The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweet, D.J.
Frank Standt is a citizen and resident of Germany.
Defendant City of New York is a municipality organized and
existing under the laws of the State of New York.
At all times relevant to this action, Police Officers Tuozzolo
and Applewhite, Sergeants Chu, Dempsey, Anderson, and McKernan,
and John Does #1-5 were police officers under the command of the
28th Precinct of the New York City Police Department ("NYPD").
Almost every material fact in this action is the subject of
serious dispute, as set forth below. Rule 56 requires the facts
to be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff in
this summary judgment motion.
At approximately 1:05 a.m. on January 27, 1999, Standt was
stopped at a NYPD traffic checkpoint at Mount Morris Park and
West 123rd St. in New York City. (Compl. ¶¶ 9, 10; Maazel
Decl. Ex. A (Standt Deposition) at 192:11-14.) He was driving a
black 1994 Saturn automobile with a "gay pride" rainbow flag
hanging from the rear view mirror. (Rosen Decl. Ex. J (Online
Booking System Arrest Worksheet) at 34; Maazel Decl. Ex. A at
170; Standt Decl. ¶ 2.) At that time, Standt spoke English with
a thick German accent and had difficulty understanding English.
(Standt Decl. ¶ 10; Maazel Decl. Exs. G (Dempsey Decl.) at 99,
M (Chu Dep.) at 126, N (Parduba Dep.) at 47.)
Officer Tuozzolo approached the vehicle and asked Standt where
he was coming from and where he was going. (Rosen Decl. Ex. N
(Tuozzolo Deposition) at 159:18-23; Rosen Decl. Ex. E
(Intoxicated Driver Examination Form) at 2; Standt Decl. ¶
4.)Standt contends that he told Tuozzolo that he was coming from
a friend's house and was on the way to another friend's house
(Standt Decl. ¶ 4), but Tuozzolo alleges that Standt told him
he didn't know either where he was coming from or where he was
going. (Tuozzolo Dep. at 159:18-23; Rosen Decl. Ex. E.)
Tuozzolo asked Standt to show a drivers' license. Standt
produced his German license, which contained the words "drivers
license" in English, as well as his passport, from his trunk.
(Maazel Decl. Ex. C.) The license did not have any expiration
date, and Tuozzolo was unaware that New York law allows non-New
York residents to drive with licenses issued by foreign
countries. See N.Y. V.T.L. § 250(2); (Tuozzolo
Dep. at 248:13-16, 259-60).
Tuozzolo avers that Standt had bloodshot eyes and was not
wearing a seatbelt. (Tuozzolo Dep. at 148-50) Standt, on the
other hand, does not believe his eyes were bloodshot and contends
that he was wearing a seatbelt because the car he was driving has
an automatic shoulder belt feature. (Standt Decl. ¶¶ 2, 5;
Standt Dep. at 188.) Other officers who interacted with Standt at
the checkpoint and at the police station did not observe him to
have bloodshot eyes. (Maazel Decl. Exs. M (Chu Dep.) at 127,
167-68, N (Parduba Dep.) at 47-8, 0 (Tolan Dep.) at 76.)
After attempting the line walk, Standt was arrested and charged
with driving under the influence of alcohol at approximately 1:10
a.m. (Tuozzolo Dep. at 290; Online Booking Sheet, 1. 9; Rosen
Decl. Ex. D (28th Pct. Command Log); Standt Dep. at 34.) Sgt.
Chu, the supervisor on the scene, alleges that Standt became
agitated, started yelling in German and said "Heil Hitler."
(Rosen Decl. Ex. P (Chu Dep.) at 132). Standt denies having said
this or raised his voice at all, which Tuozzolo confirms. (Stand
Dep. at 34-35; Standt Decl. ¶ 6; Tuozzolo Dep. at 573-74.)
Standt was transported to the 28th Precinct of the NYPD. When
he arrived at the precinct, the desk sergeant, Victor Dempsey,
did not notice Standt to have any signs of intoxication, such as
smelling of alcohol, slurring his speech, being unsteady on his
feet, or having bloodshot eyes. (Maazel Decl. Ex. G (Dempsey
Dep.) at 99-104.) Nonetheless, Dempsey wrote in the command log
that Standt appeared intoxicated. (Dempsey Dep. at 99-104;
Command Log ("App Intox").) Dempsey also searched Standt's bag,
which contained various gay-related magazines and other items.
(Standt Dep. at 59-61, 197-203.)
Officer Parduba administered a breathalyzer test to Standt on
the second floor of the precinct at approximately 2:35 a.m.
Meanwhile, Tuozzolo began to fill out the appropriate paperwork.
In the space for "Physical Condition" in the Online Booking
Sheet, Tuozzolo wrote the code "01" for "Apparently Normal."
(Maazel Decl. Ex. E 1. 17; Tuozzolo Dep. at 500-02.)*fn1 On the
Intoxicated Driver Examination form, Tuozzolo checked boxes
indicating that Standt's eyes were bloodshot and his balance was
"swaying." (Rosen Decl. Ex. E (Intoxicated Driver Examination
form) at 2.) While upstairs, officers including Tuozzolo directed
repeated explicit homophobic remarks at Standt. (Standt Dep. at
86-9.) The breathalyzer test revealed that Standt had a blood
alcohol level of 0.00%. (Rosen Decl. Exs. F (Chemical Test
Analysis), G (Officer's Arrest Report — IDTU).) The DUI arrest
was then voided. (Command Log.)
Still in handcuffs since his arrest, Standt was returned
downstairs. Crying now, he asked repeatedly to contact the German
Consulate. (Standt Dep. at 94-5, 98-100, 104-07.) No officer
either notified him of his right to contact the Consulate or
allowed him to do so at any time. (Standt Dep. at 100-01, 104-07;
Standt Decl. ¶ 9; Tuozzolo Dep. at 404-07.)
When Standt requested that his handcuffs be loosened, an
officer tightened them instead, and Standt alleges that officers
began to assault him by pulling his hair, hitting him in the
shoulders, ribs, and stomach. (Standt. Dep. at 108-17.) The
defendants contest this charge, and specifically contend that
Officer Tuozzolo attempted to remove the cuffs once the DUI
charge was voided, but that Standt "refused
to be released," twisted and moved away, began to scream, and attempted
to bite him. (Tuozzolo Dep. at 378-79; Tuozzolo memo book).
At or about 3:16 a.m., Sgt. Dempsey ordered Standt to be
transported to St. Lukes Hospital as an alleged Emotionally
Disturbed Person ("EDP"). (Dempsey Dep. at 131-34, 140.) Upon
arrival, Nurse Mary Swett ("Swett") determined that Standt was
not emotionally disturbed in any way. (Standt Dep. at 142, 248-49;
Tuozzolo Dep. at 460-62; Maazel Decl. Ex. H (Tuozzolo Memo
Book) at 4 ("ASS[t.] Head Nurse Nary Swett St. Lukes Hosp.
Refused to Do Write up Not EDP").) Standt asked Swett to contact
the German Consulate, which she did. Standt spoke briefly to an
individual at the Consulate by telephone. (Standt Dep. at 236.)
At approximately 4:30 a.m., Standt, who was still handcuffed,
was transported back to a parking lot across from the 28th
Precinct station house, where he alleges that he was again beaten
by several police officers. (Standt Dep. at 273-82.) Tuozzolo
issued Standt two summonses — one for driving without a
seatbelt and the other for driving without a valid license
— before releasing him. (Standt Decl. ¶ 8; Maazel Decl.
Ex. K (summonses).) The summonses had been sworn at approximately
2:45 a.m. — after the breathalyzer test came back negative.
(Maazel Decl. Ex. H (Tuozzolo memo book)), but Standt was not
notified of them until after 4:30 a.m. (Standt Decl. ¶ 8). He
was finally released at approximately 4:39 a.m., more than three
hours after he was stopped at the checkpoint. (Tuozzolo memo
Standt then returned to St. Luke's Hospital in order to seek
treatment for injuries he had received that night. (Standt Dep.
at 293-95; Maazel Decl. Ex. I (St. Luke's Hospital Records)). He
alleges that his treatment by officers brought back memories of
his brutal detention and imprisonment by the East German STASI
police when he lived in East Germany. (Compl. ¶ 57.)
Standt retained an attorney and appeared in traffic court two
or three times before both summonses were dismissed. (Maazel
Decl. ¶ 3; Standt Decl. ¶ 8.)
After duly serving notices of claim pursuant to New York law
and receiving no offer of settlement, Standt filed this action
against the City, Tuozzolo, and John and Jane Does #1-#10 on
November 3, 1999. An amended complaint adding Applewhite, Chu,
Dempsey, Anderson, and McKernan, and reducing number of John
Does, was filed on February 20, 2001. The amended complaint
contains ten claims: (1) a 42 U.S.C. § 1983
cause of action for conspiracy to violate, and actual violations of Standt's
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, by the
individual defendants; (2) violations of the Article I, § 2
of the New York State Constitution; (3) assault and battery; (4)
false arrest and false imprisonment; (5) Intentional Infliction
of Emotional Distress; (6) Malicious Prosecution; (7)
Conversion/Unjust enrichment of a watch and bracelet; (8) Article
36(1) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, (9)
negligence with regard to the watch and bracelet, each against
all defendants; and (10) negligent hiring/training/retention of
employment services by the City.
The defendants filed this partial summary judgment motion on
March 13, 2001. Specifically, the defendants seek summary
judgment on (1) the Vienna Convention claim; (2) the false arrest
and false imprisonment claim due to (a) the existence of probable
cause and (b) qualified immunity;
and (3) the malicious prosecution claim.*fn2 Standt filed
opposing papers on April 9, 2001, and the motion was deemed fully
submitted upon oral argument on May 2, 2001.
I. Summary Judgment Standard
Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that a motion for summary judgment may be granted when "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." The Second
Circuit has repeatedly noted that "as a general rule, all
ambiguities and inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts
should be resolved in favor of the party opposing the motion, and
all doubts as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial
should be resolved against the moving party." Brady v. Town
of Colchester, 863 F.2d 205, 210 (2d Cir. 1988)
(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 330 n. 2,
106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986) (Brennan, J., dissenting));
see Tomka v. Seiler Corp., 66 F.3d 1295, 1304 (2d Cir. 1995);
Burrell v. City Univ., 894 F. Supp. 750, 757 (S.D.N.Y. 1995). If, when
viewing the evidence produced in the light most ...