United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS (DOC.
NOS. 21, 22, 24 & 27)
C. Hall United States District Judge
an action filed by plaintiff Eric Stevens (“Mr.
Stevens”) against Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy
(“Governor Malloy”), Connecticut Supreme Court
Justice Chase T. Rogers (“Chief Justice Rogers”),
Attorney Mary Bergamini (“Attorney Bergamini”),
Tiffany Khalily (“Tiffany”),  Edward Khalily
(“Edward”), Shahram Rabbani (“Shahram”),
Diana Rabbani (“Diana”), and police officer Scott
Segar (“Officer Segar”). Mr. Stevens’s
Complaint alleges that various unconstitutional, illegal, and
tortious acts by these defendants individually and in concert
have resulted in the destruction of his relationship with his
minor daughter, whom he has not seen in four years and has
not spoken to in 18 months. See Compl. at 1 ¶
1, 8 ¶ 30 (Doc. No. 1). Mr. Stevens seeks declaratory
and injunctive relief, as well as damages. See id.
of the defendants have filed Motions to Dismiss that are now
pending before the court. See Att’y
Bergamini’s Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 21); State
Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 22); Defs.’ Mot.
to Dismiss (Doc. No. 24); Defs.’ Sharam and Diana
Rabbani’s Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 27). Mr. Stevens
filed a single Opposition to all of the pending Motions.
See Pl.’s Mem. in Opp. to the Defs.’
Various Mots. to Dismiss (“Pl.’s Opp.”)
(Doc. No. 33). The defendants filed timely Replies.
See Reply Mem. of Law in Supp. of the State
Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 38); Att’y
Bergamini’s Reply to Stevens’ Opp. to the
Defs.’ Various Mots. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 39);
Defs.’ Sharam and Diana Rabbani’s Reply to Eric
Stevens’s Objection to Their Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No.
41); Defs.’ Reply to Pl.’s Opp. to the
Defs.’ Various Mots. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 42).
reasons that follow, the court concludes that Mr. Stevens
lacks standing to pursue his claims against defendants
Governor Malloy and Chief Justice Rogers, and therefore
GRANTS their Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 22). The court also
concludes that Mr. Stevens’s claims against defendant
Officer Segar should be dismissed without prejudice because
Mr. Stevens failed to effect proper service on Officer Segar
as required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Mr.
Stevens’s claims against the remaining defendants are
state claims and, in the absence of a remaining source of
federal jurisdiction, the court declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over these claims. Therefore, the
court directs that Mr. Stevens’s remaining claims be
dismissed without prejudice and TERMINATES AS MOOT the
pending Motions to Dismiss filed by these defendants.
Eric Stevens was formerly married to defendant Tiffany
Khalily. The couple had one child together, a daughter.
See Compl. at 4 ¶ 16 (Doc. No. 1). Mr. Stevens
filed for divorce in 2009. See id. at 3 ¶ 13.
In 2011, the couple’s divorce was finalized by
agreement and after an uncontested hearing. See id.
at 6 ¶ 20. As part of the divorce, Mr. Stevens and
Tiffany agreed that Tiffany would have full custody of the
couple’s daughter, with Mr. Stevens to receive
visitation. See id. After the divorce was finalized,
Mr. Stevens and Tiffany remained embroiled in post-judgment
litigation. See id. at 6 ¶ 21, 7 ¶ 22.
2012, nearly a year after their divorce was finalized,
Tiffany allegedly offered an acquaintance $5, 000 to kill Mr.
Stevens. See id. at 7 ¶ 23. Tiffany was
arrested and charged with attempt to commit murder. See
id. During the pendency of her criminal case, Tiffany
maintained custody of the couple’s minor child. See
id. at 7 ¶ 26. She was also able to relocate to New
York State. See id. Mr. Stevens has not seen his
daughter for nearly four years, and has not spoken to her in
18 months. See id. at 8 ¶ 30. During the period
in which Mr. Stevens has been separated from his daughter, he
has filed many motions in state court “seeking custody
of his daughter, visitation with his daughter, findings of
contempt against Tiffany Stevens and her counsel, and other
relief.” Id. at 10 ¶ 37. The state court
failed timely to adjudicate Motions filed by Mr. Stevens, who
appeared pro se, but did consider and rule on
Motions filed by Tiffany’s counsel. See id. at
11 ¶ 39.
Tiffany allegedly tried to have Mr. Stevens killed, a state
court ordered her not to have any contact with Mr. Stevens.
See id. at 7 ¶ 24. Notwithstanding that order
of no contact, Tiffany continued to contact Mr. Stevens by
telephone and text message to threaten and terrorize him.
See id. Mr. Stevens reported Tiffany’s efforts
to communicate with him to defendant Officer Segar, a police
officer employed by the Town of Simsbury. See id. at
3 ¶ 12, 13 ¶ 54. Officer Segar did not arrest
Tiffany, despite having probable cause to believe Tiffany was
violating the state court order of no contact. See
resolving a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), the
district court must take all uncontroverted facts in the
complaint . . . as true, and draw all reasonable inferences
in favor of the party asserting jurisdiction.”
Tandon v. Captain’s Cove Marina of Bridgeport,
Inc., 752 F.3d 239, 243 (2d Cir. 2014). Where
jurisdictional facts are in dispute, the court has the power
to decide issues of fact by reference to evidence outside the
pleadings, such as affidavits. See id. The burden is
on the plaintiff to establish jurisdiction. Renne v.
Geary, 501 U.S. 312, 316 (1991); see also
Tandon, 752 F.3d at 243 (noting that “the party
asserting subject matter jurisdiction has the burden of
proving by a preponderance of the evidence that it
exists” (internal quotations and citation omitted)).
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) is “the
proper procedural route” to bring a challenge to a
plaintiff’s Article III standing to adjudicate a claim.
Alliance for Environmental Renewal, Inc. v. Pyramid
Crossgates Co., 436 F.3d 82, 88 n.6 (2d Cir. 2006).
to Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, an
individual may properly be served either by “following
state law for serving a summons in an action brought in
courts of general jurisdiction in the state where the
district court is located or where service is made, ”
or by doing any of the following: “(A) delivering a
copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual
personally; (B) leaving a copy of each at the
individual’s dwelling or usual place of abode with
someone of suitable age and discretion who resides there; or
(C) delivering a copy of each to an agent authorized by
appointment or by law to receive service of process.”
law provides that “process in any civil action shall be
served by leaving a true and attested copy of it, including
the declaration or complaint, with the defendant, or at his
usual place of abode, in this state.” C.G.S.A. §
plaintiff fails to effect proper service upon a defendant and
the defendant does not waive service of process pursuant to
Rule 4(d), the plaintiff’s lawsuit may be subject to
dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(5). “On a Rule
12(b)(5) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff bears the burden of
establishing that service was sufficient.” Khan v.
Khan, 360 F. App’x 202, 203 (2d Cir. 2010). Even
if a defendant does not move for dismissal pursuant to Rule
12(b)(5), the court may sua sponte dismiss claims
against a defendant “after notice to the
plaintiff” if it appears that the defendant was not
timely and properly served. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m).
Stevens brings claims against defendants Governor Malloy,
Chief Justice Rogers, and Officer Segar under section 1983 of
title 42 of the United States Code for violations of his
rights under the United States Constitution. See
Compl. at 1 ¶ 2, 2 ¶ 3 (Doc. No. 1). Mr. Stevens
also brings supplemental state law claims against the other
defendants, who are all non-state actors. See id. at
1 ¶ 2; see also Pl.’s Opp. at 2 (Doc. No.
33) (characterizing Mr. Stevens’s claims against
Governor Malloy and Chief Justice Rogers as the only federal
claims in this action and stating that if the claims against
these defendants were dismissed, “state law claims
only” would remain). In the following Discussion, the
court concludes that (1) Mr. Stevens lacks standing to pursue
his claims against Governor Malloy and Chief Justice Rogers,
and (2) Mr. Stevens’s claims against Officer Segar
should be dismissed for failure to effect proper service
under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Therefore, the
court dismisses the claims against these three defendants
pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 4(m) of the Federal Rules.
dismissal of Mr. Stevens’s claims against these three
defendants means that “state law claims only [remain]
in this action.” Pl.’s Opp. at 2 (Doc. No. 33).
The court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
these claims, see 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3), and
therefore orders that Mr. Stevens’s remaining claims be
dismissed without prejudice to refile in state court.
Malloy and Chief Justice Rogers move to dismiss all of the
claims against them on the ground that Mr. Stevens lacks
standing to pursue this action. See Mem. of Law in
Supp. of State Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at 7
(“Malloy & Rogers MTD Mem.”) (Doc. No. 22-1).
Mr. Stevens responds that “[n]othing could be further
from the truth, ” because he “suffers immanent
[sic] future injury daily, as his relationship with his minor
daughter withers and dies.” Pl.’s Opp. at 15, 17
(Doc. No. 33). For the reasons that follow, the court agrees
with the defendants that Mr. Stevens lacks standing to pursue
his claims against Governor Malloy and Chief Justice Rogers.
As a result, the claims against Governor Malloy and Chief
Justice Rogers must be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1).
III of the United States Constitution provides that the
jurisdiction of federal courts is limited to certain
“cases” and “controversies.” U.S.
Const. art. III § 2. “One element of the
case-or-controversy requirement is that plaintiffs must
establish that they have standing to sue.” Clapper
v. Amnesty Intern. USA, 133 S.Ct. 1138, 1146 (2013)
(internal quotations and citation omitted). “To
establish Article III standing, a plaintiff must show (1) an
‘injury in fact, ’ (2) a sufficient ‘causal
connection between the injury and the conduct complained of,
’ and (3) a ‘likel[ihood]’ that the injury
will be ‘redressed by a favorable
decision.’” Susan B. Anthony List v.
Driehaus, 134 S.Ct. 2334, 2341 (2014) (quoting Lujan
v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992)).
The ultimate purpose of the standing requirement is to
mandate that plaintiffs “demonstrate a personal stake