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Beaupre v. O'Connor

United States District Court, D. Vermont

September 15, 2015

KEVIN BUSTER BEAUPRE, Plaintiff,
v.
JACK O'CONNOR and EDWARD SOYCHAK, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER (Doc. 7)

WILLIAM K. SESSIONS, III, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kevin Buster Beaupre, proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Jack O' Connor and Edward Soychak, seeking monetary damages for violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Defendants, both of whom were police officers for the South Burlington Police Department ("SBPD") at the time of the arrest, move to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7) is DENIED.

Factual Background and Procedural History

Beaupre currently is an inmate in Vermont state custody. This case arises from an alleged property seizure that occurred on December 2, 2010. Defendant O'Connor allegedly arrested Beaupre, caused him to be lodged at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, and also caused Beaupre's 1985 Chrysler Caravan and its contents to be seized and impounded without probable cause or consent. Beaupre alleges that O'Connor knew or reasonably should have known that the vehicle was not "in any way connected to the putative criminal offence being investigated[.]" Id.

At some point thereafter, Beaupre alleges that he contacted SBPD and spoke with Soychak about the whereabouts of the vehicle. Soychak allegedly told Beaupre that the vehicle was located at McCrea's Junkyard in Milton, Vermont and that "[y]ou were mailed a letter from the South Burlington Police Department[, ] and you never responded to it." Id . Beaupre allegedly never received such a letter. When he told Soychak that the property was valued in excess of $50, 000, Soychak allegedly told Beaupre, "[n]ot my problem." Id.

Beaupre alleges that he contacted McCrea's Junkyard and was told to contact O'Connor and Soychak. He allegedly spoke with Soychak again and was told, "Corporal O'Connor and I gave McCrea's Junk Yard permission to sell the van and the items contained therein without your consent." Id. at 3. Beaupre allegedly requested monetary reimbursement, to which Soychak again responded that it wasn't his problem.

Beaupre's claims include violations of the Fourth Amendment prohibition and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Beaupre estimates that the vehicle and personal property items, which included tools used for Beaupre's professional enterprises, were valued at $53, 400. He seeks monetary damages to compensate for his losses, as well as punitive damages.

Standard of Review

Defendants seek dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. C. P. 12(b)(6). Filings by self-represented parties are "to be liberally construed, and a pro se 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 marks and citations omitted).

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires the plaintiff to provide "a short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). On a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court reviews the face of the plaintiff's complaint and accepts all factual allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Mills v. Polar Molecular Corp., 12 F.3d 1170, 1174 (2d Cir. 1993). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "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.

On a motion to dismiss, material outside the pleadings only may be considered by the Court where the material is attached to the complaint, where the complaint incorporates the material by reference, or where the material is "integral" to the complaint, such that the complaint "relies heavily upon its terms and effect." Chambers v. Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 152-53 (2d Cir. 2002)(quoting Int'l Audiotext Network, Inc. v. Am. Tel. & Tel. Co., 62 F.3d 69, 72 (2d Cir. 1995) (per curiam)).

Discussion

Defendants argue that Beaupre's claims are subject to Vermont's three-year limitations period for personal injury actions, 12 V.S.A. § 512(4), and that because Beaupre did not file this action within the time allowed, the Court should dismiss his claims. Beaupre has not responded to the motion.

Beaupre's constitutional claims arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The limitations period for § 1983 claims "is that which the State provides for personal-injury torts." Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007). In Vermont, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years. See 12 V.S.A. § 512(4). To determine whether the limitations period has expired, the Court looks to when the action was "commenced" by filing. 12 V.S.A. § 466. "[T]he burden of establishing a ...


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