The opinion of the court was delivered by: Munson, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION & ORDER
All defendants in the present action move for summary judgment
pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Plaintiff claims that he was falsely arrested, falsely imprisoned
and maliciously prosecuted. Plaintiff alleges that the actions of
the defendants deprived him of his constitutional rights and
therefore he is entitled to damages under Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn1
This court has subject matter jurisdiction under Title
28 U.S.C. § 1331.
There is very little dispute regarding the underlying facts of
this case. A confrontation between plaintiff Joseph H.
Kruppenbacher and defendants David and Elise Mazzeo occurred on
January 10, 1985 on the corner of Washington and Lark Streets in
Albany, New York. The Mazzeos, driving an automobile, were
turning the corner when they honked the car's horn at pedestrian
Kruppenbacher as he crossed the intersection. Then, according to
the Mazzeos, Kruppenbacher kicked their car. Kruppenbacher admits
that his boot came into contact with the car. Deposition of
Kruppenbacher at 18. Elise Mazzeo, who was driving, pulled the
car over to the curb. David Mazzeo got out to ask Kruppenbacher
why he kicked the car. Kruppenbacher refused to answer. Physical
contact ensued out of which David Mazzeo emerged with a cut lip.
Here, again, plaintiff admits that he "shoved" David Mazzeo and
that his hand came into contact with Mazzeo's "upper left
shoulder-arm" area. Id. at 23. Mrs. Mazzeo, at the direction of
her husband, called the City of Albany Police Department from a
nearby public telephone.
Kruppenbacher's driver's license only listed a post office box
as his address. He refused to give the officers his street
address. Both officers thought that without knowledge of a street
address the Mazzeos would be unable to sue Kruppenbacher in small
claims court. The officers explained to the Mazzeos that without
a street address the Mazzeos would be unable to properly effect
service on Kruppenbacher.
After the officers had discussed the various options with the
Mazzeos, Kruppenbacher was arrested and taken into custody by
Officers Peters and Gaida. He was charged with criminal mischief
in the fourth degree and assault in the third degree.
Kruppenbacher was taken to the police station where he was
photographed and fingerprinted by Detective James Halpin. This
identification process took ten minutes and no conversation took
place between Halpin and Kruppenbacher. Deposition of
Kruppenbacher at 55-56. While in custody and during processing,
Kruppenbacher was also charged with criminal possession of stolen
property in the third degree because officer Peters found that
Kruppenbacher had possession of the nondriver, Department of
Motor Vehicles, identification card of Katherine Kastner. Kastner
was called by the police department. She reported the card as
stolen and signed a crime report.
Kruppenbacher was arraigned on January 10, 1985 before City of
Albany police court Judge Thomas W. Keegan. Judge Keegan remanded
Kruppenbacher to the Albany County jail. On February 1, 1985
Kruppenbacher was released on $6,000.00 cash bail. The Mazzeos
never signed a criminal complaint against Kruppenbacher.
Consequently all charges against the plaintiff were dropped on
June 6, 1985. Id. at 75-76. Kruppenbacher then filed this Section
1983 action against David Mazzeo, Elise Mazzeo, the City of
Albany Police Department, Officer Charles Peters, Officer Paul
Gaida, and Detective James Halpin.*fn2
Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that a trial judge shall grant summary judgment "if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The burden rests on the moving party to
demonstrate the lack of a genuine issue of fact, Adickes v. S.H.
Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 1608, 26 L.Ed.2d
142 (1970). "In cases where the non-movant will bear the ultimate
burden of proof at trial on an issue, the moving party's burden
under Rule 56 is met if he can point to an absence of evidence to
support an essential element of the non-moving party's claim."
Brady v. Town of Colchester, 863 F.2d 205, 210-11 (2d Cir. 1988).
When the movant bears the ultimate burden on an issue upon which
he is moving for summary judgment, he must initially establish a
prima facie showing on that issue. See Beaver Valley Power Co. v.
National Engineering & Contracting Co., 883 F.2d 1210, 1217 n. 7
(3d Cir. 1989). If the moving party meets its burden, the
plaintiff must then respond with specific facts to support his
case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). On the motion for summary judgment, the
evidence "must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
party opposing the motion." United States v. Diebold, Inc.,
369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 994, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962).
Recovery under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is premised upon a showing by
the plaintiff, first, that the defendant deprived plaintiff of a
right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws
of the United States and, second, that the defendant was acting
under color of state law at the time such denial was effected.
Adickes, 398 U.S. at 150, 90 S.Ct. at 1604; Patterson v.
Coughlin, 761 F.2d 886, 890 (2d Cir. 1985).
Plaintiff alleges deprivation of his eighth and fourteenth
amendment rights and brings pendent state law tort claims of
false arrest and malicious prosecution.*fn3 Plaintiff has no
eighth amendment claim because he was not convicted of a criminal
offense. Revere v. Massachusetts General Hosp., 463 U.S. 239,
244, 103 S.Ct. 2979, 2983, 77 L.Ed.2d 605 (1983). The court will
instead focus on the allegation that defendants' actions violated
the plaintiff's right under the fourteenth amendment to be free
of deprivations of liberty without due process of law. Under the
due process clause, an individual may not be punished prior to an
adjudication of guilt in accordance with due process of law. Bell
v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1872, 60 L.Ed.2d
447 (1979). The standards and procedures for arrest and detention
in accordance with due process of law have been derived from the
fourth amendment and its common-law antecedents. Gerstein v.
Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 111, 95 S.Ct. 854, 861, 43 L.Ed.2d 54 (1975).
Therefore, the arrest of Kruppenbacher will be found to be in
violation of the fourteenth amendment if it was performed without
probable cause, as defined in the fourth amendment.*fn4
The fourth amendment protects an individual against unfounded
invasions of liberty and privacy and applies to the states by
virtue of the fourteenth amendment. See generally Hayes v.
Florida, 470 U.S. 811, 105 S.Ct. 1643, 84 L.Ed.2d 705 (1985).
Although the Government may permissibly detain a person suspected
of committing a crime prior to a formal adjudication of guilt,
the existence of probable cause is the standard necessary for
arrest without a warrant. See Gerstein, 420 U.S. at 111-114, 95
S.Ct. at 861-63. The fourth amendment requires the states to
provide a fair and reasonable determination of probable cause as
a condition for any significant pretrial restraint of liberty.
Id. at 114, 95 S.Ct. at 863.
Probable cause to arrest exists when the arresting officer has
knowledge and reasonably trustworthy information of facts and
circumstances in themselves sufficient to warrant a person of
reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been committed
by the suspect. Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 91, 85 S.Ct. 223, 225,
13 L.Ed.2d 142 (1964); Calamia v. City of New York,
879 F.2d 1025, 1032 (2d Cir. 1989); People v. Smith, 44 N.Y.2d 613, 622,
407 N.Y.S.2d 462, 467, 378 N.E.2d 1032, 1037 (1978). Stated more
concisely, probable cause exists when an officer ...