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Wilson v. Boulay

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 25, 2018

HAILE WILSON Plaintiff,
v.
POLICE OFFICER JAMES BOULAY, et al. Defendants.

          RULING RE: MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 21)

          JANET C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Haile Wilson (“Wilson”) brings this action against Police Officers James Boulay and Luis Pomales, Captain Douglas Stolze, Lieutenant John Cummings, Sergeants Ivan Delgado, Sean Lynch, and Mark Belinkie, and Police Officers Orlando Rosado, Ivan Garcia, Nicole Donawa, and Jose Bahr in their individual and official capacities on the basis of claims arising out of an attempted motor vehicle stop and subsequent car chase and arrest. In his six-count Complaint (Doc. No. 1), Wilson alleges violations of his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments under section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code (Count One); excessive force (Count Two); assault (Count Three); battery (Count Four); negligent infliction of emotional distress (“NIED”) (Count Five); and intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) (Count Six).

         The defendants move to dismiss: (1) all claims brought under the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments; (2) all causes of action directed against the defendants in their official capacity; (3) the excessive force claims brought against Lieutenant Cummings, Sergeants Delgado, Lynch, and Belinkie, and Officers Rosado, Garcia, Donawa, and Bahr in Count One; (4) the excessive force claims brought against Captain Stolze in Counts One and Two; (5) the NIED claim in Count Five against all defendants; (6) IIED claim in Count Six as to the defendants not involved in the conduct alleged in the Complaint; and (7) all claims for punitive damages brought against the defendants in their official capacity. For the reasons that follow, defendants' Motion to Dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

         On November 1, 2016, at approximately 5:45 p.m., Wilson was driving near Knowlton and Artic Streets in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Compl. at ¶ 14. Wilson exited the car and met with another man, but the police, who were conducting surveillance, did not observe a hand-to-hand transaction between the two men, or any other conduct indicative of a narcotics sale. Id. at ¶¶ 15, 18. At some point after Wilson returned to his vehicle, Captain Stolze discharged his firearm several times, striking Wilson's vehicle. Id. at ¶ 22.[2] There were no marked police vehicles on the scene and Wilson was unsure at the time who was firing a weapon at his vehicle. Id. at ¶ 23.

         After driving away to escape being struck by a bullet from the unknown shooter, Wilson and his passenger realized that they were being pursued by the police. Id. at ¶¶ 24-25. Wilson subsequently lost control of the vehicle and hit a tree. Id. at ¶ 26. He ran a short distance from the vehicle before he was stopped, physically restrained, and taken into custody. Id. at ¶ 27. While Wilson was face down on the ground with his arms held behind his back, Officers Boulay and Pomales struck him in the face several times. Id. at ¶ 29. Wilson was then transported to St. Vincent's Hospital for his injuries. Id. at ¶ 30. Wilson suffered pain, discomfort, headaches, weakness, and a lack of mobility as a result of the force used by Officers Boulay and Pomales. Id. at ¶ 32.[3]

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         When deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court must determine whether a plaintiff has stated a legally cognizable claim by making allegations that, if true, would show that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007) (interpreting Rule 12(b)(6), in accordance with Rule 8(a)(2), to require allegations with “enough heft to ‘sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief” (alteration in original)). The court takes all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Crawford v. Cuomo, 796 F.3d 252, 256 (2d Cir. 2015). However, the principle that a court must accept a complaint's allegations as true is inapplicable to “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         To survive a motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “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. The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. Wilson's Claims under the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment Claims (Count 1); Claims against Officers in Their Official Capacities (Counts 1-6); and Claims against Officers Who Were Uninvolved in the Alleged Shooting and Beating (Counts 1, 5, and 6)

         Wilson does not object to the Motion to Dismiss his claims under the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, see Pl.'s Reply to the Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss (“Pl.'s Opp'n”) (Doc. No. 22) at 2, the Motion to Dismiss his claims against all defendants in their official capacities, see id., and the Motion to Dismiss all claims against Lieutenant Cummings, Sergeant Delgado, Sergeant Lynch, Sergeant Belinkie, Officer Rosado, Officer Garcia, Officer Donawa, and Officer Bahr, see id. at 2, 4-6.[4]Therefore, the court grants defendants' Motion to Dismiss as to those claims and those defendants.

         B. Excessive Force Claim ...


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