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Collazo v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

November 20, 2017

THE CITY OF NEW YORK, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Orlando Collazo brings this action against Defendants the City of New York (“City”), Detective Joseph Cirigliano and CVS Caremark Corporation (“CVS”) seeking money damages and other relief arising from Plaintiff's arrest at Defendant CVS' store and his subsequent criminal prosecution. Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings. For the reasons below, the motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts below are drawn from the Complaint and the Criminal Court Complaint, of which the Court is entitled to take judicial notice. See Fed. R. Evid. 201(b)(2); see Int'l Star Class Yacht Racing Ass'n v. Tommy Hilfiger, U.S.A., Inc., 146 F.3d 66, 70 (2d Cir. 1998); accord Ackerman v. Local Union, 363, Intern. Broth. of Elec. Workers, 423 F.Supp.2d 125, 128 (S.D.N.Y. 2006). For purposes of this motion, the allegations in the Complaint are assumed to be true and are construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff as the non-moving party. See Spak v. Phillips, 857 F.3d 458, 463 n.2 (2d Cir. 2017).

         On October 1, 2015, Plaintiff was shopping at a CVS store in Manhattan. Two CVS employees forcibly escorted Plaintiff to a back room of the store for allegedly having stolen three shampoo bottles from the store on September 17, 2015. The employees restrained Plaintiff and prevented him from leaving until Defendant Cirigliano arrived. The CVS employees told Detective Cirigliano that they had witnessed Plaintiff stealing shampoo on September 17, 2015. Plaintiff explained to Defendant Cirigliano that he could not have stolen shampoo on that date because he had been incarcerated at the time. Without investigating the veracity of Plaintiff's explanation, Defendant Cirigliano arrested and transported Plaintiff to the police station, where he was detained. Later the same day, Plaintiff was transported to the Criminal Court and charged with one count of robbery in the second degree and was further detained for an additional six days.

         On the day of Plaintiff's arrest, Defendant Cirigliano prepared the Criminal Court Complaint in which he swore in part that Plaintiff “forcibly stole property and in the course of the commission of the crime and immediate flight therefrom, [and that Plaintiff] caused physical injury to [a CVS employee].” Defendant Cirigliano also swore that “[t]he factual basis for this charge” was that a CVS employee had told him that on September 17, 2015, “he observed [Plaintiff] take three shampoos off of the shelf and place them into a bag he brought into the store.” Defendant Cirigliano's statements were forwarded to the New York County District Attorney, who then criminally prosecuted Plaintiff for the alleged robbery. Plaintiff was made to return to court once before October 6, 2015, when Plaintiff's criminal charge was dismissed.


         The Court reviews a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) under the same standard as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Bank of N.Y. v. First Millennium, Inc., 607 F.3d 905, 922 (2d Cir. 2010). The Court accepts as true all of the non-moving party's well-pleaded factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See Standard Inv. Chartered, Inc. v. Nat'l Ass'n of Sec. Dealers, Inc., 637 F.3d 112, 115 (2d Cir. 2011). To survive a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the plaintiff's complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 160 (2d Cir. 2010).

         On a Rule 12(c) motion, the Court may consider “the complaint, the answer, any written documents attached to them, . . . any matter of which the court can take judicial notice for the factual background of the case[, ] . . . any written instrument attached . . . as an exhibit, materials incorporated . . . by reference, and documents that, although not incorporated by reference, are integral” to the pleadings. L-7 Designs, Inc. v. Old Navy, LLC, 647 F.3d 419, 422 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted).


         The Complaint alleges assault and false imprisonment under New York law against Defendant CVS. The Complaint alleges false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution under 28 U.S.C. § 1983 and New York law against Defendants City and Cirigliano. Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings on all counts. Because Plaintiff concedes that his claims against CVS and his state law claims against all Defendants are time barred, only Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against Defendants City and Cirigliano are addressed below.

         A. § 1983 Claims against the City

         The City's motion for judgment on the pleadings is granted under the Monell doctrine. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658 (1978). A municipality can be held liable under § 1983 only if a plaintiff's injury is the result of municipal policy or custom, id. at 694, and a municipality is “not vicariously liable under § 1983 for [its] employees' actions, ” Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 60 (2011). The Complaint does not allege that Plaintiff's arrest and prosecution were the result of a custom or policy. Plaintiff also concedes that there is no vicarious liability claim against the City. Consequently, Plaintiff's claims under § 1983 against the City are dismissed.

         B. ยง 1983 Claims against ...

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