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Decarvalho v. McKeon

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

February 12, 2019

RICHARD D. MCKEON et al., Defendants.


          Denise J. Casper United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Janito Decarvalho (“Decarvalho”) has filed this pro se lawsuit asserting claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false imprisonment (Count I), loss of property (Count II) and malicious prosecution (Count III) in connection with his arrest and detention on May 14, 2012. D. 13. Defendants City of Brockton (“Brockton”), the Brockton Police Department (“BPD”), John W. Crowley (“Crowley”), Kenneth Legrice (“Legrice”), Joseph Cummings (“Cummings”) and “Unknown Persons”[1] have moved to dismiss the complaint. D. 16. Defendants Massachusetts State Police (“MSP”) and Richard D. McKeon (“McKeon”), [2] former Superintendent of MSP, have also filed a motion to dismiss. D. 42. For the reasons set forth below, the Court ALLOWS the motions to dismiss.

         II. Standard of Review

         The Court will grant a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) if the complaint fails to plead sufficient facts that “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). When considering a motion to dismiss, the Court is tasked with “separat[ing] the factual allegations from the conclusory statements in order to analyze whether the former, if taken as true, set forth a ‘plausible, not merely a conceivable, case for relief.'” Juárez v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., 708 F.3d 269, 276 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Ocasio-Hernández v. Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011)). In conducting this examination, the Court must not “attempt to forecast a plaintiff's likelihood of success on the merits, ” id., but instead “give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences.” Ruiz v. Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp., 496 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2007) (citing Rogan v. Menino, 175 F.3d 75, 77 (1st Cir. 1999)).

         When a plaintiff is pro se, the Court must apply a liberal reading to the complaint and hold pro se litigants to a less stringent pleading standard than that applied to lawyers. Kruskall v. Sallie Mae Serv., Inc., No. 15-cv-11780-DJC, 2016 WL 1056973, at *1 (D. Mass. Mar. 14, 2016) (citing Green v. Com. of Mass., 108 F.R.D. 217, 218 (D. Mass. 1985)). A pro se plaintiff, however, must still comply with procedural and substantive law and “dismissal remains appropriate . . . when the complaint fails to even suggest an actionable claim.” Overton v. Torruella, 183 F.Supp.2d 295, 303 (D. Mass. 2001).

         III. Procedural History

         Decarvalho instituted this action on June 30, 2017. D. 1. As part of the initial screening process pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), the Court (Bowler, M.J.) ruled that the original complaint was subject to dismissal but allowed Decarvalho time to amend his complaint. D. 7 at 19-20; 9/28/17 ECF Order. Upon the filing of Decarvalho's amended complaint on November 15, 2017, D. 13, the Court allowed summonses to issue as to the identified defendants in the amended complaint and gave Decarvalho ninety days to complete service, D. 14, which would have been February 13, 2018. D. 17 at 4 n. 1.

         Defendants Brockton, BPD, Crowley, Cummings, Legrice (and “Unknown Persons”) have now moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. D. 16. Defendants MSP and McKeon, in his official capacity, have also moved to dismiss. D. 42. The Court held a hearing on the motions on November 5, 2018 at which Decarvalho failed to appear. D. 52. The Court took the motions to dismiss under advisement on the papers that were previously filed by the parties. Id.

         IV. Factual Background

         The following facts are drawn from Decarvalho's amended complaint, D. 13, and accepted as true for the purposes of considering the motions to dismiss.

         On May 14, 2012, law enforcement officers including members of the BPD, MPS and Plymouth County Police Department executed a warrant at Decarvalho's home in Brockton, Massachusetts. D. 13 ¶ 37-38. At that time, officers arrested Decarvalho and transported him to the Brockton Police Department for booking. Id. ¶ 53. Following booking, Decarvalho was escorted to Brockton District Court for arraignment and thereafter to the Plymouth House of Correction. Id. ¶ 55-56. Plaintiff was in custody at the Plymouth House of Correction from May 14, 2012 to May 25, 2012. Id. ¶ 56. During his time in custody, Decarvalho learned from a family member that his home had been burglarized and his belongings stolen. Id. ¶ 58. Decarvalho alleges that officers left his home unsecured following his arrest. Id. ¶ 54.

         On June 15, 2015, Decarvalho began trial on the charges stemming from his May 2012 arrest. Id. ¶ 59. On June 17, 2015, Decarvalho was acquitted of all charges. Id. ¶ 60.

         V. ...

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