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RAYMOND v. BUNCH
April 11, 2001
EDWARD J. RAYMOND, PLAINTIFF,
TIMOTHY E. BUNCH AND WILLIAM C. SMITH, INDIVIDUALLY, AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS MEMBERS OF THE TOWN OF ULSTER POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hurd, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
On November 12, 1998, plaintiff Edward J. Raymond ("Raymond")
commenced the instant action against defendants Town of Ulster
Police Officers Timothy E. Bunch ("Ofr.Bunch"), and William C.
Smith ("Sgt.Smith"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 1985,*fn1
and 1988, alleging that the defendants violated his rights under
the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution. Defendants now move for summary
judgment on all claims against them, pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56. Plaintiff opposes. Oral argument was heard on
December 21, 2000, in Albany, New York. Decision was reserved.
This action arises out of an arrest for an alleged drunk
driving incident involving Raymond and the defendants. The
following are the facts stated in the light most favorable to the
On or about 6:30 a.m. on the morning of November 11, 1995, the
Town of Ulster Police Department received a call on a cellular
phone from Wayne Closi ("Closi"), a customer at the Dairy Mart on
Leggs Mill Road in Lake Katrine, New York. Closi advised the
police dispatcher that he had observed an individual at the Dairy
Mart who appeared to be drunk, and who had just purchased
gasoline and was preparing to drive away. Closi further advised
the Ulster police that the individual was in a four-door blue
Dodge with New York plate number F790JW. Based on this call, Ofr.
Bunch was dispatched to the store.
When Ofr. Bunch arrived at the store, he observed the plaintiff
sitting in a car which matched the description and plate number
which he had been given. He spoke briefly with Raymond, then went
inside the Dairy Mart to speak with Closi.*fn2 Inside the Dairy
Mart, Closi and a Dairy Mart employee, Nora Osetek ("Osetek"),
both conveyed their observations of plaintiff, i.e., that he had
difficulty pouring a cup of coffee, that he was staggering, that
his speech was slurred, and that he smelled strongly of alcohol.
Closi then directed Ofr. Bunch to the vehicle in which plaintiff
At some point during this exchange, Ofr. Bunch observed
plaintiff drive off from the Dairy Mart. Sgt. Smith, who was en
route to the store to assist Ofr. Bunch, met Ofr. Bunch on the
road.*fn3 The two then followed plaintiff to his home — which
was approximately a quarter of a mile from the Dairy Mart and
visible from the store's parking lot — in their separate
When the officers arrived at plaintiff's home, he was already
inside. The officers knocked on his door, and told plaintiff that
they had his car keys and that they were taking them to the
police station.*fn4 When plaintiff opened the door, the officers
forced their way into plaintiff's home. Sgt. Smith then punched,
kicked, and pepper sprayed plaintiff.*fn5 Both defendants then
handcuffed Raymond, and placed him under arrest. He was charged
with drunk driving and resisting arrest, and was indicted by a
grand jury on these charges on February 23, 1996.
Because plaintiff had refused a breathalyzer test at the time
of his arrest, a chemical test refusal hearing was held in
December of 1996 before a New York State Department of Motor
Vehicles administrative law judge ("ALJ") pursuant to New York
Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1194. Both defendants testified under
oath at that hearing. The ALJ found that the defendants did not
have probable cause to arrest him for drunk driving. Raymond was
subsequently acquitted of the criminal charges by a jury. The
instant action followed.
A moving party is entitled to 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 ultimate inquiry is whether a reasonable
jury could find for the nonmoving party based on the evidence
presented, the legitimate inferences that could be drawn from
that evidence in favor of the nonmoving party, and the applicable
burden of proof. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In determining a
motion for summary judgment, all inferences to be drawn from the
facts contained in the exhibits and depositions "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, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962); Hawkins v. Steingut, 829 F.2d 317,
319 (2d Cir. 1987). Nevertheless, "the litigant opposing summary
judgment `may not rest upon mere conclusory allegations or
denials' as a vehicle for obtaining a trial." Quinn v. Syracuse
Model Neighborhood Corp., 613 F.2d 438, 445 (2d Cir. 1980)
(quoting SEC v. Research Automation Corp., 585 F.2d 31, 33 (2d
To recover damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiffs must show
that: (1) "the conduct complained of was committed by a person
acting under color of state law"; and (2) such "conduct deprived
[plaintiffs] of rights, privileges or immunities secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States." Greenwich Citizens
Comm., Inc. v. Counties of Warren and Washington Indus. Dev.
Agency, 77 F.3d 26, ...