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Laboy v. Ontario Cnty.

United States District Court, W.D. New York

May 4, 2015

JUAN A. LABOY, Plaintiff,
v.
ONTARIO COUNTY, NEW YORK; OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF, COUNTY OF ONTARIO; SHERIFF PHILIP C. PROVERO, individually and in his official capacity; DEPUTY REBECCA EDINGTON, individually and in her official capacity; DEPUTY NATHAN BOWERMAN, individually and in his official capacity; and DEPUTY PATRICK FITZGERALD, individually and in his official capacity, Defendants

For Juan A. Laboy, Plaintiff: David Michael Abbatoy, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rochester, NY.

For Ontario County, New York, Office of Sheriff, County of Ontario, Sheriff Philip C. Provero, individually and in his official capacity, Deputy Rebecca Edington, individually and in her official capacity, Deputy Nathan Bowerman, individually and in his official capacity, Deputy Patrick Fitzgerald, individually and in his official capacity, Defendants: Michael G. Reinhardt, LEAD ATTORNEY, Ontario County Attorney's Office, Canandaigua, NY.

DECISION AND ORDER

ELIZABETH A. WOLFORD, United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Juan A. Laboy (" Plaintiff" ) brought this action against Ontario County, the Ontario County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Philip C. Provero (" Provero" ), Deputy Rebecca Edington (" Edington" ), Deputy Nathan Bowerman (" Bowerman" ), and Deputy Patrick Fitzgerald (" Fitzgerald" ) (collectively, the " Defendants" or the " County Defendants" ), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging malicious prosecution, excessive use of force and unlawful arrest, and deliberately indifferent policies, practices, customs, training, and supervision. (Dkt. 1). Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss (Dkt. 14) and Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment (Dkt. 28). For the following reasons, judgment is granted in favor of Defendants and Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are based on the allegations contained in Plaintiff's complaint. (Dkt. 1). On August 1, 2010, at 11:15 a.m., the Ontario County Sheriff's Department received a request to respond to Plaintiff's residence located at 2171 State Route 14 in the town of Phelps, New York, to take a report regarding " family issues." ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 20-21). Upon arriving at Plaintiff's residence, a sheriff's deputy took a written complaint from Jomaira Rojas, who spoke no English and communicated with the deputies through an interpreter, for harassment in the second degree, which is allegedly a " non-criminal violation-level offense." ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 22-23). Ms. Rojas accused her common-law husband, Plaintiff, of pushing her during an argument. ( Id. at ¶ 24). Plaintiff was not present when the deputies took the written complaint, but the deputies asked Ms. Rojas to contact the Sheriff's Department if her husband came home. ( Id. at ¶ 26). The deputies did not obtain a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest. ( Id. at ¶ 28).

Later that day, at approximately 6:45 p.m., defendants Edington, Bowerman, and Fitzgerald were dispatched to Plaintiff's home. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 32, 35). When defendant Edington arrived, Ms. Rojas was standing outside of the residence ( id. at ¶ 37), but defendant Edington was unable to communicate with her in Spanish ( id. at ¶ ¶ 38-40). Defendant Edington attempted to enter Plaintiff's house by asking Ms. Rojas to open the door to the house ( id. at ¶ ¶ 41, 49), and Ms. Rojas complied ( id. at ¶ ¶ 50). After defendant Edington entered the house, she drew her firearm and yelled for Plaintiff to come out because he was under arrest. ( Id. at ¶ 51). Plaintiff was in bed at the time. ( Id. at ¶ 52). After defendant Edington announced herself five times, she received a response of " fuck you" from the back of Plaintiff's home. ( Id. at ¶ 53). Plaintiff alleges that deputy Edington approached Plaintiff's bedroom and kicked open the door, and pointed her firearm at Plaintiff. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 55, 57). Defendant Edington then ordered Plaintiff to stand up because he was under arrest. ( Id. at ¶ 58). Plaintiff complied by standing up, placing his hands behind his back, and told defendant Edington to " point [the gun] away from me or I will take it." ( Id. at ¶ 59). Defendant Edington also allegedly took out her taser and pointed it at Plaintiff, who was wearing only his underwear. ( Id. at ¶ 60). Plaintiff then allowed defendant Edington to handcuff him, and defendant Edington allegedly " slammed [Plaintiff] against the wall repeatedly." ( Id. at ¶ 61).

After Plaintiff fell to the ground, deputy Edington performed an " iron wrist drag," by picking Plaintiff up from the ground by his arm, which caused him to sustain scrapes, bruising, and swelling. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 62-63). Defendant Edington also allegedly employed " knee strikes" against Plaintiff's legs, and a " pressure tactic" called a " mandibular angle," by pressing her hand against Plaintiff's head, neck, and throat to control his body. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 64-65). Defendant Edington also allegedly pushed Plaintiff against the wall, causing his face to hit a nail that was protruding from the wall, a gash on his face, and his head to jerk back and strike defendant Edington on the nose. ( Id. at ¶ 66). Defendant Edington then allegedly turned Plaintiff's body around, kicked him in the groin, and pushed him onto the bed. ( Id. at ¶ 67). Deputy Edington then " dragged" Plaintiff off of the bed by the handcuff's and kneeled on his back until defendants Bowerman and Fitzgerald arrived on the scene. ( Id. at ¶ 68).

Defendants Bowerman and Fitzgerald took physical custody of Plaintiff and locked him in the back seat of their police cruiser. ( Id. at ¶ 69). Plaintiff alleges that the deputies refused Plaintiff's request to put his pants on, and brought him outside in his underwear. ( Id. at ¶ 70). Plaintiff also alleges that when he was seated in the police cruiser, defendant Edington gave him the middle finger and said " fuck you." ( Id. at ¶ 71).

Deputies Edington, Bowerman, and Fitzgerald allegedly " completed official accusatory paperwork and criminal complaints" against Plaintiff and gave sworn testimony against Plaintiff accusing him of assault in the second degree, obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, and resisting arrest. ( Id. at ¶ 72). Plaintiff alleges that he was indicted and tried in Ontario County for these alleged crimes ( id. at ¶ 73), and the indictment allegedly accused him of forcibly resisting his lawful arrest and harassment in the second degree ( id. at ¶ 74). Deputy Edington testified against Plaintiff at trial, where Plaintiff was represented by Jason M. Elousel, Esq. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 85, 87). On February 18, 2011, the jury convicted Plaintiff of the charges against him, and Plaintiff was sentenced to six years incarceration, plus three years of post-release supervision on the assault charge, together with concurrent one-year terms of incarceration on the remaining charges. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 96-97).

Plaintiff appealed his conviction on the ground that there was insufficient evidence of the crimes against him, because there was no proof that the arresting officers had engaged in a lawful arrest. ( Id. at ¶ 98). On February 14, 2014, the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, reversed Plaintiff's conviction on the grounds of legal insufficiency, because Plaintiff's arrest was not authorized. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 99-100). Plaintiff was released from prison on February 20, 2014, after spending six months in county jail, followed by three years in state prison. ( Id. at ¶ 101). Plaintiff alleges that while he was in prison, he suffered physical, mental, and emotional injuries, loss of reputation, loss of income, and other monetary and non-monetary damages. ( Id. at ¶ 102).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed his complaint on February 24, 2014, against Defendants Ontario County, the Office of the Sheriff, Sheriff Provero, deputies Edington, Bowerman, and Fitzgerald, and Jason M. Housel, Esq. (" Housel" ). (Dkt. 1). On June 16, 2014, defendant Elousel filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. (Dkt. 5). On October 24, 2014, defendant Housel and Plaintiff filed a notice of settlement (Dkt. 25), and the case against defendant Housel was subsequently dismissed with prejudice (Dkt. 26).

The County Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on July 25, 2014. (Dkt. 14). Plaintiff responded on September 2, 2014, by filing a " motion for miscellaneous relief," in which he sought partial summary judgment on the issue of probable cause to arrest, qualified immunity, and his Monell claim, and opposed Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 16). Defendants moved to strike Plaintiff's motion for miscellaneous relief because his memorandum of law exceeded the 25-page limit imposed by L. R. Civ. P. 7(a)(2)(C) and because he filed certain exhibits one day after his deadline for responding to the motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 21). The Court granted Defendants' motion to strike on October 28, 2014, and directed Plaintiff to refile his motion for miscellaneous relief as two separate filings within ten business days. (Dkt. 27).

Plaintiff re-filed his motion for partial summary judgment and his opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss on November 7, 2014. (Dkt. 28, 29). Defendants filed a reply to their motion to dismiss on December 4, 2014 (Dkt. 34), and responded to Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment on December 5, 2014 (Dkt. 35). Plaintiff filed a reply to his motion for partial summary judgment on December 30, 2014. (Dkt. 38). The Court heard oral argument on both motions on February 23, 2015, and reserved decision. (Dkt. 40). The Court also permitted Plaintiff to file a supplemental brief in support of his contention that his summary judgment motion sought relief on both his false arrest and malicious prosecution claims. ( Id. ). Plaintiff filed his supplemental brief on March 3, 2015 (Dkt. 42), and Defendants responded on March 10, 2015 (Dkt. 44).

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

A. Motion to Dismiss

" 'In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a district court must limit itself to facts stated in the complaint or in documents attached to the complaint as exhibits or incorporated in the complaint by reference.'" Newman & Schwartz v. Asplundh Tree Expert Co., 102 F.3d 660, 662 (2d Cir. 1996) (quoting Kramer v. Time Warner, Inc., 937 F.2d 767, 773 (2d Cir. 1991)). A court should consider the motion " accepting all factual allegations in the complaint and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor." Ruotolo v. City of N.Y., 514 F.3d 184, 188 (2d Cir. 2008) (internal quotations and citation omitted). To withstand dismissal, a plaintiff must set forth " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (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.'" Turkmen v. Ashcroft, 589 F.3d 542, 546 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)).

" While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle [ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (alteration in original) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Thus, " at a bare minimum, the operative standard requires the plaintiff [to] provide the grounds upon which his claim rests through factual allegations sufficient to raise a right to relief above the ...


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