The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, District Judge
Plaintiffs have sued the City of New York*fn1 pursuant to section 1983
of Title 42 of the United States Code claim alleging Monell
violations of their civil
rights by police officers employed by the City of New York.*fn2
Defendant now moves for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the following reasons, defendant's
motion is granted, and this case is dismissed.
On December 3, 2001, the Honorable Robert Stolz, a judge of the
Criminal Court of New York County, issued a "no-knock warrant," to
Detective Dino Polichetti, allowing the search of 1071 St. Nicholas
Avenue in the County of New York and of "J.D. Yea's" person. See
City of New York's Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statement of Undisputed
Facts*fn3 ("Def. 56.1") at 1-2. This warrant was
obtained based on information supplied by a registered confidential
informant (CI 17917A), that "J.D. Yea" used 1071 St. Nicholas Avenue to
store and sell cocaine. Additionally, the police conducted two controlled
buys of narcotics from Apartment 22 at 1071 St. Nicholas Avenue. On each
occasion, the bags of white powder purchased from the apartment by the
confidential informant tested positive for cocaine.*fn4 See id.
On December 5, 2001, police officers searched Rodriguez's apartment and
recovered "one clear plastic bag containing a large rock of
crack/cocaine, one clear plastic bag containing cocaine and one clear
plastic bag containing 1,254 white pills of the controlled substances to
wit MDMA" from Rodriguez's bedroom closet at 1071 St. Nicholas Avenue,
Apartment 22. See id. A field test performed on the substance
contained in one of the bags tested positive for trace amounts of
cocaine. Additionally, the officers recovered ninety Remington twelve
gauge shells. See id. at 4.
When the police arrived at 1071 St. Nicholas Avenue on December 5,
2001, minor plaintiffs Casiel Rodriguez, Manuel Rodriguez and Yudennis
Rodriguez were playing in the hallway with neighbors. See
id. The officers did not speak to the minor children. See
id. at 5. Yudennis Rodriguez then went inside the apartment and
remained inside for the first five minutes of the search, after which she
waited at a neighbor's apartment with her siblings and mother, plaintiff
Dennes Garcia. See id. at 5-6.
During the execution of the search warrant, police officers informed
Rodriguez that they were searching for drugs.*fn5 On December 5, 2001,
Rodriguez was arrested and charged with criminal possession of controlled
substances with intent to sell in violation of New York Penal Law §§
220.16(1) and 220.06(1).
On December 6, 2001, Rodriguez was transported to Manhattan Central
Booking. At 9:00 a.m., the police paperwork was completed and forwarded
to the New York State Office of Court Administration for docketing.
Rodriguez was seen by a doctor and given prednisone. At 3:36 p.m.,
Rodriguez was arraigned. Neither Rodriguez nor his attorney reported to
the judge that plaintiff was ill.*fn6 See id. at 7. Bail was
set for $2,500, which Rodriguez was
unable to post on the date of his arraignment. See id. at 8.
On December 8, 2001, bail was posted for Rodriguez, who was released
from custody shortly thereafter.*fn7 Rodriguez went home without seeking
medical care and did not take any medication until he saw his private
physician on December 10, 2001. See id.
On December 10, 2001, a member of the police department prepared an
affidavit swearing that all property taken pursuant to the warrant was
contained in Vouchers Nos. L108927 and L108928. See id. This
affidavit was witnessed by the Honorable Laura A. Ward. Rodriguez
appeared before Judge Ward on December 11, 2001, at which point the
charges against him were dismissed upon motion of the District Attorney,
New York County. At that appearance, neither Rodriguez, nor his attorney,
reported to the court that plaintiffs personal property had been taken
from his home without authority. See id. at 9.
Plaintiffs' Monell claim under section 1983 alleges that the
judge who issued the warrant "acquiesced" in a New York City policy of
issuing search warrants that are not based on probable cause as required
by the Fourth
Amendment. Plaintiffs also contend that the City of New York's
police department has no protocol that protects the Constitutional rights
and physical safety of parties named in a search warrant.
Summary judgment should be granted "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 judgment as a
matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). "An issue of fact is genuine `if the
evidence is such that a jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.'" Gayle v. Gonyea, 313 F.3d 677, 682 (2d Cir. 2002)
(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986)). A fact is material when "it `might affect the outcome of the
suit under the governing law.'" See id. (quoting
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).
The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of demonstrating that
no material fact exists. See Marvel Characters, Inc. v. Simon,
310 F.3d 280, 286 (2d Cir. 2002). In determining whether there is a
genuine issue of material fact, a court must construe the evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all inferences in
that party's favor. See Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. v. Jones
Chem., Inc., 315 F.3d 171, 175 (2d Cir. 2003). Accordingly,
a court's task is not to "weigh the evidence and determine the
truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for
trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. Summary judgment is therefore
inappropriate "if there is any evidence in the record that could
reasonably support a jury's verdict for the non-moving party." Marvel
Characters, 310 F.3d at 286. To defeat a summary judgment motion,
the non-moving party must raise a genuine issue of material fact. To do
so, he "`must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts,'" Caldarola v. Calabrese,
298 F.3d 156, 160 (2d Cir. 2002) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)), and he "`may not rely
on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation.'" Fujitsu
Ltd. v. Fed. Express Corp., 247 F.3d 423, 428 (2d Cir. 2001)
(quoting Scotto v. Almenas, 143 F.3d 105, 114 (2d Cir. 1998)).
In this regard, "[t]he `mere existence of a scintilla of evidence'
supporting the non-movant's case is also insufficient to defeat summary
judgment." Niagara ...