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Dalessio v. City of Bristol

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 7, 2018




         Steven Dalessio (“Dalessio”), currently confined at Brooklyn Correctional Institution in Brooklyn, Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting claims for false arrest and conspiracy to effect his arrest. The only defendant is the City of Bristol. Dalessio's complaint was received on August 17, 2017, and his motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on August 22, 2017.

         Under section 1915A of Title 28 of the United States Code, I must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Although detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon which they are based and to demonstrate a plausible right to relief. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Nevertheless, it is well-established that “[p]ro se complaints ‘must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants).

         I. Allegations

         On October 29, 2015, [1] Dalessio was removed from his home in East Hampton, Connecticut, and held on “warrants based out of Bristol, CT.” Compl., Doc. No. 1 at 2. No police officer from East Hampton or Bristol told Dalessio why he was being arrested or informed him of his rights. He later was forced to sign an electronic waiver of rights form.

         Dalessio believes that his ex-wife, Sarita Gordillo (“Gordillo”) coached Dalessio's biological daughter to say that Dalessio touched her in a sexual manner and that she did not want to go with Dalessio on court-ordered visits. Dalessio also believes that detective John or Jane Doe conspired with Gordillo and Dalessio's step-daughter to effect his arrest because the detective prepared a secondary case with the step-daughter as the victim. Dalessio contends that the offense date for the secondary case was beyond the limitations period.

         The interview with Dalessio's daughter, conducted by the detective and a child psychiatrist, was interrupted several times. Dalessio believes that the interruptions were made to plot against him. Dalessio's daughter was brought to the hospital to have a rape kit processed. The tests were negative.

         Gordillo has a history of making false allegations against Dalessio that started after Dalessio's separation from her. The detective would have discovered this pattern if he or she had read the divorce hearing transcripts.

         II. Analysis

         Dalessio alleges that his Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights were violated when he was falsely arrested and incarcerated. False arrest claims are brought under the Fourth Amendment. See Weyant v. Okst, 101 F.3d 845, 852 (2d Cir. 1996). The Eighth Amendment affords protection to persons already convicted of crimes. Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 318 (1986). Although Dalessio is now incarcerated, this claim arose in connection with his arrest. The Eighth Amendment affords him no relief.

         The court assumes that Dalessio references the Fifth Amendment because he alleges that he did not voluntarily waive his rights. A claim for violation of rights guaranteed under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), is not cognizable under section 1983. See Lewis v. City of Schenectady Police Dep't, 2014 WL 3548828, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. July 17, 2014) (citing Neighbour v. Covert, 68 F.3d 1508, 1510 (2d Cir. 1995)). Miranda warnings are not, in and of themselves, a constitutional right. Failure to issue the warnings before questioning a suspect is enforced by suppression in the criminal case of any statements and evidence gathered in violation of the warning requirements, not by a separate civil rights action. See O'Hagan v. Soto, 523 F.Supp. 625, 629 (S.D.N.Y. 1981). Any Fifth Amendment claim is dismissed with prejudice.

         Although he describes police chief Doe, detective Doe, the City of Bristol, psychiatrist Doe, Gordillo and his step-daughter as defendants in the body of the complaint, Dalessio names only the City of Bristol in the case caption. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(a) requires that all parties be included in the caption of the complaint. Thus, the City of Bristol is the only defendant in this case.

         Dalessio asserts a claim against the City of Bristol pursuant to Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). Under Monell, a municipality may be liable in a section 1983 action for the unconstitutional acts of municipal employees if the plaintiff can show that an official policy or custom caused him to be subjected to the denial of a constitutional right. Id. at 691. Thus, before a municipality can be held liable under Monell, there must be an underlying constitutional violation. Bryant v. Ward, 2011 WL 2896015, at *10 (D. Conn. July 18, 2011) (citing Segal v. City of New York, 459 F.3d 207, 219 (2d Cir. 2006)). Here, to state a cognizable claim against the City of Bristol, Dalessio must allege facts supporting a claim for false arrest or imprisonment.

         Section 1983 claims for false arrest are essentially the same as false arrest claims made under state law. Jocks v. Tavernier, 316 F.3d 128, 134 (2d Cir. 2003). Thus, when reviewing a section 1983 claim for false arrest, the court looks to state law. Davis v. Rodriguez, 364 F.3d 424, 433 (2d Cir. 2004). Dalessio must satisfy the state law elements of the claim and show that the defendant's actions resulted in an “unreasonable deprivation of ...

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