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Gomez v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

December 21, 2017

WARNER GOMEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          J. PAUL OETKEN, DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Warner Gomez moves for reconsideration of this Court's dismissal of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims. (Dkt. No. 87.) For the reasons that follow, the motion is denied.

         I. Background

         Familiarity with the background of this case, as set out in this Court's prior opinion, is presumed. See Gomez v. City of New York, No. 15 Civ. 7524, 2017 WL 3736693 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 29, 2017). This case arises out of an assault against Gomez by a fellow police officer, Defendant Jacy Reese, who intentionally discharged oleoresin capsicum spray (“OC Spray”) into Gomez's face and eyes. (See Dkt. No. 47.) The Complaint alleges that Reese's partner, Officer Taiwo Adeleke, enabled the assault, and that four additional officers tried to cover up the incident. (Id.)

         A subgroup of defendants-which included Defendant Adeleke but did not include Defendant Reese-moved to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Dkt. No. 78.) The Court noted that Adeleke “face[s] § 1983 liability for constitutional violations arising out of Reese's assault only if Reese himself is suable under the statute.” Gomez, 2017 WL 3736693, at *6. The Court concluded that Reese was not acting under color of law when he assaulted Gomez, and, as a result, “none of the moving defendants may be held liable under § 1983.” Id. The Court dismissed Counts One and Two as against the moving defendants. Id. Gomez now asks this Court to reconsider that dismissal. (Dkt. No. 87 at 1.)

         II. Legal Standard

         “A motion for reconsideration is ‘an extraordinary remedy to be employed sparingly in the interests of finality and conservation of scarce judicial resources.'” Drapkin v. Mafco Consol. Grp., Inc., 818 F.Supp.2d 678, 695 (quoting In re Initial Public Offering Sec. Litig., 399 F.Supp.2d 298, 300 (S.D.N.Y. 2005)). “A motion for reconsideration should be granted only when the defendant identifies ‘an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.'” Kolel Beth Yechiel Mechil of Tartikov, Inc. v. YLL Irrevocable Tr., 729 F.3d 99, 104 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Virgin Atl. Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992)). “[R]econsideration will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked-matters . . . that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court.” Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995).

         III. Discussion

         A. Defendant Reese

         Despite the parties' shared belief, this Court did not formally dismiss any claims against Defendant Reese, who has not yet appeared in this action nor answered the Complaint. The Court dismissed Gomez's § 1983 claims only “with respect to Movants.Gomez, 2017 WL 3736693, at *6 (emphasis added).

         However, the Court cautions that if Gomez moved for a default judgment against Defendant Reese, the Court could not award any damages. Although “a district court must accept as true all of the factual allegations of [a] non-defaulting party and draw all reasonable inferences in its favor, ” Belizaire v. RAV Investigative & Sec. Servs. Ltd., 61 F.Supp.3d 336, 344 (S.D.N.Y. 2014), a court “need not agree that the alleged facts constitute a valid cause of action, ” Au Bon Pain Corp. v. Artect, Inc., 653 F.2d 61, 65 (2d Cir. 1981). A court must “determine whether the [plaintiff's] allegations establish [the defendant's] liability as a matter of law.” Belizaire, 61 F.Supp. at 344 (alterations in original) (quoting Finkel v. Romanowicz, 577 F.3d 79, 84 (2d Cir. 2009)). With respect to Defendant Reese, the Court concluded that the Complaint does not.

         B. Defendant Adeleke

         Gomez advances three arguments in support of his request for reconsideration with respect to Defendant Adeleke. All three are unavailing.

         First, Gomez argues that Reese was acting under color of law when he assaulted Gomez. (See Dkt. No. 88 at 5‒13.) But Gomez merely repeats the arguments he previously made in opposing the motion to dismiss, and the Court will not rehash arguments already considered and rejected. See Anwar v. Fairfield Greenwich Ltd., 745 F.Supp.2d 379, 382 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (“A court must narrowly construe and strictly apply [the rule permitting motions for reconsideration] so as to avoid duplicative rulings on previously considered issues . . . .”). Having ...


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