United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
G. SCHOFIELD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff Christopher Henry brings this action against the
State of New York (“State”), the City of New York
(“City”), Police Officer Orlando Rios, the
Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources
Administration/Department of Social Services
(“Commissioner”), Justice Tandra L. Dawson,
Support Magistrate Paul Ryneski and Support Magistrate
Tionnei Clarke (collectively, “Defendants”),
asserting claims under federal and state law arising from
Plaintiffs arrest and unrelated state court proceedings.
Defendants move to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons,
Defendants' motion is granted.
following facts are based on the Complaint and court records
from Plaintiffs state court proceedings, of which the Court
is entitled to take judicial notice. See Apotex Inc. v.
Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., 823 F.3d 51, 60 (2d Cir.
2016) (at motion to dismiss stage, court may take judicial
notice of documents that are publicly available and whose
accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned); In re
WorldCom, Inc., 708 F.3d 327, 339 n.63 (2d Cir. 2013)
(taking judicial notice of court records). These facts are
accepted as true solely for the purpose of this motion.
See Carter v. HealthPort Techs., LLC, 822 F.3d 47,
56-57 (2d Cir. 2016).
Initiation of Matrimonial Proceedings
Christopher Henry is a black male who resides in New York
County. On January 2, 2009, Plaintiff's wife Marisa Henry
filed a family offense petition against Plaintiff following
an alleged incident of domestic violence. On March 12, 2009,
Plaintiff initiated divorce proceedings against his wife in
the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County.
April 2, 2009, the Criminal Court of the City of New York
entered a Temporary Order of Protection directing Plaintiff
to stay away from his wife and her home -- the marital
residence -- from April 2, 2009, to May 21, 2009.
May 2009 Arrest and Imprisonment
10, 2009, Plaintiff was walking outside the marital residence
when he was knocked to the ground by City police officers
including Defendant Rios. Plaintiff was assaulted, handcuffed
and placed in the back of a patrol car, after which he was
transported to the 30th Precinct. Plaintiff was charged with
resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and violating an order
of protection. If the police officers had looked into the
address listed on the order of protection, they would have
learned that Plaintiff was the owner of the marital
residence. Supervisory police officers had the authority and
ability to prevent Plaintiff's arrest. The Complaint
alleges conclusorily that Plaintiff was arrested and
assaulted pursuant to City policy and practice and that
inadequate training and procedure led to his injuries.
was held in a cell at the 30th Precinct for approximately 24
hours, after which he was transported by van to the New York
Supreme Court. During the ride to the Supreme Court,
Plaintiff was kept in handcuffs and slammed into the side of
the van multiple times. Once at the Supreme Court, he was
placed in a basement cell with approximately 45 other people.
The cell was crowded, dirty, smelly and slimy.
Plaintiff's clothes became soiled from sitting on the
floor, and Plaintiff did not sleep well due to fear of
assault from the other detainees. He was held in this cell
for 24 hours before being arraigned in Manhattan Criminal
Court. At his arraignment, Plaintiff pleaded not guilty to
all charges and was eventually released. The Complaint does
not specify when Plaintiff was released, but alleges both
that all charges were terminated in Plaintiff's favor on
or about March 10, 2010, and that the criminal proceedings
against Plaintiff continued until March 2012.
Continuation of Matrimonial Proceedings
from Plaintiff's arrest, Plaintiff's divorce
proceeding was transferred from the Supreme Court Matrimonial
Term to the Supreme Court Integrated Domestic Violence Part
on May 8, 2009, where it was assigned to Tandra L. Dawson, an
Acting Justice of the New York Supreme Court and a Judge on
the New York Family Court. On June 28, 2009, Justice Dawson
issued a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest and issued an
order of protection directing Plaintiff to stay away from the
16, 2010, Justice Dawson issued a Final Order of Protection
requiring Plaintiff to stay away from his wife, and to stay
away from the marital home except as per court order. From
June 2009 until October 2010, Plaintiff kept away from the
marital home. Sometime thereafter, Plaintiff states that he
learned the protective order was void and had no legal
effect. Plaintiff questioned Justice Dawson about the
“void Order of Protection” on or about July 31,
2012, leading to an extremely contentious environment in the
March 2009 to October 2012, Justice Dawson permitted Donnie
Williams, a convicted felon, to live and work in the marital
property. While Williams lived there, Plaintiff paid housing
expenses of approximately $40, 000 on the property.
October 21, 2010, Plaintiff sold the marital residence. On
March 1, 2012, Plaintiff's wife filed an action for
fraudulent conveyance relating to the sale. Justice Dawson
referred the action to a special referee, who recommended
that the sale of the marital residence be deemed a fraudulent
conveyance. Justice Dawson confirmed the special
referee's report in orders dated March 29, 2016, and May
handling the matrimonial proceedings, Justice Dawson made a
number of additional rulings that were adverse to Plaintiff.
For instance, on October 8, 2015, Justice Dawson denied
Plaintiff's motion for access to court documents. In
addition, the Complaint alleges that Justice Dawson falsely
stated in a February 27, 2015, Decision and Order that
Plaintiff had violated a direct order of the Supreme Court
and that she wanted to charge Plaintiff with a criminal
offense. Though the February 27, 2015, Decision and Order
states that Plaintiff had brought “an exorbitant
number” of unnecessary motions, it does not reference
wanting to charge Plaintiff with a criminal offense.
Child Support Proceedings
January 26, 2009, Plaintiff appeared before Support
Magistrate Matthew Troy in Family Court. At that hearing,
Plaintiff submitted a receipt showing a mortgage payment of
approximately $2, 000.
later, Plaintiff appeared before Support Magistrate Paul
Ryneski. On November 26, 2010, Plaintiff sought a downward
modification of a support order entered on October 15, 2009.
On April 27, 2011, his wife sought increased child support
from Plaintiff. On October 5, 2012, Support Magistrate
Ryneski modified the October 15, 2009, support order and
ordered Plaintiff to pay approximately $150 more in basic
child support and $250 less in child care costs per cycle
than the 2009 order. Plaintiff objected to the modification,
and on January 16, 2013, Justice Dawson found that two of
Plaintiff's seven objections required remand. However,
Justice Dawson rejected Plaintiff's claim that he was
entitled to a credit for his housing payments.
April 11, 2013, Support Magistrate Ryneski issued a revised
order of support. Plaintiff objected to that order, and
Justice Dawson denied the objection in its entirety on June
to the Complaint, Support Magistrate Ryneski took affirmative
steps to falsify evidence and eliminate the receipt that
Plaintiff submitted to Support Magistrate Troy in order to
ensure that Plaintiff paid the maximum amount of child
support permitted by law. The Complaint further alleges that
Support Magistrate Ryneski lives within a fifteen-minute
drive of the marital property, and could not believe that a
black man owned property in his neighborhood.
February 2009 and the date the Complaint was filed, Support
Magistrate Ryneski authorized the Child Support Enforcement
Unit (“CSEU”) to take over $100, 000 in wages
from Plaintiff. As a result of these garnishments, Plaintiff
did not have enough money to pay his mortgage, and was forced
into foreclosure in October 2012. He was homeless for several
point, Justice Dawson and Support Magistrate Ryneski
“conspire[ed]” to “fabricate
[Plaintiff]'s total income . . . to ensure that the
maximum amount of child support payments was sent” to
CSEU and the State Treasury. On or about July 19, 2011,
Support Magistrate Ryneski “ordered that Plaintiff
should spend six months in jail.” On or about January
30, 2015, Justice Dawson affirmed Support Magistrate
Ryneski's Findings of Fact despite the findings
containing “false information.”
about September 15, 2015, the Commissioner served Plaintiff
with a notice to appear in Family Court. On or about February
8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Special Appearance
stating that he would not accept the jurisdiction of the
Family Court. Nonetheless, on March 8, 2016, Support
Magistrate Tionnei Clarke issued an Order of Money Judgment
against Plaintiff and in favor of the Commissioner in the
amount of $26, 000. ...