Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

EVANS v. CITY OF NEW YORK

March 11, 2004.

JEFFREY EVANS, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK and RICHARD E. JACKSON, individually and as former commissioner of the STATE OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, RAYMOND P. MARTINEZ, individually and as commissioner of the STATE OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, KENNETH J. RINGLER, JR., individually and as former interim commissioner of the STATE OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES and NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER STEPHEN LEWIS, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN KOELTL, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

This action is brought by the plaintiff, Jeffrey Evans, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of the-plaintiff's federal constitutional rights arising out of the suspension of the plaintiff's New York State driver's license and his subsequent arrest and prosecution for driving with a suspended license. The defendants are the former, former interim, and current Commissioner of the State of New York Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV").*fn1 The plaintiff alleges Page 2 that his driver's license was suspended according to DMV procedures that violated his rights to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. The plaintiff also asserts false arrest and malicious prosecution claims, and to the extent these claims are asserted under state law the plaintiff seeks to invoke the Court's supplemental jurisdiction over these claims.

The defendants now move for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 on all of the plaintiff's claims. The plaintiff has also cross-moved for summary judgment on all of his claims.*fn2

  I

  The standard for granting summary judgment is well established. Summary judgment may not be granted unless "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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986); Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs. Ltd. Page 3 P'ship, 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir. 1994). "The trial court's task at the summary judgment motion stage of the litigation is carefully limited to discerning whether there are genuine issues of material fact to be tried, not to deciding them. Its duty, in short, is confined at this point to issue-finding; it does not extend to issue-resolution." Gallo, 22 F.3d at 1224. The moving party bears the initial burden of "informing the district court of the basis for its motion" and identifying the matter that "it believes demonstrate[s] the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The substantive law governing the case will identify those facts which are material and "only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

  In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, a court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the moving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citing United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)); see also Gallo, 22 F.3d at 1223. Summary judgment is improper if there is any evidence in the record from any source from which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the Page 4 nonmoving party. See Chambers v. TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 37 (2d Cir. 1994). If the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to come forward with "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The nonmoving party must produce evidence in the record and "may not rely simply on conclusory statements or on contentions that the affidavits supporting the motion are not credible." Ying Jing Gan v. City of New York, 996 F.2d 522, 532 (2d Cir. 1993); see also Scotto v. Almenas, 143 F.3d 105, 114-15 (2d Cir. 1998) (collecting cases).

  II

  Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are not in dispute. In 2000, the plaintiff, Jeffrey Evans, held a driver's license issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV"). (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 1; Transcript of Deposition of Jeffrey Evans dated Jan. 14, 2003 ("Evans Dep.") attached as Ex. E to Affirmation of Lisa E. Fleischmann dated June 16, 2003 ("Fleischmann Affirm.") at 53-55.) Defendant Richard E. Jackson served as Commissioner of the DMV from February 14, 1995 to October 26, 2000. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 2; Affidavit of Richard E. Jackson, Jr., dated June 16, 2003 ("Jackson Aff.") at ¶ 1.) Defendant Kenneth J. Ringler, Jr., Page 5 served as interim Commissioner of the DMV from October 26, 2000 to December 27, 2000. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 4; Affidavit of Kenneth J. Ringler, Jr., dated June 13, 2003 ("Ringler Aff.") at ¶ 2.) Since December 27, 2003, defendant Raymond P. Martinez has been Acting Commissioner and then Commissioner of the DMV. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 So. ¶ 3; Affirmation of Raymond P. Martinez dated June 16, 2003 ("Martinez Aff.") at ¶ 2.)

  On April 27, 2000, the plaintiff received a speeding ticket in Brooklyn, New York. (Defs,' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 5; Ticket No. 4052404956 attached as Ex. A to Affirmation of Paul D. Shur ("Shur Affirm.") dated June 16, 2003.) The back of the ticket contains a "Plea Notice" that states: "If you plead guilty, it is the same as being found guilty by a judge. In either case, you may be required to pay a fine and, in addition, your driver license . . . may be suspended or revoked as prescribed by law." (Ticket No. 4052404956.) On November 10, 2000, the plaintiff appeared for a hearing on the speeding ticket. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 1; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 1.) The hearing was held at the Brooklyn South Traffic Violations Bureau ("TVB") in Coney Island, New York, and the hearing was presided over by Administrative Law Judge Paul D. Shur ("ALJ Shur"). (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 6; Shur Affirm. ¶¶ 1-2; Transcript of Deposition of Paul D. Shur, dated Mar. 25, 2003 ("Shur Dep.") at 11.) Page 6

  ALJ Shur found the plaintiff guilty of speeding. (Pl's Rule 56.1 So. ¶ 2; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 2.) ALJ Shur pointed out to the plaintiff that because this speeding ticket was the plaintiff's third speeding ticket in eighteen months, the plaintiff faced mandatory revocation of his license, which would begin thirty days from that date, on December 10, 2000. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 8; Transcript of Hearing dated Nov. 10, 2000 ("Hearing Tr.") attached as Ex. B to Shur Affirm, at 21-24.) ALJ Shur informed the plaintiff that he would receive a letter in the mail stating that his license would be revoked as of December 10, 2000. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 6; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 6.) ALJ Shur imposed a $275 fine, which the plaintiff was required to pay by November 24, 2000. (Pl's Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 2; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 2.) At the conclusion of the hearing, ALJ Shur instructed the plaintiff to see the cashier. (Hearing Tr. 27-28.) According to the DMV's procedural and training manual, ALJs should warn motorists if convictions on tickets could result in suspension of their licenses. (Pl's Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 23; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 23.)

  There is no evidence that the plaintiff visited the cashier following the hearing, and the plaintiff does not claim that he did so. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 11; Shur Affirm. ¶¶ 9-10.) In Page 7 instances like this, where a motorist fails to pick, up a bill from the cashier following a conviction, the DMV computer is programmed to mail out a "Notice of Fine and Surcharge Payment Due" ("Notice of Fine") to the address on the speeding ticket. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 12; Shur Affirm. ¶ 9.) The Notice of Fine generated after the plaintiff's speeding conviction on November 10, 2000 stated that if the plaintiff failed to pay his fine by November 24, 2000, his driver's license would be suspended from that date until full payment was made. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 13; "Notice of Fine and Surcharge Payment Due" attached in Ex. I to Fleischmann Affirm, and as Ex. B to Pl.'s Mot. Sum. J.) The Notice of Fine stated that such a suspension is authorized by Section 227(3) of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. (Id.)

  The plaintiff was not informed at the November 10, 2000 hearing that he would receive the Notice of Fine if he failed to pick up his bill from the cashier, and he was not told that his license would be suspended if he failed to pay the bill by November 24, 2000. (Pl's Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 4; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 4.) The plaintiff denies ever receiving the Notice of Fine in the mail, but he conceded at his deposition that the Notice of Fine did contain his correct home address. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 13; Evans Dep. at 29.) The plaintiff did Page 8 receive a letter informing him that his licensed would be revoked on December 10, 2000 as a result of having received three speeding tickets in eighteen months. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 7; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 7.)

  On November 14, 2000, the plaintiff went to the Brooklyn North Traffic Violations Bureau and pleaded guilty to two other outstanding speeding tickets. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 8; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 8.) After pleading guilty, the plaintiff went to the DMV cashier. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 9; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 9.) The parties disagree whether the plaintiff requested to pay all of his fines — including the one imposed by ALJ Shur on November 10, 2000 — or simply the two fines imposed that day. The plaintiff testified that he asked the cashier whether he was paying "everything," because he wanted to "[m]ake sure [he] was paying all [his] fines." The DMV cashier allegedly responded, "From what she had, yes." (Evans Dep. attached as Ex. C to Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. at 34.) By contrast, Norma Lamboy, the DMV cashier who dealt with the plaintiff that day, testified that the plaintiff "kept insisting that he wasn't interested in taking care of . . . the ticket from Coney Island.' (Transcript of Deposition of Norma Lamboy dated Jan. 27, 2003 attached as Ex. G to Fleischmann Affirm, at 16; see also Pl.'s Rule 56.1, St. ¶ 11; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 11.) Page 9

  It is undisputed that on November 14, 2000 the plaintiff paid the cashier a total of $610 with his credit card. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 10; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 10.) The bill plainly lists the two tickets disposed of on November 14, 2000, and not the earlier ticket for which he received the fine on November 10, 2000, and the plaintiff's credit card receipt also does not refer to the fine imposed by ALJ Shur on November 10, 2000. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 21; Bill and Credit Card Receipt dated Nov. 14, 2000 attached as Ex. K to Fleischmann Affirm.) On November 24, 2000, the plaintiff's New York State driver's license was suspended for failing to pay the fine imposed by ALJ Shur. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 12; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 12.)

  On November 27, 2000, the plaintiff was arrested in the Bronx, New York, for driving a motor vehicle with a suspended license, in violation of New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 511(1)(a). (Pl.'s Rule 56.1 So. ¶ 13; Defs.' Resp. Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 13; Arrest Report attached in Ex. I to Fleischmann Affirm.) The plaintiff was given a desk appearance ticket following his arrest. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 St. ¶ 26; Evans Dep. at 25-26.) On November 29, 2000, the plaintiff went to the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.