United States District Court, N.D. New York
JAMES P. MHINA, Plaintiff,
BETH VAN DOREN et al., Defendants.
THE PLAINTIFF: James P. Mhina Pro Se.
THE DEFENDANTS: Beth Van Doren Onondaga County Attorney's
Office, John H. Mulroy Civic Center, KAREN ANN BLESKOSKI,
Anthony Colavita  and David Buske City of Syracuse
Corporation Counsel, AMANDA R. HARRINGTON, ESQ.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
L. Sharpe Senior District Judge.
pro se James P. Mhina brings claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and New York State common law against Beth Van
Doren, Assistant District Attorney for Onondaga County, and
Anthony Colavita and David Buske, City of Syracuse Police
Detectives. (2d Am. Compl., Dkt. No. 24.) Pending are Van
Doren's motion to dismiss, (Dkt. No. 128), and a motion
to dismiss filed by Colavita and Buske, (Dkt. No. 133). For
the reasons stated below, Van Doren's motion is granted
and Colavita's and Buske's motion is granted in part
and denied in part.
prolix second amended complaint, Mhina generally alleges that
defendants cooperated to file and prosecute criminal charges
against him between 2006 and 2009. (See generally 2d
Am. Compl.) Mhina appears to have been arrested and charged
by the City of Syracuse Police Department for petit larceny,
attempted grand larceny, and possession of a forged
instrument. (Id. at 10, 12-13.) Additionally,
according to public records, Mhina was charged with
falsifying business records and scheme to defraud. See
People v. Mhina, 110 A.D.3d 1445, 1446 (4th Dep't
2013). In 2009, upon a jury verdict, Mhina was
convicted of three counts of criminal possession of a forged
instrument in the second degree, two counts of falsifying
business records in the first degree, and one count of scheme
to defraud. See Id. at 1445-46. His conviction was
subsequently overturned on appeal. See Id. at 1447.
Mhina alleges that he was released after serving more than
seven-and-a-half years in prison. (2d Am. Compl. at 3.)
the court can decipher, Mhina alleges the following. In 2006,
Woodhaven Apartments failed to return a $1, 700.00 check to
him and instead turned it over to the Syracuse Police
Department. (Id. at 2, 7.) Defendants then coerced
Woodhaven Apartments and its owner to file criminal charges
of attempted grand larceny. (Id. at 3.) In October
2006, Colavita and Buske arrested Mhina for petit larceny and
attempted grand larceny. (Id. at 10.) Colavita and
Buske, who are white, “used bigotry” when they
arrested Mhina, “a black man of African origin.”
(Id. at 12.) They called Mhina a
“‘niger'” and said “that he was
going to be at home with other ‘nigers' where they
belong, in prisons and in jails.”
(Id.) In June 2007, while investigating another
charge, Colavita and Buske coerced a Bank of America employee
to lie and fraudulently bring charges against Mhina.
(Id. at 12-13.) Colavita and Buske also testified at
Mhina's trial and “lied using false testimony of
[the bank employee].” (Id. at 13-14.)
. . . Van Doren was conducting and performing administrative
[sic] and investigating . . . Mhina, [she] coerced [a
Citizens Bank employee] to change a true bank record
statements [sic] to fit a crime of petit larceny.”
(Id. at 19.) Van Doren used this statement to
certify an arrest warrant for Mhina. (Id.) She also
used “false, fraudulent, coerced evidence” during
Mhina's trial. (Id. at 21.) Additionally, Van
Doren interfered with Mhina's “corporate business
contracts profits” when she coerced the Citizens Bank
employee “to change true bank statements.”
(Id. at 22.) In 2008, defendants also coerced a bank
employee to lie and “bring” fraudulent criminal
charges of possession of a forged instrument. (Id.
at 55.) It is far from clear how all of these events are
related, if at all.
seeks, among other relief, “$100, 000, 000,
000.00” in damages. (Id. at 15.)
initially filed suit against over a dozen defendants on March
20, 2015. (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After various dismissals,
(Dkt. Nos. 11, 22, 115), the only defendants remaining are
Van Doren, Colavita, and Buske. Mhina's second amended
complaint can be read as bringing claims of false arrest,
malicious prosecution, and conspiracy under both Section 1983
and New York State common law. (See generally 2d Am.
Compl.) He also brings a Section 1981 claim against Colavita and
Buske and a New York State common law tortious interference
claim against Van Doren. (Id.)
are Van Doren's motion to dismiss, (Dkt. No. 128), and
Colavita's and Buske's motion to dismiss, (Dkt. No.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a cause of
action shall be dismissed if a complaint fails “to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” For a
full discussion of the governing standard for Rule 12(b)(6),
the court refers the parties to its prior decision in
Ellis v. Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP, 701 F.Supp.2d
215, 218 (N.D.N.Y. 2010).