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Mhina v. Doren

United States District Court, N.D. New York

August 1, 2018

JAMES P. MHINA, Plaintiff,
v.
BETH VAN DOREN et al., Defendants.

          FOR THE PLAINTIFF: James P. Mhina Pro Se.

          FOR THE DEFENDANTS: Beth Van Doren Onondaga County Attorney's Office, John H. Mulroy Civic Center, KAREN ANN BLESKOSKI, ESQ.

          Anthony Colavita [1] and David Buske City of Syracuse Corporation Counsel, AMANDA R. HARRINGTON, ESQ.

          MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

          Gary L. Sharpe Senior District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff 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.

         II. Background

         A. Facts[2]

         In his 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).[3] 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.)

         As best 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.)[4] 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.)

         “When . . . 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.)[5] 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.

         Mhina seeks, among other relief, “$100, 000, 000, 000.00” in damages. (Id. at 15.)

         B. Procedural History

         Mhina 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.[6] 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[7] claim against Colavita and Buske and a New York State common law tortious interference claim against Van Doren. (Id.)[8]

         Pending are Van Doren's motion to dismiss, (Dkt. No. 128), and Colavita's and Buske's motion to dismiss, (Dkt. No. 133).

         III. Standard of Review

         Federal 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).

         IV. Discussion

         A. ...


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