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Margolies v. Millington

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 15, 2017

MICHAEL MARGOLIES, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
DARREN MILLINGTON, ET AL. Defendants.

          RULING RE: MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 16)

          Janet C. Hall United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Now before the court is the Motion to Dismiss the Complaint of the defendants Darren Millington (“Mr. Millington”), Courtney A. Millington (“Ms. Millington”), and William M. Agresta. Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 16). The action arises from an altercation between Margolies and the defendants at a school Halloween party, and a criminal action against Margolies arising therefrom.

         The defendants bring this Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 16) under Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), asserting that the Amended Complaint fails to state a federal claim, and that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the state claims. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) (Doc. No. 16); Defs.' Mem. In Support of their Mot. to Dismiss Pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) (Defs.' Mem.) (Doc. No. 17). Margolies opposes the Motion, arguing that the Amended Complaint does state a federal claim for relief, and the court should hear the state law claims under the supplemental jurisdiction statute. Br. in Opposition to Mot. to Dismiss (“Margolies' Br.”) (Doc. No. 19).

         For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Dismiss is DENIED. The court concludes that the Amended Complaint does properly state a claim under section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code against Mr. Millington and Ms. Millington. Because the court has jurisdiction over the federal claims, and the state claims arise from the same common nexus of fact as the federal claims, the court concludes that it has supplemental jurisdiction over the state claims. See 28 U.S.C. 1367.

         II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         Before the court can turn to the substance of the Motion, the court must first address the issue of which Complaint is operative. Although the Motion to Dismiss was addressed to the original Complaint, Doc. No. 1, after the Motion to Dismiss was joined, Margolies docketed an Amended Complaint. See Doc. No. 21. This Amended Complaint was docketed without permission of the court or any allegation of consent by the defendants. Margolies also made no representation as to whether he believed that the Amended Complaint mooted any of the defendants' arguments in the Motion to Dismiss.

         By the same token, the defendants have not objected to the Amended Complaint, nor alerted the court that they would like to update or file a new Motion to Dismiss. Indeed, the Joint Status Report acknowledges that an Amended Complaint has been filed, and that a Motion to Dismiss is currently pending. See Joint Status Report (Doc. No. 22). The Amended Complaint only changes a single paragraph, now alleging that, during the assault, Mr. Millington told Margolies not to fight back because Mr. Millington was a police officer. Am. Compl. at ¶ 13.

         Lacking any objection, and cognizant of Rule 15's command to grant leave to amend the complaint “when justice so requires, ” the court will construe the Amended Complaint as a Motion to Amend the Complaint, and grant it. Thus, the operative complaint is the Amended Complaint. Doc. No. 21. The court reminds counsel that, if they should desire to amend the Amended Complaint, they must request consent of the defendants or motion for leave of the court, as required by Rule 15(a). See Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a).

         The similarity of the Complaint and the Amended Complaint permits the court to analyze the Motion to Dismiss's arguments as they apply to the Amended Complaint even though the arguments were originally made against the Complaint. Compare Compl. (Doc. No. 1) with Am. Compl. (Doc. No. 21). The court will thus refer to the Amended Complaint throughout this opinion, as it is the operative Complaint.

         The following factual allegations are taken from the Amended Complaint and, therefore the court will accept them as true for the purposes of the Motion to Dismiss. See Johnson v. Priceline.com, Inc., 711 F.3d 271, 275 (2d Cir. 2013) (setting forth the standard of review for a motion to dismiss).[1]

         Courtney Millington is the ex-wife of the plaintiff, Michael Margolies, Jr. Am. Compl. at ¶ 8. They have three children together, and currently share joint custody of them. Id. at ¶¶ 8, 10. Ms. Millington is now married to Darren Millington, who is currently an officer in the Trumbull Police Department. Id. at ¶ 4. On October 30, 2015, Margolies and the defendants, as well as the three children, were at a Halloween party at the Daniels Farm Elementary School in Trumbull, Connecticut. Id. at ¶ 11. Margolies attempted to leave the party with his children, but Mr. Millington grabbed Margolies, put Margolies in a headlock, and then proceeded, with the assistance of Ms. Millington and Agresta, to beat and kick him. Id. at ¶ 13. During this, Mr. Millington told Margolies, “You know who I am. You know I'm a police officer. Don't fight back.” Id.

         After this incident, the three defendants together filed sworn statements with the Trumbull police, accusing Margolies of assaulting Ms. Millington and endangering the children. Id. at ¶ 14. On the basis of these statements, Margolies was arrested for risk of injury to a minor, assault in the third degree, and breach of peace. Id. at 15. All of these charges were dismissed on September 29, 2016. Id. at 16.

         The Amended Complaint alleges that Mr. and Ms. Millington together subjected Margolies to unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment, as enforceable through section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code. Id. at 19. It further alleges that Mr. Millington subjected Margolies to malicious prosecution in violation of the Fourth Amendment, as enforceable through section 1983. Id. at 20. Finally, the Amended Complaint alleges that all of the defendants subjected Margolies to assault and battery, defamation, malicious prosecution, ...


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