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Brown v. City of New York

United States District Court, E.D. New York

February 26, 2018

ALLEN BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, POLICE OFFICER TIMOTHY DOWNING, in his individual and official capacity, and P.O. JANE DOE and JOHN DOE, 1 through 8 Fictitious Defendants,

          OSITA EMMANUEL OKOCHA For the Plaintiff

          KARL J. ASHANTI For the Defendant

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          FREDERIC BLOCK Senior United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Allen Brown brings claims against defendants the City of New York, Officer Timothy Downing, and eight unnamed officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false arrest and malicious prosecution and § 1985 for conspiracy. Plaintiff also alleges liability against the City under Monell v. N.Y. City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). Defendants move to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). Plaintiff's conspiracy and Monell claims are dismissed with prejudice.

         Defendants' motion to dismiss is otherwise denied.[1]

         I.

         In his Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), plaintiff alleges that on August 22, 2012, he was arrested by eight New York City police officers without a warrant. He was charged with nine counts of sale and possession of cocaine. He was indicted by a grand jury. His arrest and indictment appear to be based on Officer Downing's identification of plaintiff as a person who sold drugs to an undercover officer during a sting operation.

         After a jury trial, plaintiff was acquitted, and he filed this lawsuit. Essentially, he alleges that his arrest without a warrant or probable cause was illegal, and Officer Downing and the other unnamed officers knowingly lied about his involvement in the drug transactions to obtain an indictment.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) provides that “[a]fter the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). “The same standard applicable to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss applies to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) motions for judgment on the pleadings.” Bank of N.Y. v. First Millennium, Inc., 607 F.3d 905, 922 (2d Cir. 2010). “Thus, we will accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in [plaintiffs'] favor.” Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 160 (2d Cir. 2010).

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a complaint that “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive, the 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), and “allow[] 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).

         II.

         A. False Arrest

         First, defendants argue plaintiff's false arrest claim is time-barred by New York's three-year statute of limitations because he was arrested on August 22, 2012 and filed his initial complaint on August 25, 2015, three years and three days later.[2]SeeOwens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 251 (1989). However, “if ‘success on [a § 1983] claim would necessarily imply the invalidity of a conviction in a pending criminal prosecution, such a claim does not accrue so long as the potential for a judgment in the pending criminal prosecution continues to exist.'” Covington v. City of New York, 171 F.3d 117, 124 (2d Cir. 1999) (quoting Smith v. Holtz, 87 F.3d 108, 113 (3d Cir. 1996)). This is so because “§ 1983 actions . . . are not ‘appropriate vehicles for challenging the validity of outstanding criminal judgments'” and “‘[i]f such a claim could proceed while criminal proceedings are ongoing, there would be a potential for inconsistent determinations in civil and criminal cases and the criminal defendant would be able ...


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