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WILLIAMS v. NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEP'T

June 7, 1996

WALI ABDUL WILLIAMS, Plaintiff, against NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: KOELTL

 JOHN G. KOELTL, District Judge:

 The plaintiff, Wali Abdul Williams, brings this action pro se, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging deprivation of property without due process of law by the defendant, the New York City Police Department. *fn1" The defendant now moves for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 dismissing this case.

 The facts, undisputed on this motion, are as follows, Williams was arrested on May 22, 1988, at or around West 159th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in New York City and charged with criminal possession of a weapon. At the time of his arrest, an officer for the New York City Police Department seized and invoiced various items from Williams including $ 1,439.95, in cash. The officer also completed a property clerk's invoice for $ 12,955, money contained in a red zippered bag which was recovered near the site of the plaintiff's arrest. *fn2" At the time of his arrest, a copy of the invoice for the money found in the possession of the plaintiff was made available to Williams, but he refused the receipt. (Pl.'s Aff. P 7.)

 On June 14, 1988, a Grand Jury convened in New York County indicted Williams for criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. In August, 1988, during pretrial proceedings, Williams made a motion that the money seized at the time of his arrest be suppressed and returned to him. In a response dated September 12, 1988, the state opposed the release of the money since it intended to introduce the cash as evidence against Williams at trial. On July 17, 1990, Williams pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal possession of a weapon.

 Williams alleges that he was deprived of his personal property, the money seized at the time of his arrest, without due process of law and has commenced this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

 The defendant argues that it is entitled to summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff's claim as a matter of law, and that there are no disputed genuine issues of material fact that require resolution. In support of its motion, defendant argues that summary judgment should be granted in its favor for the following reasons: (1) any claim that Williams could allege pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is untimely; (2) there was no due process violation because plaintiff neither followed available procedures for return of the funds, nor pursued the adequate post-deprivation state court remedies available to him; (3) the New York City Police Department, the only defendant here, is not a suable entity in this action, and any claim against the City of New York, should be dismissed because the plaintiff has failed to demonstrate under Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978), that any alleged constitutional violation resulted from an identified policy, custom, or practice of the municipality.

 For the reasons that follow, the defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted.

 I.

 Summary judgment may not be granted unless "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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc, 477 U.S. 242, 247-248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs. Ltd. Partnership, 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir. 1994)." The trial court's task at the summary judgment motion stage of the litigation is carefully limited to discerning whether there are any genuine issues of material fact to be tried, not to deciding them. Its duty, in short, is confined at this point to issue-finding; it does not extend to issue resolution." Gallo, 22 F.3d at 1224.

 The moving party bears the initial burden of "informing the district court of the basis for its motion" and identifying the matter that "it believes demonstrate[s] the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The substantive law governing the case will identify those facts which are material and "only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, a court must resolve all ambiguities against the moving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986) (citing United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 8 L. Ed. 2d 176, 82 S. Ct. 993 (1962)); see also Gallo, 22 F.3d at 1223.

 If the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to come forward with "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). With respect to the issues on which summary judgment is sought, if there is any evidence in the record from any source from which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party, summary judgment is improper. See Chambers v. TRM Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 37 (2d Cir. 1994).

 If the moving party has met its burden, the opposing party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus., 475 U.S. at 586. The nonmoving party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. The nonmoving party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials of the moving party's pleadings. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-249. Speculative and conclusory allegations are insufficient ...


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