United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS
MICHAEL P. SHEA, U.S.D.J.
Wright filed this civil rights action against Matthew P.
Stephens, “a Trooper employed by the Connecticut State
Police and assigned to the Bethany State Police Barracks,
” alleging that Stephens maliciously prosecuted him.
(ECF No. 1 at ¶ 4.) Wright seeks compensatory and
punitive damages and attorney's fee and costs. Stephens
has moved to dismiss Wright's complaint, arguing that
Wright has failed to state a claim for malicious prosecution.
(ECF No. 13 at 1.) For the reasons stated below, I GRANT
Stephens's motion to dismiss, but I grant Wright leave to
amend his complaint.
makes the following factual allegations in his complaint.
(ECF No. 1.) On May 2, 2013, just prior to 9:30 p.m. on Route
69 in Bethany, Connecticut, Stephens arrested Wright
“without a warrant and charged him with the crime of
operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of
alcohol or drugs.” (Id. at ¶ 6.) Stephens
took Wright into custody “and transported him to police
headquarters for booking and processing.” (Id.
at ¶ 7.) Stephens prepared an official incident report.
(Id. at ¶ 8.) Stephens “caused [the
incident report] to be transmitted” to the State's
Attorney's office in New Haven “for the purpose of
causing, ” Wright to be prosecuted on the
“serious criminal charge.” (Id. at
¶¶ 8-9.) Wright was innocent of the charge, and
Stephens “knew, or should have known, that he was
innocent.” (Id. at ¶ 9.) “For a
considerable period of time, ” Wright was incarcerated
because he could not “post the high cash bail
bond” the court set. (Id. at ¶ 10.) The
court set the high bond “in part[, ] because the court
believed that the allegations of . . . [Stephens's]
aforesaid report were probably true.” (Id.)
22, 2015, the prosecuting attorney nolled the charge against
Wright “because he expressly stated to the court that
he could not prove . . . [Wright's] guilt.”
(Id. at ¶ 11.) “In the manner aforesaid,
. . . [Stephens] deprived . . . [Wright] of his right to be
free from malicious prosecution.” (Id. at
¶ 12.) On September 6, 2017, Wright filed a complaint
against Stephens in this Court. (ECF No. 1.) On October 6,
2017, Stephens filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).
(ECF No. 12.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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-but not conclusory 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 Victim
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., No. 09-cv-1412
(JFK), 2010 WL 1654156, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2010).
asserts three reasons that the motion to dismiss should be
granted. First, he argues that Wright's allegation that,
after the arrest, he was imprisoned “for a considerable
period of time . . . because of his inability to post the
high cash bail bond which had been set upon him by the court,
” fails to specify whether Wright was incarcerated
before or after his arraignment (ECF No. 13 at 6), a critical
juncture in a malicious prosecution claim. Second, Stephens
argues that Wright “failed to allege any fact
sufficient to support” the first element of malicious
prosecution under Connecticut law, i.e., that “the
defendant initiated or procured the institution of criminal
proceedings against the plaintiff, ” because Wright
failed to allege that Stephens played an “essential or
influential role in seeking or procuring the [charge].”
(Id. at 6- 7.) Finally, Stephens argues that
“the mere boilerplate assertion that ‘[t]he
plaintiff was innocent of the said charge and the defendant
knew, or should have known, that he was innocent,' is not
sufficient to state a viable claim for malicious
prosecution.” (Id. at 9.)
with Stephens's first argument and grant his motion to
dismiss. However, because I grant Wright leave to amend his
complaint, I will also address Stephens's last two
Complaint Fails to Allege a Post-Arraignment Deprivation of
is well settled that in order to prevail on a Section 1983
claim against a state actor for malicious prosecution a
plaintiff must show a violation of his [or her] rights under
the Fourth Amendment and establish the elements of a
malicious prosecution claim under state law.”
Holman v. Cascio, 390 F.Supp.2d 120, 122 (D. Conn.
2005) (citing Fulton v. Robinson, 289 F.3d 188, 195
(2d Cir. 2002)). In Connecticut,
the elements of a malicious prosecution claim are that (1)
the defendant[s] initiated or procured the institution of
criminal proceedings against the plaintiff[s]; (2) the
criminal proceedings have terminated in favor of the
plaintiff[s]; (3) the defendant[s] acted without probable
cause; and (4) the defendant[s] acted with malice, primarily
for the purpose other than that of bringing an offender to
Turner v. Boyle,
116 F.Supp.3d 58, 84 (D. Conn.
2015) (citations and internal quotation ...