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Anderson v. Hudon

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

November 18, 2014

Eddie Anderson
v.
Scott Hudon.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

ANDREA JOHNSTONE, Magistrate Judge.

Before the court is the original complaint (doc. no. 1) and the redacted version thereof (doc. no. 14), a motion to amend the complaint (doc. no. 8) and the redacted version thereof (doc. no. 13), and an addendum to the complaint (doc. no. 11), filed by pro se and in forma pauperis plaintiff Eddie Anderson. This Report and Recommendation supersedes a prior Report and Recommendation (doc. no. 9), issued on October 1, 2014. The matter is here for preliminary review under LR 4.3(d)(1) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

Preliminary Review Standard

The court may dismiss claims asserted in an inmate's complaint, if the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, a defendant is immune from the relief sought, the complaint fails to state a claim, or the action is frivolous or malicious. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). In determining whether a pro se complaint states a claim, the court must construe the complaint liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). To survive preliminary review, the complaint must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief.'" See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). The court treats as true all well-pleaded factual allegations, and construes reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor. See Ocasio-Hernández v. Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011).

Background

Anderson is in pretrial detention awaiting trial in state court on drug charges. Anderson alleges in the complaint (doc. nos. 1 and 14) and in the complaint addendum (doc. no. 11) that Nashua Police Detective Scott Hudon prepared and filed false police reports, leading to his incarceration. Anderson alleges that the false police reports state that a confidential informant ("CI") had purchased crack cocaine from Anderson in May, June, and July 2013. Anderson further alleges in a proposed complaint amendment (doc. nos. 8 and 13), that Hudon testified falsely before the grand jury about Anderson. Based on those allegations, Anderson asserts claims for damages against Hudon in his individual and official capacities under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Discussion

I. False Arrest

In the complaint and complaint addendum (doc. nos. 1, 11, and 14), Anderson asserts that Hudon's false statements in police reports led to Anderson's arrest and incarceration, and that without those statements there would not have been probable cause to arrest Anderson. In general, an arrest is lawful if the police officer has probable cause therefor. Holder v. Town of Sandown, 585 F.3d 500, 504 (1st Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). Liberally construed, the pleadings state a claim that Anderson's Fourth Amendment rights were violated by Hudon's actions resulting in the false arrest of Anderson.

II. Grand Jury

Anderson asserts in the proposed complaint amendment (doc. nos. 8 and 13) that Hudon testified falsely before the grand jury, in violation of Anderson's rights. Hudon, however, is absolutely immune from claims for damages based on his testimony before the grand jury. Rehberg v. Paulk, 132 S.Ct. 1497, 1506 (2012). Anderson cannot state any claim upon which relief may be granted against Hudon arising out of his allegedly false grand jury testimony, and for that reason, the motion to amend the complaint should be denied.

III. Municipal Liability

Anderson names Hudon as a defendant to his § 1983 claim in Hudon's official capacity as a Nashua Police Department detective. Neither the complaint (doc. nos. 1 and 14), nor the proposed complaint amendment (doc. nos. 8 and 13), allege any facts suggesting that there was a municipal policy or custom of making false statements in police reports or in grand jury testimony. Cf. Haley v. City of Boston, 657 F.3d 39, 51 (1st Cir. 2011). Anderson has thus failed to state any claim for municipal liability upon which ...


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