Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Anderson v. City of New Britain

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 7, 2017

CITY OF NEW BRITAIN, et al., Defendants.


          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge.

         Michael 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 conspiracy.

         I. Standard of Review

         Under 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).

         Although 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 Cir. 2009).

         II. Factual Allegations

         On May 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. Id.

         Mr. 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.

         “These 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.[1]

III. Discussion

         Mr. 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.

         To 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.

         The 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.

         Finally, 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, Mr. ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.