United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Melillo (“Ms. Melillo”) and Allen Norden
(“Mr. Norden”) (together,
“Plaintiffs”) initially filed this lawsuit with
the Small Claims Session of the Connecticut Superior Court,
alleging harassment, emotional distress, and a violation of
their civil rights, against Ryan Brais (“Mr.
Brais” or “Defendant”). Small Claims
Compl., Pls. Motion to Remand Ex. 1, ECF No. 13-1. They
alleged that Mr. Brais, a zoning official in Plainfield,
Connecticut, violated their Fourth Amendment rights by
repeatedly and unnecessarily performing inspections in their
garage; opening a closet door and taking photographs of its
contents; and taking several objects from the closet.
transferred the case from Small Claims Court to Connecticut
Superior Court, and then removed to this Court. Notice of
Removal, ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs moved to remand the case to
state court, and this Court denied the motion. ECF Nos. 13,
now moves to dismiss, arguing that Plaintiffs have failed to
allege that they have standing to bring their Fourth
Amendment claims against him. Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 40.
Plaintiffs have also moved to amend their Complaint. Mot.
Amend, ECF No. 44.
reasons discussed below, Defendant's motion to dismiss is
GRANTED, and Plaintiffs' motion to amend
is also GRANTED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
allege that Defendant, a zoning official for the Town of
Plainfield acting in his official capacity, violated their
Fourth Amendment rights to privacy while he performed
numerous inspections at their home. Revised Compl.
¶¶ 1, 4, 6, Notice of Removal Ex. A, ECF No. 1-1.
They allege that Defendant parked his car on the road outside
of their house and looked into the second floor of their
detached garage to determine whether there was a kitchen
facility inside. Id. ¶ 4. They allege that he
also drove up the driveway, climbed a set of stairs leading
to the garage, and looked through the window. Id.
claim that Defendant performed numerous, unnecessary
inspections of the same area of their garage, “looking
for the same thing each time.” Id. ¶ 6.
During one inspection, Defendant allegedly looked through a
closed clothing wardrobe. Id. ¶ 7. After that,
Plaintiffs noticed that several items were missing from the
closet, including a bag that contained jewelry, two collector
coins, and miscellaneous World War II memorabilia.
Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiffs claim that Defendant has
admitted that he looked through the closet. Id.
also allege that Defendant violated their right to privacy
when he demanded that Ms. Melillo “sign a document
which would allow the Defendant to inspect any and all of the
property, including [the] house and out-buildings at any time
with just a 24 hour notice.” Id. ¶ 8.
Plaintiffs claim that Defendant “caused the Plaintiffs
severe emotional distress, stress, and worry by threatening
the Plaintiffs with future inspections of their entire
property with only a 24 hour notice.” Id.
¶ 12. Plaintiffs allege that their severe emotional
distress was partly caused by Defendant's actions that
“prevented the Plaintiff from visiting his sister with
end stage Alzheimers Disease before her mental capacity for
recognizing him ended, ” and that he was “unable
to say his goodbyes and have closure.” Id.
day, Defendant arrived for an inspection with a police
officer who had a “German [Shepherd] attack dog,
” which Plaintiffs claim caused them severe emotional
distress. Id. ¶ 14. Plaintiffs also allege that
Defendant required them to destroy and demolish a toilet and
sink in the detached garage-even though those fixtures had
been approved by the Northeast District Department of
Health-and that the removal cost over $2, 000 and significant
labor. Id. ¶ 15.
Plaintiffs allege, Defendant's conduct forced them to
sell their home, and at a significant financial loss.
Id. ¶ 16.
seek “punitive damages in the amount of $50, 000, plus
18% interest for the violation of the Plaintiffs' civil
liberties, harassment, emotional, and financial
distress.” Id. at p. 6. In addition, they seek
attorney's fees and costs related to the litigation.