Dalessio v. Bristol
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER. Signed by Judge Stefan R. Underhill on 2/7/2018. (Pincus, A)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
CITY OF BRISTOL,
No. 3:17-cv-1401 (SRU)
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
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).
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.
Dalessio does not indicate in the complaint the year in which he was arrested. The Department
of Correction website shows that Dalessio was last admitted to the custody of the Department of
Correction on November 2, 2015. Thus, the Court assumed he was arrested in October 2015. See
www.ctinmateinfo.state.ct.us/detailsupv.asp?id_inmt_num=284034 (last visited Jan. 10, 2018).
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.
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 liberty in violation of the
Fourth Amendment.” Arnold v. Geary, 582 F. App’x 42, 43 (2d Cir. 2014) (citations omitted).
Under Connecticut law, “‘[f]alse imprisonment, or false arrest, is the unlawful restraint
by one person of the physical liberty of another.’” Russo v. City of Bridgeport, 479 F.3d 196, 204
(2d Cir. 2007) (quoting Outlaw v. City of Meriden, 682 A.2d 1112, 1115 (Conn. App. 1996)),
cert. denied, 522 U.S. 818 (2007). To state a claim for false arrest, Dalessio must allege that the
prosecution terminated in his favor. See Miles v. City of Hartford, 445 F. App’x 379, 383 (2d
Cir. 2011) (holding that district court did not err in granting summary judgment of false arrest
claims because “the Court [has] expressly held, invoking Connecticut law, that favorable
termination is an element of ‘a section 1983 claim sounding in false imprisonment or false
arrest’”) (quoting Roesch v. Otarola, 980 F.2d 850, 853-54 (2d Cir. 1992)).
Dalessio does not allege that the charges were terminated in his favor. His address on the
complaint shows that he currently is incarcerated. The Department of Correction website
indicates that, on October 28, 2016, he was sentenced to a four-year term of imprisonment with
the controlling offense of risk of injury to a minor.
www.ctinmateinfo.state.ct.us/detailsupv.asp?id_inmt_num=284034 (last visited Jan. 10, 2018).
Because he fails to satisfy the favorable termination requirement, Dalessio fails to state a
cognizable claim for false arrest or false imprisonment.
Even if Dalessio had properly included all of the persons referenced in the body of the
complaint, the result would not change. The false arrest claim would be dismissed against the
police chief and detective for the reasons stated above. The only other claim included in the
complaint relates to Dalessio’s allegation that Gordillo and his step-daughter conspired with the
detective, and also that the detective and psychiatrist conspired together, to effect his arrest.
Before he can state a claim for conspiracy, however, Dalessio must state a cause of action for the
claim underlying the conspiracy. See Filler v. Hanvit Bank, 156 F. App’x 413, 418 (2d Cir.
2005) (“A claim of conspiracy cannot stand alone and must be dismissed if the underlying
independent tort has not been adequately pleaded.” (applying New York law)) (internal citation
and quotation omitted); Caro v. Fidelity Brokerage Servs., 2015 WL 1975463, at *35 (D. Conn.
Apr. 30, 2015) (dismissing conspiracy claim where underlying tort claim dismissed). Because
the false arrest or false imprisonment claim has been dismissed, any conspiracy claims must
necessarily be dismissed as well.
Dalessio also references several state constitutional provisions. Because all federal law
claims have been dismissed, the court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
Dalessio’s state law claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3) (if federal court dismisses all federal
claims it should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over supplemental state law
All federal law claims in the complaint are DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b)(1). The Fifth and Eighth Amendment claims are dismissed with prejudice. The court
declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, which are dismissed
The Clerk is directed to enter judgment and close this case.
Dalessio may file a motion to reopen judgment along with an amended complaint if he
can allege facts demonstrating that any of the charges for which he was arrested terminated in his
SO ORDERED at Bridgeport, Connecticut, this 7th day February 2018.
/s/ STEFAN R. UNDERHILL
Stefan R. Underhill
United States District Judge
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