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Corsini v. Brodsky

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 31, 2017

GERARD CORSINI, Plaintiff,
v.
DANIEL BRODSKY et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          LAURA TAYLOR SWAIN United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Gerard Corsini (“Plaintiff”), who is a lawyer, initiated this action pro se on April 18, 2013, against a large group of defendants including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, various city employees, and several private citizens. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on February 11, 2014. Defendants Daniel Brodsky, Thomas Brodsky, The Brodsky Organization, LLC, 433 West Associates, LLC, Urban Associates, LLC, Margaret Bergin O'Connor, Louis Zadrima, and Joseph Pitre (collectively, the “Brodsky Defendants”) have moved pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) for judgment on the pleadings.

         Plaintiff's first cause of action, asserted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. sections 1983 and 1985 against all named defendants, charges participation in conspiratorial activity to violate Plaintiff's First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights through, as relevant here, false arrest and malicious prosecution, “storming and breaching of Plaintiff's apartment, ” and retaliatory activity in response to Plaintiff's exercise of First Amendment rights.[1] The second cause of action, which is also brought against all defendants, asserts a state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and the third cause of action, which refers specifically to the Brodsky Defendants and certain of the other private individual and entity defendants, asserts a state law claim of emotional distress arising from the destruction of certain security tapes and other evidence, and also appears to allege that the actions were taken in aid of chilling Plaintiff's exercise of First Amendment rights and depriving him of rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments as well.[2]

         The Court has jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. sections 1331 and 1367.

         In his opposition to the Brodsky Defendants' motion, Plaintiff asserts that the undersigned should recuse herself from this case and that the motion should be denied for failure to comply with the undersigned's individual practices rules, as well as on the merits. The Court has reviewed the submissions of the parties carefully. For the following reasons, the Brodsky Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings is granted in its entirety, and Plaintiff's claims against the Brodsky Defendants are dismissed.

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges that each of the Brodsky Defendants is a participant in a conspiracy involving civilians, junior and senior members of the police department, lawyers, and the then-mayor of New York City, to prevent Plaintiff from exposing his neighbors' alleged zoning violations. (Am. Compl., docket entry no. 22 at ECF p. 3.) According to Plaintiff, this conspiracy has been carried out through, inter alia, several false arrests and malicious prosecutions of Plaintiff. The Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the prior litigation and general background of the lawsuits, which is summarized in Corsini v. Morgan, et al., No. 13780, 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2662 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. June 20, 2013), and Corsini v. Bloomberg, 26 F.Supp.3d 230 (S.D.N.Y. 2014), aff'd in part, appeal dismissed in part sub nom, Corsini v. Conde Nast, __ F.App'x __(2d Cir. May 12, 2015).

         In an order filed on September 23, 2014, the Court dismissed this case against several of the other named defendants. See Corsini v. Brodsky, et al., No 13CV2587, 2014 WL 5049753 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 23, 2014) (docket entry no. 101). Specifically, the Court granted a motion to dismiss by Defendants Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, Nitin Savur, John Irwin, William Darrow, Lisa Delpizzo, and Daniel Garnaas-Holmes (collectively, the “DA Defendants”), finding, inter alia, that Plaintiff failed to allege specific facts supporting his assertion that the DA Defendants were involved in the alleged false arrests. Id. at *4. Further, the Court held, Plaintiff's own pleadings demonstrated that probable cause for the arrest existed at the time. Id. The case was also dismissed as against the DA Defendants as non-suable entities, and against other private individual and entity defendants on the basis of res judicata. Id. at *3-*4. By Memorandum Opinion and Order filed on May 27, 2015 (the “May 2015 Opinion”), the Court dismissed this case against Defendants former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the City of New York, First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, former Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner Katherine L. Oliver, Commissioner Robert Limandri, Deputy Commissioner John Battista, Deputy Inspector Elisa A. Cokkinos, Lieutenant Houlihan, Detective Eric Patino, Officer Richard Stellman, the Police Department of the City of New York, and Lieutenant Edward Loss of the New York City Fire Department (collectively, the “City Defendants”). See Corsini v. Brodsky, et al., No. 13CV2587, 2015 WL 3456781 (S.D.N.Y. May 27, 2015) (docket entry no. 210). The Court dismissed, inter alia, Plaintiff's claims that the City Defendants conspired to falsely arrest and maliciously prosecute Plaintiff, as well as violate Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights. Id. at *5. In dismissing this case against the City Defendants, the Court held that the false arrest and malicious prosecution claims failed because there was probable cause for the arrest and prosecution, and that Plaintiff's conspiracy allegations were conclusory and insufficient to state a claim. Id. The Court also dismissed Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claim, finding that Plaintiff had not sufficiently pleaded a legally cognizable search or seizure. Id. The Court denied Plaintiff's subsequent motion for reconsideration of the dismissals. (docket entry no. 136.)

         A brief recitation of the allegations from the Amended Complaint that are relevant to this motion follows.

         Plaintiff has been complaining about alleged zoning violations at his neighbors' residence since at least 2009. Plaintiff alleges that a conspiracy between the City Defendants and the Brodsky Defendants began in November of 2010, with the objective of “tak[ing] all steps necessary to have plaintiff falsely arrested and evicted from his apartment.” (Am. Compl. at ECF p. 3.)

         Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to a three hour “siege” of his apartment, in aid of the conspiracy, on July 18, 2012, involving both the New York City Police Department and the New York Fire Department, during which the Brodsky Defendants, in concert with the City Defendants, allegedly “attempt[ed] to cause plaintiff severe emotional stress and to put him at risk of a heart attack to have a pretext to break into his apartment to arrest him.” (Id.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Pitre (who appears to have been a representative of Plaintiff's landlord) “put a key to plaintiff's apartment in the lock on his door and turn[ed] it, thereby entering/breaching plaintiff's apartment.” (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Pitre was acting “in concert with the City defendants, ” when he inserted the key into Plaintiff's lock. (Id. at ECF p. 12.)

         Plaintiff also alleges that the “Brodsky defendants acted pursuant to an ongoing agreement between the Brodsky defendants, acting through defendants Pitre and O'Connor . . . to take all steps necessary to have plaintiff falsely arrested and evicted from his apartment owned by Brodsky defendants, including surveilling and stalking him to find any false pretext to falsely arrest or evict plaintiff . . . .” (Id. at ECF p. 3.) Plaintiff also alleges that the Brodsky Defendants aided and abetted others to effect Plaintiff's alleged false arrest on July 25, 2012. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that this arrest resulted in prosecutions “terminat[ing] in [his] favor, as to the [July 25, 2012 arrest's] prosecution . . . as to all counts in the complaint.” (Id. at ECF p. 6.) Plaintiff also charges the Brodsky Defendants with conspiratorial participation in violations of his First and Fourth Amendment rights in connection with a July 18, 2012, incident in which Defendant Pitre put a key in the door of Plaintiff's apartment as law enforcement officers were seeking to coerce Plaintiff to leave the apartment so that he could be arrested. (Id. at ECF pp. 3-4.)

         Discussion

         Recusal ...


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