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Tuff v. Village of Yorkville Police Department

United States District Court, N.D. New York

June 27, 2017

JARED TUFF, Plaintiff,

          DECISION & ORDER

          Thomas J. McAvoy Senior, U.S. District Judge


         Plaintiff Jared Tuff commenced this action asserting claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and New York state law. Defendants previously moved to dismiss portions of the Complaint. In response to that motion, the Court terminated the Village of Yorkville Police Department (“YPD”) as a defendant, struck from the Complaint the punitive damages claim against the Village of Yorkville (“Village”), dismissed without leave to replead certain claims, dismissed other claims with leave to replead, and denied the motion in all other respects. See 01/30/17 Dec. & Order, dkt # 15. Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint (dkt. # 16) which, with one exception, [1] repleads all the same claims against the same defendants, and demands the same relief, as contained in the Complaint, seemingly ignoring the substance of the Court's January 30, 2017 Decision and Order.

         Defendants now move pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) to dismiss with prejudice many of the repleaded claims. Dkt. # 17. In response, Plaintiff files only an affidavit from his attorney. See Manion Aff., dkt. 19. Because an affidavit may not contain legal arguments, see N.D.N.Y. L.R. 7.1(a)(2), [2] and because Plaintiff failed to file a memorandum of law as required by N.D.N.Y. L.R. 7.1(a)(1), the Court treats the motion as unopposed. See N.D.N.Y. L.R. 7.1(b)(3).[3] For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion is granted


         The allegations pertinent to this case were set forth in detail in the January 30, 201 Decision and Order, familiarity with which is presumed. Because the Amended Complaint changes little, the allegations in that pleading will not be repeated here. Suffice it to say th except for the omission of a First Amendment claim, the Amended Complaint contains the same claims, defendants, and demands for relief as existed in the original Complaint. The Amended Complaint also adds new factual allegations to paragraphs 22, 27, and 30. These new factual allegations are identified here in bolded text:

22. Upon information and belief this type of search, seizure and treatment of the plaintiff is a policy and procedure either written or unwritten of the defendants when pulling over individuals such as plaintiff - African Americans -for violation of traffic offenses. Upon information and belief DeLuca created such policies under which unconstitutional practices such as occurred herein or allowed the continuance of such policies or customs after learning of them. Upon information and belief by doing so, DeLuca as supervisor was grossly negligent in supervising defendant Guca.
27. The plaintiff was also physically injured with bruising as a result of the conduct described in this complaint. Plaintiff suffered injury to his tooth as a result of the conduct described in this complaint.
30. Defendants DeLuca and Village authorized, tolerated as institutional practices, and ratified the misconduct detailed above by:
a. Failing to properly discipline, restrict, and control employees,
b. Failing to supervise subordinates known to be irresponsible in their dealings with citizens of the community;
c. Failing to take adequate precautions in the hiring, promotion, and retention of police personnel, including specifically defendant;
d. Failing to forward to the office of the District Attorney of Oneida County evidence of criminal acts committed by police personnel;
e. Failing to establish or assure the functioning of a bona fide and meaningful departmental system for dealing with complaints of police misconduct, but instead responding to these types of complaints with bureaucratic power and official denials calculated to mislead the public.
f. Failing to properly train subordinates.
g. Failing to provide proper teaching tools in handling the issuance of simplified traffic tickts [sic].
h. There was no legitimate purpose for the treatment subjected upon the plaintiff by the defendants in the course of issuing a simplified traffic ticket. By the defendant Guca grabbing plaintiff from his car, slamming him across the hood and patting him down, Guca's actions were totally improper. Because plaintiff was African American he treated him wrongfully and clearly having no purpose therefore wanted access to the interior of plaintiff's vehicle looking for contraband.

Am. Compl.


         On a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept “all factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw[] all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.” Holmes v. Grubman, 568 F.3d 329, 335 (2d Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). This tenet does not apply to legal conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. (quoting Bell A Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citation a internal quotations marks omitted). A claim will only have “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.” Id. A complaint which “tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement'” is insufficient. Id. (citations omitted) “Conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual conclusions will not suffice to defeat a motion to dismiss.” Luna v. N. Babylon Teacher's Org., 11 F.Supp.3d 396, 401 (E.D.N.Y. 2014); see Faber v. Metropolitan Life Ins., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011).


         a. Defendant, Demand For Relief, and Claims Dismissed without Leave to Replead

         In the January 30, 2017 Decision and Order, the Court terminated the YPD as a defendant, struck from the Complaint any demand for punitive damages against the Villag ...

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