United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
J. McConnell United States District Judge.
the City of Woonsocket, the Woonsocket Police Department, and
Officer Edward J. Doura have filed a Motion to Dismiss (ECF No.
8) Plaintiffs Amended Complaint ("complaint") (ECF
the complaint is at times difficult to follow, the Court
deciphers the following relevant facts. In essence, Eric
Gathigi asserts that the Woonsocket Police falsely arrested
him for domestic assault without probable
cause. On November 27, 2016, at approximately
4:00 p.m., the mother of Mr. Gathigi's daughter told the
police that Mr. Gathigi had assaulted her. She had taken a
video of the encounter with her cell phone! Officer Doura,
who took the police report, noted that the video was
following morning at approximately 7:00 a.m., Woonsocket
Police arrested Mr. Gathigi without a warrant based on the
alleged victim's statement. The police held Mr. Gathigi
for ten hours before they released him after a bail hearing.
He was without food for the entire period. The City of
Woonsocket arraigned him for assault and domestic assault.
After a trial, the court found him not guilty.
Gathigi alleges that Woonsocket Police mistreated him for a
No. of reasons. First, he asserts that the police falsely
arrested him. Second, he alleges that Officer Doura was
involved in a property dispute that involved one of Mr.
Gathigi's relatives, creating a conflict of interest.
Third, he claims that the police discriminated against him
based on his race and accent.
on these facts, Mr. Gathigi alleges that the police violated
his constitutional and statutory rights, common law falsely
arrested him, and subjected him to abuse of process and
negligence. He also attempts to assert claims on behalf of
his minor daughter.
Claims on behalf of minor child
Gathigi, pro se, purports to bring this action both on his
own behalf and on behalf of his minor daughter N.M.G. Mr.
Gathigi does not make any allegations of conduct by the
Defendants against his daughter. Even if he did, the Court
must dismiss airy claims by her. A pro se litigant generally
cannot bring a cause of action on behalf of anyone other than
himself, including his minor child. See Winkelman ex rel.
Winkelman v. Parma City Sch. Dist, 550 U.S. 516, 522
(2007). In addition, our local rules mandate that an
"individual appearing prose may not represent any other
party." LR Gen 205(a)(2). Therefore, the Court dismisses
N.M.G. as a plaintiff and dismisses all claims on her behalf
Woonsocket Police Department
Woonsocket Police Department is not a proper party to this
suit because it is a department or a subdivision of the City
of Woonsocket. "[A] subdivsion of a larger organization
is not a proper party to a suit." Jacobowitz ex rel.
MJ v. YMCA of Greater Providence Bayside YMCA Branch,
No. 15-345 S, 2016 WL 1259397, at *3 (D.R.I. Mar. 30, 2016).
Therefore, the Court dismisses the "Woonsocket Police
Department" as a defendant.
Claims by Eric Ga thigi against the City of Woonsocket and
Court first enunciates some axioms of law in how it reviews
this motion. The Court takes all plausible facts from the
complaint as true, but does not accept legal conclusions
couched as factual allegations. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Because Mr. Gathigi is a pro
so litigant, the Court holds his complaint "to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
Mr. Gathigi's claims rest on his assertion that the
Woonsocket Police falsely arrested him for domestic assault
without probable cause. The thrust of his complaint is that
the Woonsocket Police based its arrest decision on a report
by Officer Doura, who had a conflict of interest,
admitted in his report that the video taken by the alleged
victim was "inconclusive regarding what occurred during
the incident." In further support, Mr. Gathigi asserts
that he was found not guilty after a trial on the charges.
Mr. Gathigi's complaint fails as to the City of
Woonsocket. To state a claim against the City, Mr. Gathigi
would have to allege that his injuries were because of a city
custom or policy. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of
N.Y.C,436 U.S. ...