The opinion of the court was delivered by: Larimer, Chief Judge.
This is a civil rights action brought pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, Anthony Dickerson ("Dickerson"), brought claims
of malicious prosecution, false arrest, false imprisonment, and
malicious abuse of process against defendants Leon Hill, ("Hill")
of the Monroe County Sheriff's
Department, and Allen Dombroski ("Dombroski"), of the New York
State Police. Plaintiff's wife, Mary Dickerson, also brings a
loss of consortium claim under New York law. Defendant Dombroski
now moves for summary judgment.
The events that led to this action began on June 14, 1994, when
defendant Dombroski telephoned plaintiff at his home and stated
that one "Mr. Dickerson" or "Mr. MacDonald" had called the
television show "America's Most Wanted" with information
concerning a missing child, Kali Ann Poulton. Dickerson Aff., ¶
2. Plaintiff informed Dombroski that he did not make the phone
calls and did not have any information about the missing child.
Id. at ¶ 3.
Later that day, defendants Hill and Dombroski went to
plaintiff's home to question him further. Plaintiff claims that
he denied making the phone calls and told the officers to leave
his property. Dickerson Aff., ¶ 11. After an unpleasant exchange
with Dombroski, plaintiff returned to his backyard where he had
been removing maple tree roots. Id. at ¶¶ 12-13. When he picked
up a sledgehammer to continue work, one of the defendants ordered
him to put it down. Id. at ¶ 14. Plaintiff complied by dropping
the sledgehammer to his side and turning around, and the
defendants left soon after. Id. at 14-15.
Immediately following the incident, Dombroski and Hill
discussed filing a menacing charge against plaintiff. Dombroski
Dep., pp. 151-52, 161. Dombroski decided not to act immediately,
but intended to arrest plaintiff at a later time. Id. at
151-56. Dombroski and Hill then met with their superiors from the
County and the State. Id. at 162-64. During the meeting, the
officers concluded that since the County intended to file
charges, Dombroski would not file duplicate charges but would
serve as a witness. Id. at 163, 168-69. Following the
discussion, both Dombroski and Hill filed a report with the
Irondequoit Police Department ("Irondequoit") indicating that an
"officer safety issue" had occurred in that jurisdiction. Id.
The next day, June 15, Dombroski and Hill met with the
assistant district attorney to discuss whether the additional
charge of obstructing governmental administration ("OGA") should
be lodged against plaintiff. Dombroski Dep., pp. 222-27. During
the meeting, Dombroski spoke with plaintiff on the telephone.
Id. at 227. Plaintiff informed Dombroski that he planned to
file a harassment complaint. Id. at 229-30. At the conclusion
of the meeting, the assistant district attorney indicated that
the County would file a menacing and an OGA charge. Id. at
232-33. The three also discussed obtaining a warrant for
plaintiff's arrest. Id.
That same day, plaintiff contacted Irondequoit about filing a
complaint against Hill and Dombroski. Dickerson Aff. ¶ 16.
Irondequoit Officer Dennis Saeva ("Saeva") went to plaintiff's
home and informed him that defendants had filed a report stating
that plaintiff had threatened them with a sledgehammer. Dickerson
Aff., ¶ 17. Saeva convinced plaintiff not to file a complaint and
suggested that nothing would come of the defendant's report.
Dickerson Aff., ¶ 20.
On June 24, Hill and another officer arrested plaintiff at his
place of employment. Dickerson Dep., p. 23. Plaintiff alleges
that he was transported to the Monroe County Sheriff's Department
and detained in a cell for four hours, then spent another four
hours in a "holding tank" at the Irondequoit Police Department
until his arraignment.
At the criminal trial, Dombroski testified against plaintiff.
Brown Aff., ¶ 33. The court dismissed the charge of OGA sua
sponte. Id. A jury acquitted plaintiff of the menacing charge
after five minutes of deliberation. Id. at ¶ 34.
Summary Judgment is appropriate where "there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A
"genuine issue" exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Under Rule 56(e), a party opposing the motion
for summary judgment "may not rest upon the mere allegations or
denials of the adverse party's pleading, but . . . must set forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
This Court's function in deciding a motion for summary judgment
"is not to weigh the evidence or resolve issues of fact, but to
decide instead whether, after resolving all ambiguities and
drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party, a
rational juror could find in favor of ...