United States District Court, S.D. New York
L. CARTER, JR. United States District Judge.
plaintiff Gregory Lee sued various New York City employees,
including New York County Assistant District Attorney John
Buza, for violations of his rights under the federal and
state constitutions and state law. Lee alleges that Buza
personally directed Lee's imprisonment and prosecution
without probable cause that Lee had committed a crime. On
March 31, 2016, this Court granted Buza's motion to
dismiss the second amended complaint. On May 17, 2016, the
Court granted Lee permission to amend his complaint for a
fourth time. On June 10, 2016, Lee filed a third amended
complaint ("TAC"), and Buza again moved for
dismissal for claims related to him alone. On March 31, 2017,
the Court granted Buza's motion to dismiss the complaint
in its entirety. The Court does so for reasons that follow in
the substantial similarity between the second amended
complaint and the third amended complaint, the Court presumes
familiarity with the facts of the case. See Lee v.
Cornell, l:13-cv-8359, 2016 WL 1322444, *1 (S.D.N.Y.
survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a
claim must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face."' Ashcroftv. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombfy, 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." Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678. The plaintiff must allege sufficient facts
to show "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant
has acted unlawfully." Id.
purposes of a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all
factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs favor. McCarthy
v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 191 (2d
Cir. 2007). However, the court need not credit "mere
conclusory statements" or "threadbare recitals of
the elements of a cause of action." Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678, 681 (citing Twombfy, 550 U.S. at 555).
The complaint must provide factual allegations sufficient
"to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is
and the grounds upon which it rests." Port Dock
& iStone Corp. v. Oldcastle Northeast, Inc., 507
F.3d 117, 121 (2d Cir. 2007) (citing Twombfy, 550
U.S. at 555). To decide the motion, the court "may
consider facts as asserted within the four corners of the
complaint together with the documents attached to the
complaint as exhibits, and any documents incorporated in the
complaint by reference." Peter F. Gaito
Architecture, LLC v. Simone Dev. Corp., 602 F.3d 57, 64
(2d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks and citation
cases brought by a pro se litigant, the Court must
"construe [the] complaint liberally and interpret it to
raise the strongest arguments that [it] suggest[s]."
Chavis v. Chappius, 618 F.3d 162, 170 (2d Cir. 2010)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Even so, the
Court "cannot invent factual allegations that [the
plaintiff] has not pled." Id.
Plaintiffs § 1983 claims based on suggestive
identification procedures and Brady
violations are dismissed based on the March 31, 2016
Opinion and Order.
TAC, Lee repleads his claims regarding the alleged suggestive
identification procedures and alleged Brady
violations. The Court has already dismissed those claims with
prejudice. Lee v. Cornell, l:13-cv-8359, 2016 WL
1322444, *6 (S.D.N.Y. March 31, 2016). The Court reaffirms
the dismissal of those claims.
Plaintiffs remaining § 1983 claims are barred by
Eleventh Amendment immunity and prosecutorial
most significant difference between the complaints is that
Lee brings suit against Buza in his "individual and
official capacity" in the TAC. Lee's claims against
Buza in his official capacity are dismissed because he is
entitled to the Eleventh Amendment's grant of immunity to
state officials for reasons stated in this Court's March
31, 2016 opinion. See Id. at *3.
is being sued in his individual capacity, he is entitled to
absolute prosecutorial immunity. Prosecutors are absolutely
immune from liability in § 1983 lawsuits for
prosecutorial actions that are "intimately associated
with the judicial phase of the criminal process."
Van De Kamp et al. v. Goldstein, 555 U.S. 341
(2009). This immunity attaches to conduct "preliminary
to the initiation of a prosecution and actions apart from the
courtroom." Giraldo v. Kessler, 694 F.3d 161,
165 (2d Cir. 2012) (citation and internal quotations
omitted). Further, actions taken by the prosecutor
"reasonably related to decisions whether or not to begin
or to carry on a particular criminal prosecution...are
shielded by absolute immunity." Id. at 166.
construed liberally, Lee alleges that Detective Enrique
Corniel charged Lee with robbery at the direction of Buza,
despite the victim's earlier inability to identify Lee in
the lineups, and that Buza also directed Detective Corneil to
assemble a photo-array for the victim. Third Am. Compl.
¶ 21. The decision to go ahead with the arrest falls
within the domain of initiating or carrying on a criminal
prosecution. See Giraldo, 649 F.3d at 165. Further,
the decision to do another photo array was to prepare for a
potential "court proceeding in which the prosecutor acts
as an advocate." I ...