United States District Court, S.D. New York
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
G. KOELTL, DISTRICT JUDGE:
plaintiff Phillip Jean-Laurent filed a complaint dated March
15, 2015, alleging various causes of action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 arising out of a March 29, 2013 arrest and a
subsequent conviction for harassment. Jean-Laurent alleges
that Latechar Cornelius, Shanice Cornelius, and John Kinard
(“Cornelius Defendants”); Police Officer Jerry
Zender, Police Officer Luis Alicea, Sergeant Christian Jara,
Detective Lawrence Chainese, Assistant District Attorney
Brendan McArdle, Police Officer John Doe #1, and Detective
Jane Doe #1 (“City Defendants”); and Senior
Parole Officer Tesera Tucker, Parole Officer Sharon Henry,
and Parole Officer Dennis Void (“State
Defendants”) (collectively, “defendants”)
conspired to deprive Jean-Laurent of his constitutional
rights by falsely arresting and imprisoning him and
maliciously prosecuting him. The plaintiff also alleges that
the defendants committed a variety of state law torts against
March 11, 2016, the City and State Defendants moved to
dismiss the Complaint. ECF Nos. 39, 42. The plaintiff
eventually filed an opposition to the motions on September
19, 2016, long after the extended deadline set by the Court.
the City Defendants argue that the motion to dismiss should
be granted based on the untimeliness of the response, in
light of the plaintiff's pro se status and the lack of
any articulable prejudice caused by the delay, the Court will
consider the plaintiff's opposition and the City and
State Defendants' replies.
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).
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.
purposes of the motions to dismiss, the Court accepts as true
the factual allegations in the Complaint.
December 2012, the plaintiff began to date Latechar
Cornelius. Compl. ¶ 23. On April 1, 2013, the police
responded to a dispute between Jean-Laurent and Cornelius
over living arrangements and money. Id. ¶¶
26-28. The responding police officers, Police Officer
(“P.O.”) Zender and P.O. Alicea, took a statement
from Cornelius in which she stated that Jean-Laurent had
bitten her on the face. Id. ¶¶ 29-31. The
officers then separately interviewed John Kinard,
Cornelius' son, who claimed to have witnessed the
plaintiff bite Cornelius. Id. ¶¶ 32-35.
Shortly thereafter, Sergeant Jara and another officer, P.O.
John Doe #1, arrived on the scene and the plaintiff was
arrested for assaulting Cornelius (“Arrest 1” or
“the first arrest”). Id. ¶¶
34-35. The plaintiff was detained pending his arraignment.
Id. ¶ 36. Immediately following his
arraignment, Jean-Laurent was again arrested on a separate
criminal contempt charge by Detectives Chainese and Jane Doe
#1 (“Arrest 2” or “the second
arrest”). Id. ¶ 36. Once released from
custody, Jean-Laurent unsuccessfully attempted to contact his
parole officer, Officer Void, to report his arrest and
incarceration. Id. ¶ 38.
April 8, 2013, Jean-Laurent appeared for a scheduled parole
reporting date and was promptly arrested for parole
violations stemming from the April 1 incident and for failure
to report his arrests to his parole officer (“Arrest
3” or “the third arrest”). Id.
¶ 42. Jean-Laurent alleges that, during this time
period, Assistant District Attorney (“A.D.A”)
McArdle shared information about the plaintiff's court
dates from the April 1 incident with Senior Parole Officer
Tucker and Parole Officer Henry. Id. ¶ 40.
was tried in Bronx County Criminal Court beginning on August
13, 2013. The Complaint alleges that A.D.A McArdle,
who tried the case, allowed Latechar Cornelius, Shanice
Cornelius, and John Kinard to give false testimony.
Id. ¶ 44. Jean-Laurent was found not guilty of
all of the charges except that he was found guilty of
Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation, and received a
fifteen day sentence. Id. ¶ 45. Following the
conviction, Jean-Laurent remained imprisoned until an October
30, 2013 hearing on his parole violations. Id.
¶ 46. The parole authority found two violations and
revoked Jean-Laurent's parole. Fu Decl. in Supp. of Mot.,
Ex. A. However, in light of his history of compliance, parole
was then immediately restored. Id.
Complaint includes claims for false arrest, (Counts One and
Two); assault (Counts Three and Four); malicious prosecution
(Counts Five and Six); false imprisonment (Counts Seven and
Eight); fabrication of evidence (Counts Nine and Ten);
conspiracy to violate Jean-Laurent's constitutional
rights (Counts Eleven and Twelve); abuse of process (Counts
Thirteen and Fourteen); and conspiracy to falsely arrest and
imprison, and to maliciously prosecute Jean-Laurent (Counts
Twenty-One and Twenty-Two), all in violation of the federal
and New York state constitutions. See Compl.
¶¶ 48-61, 67-68. The federal claims allege
violation of the plaintiff's rights under the United
States Constitution which are actionable under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 if the violations are committed under color of
state law. The Complaint also includes state law claims for
conversion (Counts Fifteen and Sixteen); injurious falsehood
(Counts Seventeen and Eighteen); and intentional infliction
of emotional distress (Counts Nineteen and Twenty). See
id. ¶¶ 62-66. Although summonses were issued
for the Cornelius Defendants, the record does not reflect
that service was effected or that the Cornelius Defendants
City and State Defendants now move to dismiss all claims
against them. The City Defendants argue, among other reasons,
that the Complaint must be dismissed because several of the
federal claims are barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477 (1994); because there was probable cause for the
plaintiff's arrest and prosecution; and because the
claims are otherwise inadequately pleaded. The State
Defendants argue that the claims against them must be
dismissed because there was probable cause for the
plaintiff's arrest and parole revocation; because the
State Defendants are entitled to immunity; and because the
Complaint otherwise fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted.
One and Two allege that the defendants violated
Jean-Laurent's constitutional rights by falsely arresting
An allegation of false arrest under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
“is substantially the same as a claim for false arrest
under New York law.” Weyant v. Okst, 101 F.3d
845, 852 (2d Cir. 1996); see also Bullard v. City of New
York, 240 F.Supp.2d 292, 297 (S.D.N.Y. 2003).
“Under New York state law, to prevail on a claim of
false arrest a plaintiff must show that (1) the defendant
intended to confine him, (2) the plaintiff was conscious of
the confinement, (3) the plaintiff did not consent to the
confinement and (4) the confinement was not otherwise
privileged.” Jocks v. Tavernier, 316 F.3d 128,
134-35 (2d Cir. 2003) (quotation marks omitted). Because an
arrest made with probable cause is privileged,