United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ROBERT A. CANE, Plaintiff,
NEW BRITAIN POLICE DEP'T, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL, United States District Judge
A. Cane resided in New Britain, Connecticut, when he
initiated this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against the New Britain Police Department, Police Chief James
Wardell, Captain Thomas Steck, Sergeants Carlos Burgos and
Arthur Powers, Officers Peter Scirpo, Francesco
Barbagiovanni, Amando Elias, Egan and Saylor, Detectives
Daniel McBride and Carl Mordasiwicz, Lieutenant Rodriguez and
Dog Warden Russo. Cane is currently incarcerated at the
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution. On October 11,
2016, the court granted Cane leave to proceed in forma
has filed a motion for appointment of counsel and motions for
extension of time to serve the complaint. For the reasons set
forth below, the complaint will be dismissed in part and the
motions for appointment of counsel and for extension of time
will be denied.
Standard of Review
the court grants in forma pauperis status, it must
conduct an initial screening of the complaint to ensure that
the case is sufficiently meritorious to proceed. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. Subsection (e) of that provision protects
against abuses of the in forma pauperis privilege by
providing that the Court “shall dismiss the case at any
time if the court determines that . . . the action . . . (i)
is frivolous or malicious; or (ii) fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. §
is “frivolous” if it lacks an arguable basis in
either law or fact. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989). As the Supreme Court explained in
Neitzke, section 1915(e)(2) “accords judges
not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the usual power
to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations
and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are
clearly baseless.” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.
detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must
include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice
of the claims and grounds upon which they are based and to
demonstrate a plausible right to relief. Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory
allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. Nevertheless, it is well-established that
“[p]ro se complaints ‘must be construed
liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments
that they suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of Am.,
723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Triestman v.
Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir.
2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90.
101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude
for pro se litigants).
October 7, 2013, Cane was sleeping in the living room of his
home located at 830 Slater Road in New Britain, Connecticut.
Cane woke up when he heard activity outside his home. Out of
his window he could see that New Britain police officers were
blocking the area in front of his home. An officer directed
Cane to come out of his house. Cane went out on his front
porch and asked if the officers had a warrant. They indicated
that they did not possess a warrant. Cane told them to come
back with a warrant and went back inside his home.
officer telephoned Cane and directed him to exit the fenced
area of his yard so that they could talk. Captain Steck,
Sergeant Burgos, Officers Scirpo, Barbagiovanni and Elias and
Detective McBride were armed with rifles and intimidated Cane
as he stood in his yard and on his porch. Sergeant Powers
threatened Cane during several phone calls. Cane repeatedly
told the officers to come back to his home with a warrant.
thirty minutes of verbal harassment and intimidation,
Officers Saylor and Egan, Lieutenant Rodriguez and Detective
Mordasiwicz entered Cane's property over the fence
surrounding his yard and cut a hole in his garage. Cane
feared for his life and surrendered to Officers Saylor and
Egan, Lieutenant Rodriguez and Detective Mordasiwicz.
Although Cane made those police officers and officials aware
that he did not possess any weapons, they tackled him to the
ground from behind using excessive force. Cane sustained a
tear in his right rotator cuff that subsequently required
surgery. Officers Saylor and Egan, Lieutenant Rodriguez and
Detective Mordasiwicz took Cane into custody and removed him
from his property.
Steck, Sergeant Burgos, Officers Scirpo, Barbagiovanni,
Elias, Egan and Saylor, Detectives McBride and Mordasiwicz,
Lieutenant Rodriguez and Dog Warden Russo then entered
Cane's home without a warrant, searched it and seized
various items of contraband. The items seized were used to
obtain a search warrant the following day and to support
Cane's arrest on felony charges. Chief Wardell supervised
the searches of Cane's home.
Claims against New ...