was based on the reports that plaintiff had allegedly threatened another individual with a gun, the behavior that the police observed on their second visit to his residence, and the fact that he was "very hostile and guarded." Ex. C to Brooks Aff. As required by section 9.39, within forty-eight hours, defendant Dr. Anand Nadkarni examined plaintiff and found that Glass exhibited a tendency to cause serious harm to others. See Ex. D to Brooks Aff. Dr. Nadkarni then confirmed the decision to involuntarily commit plaintiff.
On July 13, 1989, defendant Dr. Boris Dadic, plaintiff's treating physician, determined that plaintiff should be confined for further hospitalization pursuant to the terms of NYMHL § 9.27.
Defendant Dr. Rosalina Sarigumba confirmed this diagnosis and as required by NYMHL § 9.27, defendants Drs. Sontakh Singh Ohson and Dinesh Sood
examined plaintiff and certified that plaintiff required further hospitalization. See Exs. F and G to Brooks Aff. On July 19, 1989, pursuant to the terms of NYMHL § 9.31, plaintiff requested a hearing to challenge his confinement. A date was set for the hearing, but numerous adjournments took place and the hearing was never held.
Plaintiff was finally discharged from Pilgrim on September 29, 1989.
In October 1990, plaintiff instituted this action claiming that he was incorrectly diagnosed and that as a result of this incorrect diagnosis, he was improperly hospitalized and this improper confinement amounted to a violation of his rights under the Due Process Clause. Plaintiff also claimed that his rights under the Fourth Amendment were violated because the defendants lacked probable cause to admit and certify plaintiff pursuant to New York State's involuntary hospitalization criteria. Plaintiff also asserted State law causes of action for false arrest and for false imprisonment and sought compensatory and punitive damages. Defendants then moved for dismissal or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. When the parties appeared for oral argument, this Court gave plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. In July, 1991, plaintiff filed an amended complaint that, in essence, contained the same allegations as plaintiff's original complaint. Defendants then filed the present motion seeking dismissal of the amended complaint or, in the alternative, summary judgment.
A motion for summary judgment may only be granted where the moving party demonstrates that no genuine issue of material fact exists for trial and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). The duty of a court confronted with such a motion is limited to determining whether the case presents issues of fact which require a trial for resolution; it may not properly resolve those issues itself in the context of the motion. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). In the course of its analysis, the court must draw all reasonable inferences and resolve all ambiguities in favor of the non-moving party. See Binder v. Long Island Lighting Co., 933 F.2d 187, 191 (2d Cir. 1991).
This case involves the issue of qualified immunity. In Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 73 L. Ed. 2d 396, 102 S. Ct. 2727 (1982), the Supreme Court stated that qualified immunity shields a governmental official from liability in civil actions if the official's conduct did not "violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known." Furthermore, "whether an official protected by qualified immunity may be held personally liable for an allegedly unlawful official action generally turns on the 'objective legal reasonableness' of the action . . . assessed in light of the legal rules that were 'clearly established' at the time it was taken." Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 639, 97 L. Ed. 2d 523, 107 S. Ct. 3034 (1987) (citing Harlow, 457 U.S. at 818-19).
In essence, qualified immunity "is an immunity from suit rather than a mere defense to liability." Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526, 86 L. Ed. 2d 411, 105 S. Ct. 2806 (1985). Based on this principle, when the defense of qualified immunity is asserted, summary judgment is favored in order "to eliminate meritless actions against public officials at the earliest possible stage in the litigation." Mozzochi v. Borden, 959 F.2d 1174 (2d Cir. 1992) (citing Mitchell, 472 U.S. at 530; Harlow, 457 U.S. at 816-18); see Cartier v. Lussier, 955 F.2d 841, 844 (2d Cir. 1992). As the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently stated, when a District Court is faced with a motion for summary judgment and the defense of qualified immunity is involved,
a court should ask whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the conduct that may be proved at trial is conduct that, at the time it occurred, violated a clearly established constitutional or statutory right. If the answer is no, the court should grant a defendant's motion for summary judgment.