Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Baez v. City of New York

United States District Court, E.D. New York

January 5, 2018

MELVIN BAEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, P.O. MARK LEWIS, P.O. LIN, D.A. RICHARD BROWN, ADA COURTNEY CHARLES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          BRIAM M. COGAN, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Melvin Baez, incarcerated at Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, filed this pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging false arrest, malicious prosecution, and illegal search in violation of his constitutional rights arising from his February 4, 2014 arrest and detention in Queens, New York, and his subsequent prosecution in the Supreme Court of New York, Queens County. He seeks damages, as well as the firing and arrest of the prosecutors assigned to his case. Plaintiff's request for in forma pauperis status, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is granted.[1] For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff is granted twenty days to file an amended complaint to proceed with this action.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that he was arrested by defendant police officers Lin and Lewis on February 4, 2014 and subsequently prosecuted by the Queens County District Attorney's Office. He alleges that the officers did not have probable cause for the arrest, and that they “fabricated smelling marijuana, ” the location of his arrest, and their claim that he was talking on an “I-phone” while driving his car. The officers then conducted what plaintiff describes as an unlawful search of his person at the 113th precinct, and he alleges that the prosecutors colluded to maliciously prosecute him despite their knowledge that the officers had filed false reports. Plaintiff states that the crime for which his vehicle was stopped (driving under the influence) was dismissed, but that he is serving a seven-year sentence as a result of the February 4, 2014 arrest. The Court takes judicial notice that plaintiff is incarcerated for a 2017 conviction for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree.[2]

         DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, a district court “shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Upon review, a district court shall dismiss a prisoner's complaint sua sponte if the complaint is “frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id.; see also Liner v. Goord, 196 F.3d 132, 134 & n.1 (2d Cir. 1999) (noting that under PLRA, sua sponte dismissal of frivolous prisoner complaints is not only permitted but mandatory).

         Likewise, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), a district court shall dismiss an in forma pauperis action where it is satisfied that the action (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         The Court construes plaintiff's pro se pleadings liberally, particularly because they allege civil rights violations. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed Defendant #1, 537 F.3d 185, 191-93 (2d Cir. 2008). Courts must read pro se complaints with “special solicitude” and interpret them to raise the “strongest arguments that they suggest.” Triestman v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474-76 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, a complaint must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has 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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). Although “detailed factual allegations” are not required, “[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions, or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. (quotations and citations omitted). Similarly, a complaint is insufficient to state a claim “if it tenders naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.” Id. (quotations omitted).

         B. Statute of Limitations

         Two of plaintiff's three claims appear to be time-barred. He commenced this action on November 28, 2017. Claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 must be filed within three years of the date on which such claims accrue. See Milan v. Wertheimer, 808 F.3d 961, 963-64 (2d Cir. 2015). Accrual occurs when the plaintiff has “a complete and present cause of action, that is, when the plaintiff can file suit and obtain relief.” Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388, 127 S.Ct. 1091 (2007) (citations and quotations omitted); see also Singleton v. City of New York, 632 F.2d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 1980) (federal claims accrue at “a point in time when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the injury which is the basis of his action”). The statute of limitations for illegal search and false arrest claims begins to run at the time of detention under legal process, such as at an arraignment. See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 389-91, 397, 127 S.Ct. 1091 (2007). Here, the limitations period on plaintiff's false arrest and illegal search claim based on his February 4, 2014 arrest and search began to run when he was arraigned, a date not provided by plaintiff, but most likely beyond the three-year statute of limitations applicable to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions. Wallace, 549 U.S. at 388.

         As for the malicious prosecution claim, the statute of limitations time begins when “the underlying criminal action is conclusively terminated.” Murphy v. Lynn, 53 F.3d 547, 548 (2d Cir. 1995). Plaintiff does not provide the date on which the underlying criminal action was terminated, but New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision records indicate that it was terminated in 2017, less than three years before the filing of this action. Assuming his prosecution terminated later than November 28, 2014, that is, less than three years before he filed this complaint on November 28, 2017, this claim is timely.

         In his amended complaint, plaintiff should provide the dates of his arraignment. Plaintiff should also provide the dates of his trial and conviction, the charges, and the result so that the court can determine the timeliness of his claims. See Milan v. Wertheimer, 808 F.3d at 963-64 (affirming sua sponte dismissal of claims based on statute of limitations).

         C. Favorable ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.