United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON MOTION TO DISMISS OR FOR
JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
W. EGINTON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
consolidated civil rights action, plaintiff asserts that
defendants Connecticut State Trooper Brian Marino and Shelton
Police Officer Stephen Anderson violated the Fourth Amendment
of the United States Constitution.
Anderson has moved to dismiss this action and defendant
Marino has moved for judgment on the pleadings. For the following
reasons, defendant Anderson's motion to dismiss will be
granted, and defendant Marino's motion for judgment on
the pleadings will be denied.
following background is taken from the allegations of
plaintiffs' complaint, which are accepted as true for
purposes of this decision.
11, 2014, Officer Anderson contacted defendant Marino and
“falsely and maliciously” reported that plaintiff
was illegally growing marijuana in an apartment, which he
claimed plaintiff occupied in Derby. Defendant Marino sought
and obtained a warrant to search plaintiff's apartment in
Derby based on this allegedly false information, and police
officers then searched plaintiff's apartment.
Court takes judicial notice that plaintiff was arrested,
prosecuted and convicted for felony conspiracy to commit
possession of hallucinogenic substances or greater than four
ounces of marijuana in violation of state law.
function of a motion to dismiss is “merely to assess
the legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the
weight of the evidence which might be offered in support
thereof.” Ryder Energy Distrib. v. Merrill Lynch
Commodities, Inc., 748 F.2d 774, 779 (2d Cir. 1984).
“Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate where
material facts are undisputed and where a judgment on the
merits is possible merely by considering the contents of the
pleadings.” Sellers v. M.C. Floor Crafters,
Inc., 842 F.2d 639, 642 (2d Cir. 1988). In deciding a
Rule 12(c) motion, a court employs the same standard
applicable to dismissals pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). L-7
Designs, Inc. v. Old Navy, LLC, 647 F.3d 419, 429 (2d
Cir. 2011). Accordingly, the Court must accept all
well-pleaded allegations as true and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the pleader. Hishon v. King, 467 U.S.
69, 73 (1984). The complaint must contain the grounds upon
which the claim rests through factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 556 (2007). A plaintiff is obliged to amplify a claim
with some factual allegations in those contexts where such
amplification is needed to render the claim plausible.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
has alleged that the search warrant violates the Fourth
Amendment because it was not supported by probable cause.
asserts that plaintiff's claim against him is not
cognizable because he was not personally involved in
obtaining the warrant or conducting the alleged unreasonable
search. Personal involvement of a defendant in the alleged
constitutional deprivation is a prerequisite to a claim for
damages under Section 1983. Wright v. Smith, 21 F.3d
496, 501 (2d Cir. 1994).
argues that her allegations against Anderson are similar to a
Fourth Amendment violation based on malicious prosecution,
which requires that (1) the defendant initiated or procured
the institution of criminal proceedings against plaintiff;
(2) the criminal proceedings terminated in favor of the
plaintiff; (3) the defendant acted without probable cause;
and (4) the defendant acted with malice, primarily for a
purpose other than that of bringing an offender to justice.
Moreno v. City of New Haven Dep. Of Police Serv.,
604 F.Supp.2d 364, 374 (D. Conn. 2009). However, plaintiff
has not pleaded the elements of a malicious prosecution case.
Further, plaintiff cannot plead such a malicious prosecution
claim under Section 1983 unless the criminal proceedings
terminated in her favor. The Court has taken judicial notice
of plaintiff's conviction stemming from the search that
resulted from Anderson's conduct.
Court agrees that plaintiff has failed to allege that
defendant Anderson participated in the alleged unreasonable
search. The complaint contains no allegation that Anderson
acted to obtain the warrant or to search the apartment.
Accordingly, the Court ...