United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 29)
C. Hall, United States District Judge.
plaintiff, Michael Fleurizard, filed a Second Amended
Complaint on October 26, 2016. See Second Amended
Complaint (“Second Am. Compl.”) (Doc. No. 15).
Fleurizard brought claims under section 1983 of title 42 of
the United States Code, for violations of his Fourth, Eighth,
and Fourteenth Amendment rights against a number of
defendants. Id. After the court's Order
Affirming, Adopting, and Ratifying the Recommended Ruling
Regarding the Second Amended Complaint on December 27, 2017,
dismissed some of the defendants, claims remained against
four defendants: the City of New Haven and individual
defendants, Police Officers Dean D. Reynolds, Ben Hines, and
M. Foster in their individual capacities. See
Recommended Ruling re: Second Amended Complaint
(“Rec'd Ruling 3”) (Doc. No. 17); Order
Affirming, Adopting, and Ratifying Recommended Ruling 3
(“Order Adopting Rec'd Ruling 3”) (Doc. No.
Reynolds, Hines, and Foster now move to dismiss all counts
against them. See Motion to Dismiss (“Mot. to
Dismiss”) (Doc. No. 29).
reasons below, the court grants the Motion to Dismiss on all
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
procedural history of this case provides context for the
court's current dismissal. On July 18, 2016, Fleurizard
filed an initial Complaint, which was dated July 14, 2016,
and moved to proceed in forma pauperis. See
Complaint (“Compl.”); Motion to Proceed In
Forma Pauperis (Doc. No. 2). The Complaint raised claims
pursuant to section 1983 against the City of New Haven, the
New Haven Police Department, and individual defendants,
Police Officers Reynolds, Hines, and Foster. See id.
The counts in the Complaint alleged violations of
Fleurizard's right to be free from false arrest and
malicious prosecution, his Eighth Amendment right against
cruel and unusual punishment, his Fourteenth Amendment right
to equal protection, and his Fourteenth Amendment right of
due process. See id.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), Magistrate Judge Merriam
issued a Recommended Ruling dismissing the Complaint.
See Recommended Ruling (“Rec'd Ruling 1)
(Doc. No. 7). Specifically, the Recommended Ruling dismissed
with prejudice all claims against the New Haven Police
Department, all claims against the individual defendants in
their official capacities, any claim of false arrest and
malicious prosecution, and any substantive due process claim.
See id. at 16. The Recommended Ruling dismissed all
other claims without prejudice, granting Fleurizard leave to
replead. See id. The court adopted the Recommended
Ruling on August 17, 2016. Order Affirming, Adopting, and
Ratifying Recommended Ruling 1 (Doc. No. 8); see
also Order re: Objection to Recommended Ruling (Doc. No.
filed an Amended Complaint on September 22, 2016.
See Amended Complaint (“Am. Compl.”)
(Doc. No. 13). The Amended Complaint named all of the
defendants in the original complaint, including the New Haven
Police Department against which the Complaint was previously
dismissed with prejudice, and added four additional
defendants in their individual capacity: Robert Fairwheather,
Tierra Garrett, Jane Doe, and Jane Doe 1. See id.
With some added factual allegations, the Amended Complaint
repeated substantially the same claims as the original
Complaint, again including those already dismissed with
prejudice. See id. at ¶ 10. It also added facts
asserting the use of excessive force in violation of the
Fourth Amendment. See id. at ¶ 7. However, the
Amended Complaint failed to cure the majority of the
shortcomings identified in the first Recommended Ruling.
Accordingly, Magistrate Judge Merriam issued, and the court
adopted, another Recommended Ruling pursuant to section
1915(e)(2)(B). See Recommended Ruling
(“Rec'd Ruling 2”) (Doc. No. 14); Order
Affirming, Adopting, and Ratifying Recommended Ruling 2 (Doc.
No. 16). In it, the court reaffirmed its prior dismissals
with prejudice, dismissed with prejudice any claims against
the four new defendants, and dismissed without prejudice all
other claims except the excessive force claim against
defendants Hines and Reynolds in their individual capacities.
See Rec'd Ruling 2 at 15-16.
October 26, 2016, Fleurizard filed a Second Amended
Complaint, now the current operative complaint in the case.
See Second Amended Complaint. The Second Amended
Complaint names all of the same defendants and raises all of
the same claims as the Amended Complaint, again including
those dismissed with prejudice. See id. Magistrate
Judge Merriam issued, and the court adopted, a third
Recommended Ruling pursuant to section 1915(e)(2)(B).
See Rec'd Ruling 3; Order Adopting Rec'd
Ruling 3. The Recommended Ruling again reaffirmed its prior
dismissals with prejudice. See Rec'd Ruling 3 at
15-16. Accordingly, the only claims that were permitted to
proceed to service, and that now appear before the court, are
those of (1) excessive force, (2) racial discrimination and
violation of equal protection, (3) cruel and unusual
punishment, and (4) violation of procedural due process
against the City of New Haven and defendants Hines, Reynolds,
and Foster in their individual capacities. See id.
these remaining counts, the relevant facts alleged in the
Second Amended Complaint are as follows. Fleurizard
alleges that, on July 12, 2013, he called the police after
being assaulted and threatened by Robert Fairwheather.
See Second Am. Compl. at ¶ 8. After the police
officers arrived, Fleurizard claims that an unnamed officer
initially told him that he would not be arrested, but then
proceeded to arrest him after the officer spoke with
defendant Police Officer Hines. See id. Hines
handcuffed Fleurizard, “squeezed the handcuffs
tighter” on his wrists, and did not loosen them despite
Fleurizard's requests. See id. Hines behaved in
a manner that was “boisterous and belligerent, ”
“used racial epithets, ” and “was loud and
disrespectful in the plaintiff's residence.”
See id. Fleurizard also alleges that defendants
Reynolds and Foster were the other officers on duty at the
time with Hines. See id.
his arrest, Fleurizard was placed in a transportation van to
be brought to the Union Avenue jail. See id. He
“explained that he was hurt and in pain, ” so the
transportation sheriff brought him to the hospital, where
Fleurizard was seen by a doctor before being transported to
the jail. See id. Fleurizard alleges that his
injuries worsened because he did not subsequently receive
medical treatment at the correctional facility. See
id. He further claims that unreasonable bail led him to
lose his job and forced him to plead guilty. See id.
Finally, Fleurizard alleges that the City of New Haven had a
policy of allowing police to address domestic violence cases
without proper training and of allowing the same police
officers who arrested individuals to set bail bonds that
those individuals could not post. See id.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires a complaint to plead
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a).
Under Rule 12(b)(6), to survive a motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim, that plain statement must allege
facts sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief.
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557
(2007). “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). While this plausibility
standard does not require probability, it is not satisfied by
“a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully” or by facts that are “merely
consistent with a defendant's liability.”
Id. (internal citations omitted).
deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court
must accept all material factual allegations of the complaint
as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff. Hemi Grp., LLC v. City of New York, 559
U.S. 1, 5 (2010); Jaghory v. N.Y. State Dep't
Educ., 131 F.3d 326, 329 (2d Cir. 1997). However, the
court is not required to accept as true a “legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). In
those instances, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements
of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.