Reddick v. Kopacz et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER, Pltff is now incarcerated at Five Points Correctional Facility, subject to a maximum sentence of 23 years. Pltff's application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted pursuant to 28 USC sec. 1915. For the following reasons, all of the claims against Richmond County Asst. District Attorneys Karen Varriale and Michel Shollar are dismissed with prejudice. No summonses shall issue against these defts. The Clerk of Court is directed to amend the caption to reflect the dismi ssal of these defts. Pltff's medical indifference and excessive force claims, however, may proceed against Officer ("Defelice") and the John Doe police officers. Pltff has apparently abandoned any claims against NYC Police Dept.(" ;NYPD") Officer, Gregory Silverman, as Silverman was not included in the caption of the Amended Complaint. The Clerk of Court is requested to issue a summons to Defelice, and the US Marshals Service is directed to serve the complaint, this Order , and the summons on this deft. The Clerk shall also mail a copy of this Order and the complaint to the NYC Law Dept. Once Corp. Counsel has provided the requested information for the John Doe defts, the Clerk of Court shall amend the caption of the complaint to reflect that information. The Clerk is further directed to issue summonses to those defts, and the US Marshals Service is directed to serve copies of the complaint as amended by the Clerk, this Order, and the summonses on these defts. Th e court certifies pursuant to 28 USC sec. 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this Order would not be taken in good faith and, therefore, in forma pauperis status is denied for purposes of an appeal. This matter is referred to USJM Bloom for pretrial supervision. (Ordered by Judge Raymond J. Dearie on 9/28/2012) C/M (Galeano, Sonia)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
-againstKAREN VARRIALE, MICHAEL SHOLLAR,
DEFELICE of the S.I.W.S., POLICE
OFFICERS JOHN DOE I, JOHN DOE 2,
JOHN DOE 3, JOHN DOE 4, JOHN DOE 5 of
DEARIE, District Judge.
PlaintiffQiydaar Reddick brought this prose civil rights action on August 17,2010 while
in pre-trial custody on Riker's Island. Plaintiffs initial complaint alleged unlawful imprisonment,
false arrest, malicious prosecution, and police misconduct, stemming from his May 27, 2009
arrest and subsequent prosecution for rape.
See ECF Docket # I. A month after filing the
complaint, plaintiff was convicted of raping his ex-girlfriend after violating a protective order. He
is now incarcerated at Five Points Correctional Facility, subject to a mal(imum sentence of 23
See Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Inmate Lookup,
http://nysdoccslookup.doccs.ny.gov/ (last visited Sept. 24, 2012).
By Order dated March 31, 2011, the Court dismissed plaintiffs claims against defendants
Justice Rienzi, Legal Aid Attorney, Richard Kopacz, and the 1201h Precinct Detective Squad
Section with prejudice. ECF Docket # 4, Order. The claims against the remaining defendants
were dismissed without prejudice and, in light of plaintiff's pro se status, the Court granted
plaintiff leave to submit an amended complaint. Id. at 6. On September 8, 20 II, after several
delays and extensions, plaintiff filed his amended complaint. ECF Docket # I 0, Amended
Plaintiffs application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915. For the following reasons, all of the claims against Richmond County Assistant District
Attorneys Karen Varriale ("Varriale") and Michael Shollar ("Shollar") are dismissed with
prejudice. Plaintiffs medical indifference and excessive force claims, however, may proceed
against Officer Defelice ("Defelice") and the John Doe police officers. Plaintiff has apparently
abandoned any claims against New York City Police Department ("NYPD") officer, Gregory
Silverman, as Silverman was not included in the caption of the Amended Complaint.
The following allegations are taken from the amended complaint. On May 27, 2009,
police officers Defelice and John Does # 1-5 "broke into" a residence at 50 Castletown Avenue in
Staten Island without a warrant. The officers "began beating up the Plaintiff for no reason,"
before and after he was placed in handcuffs, and took him to the !20th Precinct.
plaintiffs requests "to all of the Officers," he was initially refused medical attention. Plaintiff
was subsequently taken to the Richmond County District Attorney's Office before he was taken
to the St. Vincent's Hospital emergency room. At the hospital, he received an initial dose of
medication and was prescribed additional painkillers "that he never got to get." Compl. at 2.
Varriale allegedly presented "inadmissible evidence and false evidence," !d. at 3, while
Shollar committed perjury before the grand jury in plaintiffs criminal matter. !d. at 4. Plaintiff
asserts that these defendants and other officials misstated the location and time of his arrest in
order to manipulate the case against him and to cover up his mistreatment by the arresting
!d. at 5. Moreover, without further elaboration, plaintiff states that "the Court that
falsely convicted the Plaintiff]] has no jurisdiction over the Plaintiff." !d. at 5, 7.
The complaint includes several exhibits consisting of excerpts from documents related to
plaintiff's criminal proceeding. While asserting that defendants violated his constitutional rights
under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments, plaintiff does not
include any demand for relief. See id. at 6-7.
Where, as here, "a prisoner seeks redress from [an] . . . officer or employee of a
governmental entity," the Court may sua sponte "dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the
complaint, if [it] ... fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. §§
1915A(a)-(b)(l). Although "[a] prose complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers," Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (internal quotations omitted), where nothing in the complaint "suggests that the
plaintiff has a claim," dismissal with prejudice is warranted. Cuoco v. Moritsugu, 222 F.3d 99,
112 (2d Cir. 2000).
A. Defendants V arriale and Shollar
As explained in the Court's prior Order, Varriale and Shollar are entitled to absolute
immunity for "performing prosecutorial activities that are 'intimately associated with the judicial
phase of the criminal process."' Ying Jing Gan v. City ofNew York, 996 F.2d 522, 530 (2d Cir.
1993) (quoting Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430 (1976)); see Order at 4 (citing Ying Jing
Gan). The amended complaint does not allege that defendants V arriale and Shollar acted outside
of their prosecutorial function. Indeed, plaintiff claims that Varriale's allegedly unconstitutional
acts were committed "while doing her duty." Compl. at 4. Absolute immunity for prosecutorial
acts can be defeated only if the prosecutor is alleged to have acted in the complete absence of
jurisdiction or authority.
Shmueli v. City of New York, 424 F.3d 231, 237 (2d Cir. 2005).
Plaintiffs bald assertion that the Richmond County Court had no jurisdiction is unsupported by
any facts. Moreover, the Court previously dismissed plaintiffs claim for malicious prosecution
under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,486-87 (1994). See Order at 3-4. Plaintiff has alleged no
new facts to suggest the Heck-bar does not still apply.
Accordingly, plaintiffs claims against defendants Varriale and Shollar are dismissed with
B. Police Officer Defendants
Plaintiffs remaining claims concern Defelice and several John Doe police officers from
the "Staten Island Warrant Squad." Compl. at 2. Plaintiff alleges that these defendants unlawfully
arrested him, mistreated him, and delayed his access to medical care. Plaintiffs claim for false
arrest is Heck-barred. 512 U.S. at 486-87.
As to medical indifference, although the complaint is short on specifics, plaintiff has
alleged that he was injured and denied painkillers that were prescribed to him. Plaintiff has
indicated that at present, he is unable to obtain medical records "from where he is detained,"
which would "prove [his] complaint." Compl. at I. Although such medical records may very well
confirm that plaintiff was not "actually deprived of adequate medical care" and that "the
inadequacy in medical care [was not] sufficiently serious," Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263,
279-80 (2d Cir. 2006), plaintiff is at least entitled to limited discovery on this issue.
As to plaintiffs excessive force claim, plaintiff has alleged that defendants "began beating
up the Plaintiff for no reason, before and after the Plaintiff was already in handcuffs." Compl. at 2
(emphasis added). Use of force violates the Fourth Amendment when it is objectively
unreasonable judged "in light of the facts and circumstances confronting [an officer] without
regard to [his] underlying intent or motivation." Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395, 397
(1989). Although the "right to make an arrest or investigatory stop necessarily carries with it the
right to use some degree of physical coercion," Id. at 396, plaintiffs allegations concerning the
degree and timing of the force used by defendants in this case, if proven true, may very well tip
beyond that which is permitted under the Fourth Amendment.
Plaintiff's claims for medical indifference and excessive use of force against Defilice and
John Does #1-5 may, therefore, proceed.
For the reasons set forth above, all of the claims against V arriale and Shollar are dismissed
for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(l).
No summonses shall issue against these
defendants. The Clerk of Court is directed to amend the caption to reflect the dismissal of these
Plaintiffs claims for medical indifference and excessive force shall proceed against
Officer Defelice of the 1201h Precinct and John Does #1-5. The Clerk of Court is requested to
issue a summons to Defelice, and the United States Marshals Service is directed to serve the
complaint, this Order, and the summons on this defendant. The Clerk shall also mail a copy of
this Order and the complaint to the New York City Law Department. Once Corporation Counsel
has provided the requested information for the John Doe defendants, the Clerk of Court shall
amend the caption of the complaint to reflect that information. The Clerk is further directed to
issue summonses to those defendants, and the United States Marshals Service is directed to serve
copies of the complaint as amended by the Clerk, this Order, and the summonses on these
The court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this order
would not be taken in good faith and, therefore, in forma pauperis status is denied for purposes of
an appeal. See Copoedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 444-45 (1962). This matter is referred
to Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom for pretrial supervision.
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
--lv\jM&Ni(tj>E'ARIE United States District Judge
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