United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS
VANESSA L. BRYANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Michael Perugini (“Perugini”) brings the instant
action alleging claims against the City of Bristol
(“Bristol”), Police Officers Mark Kichar
(“Kichar”) and Rodney Gotawala
(“Gotawala”), and Assistant State's Attorney
Stephen Lesko (“Lesko”). Perugini's claims
arise out of his January 2017 arrest and subsequent
prosecution. Perugini brings six claims against Lesko: 42
U.S.C. § 1983, malicious prosecution, double jeopardy
prosecution, abuse of process, and conspiracy. [Dkt. 1,
now moves to dismiss all claims against him under Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6) for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. [Dkt. 29-1]. The Court finds that
Lesko is entitled to prosecutorial immunity because his
actions were within his authority as an appointed assistant
state's attorney “designated by the Chief
State's Attorney” to handle “all
prosecutions… of housing matters deemed to be
criminal.” Conn. Gen. Stat. §
51-278(b)(1)(A) (emphasis added). Therefore, his motion to
dismiss is GRANTED.
facts recited below are asserted in the Complaint. [Dkt. 1].
For the purpose of deciding Lesko's Motion to Dismiss,
this Court “draw[s] all reasonable inferences in
Plaintiff[‘s] favor, assume[s] all well-pleaded factual
allegations to be true, and determine[s] whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”
Faber v. Metro Life Ins. Co., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d
Cir. 2011) (citations omitted).
December of 2016, Perugini, a landlord, had a dispute with
his tenants, and Bristol police officers Kichar and Gotawala
became involved. [Dkt. 1 at ¶ 12-20]. On December 27,
2016, fearing he would be arrested, Perugini contacted the
Connecticut State's Attorney's Office in Bristol,
Geographical Area 17 (“G.A. 17”). [Id.
at ¶ 21]. The G.A. 17 office informed Perugini that a
warrant for his arrest had been submitted but denied.
[Id.] A week later, on January 3, 2017, Perugini was
arrested by three Bristol police officers, including Kichar.
[Id. at ¶ 22]. Lesko, an assistant state's
attorney for housing matters in New Britain, signed the
arrest warrant. [Id. at ¶¶ 11, 23, 52].
January 23, 2017 Perugini filed a discovery request for the
arrest warrant application denied by the G.A. 17 prosecutor.
[Id. at ¶ 23]. The next day, Lesko told
Perugini that he did not have the G.A. 17 warrant
application. [Id.]. Lesko wrote that Kichar had told
Lesko that the warrant had been erroneously submitted to G.A.
17 rather than to the housing matters prosecutor, and that
Kichar had not told Lesko that the warrant had been
previously denied. [Id.] On March 9, 2017, following
a renewed request by Perugini, Lesko provided Perugini with a
copy of an arrest warrant. [Id.] Lesko also sent
Perugini a Bristol Police Department memorandum stating that
the warrant was inadvertently delivered to G.A. 17 and
refused by a G.A. 17 prosecutor who cited prosecutorial
discretion and deemed the incident a civil matter.
[Id.] Lesko refused to provide Perugini with the
arrest warrant review form for the denied warrant.
subsequently obtained a copy of the arrest warrant review
form from the Bristol Police Department. [Id. at
¶ 24]. The denied warrant was identical to the warrant
signed by Lesko. [Id.] The attached form indicated
that the G.A. 17 prosecutor found no probable cause, believed
the matter was civil, and ordered Kichar not to resubmit the
warrant. [Id.] Perugini alleges that Kichar then
lied to Lesko when he submitted the application for the
arrest warrant. [Id.]
nearly two years following Perugini's arrest, Lesko
prosecuted Perugini in Connecticut Superior Court for
criminal trespass, criminal lockout, and simple trespass.
[Id. at ¶ 27]. During this period, Lesko
attempted to coerce Perugini into accepting a plea agreement
for the above charges but did not succeed. [Id. at
¶ 26]. Lesko filed a motion in limine to
exclude evidence that the G.A. 17 prosecutor denied a warrant
application identical to the one he granted. [Id. at
28]. The court never ruled on the motion. [Id. at
¶ 28]. On October 1, 2018 the court granted
Perugini's motion to dismiss the charges on speedy trial
grounds. [Id. at ¶ 29].
Legal Standard for Motion to Dismiss
survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead
“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). 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
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). The complaint must still include sufficient
factual allegations to meet the standard of facial
plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72
(2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).
Perugini's pro se complaint liberally, the Court finds
that Perugini alleges the following claims against Lesko:
conspiracy under § 1983; false arrest under § 1983;
malicious prosecution under § 1983; double jeopardy
prosecution under § 1983; and abuse of process under
§ 1983. [Dkt. 1, ¶¶27-66]. Perugini ...