A U.S. District Judge this week confirmed a prior recommendation by a federal magistrate to dismiss an alleged conspiracy lawsuit against Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia by his former wife, Deanna King.
Bellavia is a former Batavia resident, and King, a media personality and broadcaster in Rochester, currently resides in Batavia.
The suit stemmed from King's arrest on Jan. 27, 2021, in Orleans County, by a District Attorney investigator, Corey Black, on a harassment charge. In the lawsuit drafted by King's attorney, Nate McMurray, King alleged Black and Bellavia engaged in a conspiracy to have her arrested without probable cause as part of an effort to intimidate her during divorce proceedings.
District Judge John L. Sinatra, in affirming the recommendation of Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy, said that a complaint and an amended complaint filed by McMurray failed to prove a conspiracy.
"Moreover, the alleged conspiracy (in both versions of the complaint) lacks the requisite plausibility to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, namely, in its reliance on factually-bare speculation about a supposed improper agreement based solely on a pre-existing relationship between Defendant Black and David Bellavia," Sinatra wrote in his ruling.
In the complaint written by McMurray, King alleges that Black and Bellavia are lifelong friends and share a political affiliation but does not offer any evidence that the two men concocted a scheme to have King arrested.
McMurray argued that Black falsely portrayed himself as a law enforcement officer and arrested King without probable cause.
In his motions objecting to McCarthy's dismissal recommendation, he provided the accusatory document filed in conjunction with King's arrest. He argued under the language of the harassment statute, part of the definition of harassment is communication for "no legitimate purpose." McMurray said King contacted Bellavia about obtaining a health insurance card for one of their children.
Concern for the health of their children during the pandemic, McMurray argued, was a legitimate reason for King to contact Bellavia.
The accusatory, apparently written by Black, states that King has been previously instructed not to contact Bellavia by telephone and that King used the phone of her son to call Bellavia "for the sole purpose of harassing and annoying him. That said defendant stating (sic) her displeasure for (sic) an insurance card issue and stating (sic), 'I don't care where you are or if you're with your girlfriend.' All contrary to the provisions of the statute."
Except for any potential appeals, Sinatra's ruling removes Bellavia from the case. He is no longer a defendant in the suit. The other defendants in the case, alleged to have violated King's civil rights, are Orleans County, the Orleans County Sheriff's Office, the Orleans District Attorney's Office, Corey Black, and Deputy John Doe.
None of the other defendants have so far filed any motions in the case.
McMurray, an Erie County resident, campaigned unsuccessfully three times for a congressional seat that contained Genesee County.