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Conquistador v. City of Hartford

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 8, 2017

JEAN K. CONQUISTADOR, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF HARTFORD, et al., Defendants.

          RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          MICHAEL P. SHEA, U.S.D.J.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Jean Conquistador has brought this lawsuit against the City of Hartford, Police Chief Rovella, Deputy Chief Foley, Hartford Police Officer John Doe 1, Hartford Police Officer Velazquez, Hartford Police Officer Cashman, Hartford Police Officer Suarez, and Hartford Police Officer Flores, alleging a violation of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants move to dismiss the plaintiff's third amended complaint (ECF No. 86), filed in response to my order (ECF No. 84) dismissing the second amended complaint. Because the plaintiff's new complaint similarly fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, for the reasons stated below, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

         II. Background

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on November 9, 2015, along with a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1, 2.) On November 30, 2015, Magistrate Judge Sarah Merriam filed a Recommended Ruling, dismissing the complaint without prejudice and denying the motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 8.) On December 7, 2015, plaintiff filed an amended complaint. (ECF No. 12.) On July 28, 2015, District Judge Charles Haight approved Magistrate Judge Merriam's Recommended Ruling, but he accepted the amended complaint and granted the plaintiff's refiled motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 20.) Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint and add three defendants on May 25, 2016. (ECF No. 28.) The Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint on June 8, 2016. (ECF No. 29.) On August 22, 2016, the Court granted plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint and accepted the second amended complaint, denying the defendants' Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 56.) The defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint on September 2, 2016. (ECF No. 60.) This case was transferred to this Court on October 5, 2016. I granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the second amended complaint on March 13, 2017. I allowed the plaintiff leave to amend his complaint with regard to the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims against the City of Hartford and the defendant officers. On March 20, 2017, the plaintiff filed his third amended complaint. (ECF No. 86.) On March 31, 2017, the defendants renewed their motion to dismiss as to the plaintiff's newly amended complaint. (ECF No. 87.)

         B. Allegations

         The plaintiff alleges the following facts. On October 10, 2015, the plaintiff was “assaulted and robbed for his 98 mustang, school book bag and other unspecified items.” (Third Amended Complaint, ECF No. 86 at ¶ 12.) On his way to Hartford Hospital, Defendant Suarez stopped and detained him. (Id. at ¶ 13.) Suarez “harassed” the plaintiff, but he then was transported to Hartford Hospital. (Id. at ¶¶ 13-14.) On October 10, 2015, the plaintiff asked Defendant Flores to take him to recover his 98 Mustang and book bag, and Flores responded that he would take the plaintiff to the scene, but he would not help him recover his 98 Mustang because it was a “lost cause.” (Id. at ¶ 17.) Flores took the plaintiff to the scene. Defendant John Doe 1 accompanied Flores, while the plaintiff walked to the back of the residence at which he had been assaulted and robbed. (Id. at ¶ 18.) The plaintiff “knocked on the doors to the building but did not get a response.” (Id.) The plaintiff alleges that “[d]efendant Flores saw the plaintiff's 98 Ford Mustang parked in the back of the residence where the plaintiff was assaulted and robbed”, but the “vehicle was not recovered.” (ECF No. 86 at ¶¶ 19-20.) The plaintiff was then transported back to Hartford Hospital. (Id. at ¶ 21.)

         The next day, the plaintiff called the Hartford Police Department and “was instructed to appear . . . with the previous owner of the plaintiff's 98 Ford Mustang.” (ECF No. 86 at ¶ 22.) Plaintiff and Jamie Lockhart, the previous owner, appeared at the Hartford Police Department between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. that evening and “provided sufficient documentation showing that that ownership of the 98 Ford Mustang was passed over to the plaintiff.” (Id. at ¶¶ 23-24.) The plaintiff asked defendant Johnson to make a photocopy of the bill of sale, but Johnson refused. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-26.) The plaintiff asked if there would be incident reports about the stolen vehicle, and Defendant Johnson and others said that there would not be: Johnson said that he would not accept the reporting of the stolen vehicle and that Defendant Suarez was “on his way” to make the report. (Id. at ¶ 28.) Suarez and John Doe “questioned the plaintiff” and told him that “they, and the [Hartford Police Department, ] thought the plaintiff's story of the incident was ‘fishy.'” (Id. at ¶ 29.)

         At later times, the plaintiff called the Hartford Police Department and spoke with Defendants Velazquez and Defendant Foley, who “did not help the plaintiff find a solution.” (ECF No. 86 at ¶¶ 30-32.) Plaintiff alleges that he called defendant Rovella's office multiple times and was never called back and that Rovella did not direct his officers to investigate his claim or arrest the suspects. (Id. at ¶ 33.)

         The plaintiff's third amended complaint adds two additional facts, compared with what he alleged in the second amended complaint: (1) that defendant Flores “saw the plaintiff's 98 Ford Mustang parked in the back of the residence where the plaintiff was assaulted and robbed” (Id. at ¶ 19); and (2) that the plaintiff asked defendant Johnson (previously terminated from the case on December 7, 2015) to make a photocopy of the bill of sale for the car and that Johnson refused to photocopy it. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-26.) All other factual allegations stated in the third amended complaint were previously considered when I ruled on the motion to dismiss the second amended complaint.[1]

         III. Standard

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court must determine whether the Plaintiff has alleged “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (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). Under Twombly, the Court accepts as true all of the complaint's factual allegations when evaluating a motion to dismiss. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 572. The Court must “draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.” Vietnam Ass'n for Victims of Agent Orange v. Dow Chem. Co., 517 F.3d 104, 115 (2d Cir. 2008). “When a complaint is based solely on wholly conclusory allegations and provides no factual support for such claims, it is appropriate to grant defendants['] motion to dismiss.” Scott v. Town of Monroe, 306 F.Supp.2d 191, 198 (D. Conn. 2004). For a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, “[a]fter the court strips away conclusory allegations, there must remain sufficient well-pleaded factual allegations to nudge plaintiff's claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.” In re Fosamax Products Liab. Litig., 2010 WL 1654156, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2010). In other words “a plaintiff must plead factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Vega v. Hempstead Union Free Sch. Dist., 801 F.3d 72, 86 (2d Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         “[P]leadings of a pro se plaintiff must be read liberally and should be interpreted to ‘raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'” Graham v. Henderson, 89 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. ...


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