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Kneitel v. City of New York

United States District Court, E.D. New York

November 15, 2017

THE CITY OF NEW YORK et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Michael J. Kneitel, proceeding pro se. brings this action against Defendants the City of New York (the "City"); Mark Ryvkin; Kings County District Attorney's Office employees Courtney Hogg, Krysten Tendy, and Emily Sperling; and various members of the New York City Police Department ("NYPD"), [1] (Am. Compl. (Dkt. 32).) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his civil rights in connection with a dispute between Plaintiff and Ryvkin, his then-neighbor. QdL at 5-8.) While Plaintiff initially asserted claims only against the City, Ryvkin, and the members of the NYPD (Compl. (Dkt. 1)), he subsequently filed an amended complaint (the "Amended Complaint") containing claims against Sperling and others (Am. Compl.).

         Currently before the court is the City's unopposed motion seeking sua sponte dismissal of all claims against Sperling, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (the "Motion"). (Mot. to Dismiss ("Mot.") (Dkt 74).) For the reasons that follow, the court GRANTS the Motion and DISMISSES all claims against Sperling.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         The following facts are drawn from the Amended Complaint and are presumed to be true for the purposes of this motion.

         The claims at bar arise from a series of disputes between Plaintiff and Ryvkin, his neighbor at the time. Plaintiff states that Ryvkin unsuccessfully brought a civil lawsuit against Plaintiff and that, when that lawsuit was dismissed, Ryvkin retaliated against Plaintiff by harassing him in his home in January 2013. (Am. Compl. at 6.) Plaintiff avers that he contacted his landlord and the police in an attempt to have Ryvkin evicted from the apartment complex. (Id.) Five days after making this report, Plaintiff was brought from his residence to a police station by Defendant William Greer and another unnamed individual for questioning concerning allegations that Plaintiff assaulted Ryvkin. (Id.). Plaintiff asserts that he denied those allegations and informed Greer that the complaint was part of Ryvkin's effort to retaliate against Plaintiff.

         Following this questioning, Greer allegedly handcuffed and arrested Plaintiff and confiscated his belongings. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that he was placed into an "unsanitary" holding cage without food or water for several hours. (Id.) Thereafter, Plaintiff was again handcuffed and transported to "Central Booking." (Id.) Plaintiff states that this second handcuffing caused him extreme pain but that, despite informing the attending police officers of his discomfort, his restraints were not removed. (Id. at 6-7.)

         The charges against Plaintiff were forwarded to the District Attorney's Office for Kings County, New York, where they were "screened" by Sperling, who Plaintiff describes as an "Assistant District Attorney Screener" (id. at 4), and sent to Hogg and Tandy (id at 7). Plaintiff contends that, "[w]ithout a shred of physical evidence that a crime had actually been committed, " the district attorney's office charged Plaintiff with unspecified crimes, after which he was arraigned and released on his own recognizance, subject to a temporary protective order limiting his contact with Ryvkin. (Id.)

         In April 2013, NYPD officers again came to Plaintiffs residence and stated that Ryvkin had accused Plaintiff of "violat[ing] [the temporary protective order] by chasing [] Ryvkin on foot around the block." (Id.) Plaintiff denied the accusations, and the officers departed from Plaintiff's residence without taking any further action. (Id.)

         In July 2013, Defendant Salah Ali, an NYPD detective, arrested Plaintiff at his workplace based on a complaint by Ryvkin alleging that Plaintiff had verbally threatened him over the phone. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Sperling again screened the complaint against him and forwarded it to Hogg and Tandy for "further investigation." (Id.) After arraignment on this second complaint, Plaintiff alleges that the court entered a more expansive protective order against him. (Id.)

         Plaintiff represents that criminal proceedings against him continued until November 2014, at which point the charges against him were dismissed. (Id. at 8.)

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed his complaint on December 4, 2015, and subsequently amended the complaint on January 13, 2017, to include additional defendants, including Sperling. (Compl. (Dkt. 1); Am. Compl.) Based on the foregoing allegations, Plaintiff brings claims under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 for false arrest and imprisonment, unlawful search and seizure of Plaintiffs person and possessions, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, conspiracy to violate Plaintiffs constitutional rights, and failure to supervise as to the alleged constitutional violations. (Am. Compl. at 8-13.) Plaintiff ...

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