This action arises out of events that occurred in connection
with Green's arrest in 1988.
On the evening of November 1, 1988, Police Officers Montgomery,
Fitzgerald, Troy, and O'Reilly (collectively "the officers"),
responded to an anonymous telephone tip that stolen vehicles,
including a black Jeep Wrangler, were being kept in the parking
lot of an apartment complex on Bay Shore Road in North Babylon,
New York. The caller told the police that the vehicles would be
moved that night.
That evening, Green, who had just turned fifteen, along with
his brother and some friends, drove into the parking lot of the
Bay Shore Road apartment complex, pulling up adjacent to a black
Jeep Wrangler. Along with a companion, he got out of his car and
into the Wrangler. About this time, the officers drove into the
parking lot, blocking the exit with their vehicles. The officers
got out of their cars and pursued Green and the others in the
At this point the officers' version of the facts differs
greatly from those asserted by Green. Green claims that, without
provocation, Troy and Montgomery began firing at him as the Jeep
was rolling to a halt. The officers claim that when they tried to
make an investigatory stop of Green, he drove the Jeep directly
at Montgomery, and Troy and Montgomery then shot him in the head.
Green was apprehended, and later indicted by a Grand Jury for
attempted murder in the second degree, attempted assault in the
first degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, grand
larceny in the third degree, and criminal possession of stolen
property in the third degree.
Following a bench trial in the Supreme Court of the State of
New York, Suffolk County, the court found in favor of Green on
the charges of attempted murder, assault, and grand larceny, and
against Green on the reckless endangerment and criminal
possession of stolen property charges. The parties disagree,
however, as to whether Green was convicted for these crimes, or
adjudicated a juvenile delinquent. In this regard, the "Sentence
and Commitment" states that Green was "convicted of/adjudicated a
Juvenile Delinquent," Plaintiff's Statement Pursuant to Local
Rule 56.1, Ex. F. However, the judge who presided over the trial
refers to Green as having been "convicted, following a bench
trial," in an order denying the release of Grand Jury testimony
regarding the indictment. Defendants' Reply Affirmation, Ex. B.
"A motion for summary judgment may not he granted unless the
court determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact
to be tried and that the facts as to which there is no issue
warrant judgment for the moving party as a matter of law." Quinn
v. Green Tree Credit Corp., 159 F.3d 759, 765 (2d Cir. 1998)
(quoting Cronin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 46 F.3d 196, 202 (2d Cir.
1995)). The Court will assume for the purposes of this motion
that Green was adjudicated a juvenile delinquent. See Thomas v.
Roach, 165 F.3d 137, 142 (2d Cir. 1999) ("the district court must
view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving
A. Excessive Force Claim
The defendants argue that Green's previous adjudication of
juvenile delinquency on the charge of reckless endangerment
mandates a finding that the officers' shooting of Green was not
constitutionally unreasonable. The Court agrees.
1. Collateral Estoppel
Even though this is a federal proceeding, and Green's
adjudication was in a state court, federal courts must give "a
state court judgment . . . the same preclusive effect . . . as
the judgment would
have had in state court." Burka v. New York City Transit Auth.,
32 F.3d 654, 657 (2d Cir. 1994) (citing Migra v. Warren City Sch.
Dist. Rd. of Educ., 465 U.S. 75, 81, 104 S.Ct. 892, 79 L.Ed.2d 56
(1984)). Under New York law, if an issue is "`clearly raised in a
prior action or proceeding and decided against that party or
those in privity, whether or not the tribunals or causes of
action are the same,'" that party is barred by collateral
estoppel from relitigating the same issue. Burgos v. Hopkins,
14 F.3d 787, 792 (2d Cir. 1994) (quoting Ryan v. New York Telephone
Co., 62 N.Y.2d 494, 478 N.Y.S.2d 823, 826, 467 N.E.2d 487
The Supreme Court has expressly applied this basic rule of law
to bar § 1983 litigation. See Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 102,
101 S.Ct. 411, 66 L.Ed.2d 308 (1980). In Allen, the Court stated
[t]here is, in short, no reason to believe that
Congress intended to provide a person claiming a
federal right an unrestricted opportunity to
relitigate an issue already decided in state court
simply because the issue arose in a state proceeding
in which he would rather have not been engaged in at
Allen, 449 U.S. at 104, 101 S.Ct. 411. See also Burks v.
Jakubowski, 837 F. Supp. 48, 52 (N.D.N.Y. 1993) (citing Allen as
"squarely [holding] that collateral estoppel applies to a
plaintiff in a section 1983 action who attempts to relitigate in
federal courts issues already decided against him or her in a
state criminal proceeding"); Mitchell v. Keane, 974 F. Supp. 332,
340 (S.D.N.Y. 1997) (summary judgment granted dismissing a § 1983
claim that officers filed false disciplinary charges of assault
against an inmate, when a previous state criminal proceeding
convicted that inmate of the assault in question); Lowery v.