLC, Defendants: Timothy S. Brennan, Phelan, Phelan Law Firm, Albany, NY.

Page 500


Lawrence E. Kahn, United States District Judge.


Plaintiff John Gorman (" Plaintiff" ) commenced this action alleging civil rights violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and related state law claims. Dkt. Nos. 1 (" Complaint" ); 15 (" Amended Complaint" ). Presently before the Court are Motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim by Defendants Rensselaer County, Sheriff Jack Mahar (" Mahar" ), Anthony Patricelli (" Patricelli" ), Tom Hendry (" Hendry" ), and Kathleen Jimino (" Jimino" ) (together, the " County Defendants" ); [1] and Dr. William McIntrye and Public Safety Psychology PLLC (together, " PSP" ) (collectively, " Defendants" ) pursuant to Federal Rule of Procedure 12(b)(6). Dkt. Nos. 5 (" County Motion" ); 9 (" First PSP Motion" ); 27 (" Second PSP Motion" ). For the reasons that follow, the First PSP Motion and County Motion are denied as moot, and the Second PSP Motion is granted.


A. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed his original Complaint on April 16, 2014. Compl. PSP and the County Defendants each moved to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim. Cnty. Mot.; First PSP Mot. Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint on May 31, 2014, Am. Compl, and PSP moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint, Second PSP Mot.

" It is well established that an amended complaint ordinarily supersedes the original and renders it of no legal effect." Arce v. Walker, 139 F.3d 329, 332 n.4 (2d Cir. 1998). Moreover, " [t]ypically, the filing of an amended complaint following the filing of a motion to dismiss the initial complaint moots the motion to dismiss." Brown v. Napoli, No. 07-CV-838, 2008 WL 4507590, at *2 (W.D.N.Y. Sep. 29, 2008) (citing Haywood v. Republic Tobacco, Co., L.P., No. 05-CV-842A, 2007 WL 1063004 (W.D.N.Y. Apr. 6, 2007)). Accordingly, both the County Motion and the First PSP Motion are moot because they were filed before the Amended Complaint. See Byng v. Campbell, No. 07-cv-471, 2009 WL 152708, at *1 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 21, 2009) (denying defendant's motion to dismiss as moot where plaintiff filed an amended complaint and motion only addressed original complaint).

Although the Second PSP Motion merely incorporates by reference the arguments made in the First PSP Motion, see Second PSP Mot., both PSP and Plaintiff agree that the allegations against PSP in the Amended Complaint are virtually identical to those alleged in the original Complaint, see id.; Dkt. Nos 27-2; 29. Accordingly, the Court considers the arguments set forth in the First PSP Motion in determining whether to dismiss the allegations against PSP in the Amended Complaint. See Howard v. Rosales, No. 12 CIV. 5263, 2014 WL 969683, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 12, 2014) (applying motion to dismiss original complaint with respect to amended complaint where allegations in amended complaint were virtually identical).

Page 501

B. Factual Background

The factual history underlying this case is extensive and primarily concerns actions attributed to the County Defendants. Because the County Motion is moot, the Court recites only those facts necessary to contextualize and resolve the pending PSP Motion. For a complete statement of Plaintiff's claims, reference is made to the Amended Complaint.[2]

1. Harassment

Plaintiff has been employed by the Rensselaer County Sheriff's office since July 2008. Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 2, 14. From 2008 until October 2012, Plaintiff had an impeccable work record and received numerous performance awards. Id. ¶ 16. Plaintiff attained the rank of provisional sergeant and was on the civil service list to become a permanent sergeant. Id. ¶ ¶ 2, 17.

Patricelli is the Master Sergeant of the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Department. Id. ¶ 10. Patricelli had been in a relationship with Plaintiff's sister for twenty-seven years until October 8, 2012, when Plaintiff's brother informed their sister that Patricelli had been cheating on her. Id. ¶ ¶ 18-19. Plaintiff's sister confronted Patricelli and ended the relationship. Id. ¶ 19.

Later that day, Patricelli called Plaintiff at work and stated, " thank your wife, thank your brother, thank you." Id. ¶ 22. Throughout October 2012, Patricelli followed Plaintiff's every move at work using the facility camera system. Id. ¶ 31. Patricelli would frequently pass by Plaintiff's work assignment area and shake his head and smile in an aggressive way. Id. ¶ ¶ 32, 36. Although Patricelli was not Plaintiff's direct supervisor, Patricelli would unnecessarily check Plaintiff's work. Id. ¶ ¶ 34-35. From October 2012 through June 2013, Patricelli continued to harass Plaintiff during work and at meals. Id. ¶ ¶ 37-39, 47, 51, 53, 58, 92. On February 15, 2013, Patricelli called Plaintiff at home and threatened to break his jaw. Id. ¶ ¶ 70, 78. On April 8, 2013, Plaintiff sought and received an order of protection against Patricelli from the ...

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