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MAYER v. CITY OF NEW ROCHELLE

May 23, 2003

GREGORY MAYER, PLAINTIFF, AGAINST THE CITY OF NEW ROCHELLE, THE CITY OF NEW ROCHELLE POLICE DEPARTMENT, POLICE OFFICERS RAY ANDOLINA SHIELD #8697 AND WILLIAM WALSH SHIELD #1184 AND KENNETH HURST SHIELD #1170 AND SGTS. TIMOTHY KELLY SHIELD #6395 AND WILLIAM OLSZELWSKY SHIELD #6268, LT. ERIC HALBEKATH SHIELD #1912 EACH INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR CAPACITY AS A POLICE OFFICER/SERGEANT/LIEUTENANT IN THE CITY OF NEW ROCHELLE POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael Mukasey, Chief Judge, District

OPINION AND ORDER

Gregory Mayer filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against the City of New Rochelle, the City of New Rochelle Police Department, and several police officers.*fn1 Mayer asserts claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, deprivation of due process, and cruel and unusual punishment. Defendants move for summary judgment under Fed.R. Civ. p. 56. For the reasons stated below, defendants' motion is granted.

I.

The following facts are undisputed except as described otherwise. Mayer was involved in a traffic accident in the City of New Rochelle on the evening of February 23, 2000. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 1; Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 1) Members of the New Rochelle Police Department ("NRPD"), including Lieutenant Eric Halbekath and Police Officers Raymond Andolina, Kenneth Hurst, and William Walsh, responded to the scene. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 2; Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 2)

Andolina called the New Rochelle Police Headquarters and requested a Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") check through the New York State Police Information Network ("NYSPIN") on the vehicles and drivers involved in the accident.*fn2 (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 3) After a few minutes, Police Headquarters informed Andolina that Hector Ruiz, one of the drivers involved in the accident, had a suspended driver's license. Police Headquarters also told Andolina that the registration of the vehicle driven by and registered to Mayer was suspended.*fn3 (Id. ¶ 4) Andolina arrested Ruiz for driving with a suspended license. (Id. ¶ 7) Andolina told Halbekath the information about Mayer's registration (id. ¶ 6), and Mayer was informed that he was going to be arrested because of the suspension (id. ¶ 8). Mayer protested, arguing that he had a valid insurance card. (Id.) Mayer showed his insurance card to members of the NRPD*fn4 (id. ¶ 9; Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 3), but he did not show any documentation issued by the DMV (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 10). Halbekath instructed Andolina to place Mayer under arrest. (Id. ¶ 11)*fn5

After Mayer was inside the police car, Andolina placed handcuffs on him and brought him to the New Rochelle Police Headquarters.*fn6 (Id. ¶¶ 11, 14) They arrived at approximately 10:30 p.m. (Id. ¶ 14) Andolina placed Mayer in a holding cell located near the central booking area of Police Headquarters. (Id. ¶ 15) At approximately 10:40 p.m., Sergeant Timothy Kelly booked Mayer on the charge of driving with a suspended registration. (Id. ¶ 17) Kelly set Mayer's bail at $100. (Id. ¶ 18) At approximately 11:00 p.m., Kelly was relieved by Sergeant William Olszelwsky. (Id. ¶ 19) Olszelwsky changed Mayer's bail from $100 to $200.*fn7 (Id. ¶ 20) At 11:40 p.m., after his bail was posted, Mayer was released from custody. (Id. ¶ 21) Before Mayer was released, Andolina gave him a "traffic ticket," which required Mayer to appear at the New Rochelle City Court on March 14, 2000. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 22; Loomba Aff. Ex. 8)

The next day, February 24, 2000, Mayer went to the DMV office in Yonkers, New York. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 23) Mayer was informed by the DMV that in order to rescind the suspension of his registration, the DMV required a letter from Mayer's automobile insurance carrier that confirmed that Mayer's insurance card was valid. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 24) Mayer arranged to have the letter faxed to the DMV from his insurance agent, the Rollins Agency, and according to Mayer, the letter was in fact sent to the DMV that day. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 25; Mayer Dep. at 36) The DMV issued a form entitled "Receipt of Satisfactory Proof/Rescission of Reg. Suspension" to Mayer.*fn8 (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 26)

The same day, Mayer went to the New Rochelle City Court and had his case called on the Court's calendar. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 27) Mayer presented to the District Attorney and the Judge the DMV form showing the rescission of the suspension of his registration. (Id.) The Judge dismissed the case.*fn9 (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 28)

Mayer asserts that there was no lapse in his insurance, and he claims that he was never informed that his registration was suspended. (Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 6) Mayer claims that Halbekath knew that the DMV computer records were "susceptible to errors of the exact kind which occurred in this case." (Id. ¶ 7) Mayer says that after his bail was set at $100, he called a friend to come and post his bail. (Id. ¶¶ 9-10) According to Mayer, after he made this phone call, he was informed that his bail was raised to $200. (Id. ¶ 11) Mayer says he was "given no rational explanation for the increased station house bail." (Id. ¶ 12) Mayer claims that he was told by a police officer that failure to post bail would result in his transfer from the City of New Rochelle facility to the Westchester County Correctional Center, where he could not be released prior to arraignment. (Id. ¶ 13) However, Mayer says that this statement by the police officer was not in fact true. (Id. ¶ 14) Mayer asserts that he was in handcuffs from the time of his arrest until his bail was posted. (Id. ¶ 15)

II.

Mayer brings claims against defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, including false arrest, malicious prosecution,*fn10 deprivation of due process, and cruel and unusual punishment. Regarding the claim of cruel and usual punishment, Mayer says that he was deprived of his rights under the U.S. Constitution as well as the "New York State Correction Law" and the "New York State Civil Rights Law." (Second Am. Compl. ¶ 59) Defendants move for summary judgment on all of Mayer's claims.

Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The movant for summary judgment "always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion" and identifying which materials "demonstrate the absence of genuine issues of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once this showing has been made, the burden shifts to the non-movant who "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986).

III.

A. False ...


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