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QUINN v. CITY OF NEW YORK

March 12, 2003

JOHN QUINN, PLAINTIFF, AGAINST CITY OF NEW YORK, ET AL., DEFENDANT.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jack B. Weinstein, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Plaintiff John Quinn asserts a false arrest claim against Detective Serrano of the New York City Police Department. 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Defendant moves for summary judgment.

Plaintiff was arrested for having committed the New York State crime of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree. N.Y. Penal Law § 240.30(1). He admitted mailing audio tapes, containing conversations between Christine Miceli and plaintiff's son Gregory Quinn, to a member of Ms. Miceli's family and to her fiancé. The issue is whether defendant had probable cause to arrest him.

II. Facts

A. Procedure

All of Mr. John Quinn's claims with the exception of his claim for false arrest against the arresting officer were dismissed after an evidentiary hearing. A second evidentiary hearing on one remaining claim supports a grant of the motion to dismiss the case.

B. Events Leading To Claim

Gregory Quinn, a former police officer, was briefly involved in a romantic relationship with police officer Christine Miceli. Following a volatile end to that affair, Gregory Quinn was discharged from the New York City Police Department. Mr. Lance Faber, her subsequent fiancé. received a package containing audio tapes at his place of work; he then filed a complaint with the New York City Police Department. See Court's Exhibit No. 4 of Jan. 29, 2003. These tapes recorded conversations between Gregory Quinn and Ms. Miceli relating to their relationship. Initially Mr. Faber believed that Gregory Quinn had sent them. See Court's Exhibit No. 4 of Jan. 29, 2003. Subsequently, plaintiff John Quinn, a former New York City Transit Police Officer, voluntarily entered the 62nd Police Precinct and admitted that he had mailed the tapes to Mr. Faber and to a member of Ms. Miceli's family. He was arrested by defendant Detective Serrano and charged with Aggravated Harassment. See Court's Exhibit No. 2 of Jan. 29, 2003.

Plaintiff asserts that his sole motive for sending the tapes was to alert Mr. Faber and Ms. Miceli's family to the truth about her relationship with his son and that he did not intend to harass or annoy anyone.

The District Attorney declined to prosecute Mr. John Quinn. In comments attributed to Detective Serrano in a taped conversation purporting to be between the detective and Gregory Quinn, it was suggested that there was no probable cause for the arrest, but that Detective Serrano's superiors had ordered it.

III. Law

A. Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). To survive summary judgment, a nonmoving party "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials" of its pleadings, but rather "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). Courts are not required to resolve any disputed issues of fact, but only to determine whether there are material factual issues to be tried. Summary judgment is appropriate when, although disputed factual issues ...


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