United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTIONS TO DISMISS
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
David Amory, alleges a number of federal and state claims
against the following Defendants: Joette Katz, Commissioner
of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families
(“DCF”); Michael Damici, social worker for DCF;
the Town of New Milford; Shawn Boyne, Police Chief of the New
Milford Police Department (“NMPD”); Peter
DeLouis, NMPD Detective; and James Mullin, NMPD
Detective. Mr. Amory's claims arise out of the
Defendants' participation in the investigation of alleged
child sexual abuse on the part of Mr. Amory. Defendants
removed the case to this Court in October 2015, and Mr. Amory
filed his Amended Complaint in May of 2016. Am. Compl., ECF
No. 45. Defendants Joette Katz, Commissioner of the
Connecticut Department of Children and Families
(“DCF”), and Michael Damici, DCF social worker
(together “State Defendants”) have moved to
dismiss Mr. Amory's claims under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
Defendants Town of New Milford, New Milford Police Chief
Shawn Boyne and Detectives Peter DeLouis and James Mullin
(together “Town Defendants”) have also filed a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).
reasons discussed below, Defendants' motions are GRANTED.
Amory formerly owned Top Flight Sports Center (“Top
Flight”), a business that provided sports instruction
to children. Am. Compl. ¶ 11. Several years after the
business opened, Top Flight began offering a childcare
program. Id. In an effort to keep payroll costs low,
Mr. Amory began working directly with the childcare program.
Id. at ¶¶ 11-12.
August 2011 Allegation of Abuse and Initial
August 2011, the New Milford Police Department
(“NMPD”) received a report accusing Mr. Amory of
inappropriately touching A.L., a seven-year-old girl who
attended the Top Flight childcare program. Id. at
¶ 13. A.L.'s parents contacted NMPD, and NMPD in
turn contacted the Connecticut Department of Children and
Families (“DCF”). Id. at ¶ 17. Less
than a week after receiving the report, DCF representatives
arrived at Top Flight along with representatives of the
Connecticut Department of Public Health (“DPH”)
to investigate the allegation of sexual abuse. Id.
at ¶ 18. DCF interviewed six staff members during that
visit, including Mr. Amory, as well as several children who
participated in the program. Id. A DCF Child Abuse
Investigation Team (“CAIT”) subsequently
conducted a forensic interview of A.L. Id. at ¶
21. Two months later, in November 2011, the NMPD interviewed
Mr. Amory about the alleged abuse. Id. at ¶ 24.
That same month, DCF sent Top Flight a written notice of
substantiation of abuse. Id.
December 2011, DPH informed Top Flight that its childcare
license had been violated and offered Mr. Amory an
opportunity for a compliance meeting to discuss the
at ¶ 26. Mr. Amory attended the compliance meeting in
January 2012 along with his attorney, Amy Klein. Id.
at ¶¶ 27-28. Ms. Klein declined DPH's offer to
hold a formal hearing and instead drafted a licensing
corrective action plan for DPH's review. Id. at
¶¶ 28-29. Mr. Amory and DPH ultimately agreed to a
licensing corrective action plan that removed Mr. Amory from
several responsibilities and restricted him to performing
only administrative duties. Id. at ¶ 29.
March 2012, DPH conducted a follow-up inspection of Top
Flight's records on site. Id. at ¶ 31. That
same week, during a meeting with Mr. Amory, DCF formally
reversed its previous substantiation of abuse, concluding
that there was ultimately not enough evidence to establish
that the alleged abuse took place, and they closed the case.
Id. at ¶ 33. Shortly thereafter, the NMPD case
was also closed. Id.
June 2012 Allegation of Abuse and Second
following months, Mr. Amory contacted DPH several times to
inquire about the status of his childcare license.
Id. at ¶¶ 38-39. In June 2012, before a
final decision had been issued regarding his license, Mr.
Amory agreed to help supervise a group of children while they
watched a movie as part of the Top Flight summer camp.
Id. at ¶ 42. During that time, M.M., a
seven-year-old girl who participated in the program, climbed
on Mr. Amory's leg while the movie was playing.
Id. at ¶ 43. Later that day, M.M. told her
stepfather that Mr. Amory had touched her inappropriately,
and M.M.'s parents subsequently made a report to the
NMPD. Id. at ¶¶ 46, 65. Top Flight
reported the incident to DCF. Id. at ¶ 48. A
licensed professional counselor selected by the DCF child
abuse investigation team conducted a forensic interview of
M.M., during which the child confirmed the allegations
against Mr. Amory. Id. at ¶ 57.
the incident was reported to the police and to DCF, DPH
contacted Mr. Amory and told him that the State would be
pursuing the revocation of his childcare license.
Id. at ¶ 55. Mr. Amory signed a voluntary
revocation of license, which was posted on the DPH website,
and Top Flight closed its summer camp that same week.
Id. The program's closure was featured in
several news programs and newspaper articles. Id. at
August 2012 Allegation of Abuse and Third
August 01, 2012, within two months of Top Flight's
closure, the NMPD received a third report of alleged child
sexual abuse on the part of Mr. Armory. Id. at
¶ 72. According to Mr. Amory, in the wake of the
program's closure, the parents of S.B., another child who
had participated in Top Flight's program, repeatedly
asked their daughter whether anything inappropriate had
happened during the program. Id. at ¶¶
72-73. After initially denying that anything had taken place,
S.B. eventually told them that Mr. Amory had touched her
inappropriately on several occasions. Id. S.B. was
eight years old at the time of the alleged contact.
Id. NMPD Detective Mullin conducted various
interviews in connection with S.B.'s allegations,
including interviews of S.B.'s immediate family and Top
Flight staff. Id. at ¶ 77. During the same time
frame, DCF posted a substantiation of abuse and neglect as to
the allegations regarding M.M. Id. at ¶ 78.
that month, the DCF child abuse investigation team conducted
a forensic interview of S.B., which Mr. Amory claims did not
incorporate DCF “best practices” and proper
interview protocols in the use of drawings and anatomical
dolls. Id. at ¶¶ 79, 81, 93-94. During the
interview, S.B. confirmed her previous allegations against
Mr. Amory. Id. at ¶ 94. On August 28, 2012,
Detective DeLouis completed an affidavit for an arrest
warrant application in connection with the alleged sexual
assault of both M.M. and S.B., and the arrest warrant was
signed by a magistrate judge on October 2, 2012. Id.
at ¶¶ 96, 101. On September 27, 2012, DCF posted a
final notice of substantiation as to S.B.'s allegations,
signed by DCF social worker Damici. Id. at ¶
Criminal Prosecution of Mr. Amory
arrest warrant was executed, and two separate criminal sexual
assault charges were brought against Mr. Amory. Id.
at ¶ 109. The case went to trial before a jury in
Connecticut Superior Court in May of 2015. Id. The
trial lasted almost two weeks, and the jury ultimately
returned a verdict of Not Guilty. Id. at ¶ 113.
In light of the jury's verdict, all charges against Mr.
Amory were dismissed in July of 2015. Id. at ¶
STANDARD OF REVIEW
order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain
“sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “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.” Id. In determining whether a
complaint states a plausible entitlement to legal relief, the
Court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as
true and draw all reasonable inferences from those
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
See Nechis v. Oxford Health Plans, Inc., 421 F.3d
96, 100 (2d Cir. 2005).
“plausibility standard” is guided by “[t]wo
working principles.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
First, the requirement that a court accept as true the
allegations in a complaint “‘is inapplicable to
legal conclusions, ' and ‘[t]hreadbare recitals of
the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements, do not suffice.'” Harris
v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Second, to survive a motion
to dismiss, the claim for relief alleged in the complaint
must be plausible. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
Determining whether a ...