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THOMAS v. CULBERG

July 11, 1990

PETER DANIEL THOMAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SGT. CULBERG — SHIELD 31572, N.Y.P.D. AND OTHER UNNAMED MEMBERS OF THE N.Y.P.D., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, District Judge.

OPINION

Defendant Sergeant Culbert ("Culbert") has moved this court pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for summary judgment against plaintiff, pro se, Peter Daniel Thomas ("Thomas").

Parties

Thomas is the father of David Thomas.

Culbert is a sergeant with the New York City Police Department, Shield # 1572.

Prior Proceedings

Thomas filed this action on or about July 25, 1988 against defendants Beth Israel Medical Center, State Family Court Judge Mary Bednar, City of New York Human Resources Administration ("H.R.A."), Special Services for Children ("S.S.C."), William Grinker, as Commissioner of H.R.A. ("Commissioner") and Herman D. Wilson, caseworker with S.S.C. ("Wilson"). Thomas alleged among other things, that defendants unlawfully removed his son from his custody on July 12, 1988. On November 4, 1988 defendants moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. On March 20, 1989, this Court dismissed the complaint against Beth Israel Medical Center and Judge Bednar with prejudice and dismissed the complaint against the city defendants with leave to replead within twenty days.

On or about April 6, 1989, Thomas filed an amended complaint identical to the original complaint with the exception of adding Culbert to the already named city defendants. The city defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint on or about June 7, 1989. By memorandum decision dated September 27, 1989, this Court dismissed the complaint against H.R.A., S.S.C., the Commissioner and Wilson with prejudice. The court found, however, that assuming the truth of all the facts alleged in the amended complaint, dismissal of the claims against the police officer was inappropriate at that time. In a memorandum opinion dated October 2, 1989, Thomas' motion by order to show cause for a preliminary injunction seeking return of his child was denied.

Culbert moved for summary judgment on the claims against him on April 20, 1990. The motion was considered fully submitted as of April 27, 1990.

Facts

The facts of this dispute are set forth in detail in the September 29, 1989 opinion, familiarity with which is assumed.

Standards for Summary Judgment

To grant summary judgment the court must determine that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The court's responsibility is not to resolve disputed issues of fact, Donahue v. Windsor Locks Bd. of Fire Comm'rs, 834 F.2d 54, 57 (2d Cir. 1987), but to determine whether there are any factual issues to be tried, while resolving ambiguities and drawing inferences against the moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986) (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., Inc., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 1608-09, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970)). Summary judgment enables the court to dispose of meritless claims before ...


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