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.

Lever v. Lyons

United States District Court, E.D. New York

February 26, 2018

KENRIC LEVER, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTINA LYONS and LESCELE BOGLE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          MARGO K. BRODIE, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Kenric Lever, proceeding pro se, commenced the above-captioned action on September 15, 2016, against pro se Defendants Christina Lyons and Lescele Bogle, asserting claims of malicious prosecution, “libel/slander defamation, ” and “mental anguish.” (Compl., Docket Entry No. 1.) On August 9, 2017, Defendants filed separate, but largely identical, motions to dismiss the Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (See Def. Bogle Mot. to Dismiss (“Bogle Mot.”), Docket Entry No. 26; Def. Lyons Mot. to Dismiss (“Lyons Mot.”), Docket Entry No. 27.) Defendants also requested that the Court impose sanctions against Plaintiff for filing this action. (Bogle Mot.; Lyons Mot.) On August 25, 2017, the Court referred the motions to Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak for a report and recommendation, (see Order dated Aug. 25, 2017), and the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara, (see Order dated Sept. 5, 2017). By report and recommendation dated January 2, 2018 (the “R&R”), Judge Bulsara recommended that the Court dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and that Defendants' requests for sanctions be denied. (R&R 21, Docket Entry No. 37.) Plaintiff objected to the portion of the R&R recommending dismissal of the Complaint. (Pl. Obj. to R&R (“Pl. Obj.”), Docket Entry No. 39.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the R&R in its entirety, dismisses the Complaint without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and denies Defendants' requests for sanctions.

         I. Background

         a. Factual background

         The Court assumes the truth of the allegations in the Complaint for the purpose of deciding Defendants' motions. Plaintiff's claims arise from various alleged incidents that took place between 2013 and 2016. During these incidents, Lyons - with whom Plaintiff shares a daughter - allegedly presented false evidence and made false accusations regarding Plaintiff in the course of state court proceedings, on social media websites, and to law enforcement. (Compl. ¶¶ 1-11.)

         On or about July 27, 2013, Lyons and Bogle allegedly “acted in cohesion” to create a falsified image of Lyons with bruises on her body, intending to falsely accuse Plaintiff of physically harming h er.[1] (Id. ¶ 7.) According to Plaintiff, these images were introduced into evidence during a trial in New Yo r k state family court. (Id.) The Complaint states that the action was ultimately dismissed, but does not include any other details about the proceedings. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that on September 8, 2015, Lyons made a false report to the Newark, New Jersey Police Department, alleging that Plaintiff published false information about her on social media websites and threatened to harm her. (Id. ¶ 4.) The same d a y, Lyons obtained an order of protection against Plaintiff based on similar false accusations, which prevented Plaintiff from acquiring a handgun license in order to obtain a job as a collection agent with the New Yo r k City Transit Authority. (Id. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff alleges that, in total, Lyons obtained four orders of protection against him based on false accusations. (Id. ¶ 10.)

         On September 14, 2015, Plaintiff was tried in New Jersey state court for “[t]erroristic [t]hreats” arising from the complaints Lyons made to the Newark Police Department. (Id. ¶¶ 4- 5.) Plaintiff alleges that during the proceedings, Lyo ns used the falsified image she and Bogle created and also gave untruthful testimony while she was cross-examined. (Id. ¶ 5.) Plaintiff was found not guilty. (Id.)

         On July 17, 2016, when Lyons met Plaintiff at the 78th Precinct in Brooklyn, New Yo r k to turn over custody of their daughter, Lyo n s falsely told police officers that Plaintiff had sexually abused their daughter, and showed them images of child pornography, which she claimed came from Plaintiff's computer. (Id. ¶ 1.) Plaintiff was detained for questioning for several hours, during which time Lyo ns left the precinct with their daughter without turning custody over to Plaintiff. (Id.)

         On July 28, 2016, during proceedings in New Jersey state court, Lyons falsely stated that Plaintiff was under state and federal investigation related to possession of child pornography. (Id. ¶ 2.) As a result, the judge suspended Plaintiff's custody and visitation rights with his daughter. (Id. ¶ 3.) On August 31, 2016, the court determined that Lyo ns ' allegations were fabricated. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that Lyons also falsely accused him of physically harming her in other New Jersey state court proceedings that took place in or around September of 2015, (id. ¶ 8), and on social media websites, (id. ¶ 11).

         Plaintiff seeks $150, 000 in damages from Lyo ns and $25, 000 in damages from Bogle, as well as punitive damages in an amount “the [C]ourt deems justif[ied].” (Id. at 6.)

         b. Procedural background

         Plaintiff filed this action on September 15, 2016. (Compl.) Lyons and Bogle moved to dismiss the Complaint on August 9, 2017. (Bogle Mot.; Lyons Mot.) On August 25, 2017, the Court referred the motions to Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak for a report and recommendation, (see Order dated Aug. 25, 2017), and on September 5, 2017, the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara, (see Order dated Sept. 5, 2017). Judge Bulsara recommended that the Complaint be dismissed without prejudice for lack of diversity jurisdiction, [2] and that Defendants' requests for sanctions be denied. (R&R 21.)

         Judge Bulsara found that Plaintiff and Lyons are both domiciled in New York. (Id. at 7.) In determining Lyons' state of citizenship, Judge Bulsara reviewed the submissions from Lyons, purporting to establish that she is domiciled in New York, as well as the submissions from Plaintiff, purporting to establish that Lyons is domiciled in New Jersey.[3] (See Lyons Letter dated Nov. 3, 2017, Docket Entry No. 29; Lyons Letter dated Nov. 27, 2017, Docket Entry No. 31; Lyons Letter dated Dec. 19, 2017, Docket Entry No. 34; Pl. Letter dated Dec. 14, 2017, Docket Entry No. 35; Morales Letter dated Dec. 20, 2017, Docket Entry No. 36.)

         With respect to Lyons' ties to New Jersey, Judge Bulsara observed that the Complaint was served on Lyons at an address located in Newark, New Jersey, and also noted Lyons' statements in her Answer and moving papers that she is a resident of that state. (R&R 8-9.) Judge Bulsara also considered evidence submitted by Plaintiff, consisting of three transcripts of proceedings in Kings County Family Court, dated August 27, 2014, July 1, 2016, and September 27, 2016, during which Lyons stated that she resides in Orange, New Jersey. (See Tr. of State Court Proceedings, annexed to Pl. Letter dated Dec. 14, 2017 as Exs. A-C.) Plaintiff also submitted other documents which list Lyons' address as the same Orange, New Jersey location: a Notice of Emergency Removal and a Complaint, dated August 26, 2015 and August 28, 2015, respectively, both from a New Jersey state court child removal proceeding, (Notice of Emergency Removal and Compl., annexed to Pl. Letter dated Dec. 14, 2017 as Exs. D and E); photocopies of Lyons' 2015 tax filings, (2015 Tax Filings, annexed to Pl. Letter dated Dec. 14, 2017 as Ex. F); a Petition for a Modification of an Order of Support dated March 22, 2016, and a Financial Disclosure Affidavit dated April 19, 2016, both of which were filed by Lyons in Kings County Family Court, (Pet. for Modification and Fin. Disclosure Aff., annexed to Pl. Letter dated Dec. 14, 2017 as Exs. G and H); and Lyons' earnings statements for the pay periods ending March 15, 2016, March 31, 2016, April 15, 2016, May 31, 2016, and June 30, 2016, [4] (Earnings Statements, annexed to Pl. Letter dated Dec. 14, 2017 as Ex. I).

         Judge Bulsara nevertheless concluded that “[b]ased on the record . . . Plaintiff has not met his burden of establishing that Ms. Lyons is a citizen of a state other than New York.” (R&R 8.) Judge Bulsara noted Lyons' November 3, 2017 letter to the Court, in which Lyons explained that while she “currently reside[s] in the state of New Jersey, [her] legal residence is the [s]tate of New York, which [Plaintiff] is aware of.” (Lyons Letter dated Nov. 3, 2017; R&R 11.) In support of her assertion, Lyons provided a copy of her New York state driver's license, which bears a Staten Island, New York address. (New York Driver's License, annexed to Lyons Letter dated Nov. 3, 2017 at 22.)[5] The license was issued on January 20, 2015 and expires on January 21, 2023. (Id.) Lyons also submitted a separate letter explaining that since 2013, she had been splitting her time between New York and one of her mother's homes, located at 119 Ward Street in Orange, New Jersey. (Lyons Letter dated Nov. 27, 2017.) Lyons further stated that she began spending less time at her mother's home after Plaintiff “plac[e]d the Orange, N[ew] J[ersey] address on the internet on 8/30/2015 . . . .” (Id.)

         Judge Bulsara also considered additional documentation suggesting that Lyons is domiciled in New York. On December 19, 2017, Lyons submitted photocopies of her car insurance information, earnings statements, and the birth certificate of her younger daughter. (Lyons Letter dated Dec. 19, 2017.) The car insurance documentation includes photocopies of two New York state car insurance identification cards, one effective October 1, 2015 through April 1, 2016, and the other effective October 1, 2016 through April 1, 2017. (Id. at 7-8.) Both cards indicate that Lyons has a Staten Island, New York address, (id.), as do the earnings statements, dated May 31, 2016, June 30, 2016 and October 31, 2016, (id. at 10-12); and the birth certificate, dated October 14, 2013, (id. at 13).[6]

         Weighing the evidence, Judge Bulsara found that Plaintiff has, at most, established that Lyons has resided in New Jersey, but has not established New Jersey as her domicile for purposes of diversity of citizenship. (R&R 12.) As the R&R notes, because Lyons “ha[d] once been a citizen of New York, the evidence is insufficient to establish - notwithstanding the references to the New Jersey address and the New Jersey tax return - that Ms. Lyons ever intended to change her domicile from New York to New Jersey.” (R&R 15.)

         Judge Bulsara also recommended that the Court dismiss the claim against Bogle. (R&R 16-17.) Judge Bulsara concluded that there is no diversity jurisdiction over the claim against Bogle because it does not meet the amount-in-controversy requirement, (R&R 16), and recommended that the Court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the claim without a proper basis for original federal jurisdiction, (R&R 17).

         II. Discussion

         a. ...


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.