United States District Court, N.D. New York
OF JARROD W. SMITH Counsel for Plaintiff
W. SMITH, ESQ.
ORDER AND REPORT-RECOMMENDATION
THÉRÈSE WILEY DANCKS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
September 8, 2017, Plaintiff Tyrone Matthews filed a
counseled civil rights complaint, brought under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, against Defendants County of Cayuga, Cayuga
County Sheriff's Department, Cayuga County District
Attorney's Office, Cayuga County District Attorney Jon E.
Budelmann, Cayuga County Senior Assistant District Attorney
Christopher Valdina, City of Auburn, and Auburn City Police
Department, along with an application to proceed in forma
pauperis (“IFP Application”). (Dkt. Nos. 1,
2.) On September 28, 2017, Plaintiff's IFP application
was denied without prejudice. (Dkt. No. 4.) Plaintiff filed a
second IFP Application on October 5, 2017. (Dkt. No. 5.)
Order and Report-Recommendation filed November 27, 2017, the
undersigned granted Plaintiff's second IFP Application
but upon initial review of the complaint recommended that (1)
Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against Cayuga County
District Attorney's Office, District Attorney Budelmann,
Senior Assistant District Attorney Valdina, Cayuga County
Sheriff's Department, and Auburn City Police Department
be dismissed with prejudice; (2) Plaintiff's § 1983
claims against the County of Cayuga and City of Auburn be
dismissed without prejudice; and (3) the District Court
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's state law claims. (Dkt. No. 6.) As to the
claims against Budelmann and Valdina, this Court determined
they were entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity.
Id. at 12-13.
being granted two extensions of time in which to submit his
objections to the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. Nos. 7, 8, 9,
10), Plaintiff's counsel indicated he would not be filing
objections and instead, by letter motion January 24, 2018,
requested permission to file an amended complaint. (Dkt. No.
11.) Plaintiff's letter motion was granted as a matter of
right. (Dkt. No. 12.)
February 3, 2018, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint (Dkt.
No. 13), which rendered moot the findings and recommendations
made by this Court regarding Plaintiff's original
complaint. (Dkt. No. 15.) Accordingly, on February 13, 2018,
the Hon. Mae A. D'Agostino, United States District Judge,
rejected the Report-Recommendation as moot and referred the
amended complaint for initial review. Id. Also
before the Court is Plaintiff's February 5, 2018, letter
motion to appoint the United States Marshal to serve the
summons and amended complaint upon all Defendants. (Dkt. No.
found that Plaintiff meets the financial criteria for
commencing this case in forma pauperis, the Court
must consider the sufficiency of the allegations set forth in
the amended complaint in light of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
Section 1915(e) directs that when a plaintiff proceeds in
forma pauperis, “the court shall dismiss the case
at any time if the court determines 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).
determining whether an action is frivolous, the court must
look to see whether the complaint lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “An action is frivolous when
either: (1) the factual contentions are clearly baseless such
as when the claims are the product of delusion or fantasy; or
(2) the claim is based on an indisputably meritless legal
theory.” Livingston v. Adirondack Beverage
Co., 141 F.3d 434, 437 (2d Cir. 1998) (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted).
survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, a complaint
must plead enough facts to state a claim 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). While Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, which sets forth the general rules of
pleading, “does not require detailed factual
allegations, . . . it demands more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-harmed-me accusation.” Id.
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In
determining whether a complaint states a claim upon which
relief may be granted, “the court must accept the
material facts alleged in the complaint as true and construe
all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's
favor.” Hernandez v. Coughlin, 18 F.3d 133,
136 (2d Cir. 1994) (citation omitted). “[T]he tenet
that a court must accept as true all of the allegations
contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal
conclusions.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
amended complaint seeks unspecified money damages for
conspiracy, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious
prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress. (Dkt. No. 13.) Generally, Plaintiff claims he was
“accused of being a drug dealer when he was not.
Plaintiff was a drug addict and was nothing more than an
agent of a drug dealer.” Id. at ¶ 31. In
addition to original Defendants County of Cayuga and City of
Auburn, new Defendants are City of Auburn police officers
Jeffrey Catalfano, Matthew Androsko, David Edmonds, Andrew
Penczek, Andrew Skardinski, and Timothy Spingler (together,
“law enforcement officers”), along with Shawn I.
Butler, Chief of the Auburn Police Department. Id.
at ¶¶ 9, 10, 15-22. Unfortunately, as explained by
Judge D'Agostino, despite this Court's previous
Report-Recommendation, Plaintiff's counsel has again
included claims against Defendants Budelmann and Valdina,
including that they failed to instruct the grand jury on a
potential affirmative defense. Id. at ¶¶
13, 14, 62; Dkt. No. 15.
September 23, 2015, non-party former Assistant District
Attorney Jeffrey Domachowski presented the charges of
Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree
Penal Law § 220.339(1) (two counts), Criminal Possession
of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree Penal Law
§ 220.16(1) (two counts), and Criminal Possession of a
Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree Penal Law §
220.03 (two counts) to a Cayuga County Grand Jury.
Id. at ¶ 28. Plaintiff alleges Budelmann and
Valdina ordered Domachowski to present the case to grand jury
without presenting the agency doctrine. Id. at
¶¶ 41, 46.
September 30, 2015, Plaintiff entered the Cayuga County Jail.
Id. at ¶ 29. He was arraigned on Sealed
Indictment Number 2015-144 for the above-referenced crimes.
Id. On July 7, 2016, Plaintiff was also indicted and
arraigned on Sealed Indictment Number 2016-096 for the
alleged crime of Criminal Possession of a Controlled
Substance in the Third Degree Penal Law § 220.03.
Id. at ¶ 30. Plaintiff claims the felony
charges were made maliciously and without probable cause.
alleges the law enforcement officers “did not have
probable cause to arrest Plaintiff for the felony charges
knowing that he was an agent not a dealer.”
Id. at ¶ 31. Plaintiff claims Butler trained
and supervised the law enforcement officers and
“exercised and delegated his municipal ...