United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INIITAL REVIEW ORDER
A. Bolden United States District Judge.
Anderson (“Plaintiff”), currently incarcerated at
Enfield Correctional Institution in Enfield, Connecticut,
filed this Complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Mr. Anderson's Complaint was received on February
22, 2017, and his motion to proceed in forma
pauperis was granted on May 10, 2017. Mr. Anderson has
sued the City of New Britain and New Britain Police Officers
Rejean Ouellette, Devin Saylor, and Officer Pergolizza
(“Defendants”). Mr. Anderson asserts claims for
malicious prosecution, false arrest and imprisonment and
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must review prisoner
civil complaints against governmental actors and
“dismiss . . . any portion of [a] complaint [that] is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, ” or that “seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. 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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A
complaint that includes only “‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action . . . .'” or
“‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement'” does not meet
the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557
(2007)). Although courts have an obligation to
“construe a pro se complaint liberally,
” a pro se complaint must still include sufficient
factual allegations to meet the standard of facial
plausibility. Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d
5, 2014, Mr. Anderson stood near brick/concrete structures in
the back parking lot of 40 Walnut Street in New Britain,
Connecticut and looked for his friend. Compl., ECF No. 1 at
¶¶ 3. Instead of finding his friend, Mr. Anderson
saw several men who he did not know sitting on the
structures. Id. As Mr. Anderson walked away from the
area, Officer Ouellette pulled up in his police vehicle and
told Mr. Anderson to remain in the area. As he turned around,
Mr. Anderson noticed Officers Saylor and Pergolizza
approaching the area in an allegedly stealthy manner from
different directions. Id. at ¶ 7. Officer
Ouellette allegedly stated that the owner of the property did
not want people “hanging around” the area.
Id. at ¶ 9. However, there were no “No
Loitering” signs posted and the property owner had not
spoken to Mr. Anderson or others about loitering.
Anderson asked if he was under arrest. When the officers said
no, he began to leave. Id. at Addendum, p. 1.
Officer Ouellette then allegedly grabbed Mr. Anderson,
handcuffed him, searched him, and placed him in the back of
his vehicle. Id. Officer Ouellette spoke with the
other men for about fifteen minutes and then allowed them to
leave. Id. Officer Ouellette then removed Mr.
Anderson from the vehicle and removed the handcuffs. Officer
Ouellette gave Mr. Anderson a ticket for loitering and
released him. Id. After the officers left, Mr.
Anderson read the ticket. He was also accused of possession
of marijuana. Id.
cases” were nolled. Id. Mr. Anderson alleges
that he later learned that Officer Pergolizza submitted
documentation to the court that the marijuana was destroyed
the same day it was confiscated. Id. Mr. Anderson
filed a section 1983 action regarding this matter in state
court. Summary judgment was entered in favor of Defendants.
Id. at 8. After consulting with his criminal
attorney, Mr. Anderson surmises that he was arrested so that
he would receive a harsher sentence the next month when he
was sentenced following his guilty plea to attempted assault
on a police officer. Id. at 8-9. Mr. Anderson also
alleges that the officers wanted to expose him to a harsher
sentence because he had filed a lawsuit against New Britain
police officers, including Officer Saylor, in 2011.
Id. At 9.
Anderson asserts claims for false arrest or imprisonment and
malicious prosecution. To assert these claims under section
1983, Mr. Anderson must show that his Fourth Amendment rights
were violated and establish the elements of false arrest and
malicious prosecution claims under state law. See Walker
v. Sankhi, 494 F. App'x 140, 142 (2d Cir. 2012)
(citing Manganiello v. City of New York, 612 F.3d
149, 161-62 (2d Cir.2010) (malicious prosecution); Jaegly
v. Couch, 439 F.3d 149, 151-52 (2d Cir.2006) (false
arrest)). Neither claim accrues until criminal proceedings
are terminated in Mr. Anderson's favor. See Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 489 (1994) (malicious
prosecution); Miles v. City of Hartford, 445 F.
App'x 379, 383 (2d Cir. 2011) (false arrest). Mr.
Anderson alleges that the charges were nolled and does not
indicate that the nolle was conditional. Thus, he has alleged
facts satisfying the favorable termination requirement.
state a false arrest or false imprisonment claim, Mr.
Anderson must allege that Defendants unlawfully restrained
his physical liberty. See Russo v. City of
Bridgeport, 479 F.3d 196, 204 (2d Cir.), cert.
denied, 522 U.S. 818 (2007) (stating that unlawful
restraint is an essential element of false imprisonment and
false arrest claims). Mr. Anderson alleges that Officer
Ouellette handcuffed him and placed him in his police
vehicle. Compl., ¶ 5. He also alleges that the actions
of Officers Saylor and Pergolizza behaved “in a
stealthy manner to insure apprehension and as if to prevent
anyone, especially whomever they did not want to leave, from
leaving the area.” Id. at ¶ 8. These
allegations are sufficient to state plausible claims for
false arrest or imprisonment.
state law elements of a claim for malicious prosecution are
that the defendant initiated or continued criminal
proceedings against the plaintiff, the proceedings terminated
in plaintiff's favor, and the defendant acted without
probable cause and with malice. Roberts v.
Babkiewicz, 582 F.3d 418, 420 (2d Cir. 2009). Mr.
Anderson alleges that Defendant Saylor fabricated the
statement about destroying the marijuana allegedly found on
Mr. Anderson solely to ensure his prosecution on that charge.
Compl., p. 14. This is sufficient to state a plausible claim
for malicious prosecution.
Mr. Anderson alleges that Defendants conspired to accomplish
these actions and ensure his prosecution in retaliation for
filing a lawsuit against, inter alia, Officer
Saylor. Id. at p. 3. Because of these allegations,