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Sklodowska-Grezak v. Stein

United States District Court, S.D. New York

February 21, 2017



          JOHN G. KOELTL, District Judge.

         Pro se plaintiff Grazyna Sklodowska-Grezak (“Grezak” or “plaintiff”) filed this action on June 3, 2016 under 42 U.S.C §§ 1983 and 1985, alleging violations of her First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. She also asserts several state law claims. Grezak claims that the defendants, Judith A. Stein, Ph.D. (“Stein”), Gianni Faedda, M.D. (“Faedda”), and Nancy B. Rubenstein, M.D. (“Rubenstein”), motivated by racial animus, harassed her and conspired to have her falsely imprisoned.

         The claims against Dr. Rubenstein were dismissed on December 22, 2015. Stein and Faedda moved on July 1, 2016 and August 11, 2016, respectively, to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. ECF Nos. 37, 67.

         The plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from a prior ruling in this case. This Court indicated that it would take no action pending determination of the appeal. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Therefore, the Court turns now to the fully briefed motions to dismiss.


         In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the allegations in the complaint are accepted as true, and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the plaintiff's favor. McCarthy v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 191 (2d Cir. 2007). The Court's function on a motion to dismiss is “not to weigh the evidence that might be presented at a trial but merely to determine whether the complaint itself is legally sufficient.” Goldman v. Belden, 754 F.2d 1059, 1067 (2d Cir. 1985). The Court should not dismiss the complaint if the plaintiff has stated “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. 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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While the Court should construe the factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, “the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in the complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Id.; see also Villar v. Ramos, No. 13-CV-8422 (JGK), 2015 WL 3473413, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. June 2, 2015).

         When faced with a pro se complaint, the Court must “construe [the] complaint liberally and interpret it to raise the strongest arguments that it suggests.” Chavis v. Chappius, 618 F.3d 162, 170 (2d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). “Even in a pro se case, however, . . . threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, although the Court is “obligated to draw the most favorable inferences” that the complaint supports, it “cannot invent factual allegations that [the plaintiff] has not pled.” Id.; see also Villar, 2015 WL 3473413, at *1.


         For the purposes of the motions to dismiss, the Court accepts as true the following factual allegations in the SAC.

         On September 10, 2012, the plaintiff brought an action against her daughter and Dr. Stein, her daughter's psychiatrist, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. See Am. Compl. at 2. The plaintiff alleges that she named her daughter an “unwilling plaintiff” in the action and “ordered mediation with” the daughter on January 21, 2013 at “Dr. Stein's office.” Id. The SAC alleges that Stein “ordered to [the plaintiff's daughter] Pro Bono counsel, ” Beth Finkelstein (“Finkelstein”), who “came to the lawsuit” on February 25, 2013. Id.

         The plaintiff alleges that on February 26, 2013, Stein, Faedda (who had an office with Stein), and Finkelstein had a “secret meeting” at which they “hatched” a “fraudulent scheme” to injure and harass the plaintiff. Id. The SAC alleges that Stein, Faedda, and Finkelstein have continually harassed her since March 2013. See id. at 8. The SAC alleges that Stein, Faedda, and Finkelstein embarked on this campaign of harassment because of Grezak's “Polish Christian Noble Heritage, ” id. at 5, and that their actions have “put [Grezak] on the edge of death.” Id. at 3.

         In particular, the SAC alleges that the three individuals “fabricated [f]alse evidence” and “ordered [Grezak's] unlawful confinement.” Id. at 3. According to the plaintiff, Stein and Faedda, at Finkelstein's direction, “fabricated psychiatric certificates” in order to classify the plaintiff as mentally ill. Id. at 4; see also id. at 9-10. The plaintiff also claims that Stein, Faedda, and Finkelstein threatened to “forcibly medicate” and use physical force against the plaintiff. Id. at 7, 8. The SAC also alleges that Stein and Faedda falsified records, which led to Grezak's indictment for homicide. Id. at 11-12.

         The plaintiff also alleges that Stein, Faedda, and Finkelstein have interfered with legal proceedings involving the plaintiff and with the plaintiff's family life. See id. at 4-7. In particular, the SAC alleges that the three have encouraged Grezak's daughter “to commit [a] crime against” her, have destroyed her relationship with her daughter, and have made her daughter “run away from” her. Id. at 3-4, 6-7.

         The SAC includes seven claims alleging violations of the plaintiff's constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, [1]see id. at 4, 6-10, two claims for conspiracy under 42 U.S.C. § 1985, see id. at 4-5, and state law claims for ...

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