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Mejia v. Davis

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 7, 2018

RAMÓN ÍSÍDRO MEJÍA, Plaintiff,
v.
MISS DAVIS; JOHN DOE MALE ESCORT; JOHN DOE POLICE OFFICERS # 1-12; NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN - COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER; NEW YORK CITY; DETECTIVE DOMINICK MCDONAGH; POLICE OFFICER MADELINE CRUZ; POLICE OFFICER MILDRED RODRIGUEZ; SERGEANT MICHAEL HENNELLY; DETECTIVE DERRICK MOYER; JOHN DOE EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN # 1 AND 2; NORTH CENTRAL BRONX HOSPITAL, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS CORPORATION; JOHN DOE DOCTOR # 1; MARK A. SCHEAR, MD; JOHN DOE NURSES # 1-5; JOHN DOE LY #1, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          GREGORY H. WOODS, United States District Judge

         On September 10, 2015, the New York and Presbyterian Hospital s/h/a the New York Presbyterian - Columbia University Medical Center (“NYPH”) sent a Mobile Crisis Team to Plaintiff Ramon Mejia's apartment in the Bronx. The Mobile Crisis Team entered Plaintiff's home with Plaintiff's consent, investigated, left, and then called the New York City Police Department to have Plaintiff removed from his home. After an hour-long encounter with police officers at his apartment, Plaintiff was forcibly taken from his apartment and transported to the North Central Bronx Hospital, where he was involuntarily interned for six days. Plaintiff filed this matter pro se, bringing claims against the NYPH and various other defendants for violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) and alleging state law claims that include false arrest, slander, negligence, and medical malpractice. The NYPH has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against it. Because the NYPH is not a “person” under Section 1983, Plaintiff's Section 1983 claims against the NYPH are dismissed. Plaintiff's state law claims against the NYPH are also dismissed.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff is a sixty-five-year-old disabled man of Latino and Caribbean descent. Third Amended Complaint (ECF No. 66) (“TAC”) ¶ 1, 28.[2] Members of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) called the NYPH and “ordered” that a Mobile Crisis Team be sent to evaluate Plaintiff at his home “because they were frustrated with complaints that Plaintiff had made to them.” Pl.'s Opposition to Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 73) (“Pl.'s Opp.”) at 2. On or about September 10, 2015, at approximately 9:30 a.m., a Mobile Crisis Team consisting of Ms. Davis and an unidentified male escort (John Doe Male Escort) came to Plaintiff's apartment in the Bronx. TAC ¶ 3-4; Pl's Opp. at 2. Ms. Davis identified herself as a social worker from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. TAC ¶ 4. Ms. Davis and her escort asked to inspect Plaintiff's apartment for housing code violations, and Plaintiff invited them inside. Id. While inside the apartment, the crisis team “investigat[ed] Plaintiff and his home, ” Pl.'s Opp. at 2, but Ms. Davis “was dismissive of Plaintiff's housing problems, ” TAC ¶ 4. After Plaintiff instructed Ms. Davis and the male escort to “leave and never come back, ” they left Plaintiff's apartment. TAC ¶ 4.

         Plaintiff alleges on information and belief that Ms. Davis and her male escort called the police. TAC ¶ 5. Plaintiff alleges that “[n]othing that they told the police would have justified the police coming to Plaintiff's apartment, ” that Plaintiff “had not engaged in any behavior to justify the police coming to the apartment, ” and, therefore, anything that Ms. Davis and her escort told the police “would have been false.” Id. The police arrived approximately fifteen minutes later, and twelve unidentified officers (John Doe Police Officers Nos. 1 through 12) “began banging on Plaintiff's door demanding to talk to” him. TAC ¶ 6. The officers also “demanded that Plaintiff stand directly behind” the closed front door, which Plaintiff refused to do. Id.

         At one point, Plaintiff heard a “loud noise, ” and “something was used on the outside of the door to blow the peephole” out. TAC ¶ 7. The peephole “ricocheted around the apartment, ” and an “open hole was left where the peephole object was previously.” Id. Plaintiff observed “red dots on the wall opposite the door that appeared to be from a laser sight on a gun.” TAC ¶ 8.

         Plaintiff still refused to open the door for police, and “never consented” to the police's entry into his home. TAC ¶ 10. Plaintiff asserts that he “never threatened anyone, ” “never committed any visible crime while inside his apartment, ” and “never caused any disturbance of any kind inside his apartment.” Id. Yet, the twelve police officers, led by Detective McDonagh, “caus[ed] a disturbance at Plaintiff's door” for approximately one hour, then broke the door down and entered dressed in full riot gear. TAC ¶ 11.

         Once inside the apartment, one of the officers, “who was tall and large, ” placed Plaintiff in handcuffs and “pushed” him out the door. TAC ¶ 12. Plaintiff had an injured foot and struggled to go down the stairs. Id. While he was descending the steps, Plaintiff was “pushed very roughly” by Officers Madeline Cruz and Mildred Rodriguez. TAC ¶ 13. This caused Plaintiff to “stumble and lose balance.” Id. Despite Plaintiff's request that Officers Cruz and Rodriguez “please stop pushing very roughly, ” the officers continued to push him down the six flights of stairs. Id. Plaintiff sustained an injury to his right foot in the process. Id.

         Police officers escorted Plaintiff to an ambulance outside, and two emergency medical technicians (“EMTs”) transported Plaintiff to North Central Bronx Hospital. TAC ¶ 14. A uniformed police officer accompanied them to the hospital, and, at the hospital, “police were everywhere.” Id.

         Upon Plaintiff's arrival at the North Central Bronx Hospital, hospital staff asked Plaintiff for his name, address, and date of birth. TAC ¶ 17. Plaintiff provided the requested information, and his responses were recorded on a computer. Id. The staff asked Plaintiff nothing about his medical condition, whether he was injured, whether he had any allergies, or the reason for his presentment at the hospital. Id. Hospital staff instructed Plaintiff to remove any personal property from his pockets and person and logged those items on a written form. Id.

         Plaintiff was then taken to the psychiatric unit located on the thirteenth floor. TAC ¶ 16-17. There, Plaintiff's handcuffs were removed, but he was told that he was not free to leave. TAC ¶ 16. Plaintiff observed that the hospital contained “many armed uniformed police officers, ” TAC ¶ 17, and the doors has “code systems, ” TAC ¶ 18. “[T]his was not a regular hospital.” TAC ¶ 17.

         Plaintiff was instructed to sit in a waiting area while his room was being prepared. Id. An unidentified doctor, John Doe Doctor No. 1, then ordered Plaintiff “forcibly hospitalized” without performing “an independent assessment.” Id. Dr. Mark A. Schear ordered Plaintiff to be “forcibly” medicated without “an independent evaluation.” TAC ¶ 21. Despite Plaintiff's objections, he was held down by John Doe Officer No. 14, John Doe Nurse No. 1, and other hospital staff and was given an injection of Risperdal by a nurse. Id.

         Plaintiff remained in the hospital from September 10, 2015 to September 16, 2015. TAC ¶ 20. During his internment, Plaintiff was forced to take pills prescribed by Dr. Schear. John Doe Orderly No. 1 regularly told Plaintiff he had to take the pills, and John Doe Nurse No. 5 warned Plaintiff that if he did not take the pills, the nurse would report that to her supervisor, who would then send nurses to “physically force Plaintiff to take the pills.” TAC ¶ 23. Plaintiff was also subjected to mandatory blood draws. TAC ¶ 27. Plaintiff made numerous requests to be released from the hospital, but he was told that only the in-house psychologist or Dr. Schear could authorize his release. TAC ¶ 22. On September 16, 2015, Plaintiff was released into the care of his sisters. TAC ¶ 24.

         Plaintiff alleges that as a result of these incidents, he sustained injuries to his right foot that still cause him pain, as well as back injuries. TAC at 5, ¶ 13. Plaintiff also alleges that he suffers from nightmares, for which he needs sleep disorder treatment, and paranoid anxiety at the sight of police officers in public areas. TAC at 5. Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $100, 000, 000. Id.

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiff initiated this action on December 15, 2016. ECF No. 2. Plaintiff was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis on January 17, 2017. ECF No. 3.

         On January 26, 2017, the Court sua sponte dismissed Plaintiff's claims against the Civil Court of the City of New York, Bronx County, the Health and Hospitals Corporation, its unidentified employees, Dr. Schear, Ari Benedict, Sergio Anagunbla, the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), the 50th Precinct, and the “NYCEMS.” ECF No. 5. The Court granted Plaintiff leave to replead his claims against the Health and Hospitals Corporation, its unidentified employees, Dr. Schear, Ari Benedict, and Sergio Anagunbla. Id. The Court also directed NYPH counsel and the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York to ascertain the identity of the unidentified individual defendants. Id.

         On February 27, 2017, the NYPH filed an answer to the complaint. ECF No. 13. On March 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. ECF No. 17. On April 6, 2017, after obtaining leave of court, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint. ECF No. 27. On June 16, 2017, Defendants City of New York and Madeline Cruz filed an answer to the second amended complaint. ECF No. 51.

         On June 30, 2017, the NYPH filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's second amended complaint. ECF No. 53. On July 19, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to file a third amended complaint for the purpose of naming individual defendants that the City of New York had identified pursuant to the Court's Valentin order. ECF No. 65. Plaintiff filed his third amended complaint on July 28, 2017. ECF No. 66. The Court granted the NYPH's request to deem its June 30, 2017 motion to dismiss to be a motion to dismiss the third amended complaint. ECF No. 70. On August 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed his opposition to the NYPH's motion to dismiss. ECF No. 73. On August 25, 2017, the NYPH filed its reply. ECF No. 74.

         On September 8, 2017, Defendants New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation s/h/a North Central Bronx Hospital, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, and Dr. Schear moved to dismiss Plaintiff's third amended complaint. ECF No. 77. Plaintiff opposed that motion on October 5, 2017, and Defendants filed a reply on October 19, 2017. ECF Nos. 83, 88. Only the NYPH's motion is presently before the Court.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting 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.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). It is not enough for a plaintiff to allege facts that are consistent with liability; the complaint must “nudge” claims “across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “To survive dismissal, the plaintiff must provide the grounds upon which his claim rests through factual allegations sufficient ‘to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'” ATSI Commc'ns, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. The court must accept all facts alleged in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Burch v. Pioneer Credit Recovery, Inc., 551 F.3d 122, 124 (2d Cir. 2008) (per curiam). However,

‛[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.' A complaint must therefore contain more than ‘naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.' Pleadings that contain ‘no more than conclusions . . . are not entitled to the assumption of ...

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