United States District Court, D. Connecticut
NOELLE L. MAYES, Plaintiff,
CITY OF NEW HAVEN, NEW HAVEN POLICE DEPARTMENT, LESLEE WITCHER, STEVE MCMORRIS, ENDRI DRAGOI, GLEN OLIWA, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
DISMISS [DKT. 18]
VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants City
of New Haven, New Haven Police Department, Leslee Witcher,
Steve McMorris, Endri Dragoi, and Glen Oliwa (collectively
“Defendants”). [Dkt. 18]. Plaintiff Noelle L.
Mayes (“Plaintiff” or “Mayes”) brings
this action for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and
damages for alleged violations of her Fourth Amendment
rights. [Dkt. 30-1 (Amended Complaint). For the following
reasons, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.
following facts are taken from the Amended Complaint. [Dkt.
30-1]. The facts alleged in the Amended Complaint are taken
as true and construed in the light most favorable to
Plaintiff for the purpose of a motion to dismiss. See
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). The
assumption of truth applied to the factual allegations does
not apply to any legal conclusions or unsupported
characterizations of facts. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Noelle L. Mayes is a resident of Branford, Connecticut and
resided in Branford, Connecticut at all times relevant to
this action. [Dkt. 30-1, ¶ 6]. Defendants Officers
Leslee Witcher, Steven McMorris, E. (Endri) Dragoi, and Glen
Oliwa were, at all times relevant to this action, police
officers employed by Defendant City of New Haven and
Defendant New Haven Police Department. [Id. at
November 16, 2016, at or around 4:55 PM, Officer Oliwa was
dispatched to 74 Day Street, New Haven, due to a harassment
complaint. [Dkt. 30-1, ¶ 12]. Resident LaJeffies Hill
told Officer Oliwa that Plaintiff was harassing Hill.
[Id. at ¶ 13]. Hill is a resident of a public
housing community. [Id. at ¶ 26]. Hill stated
that Mayes harassed Hill through Facebook and text messages
and that Mayes had “come to [Hill's] home and made
a video telling Hill to come outside and fight.”
[Id. at ¶ 14]. Hill identified no witnesses to
the video and did not show the police. [Id. at 15].
Hill completed a “victim account report.”
[Id. at ¶ 17].
Oliwa submitted an application for a warrant for
Plaintiff's arrest. [Dkt. 30-1, at ¶ 16]. Officer
Oliwa also conducted “a Connecticut State Police
Records check which showed that Noelle Mayes was not
incarcerated at the time of this incident.”
[Id. at ¶ 18]. On the warrant application,
Officer Oliwa wrote “I did not attempt to contact
Mayes, as previous attempts by Hill and the police to contact
her have resulted in an escalation in threats towards
Hill.” [Id. at ¶ 16]. Officer Oliwa did
not further investigate the statements from Hill that Mayes
had sent her threatening Facebook and text messages.
[Id. at ¶¶ 21, 22, 24]. Officer Oliwa also
did not further investigate Hill's statements that Mayes
had traveled to Oliwa's home “threatening to fight
her.” [Id. at ¶ 26]. Following Officer
Oliwa's response to the complaint at 74 Day Street,
Plaintiff was arrested for “threatening, breach of the
peace, and harassment 2nd degree.”
[Id. at ¶ 29].
this arrest, Officer Steve McMorris contacted Plaintiff.
[Dkt. 30-1, ¶ 32]. Officer McMorris told Plaintiff that
Hill attempted to file another complaint against Plaintiff.
[Ibid.] Plaintiff provided Officer McMorris
“with videos and real messages” suggesting that
Hill was actually harassing Plaintiff. [Ibid.]
Officer McMorris advised Plaintiff to change her number and
told Plaintiff that “he would speak to a supervisor and
make sure her side was documented in the complaint.”
[Ibid.] On December 5, 2016, Plaintiff changed her
phone number. [Id. at ¶ 33]. On December 14,
2016, Plaintiff again changed her phone number.
[Ibid.] Plaintiff Provided Officer McMorris with her
updated phone number both times it was changed.
December 15, 2016, at 4:25 PM, Officer Dragoi was dispatched
to 74 Day Street due to a harassment complaint. [Dkt. 30-1,
¶ 30]. At 74 Day Street, Officer Dragoi also spoke with
LaJeffies Hill, who told Officer Dragoi that Plaintiff was
harassing Hill through Facebook and text messages.
[Id. at 30]. In the arrest warrant, Officer Dragoi
wrote that “LaJeffies Hill was in fear for her safety
due to seeing Mayes drive down the street she lives
on.” [Id. at ¶ 31]. The harassment that
was the subject of this complaint came from a phone number
which no longer belonged to Plaintiff. [Id. at
¶ 34]. In Officer Dragoi's report of the second
arrest, he did not include “the report made by Officer
McMorris documenting Mayes' account of the harassment she
endured at the hand of LaJeffies Hill.” [Id.
at ¶ 35].
January 21, 2017, at or around 7:30 AM, Officer Witcher was
dispatched to an address in New Haven to respond to a
harassment complaint. [Dkt. 30-1, ¶ 44]. “Victim
#1, ” LaJeffies Hill, told Officer Witcher that
Hill “had a protective order…against Noelle
Mayes.” [Ibid.] Hill told Officer Witcher that
more than one day prior to the complaint, Plaintiff
“came to her house yelling through the mail slot that
she was a whore and told her to come outside so she could
beat her ass.” [Id. at ¶ 45]. Hill told
Officer Witcher that Hill felt “scared and
threatened” by Plaintiff's actions, and that Hill
“stated she called the police numerous times and
nothing was done.” [Ibid.] Hill stated that
Plaintiff “had posted negative and derogatory things
about her on Facebook suggesting she is a prostitute and has
her home address online where people could come to her home
at all hours of the night.” [Id. at ¶
46]. Furthermore, Hill stated that “she feared for her
life and her children's lives because [Plaintiff] is
crazy and will do anything to destroy her life.”
[Id. at ¶ 47].
January 26, 2017, Officer Witcher stated that she conducted a
records check for the name “Noelle Mayes.” [Dkt.
30-1, ¶ 48]. Officer Witcher applied for an arrest
warrant, stating in the warrant application “that
Noelle Mayes has a criminal restraining order against
her” and not “a protective order as previously
stated.” [Ibid.] The application also stated
that “the restraining order expires Nov. 21,
2017.” [Ibid.] The application stated that
probable cause existed to arrest Plaintiff for
“criminal violation of restraining order, harassment
2nd and threatening 2nd.”
[Id. at ¶ 49].
protected order to which Officer Witcher referred actually
stated the name “Noel Dubios [sic].”
[Id. at 56]. Plaintiff has never changed her last
name to “Dubios.” [Id. at ¶ 58].
There was not a criminal restraining order under the name
“Noelle Mayes” with the birthdate
“12-19-1984” as of January 26, 2017 or at any
other time. [Id. at ¶ 57]. Plaintiff is not
related to Hill, never lived with Hill, and is not an
ex-partner of Hill's. [Id. at ¶ 60].
timely filed a letter of intent with the office of the Mayor
of the City of New Haven, which letter set forth the facts
underlying this action. [Dkt. 30-1, ¶ 10].
reviewing a pro se complaint, the court must assume
the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to
“raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest.”
Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007);
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). 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 right to relief.
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
(2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. 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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim, the Court should follow a “two-pronged
approach” to evaluate the sufficiency of the complaint.
Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 161 (2d Cir.
2010). “A court ‘can choose to begin by
identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.'” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679). “At the second step, a court should
determine whether the ‘well-pleaded factual
allegations,' assumed to be true, ‘plausibly give
rise to an entitlement to relief.'” Id.
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). “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.” Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotations omitted).
8(a) provides that a pleading must contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. A claim is
“facially plausible” when “the plaintiff
pleads factual content that ...