The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, District Judge
Plaintiff, then proceeding pro se, filed a complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("section 1983") alleging, inter alia, that defendants
made false statements that caused him to be arrested unlawfully and
recommitted to a mental institution. The Honorable Thomas P. Griesa
dismissed the Complaint in its entirety on September 23, 1999, for
failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted, citing Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 489 (1994). The district court found that because
plaintiff had not alleged that his prosecution terminated in his favor
(i.e., that he was not recommitted) he could not maintain claims for
false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. Plaintiff
challenged only the dismissal of his false arrest claim on appeal. The
Second Circuit vacated the dismissal and remanded the case noting that
Heck v. Humphrey applies to malicious prosecution
cases but not to false arrest claims because under New York law "the
termination of the proceedings in favor of the accused is not an element
of a claim for false arrest." Vallen v. Connelly, No. 99-0326, 2002 WL
1291023, at *2 (2d Cir. June 10, 2002) (unpublished). Nonetheless, the
court noted that in the criminal context a valid conviction establishes
probable cause in support of the arrest, thereby defeating a claim of
false arrest. The Circuit specifically left open the question of whether
this rule that a conviction forecloses a false arrest claim applies
in the context of involuntary commitment. See id. The appellate court
left it to the district court "in the first instance to address these
matters, along with such others as may be appropriate. . . . " Id.
In September of 2002, plaintiff obtained the representation of pro bono
counsel. Thereafter, at the close of discovery, defendants moved for
summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c).*fn1
For the following reasons, defendants' motion is granted and this case is
Plaintiff Barry Lee Vallen is an insanity acquittee who currently
resides at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center. See Def 56.1 ¶ 1. Defendant
Madelyn Connelly is a certified social worker who, at all times
relevant, was the Director of Social Work Services and Chairperson of the
Forensic Committee at Rockland Psychiatric Center ("Rockland"), a
facility of the New York State Office of Mental Health ("OMH"). See id.
¶¶ 3-4. Defendant Richard P. Miraglia, sued incorrectly herein as "Richard
Morales," is also a certified social worker and was the Assistant
Director of the Bureau of Forensic Services of OMH. See id. ¶¶ 5-6.
Defendant Lawrence E. Smith, also a certified social worker, was the
Supervising Social Worker and Director of Community Services for the
Sullivan County Department of Community Services. See id. ¶ 7.
B. Plaintiff's Psychiatric History
In the early hours of October 5, 1984, Vallen bludgeoned his parents to
death while they slept in their bed. Vallen was charged with two counts
of Murder in the Second Degree but was found not responsible by reason of
disease or defect. See id. ¶ 8, 13. On March 21, 1986, Vallen was found
to have a "dangerous mental disorder" as defined in New York Criminal
Procedure Law ("CPL") § 330.20(1), and was committed to a secure
psychiatric facility, where he remained until December of 1998. See id.
¶ 16. On December 15, 1998, Vallen was found not to have a "dangerous
mental disorder" although he was still "mentally ill," as defined in CPL
§ 330.20(1)(d). See id. ¶ 18. As a result, he was transferred to Pilgrim
State Psychiatric Center ("Pilgrim State"), a non-secure facility under
the jurisdiction of OMH. See id.
On December 5, 1991, Vallen was found to no longer be "mentally ill"
and was therefore conditionally released from Pilgrim State into the
community. See id. ¶ 20. In connection with his release, an "Order of
Conditions" was issued. See id. at ¶ 21. The Order of Conditions, which
remains in effect for five years, specifies the conditions a patient must
comply with in order to remain at liberty. See id. ¶¶ 22-23. The Order of
Conditions included the following directives:
2. The defendant, Barry Vallen, will attend the
Sunrise Psychiatric Clinic, 400 Broadway,
Amityville, New York, or any other clinic
designated by the Commissioner New York State
Office of Mental Health or his designee.
3. The defendant, Barry Vallen, shall comply with any
and all treatment programs, including medications
prescribed initially by his Pilgrim Psychiatric
Center treatment team when he is placed on
conditional release and/or to any changes in the
treatment or medication deemed necessary by the
outpatient clinic. The patient shall participate
in a variety of group and individual therapy
programs and activities, vocational and
4. The outpatient clinic treating the patient, Barry
Vallen, is authorized to modify and develop a
treatment plan, including the prescribing of
medication, as is clinically indicated, and is
authorized to modify and change the initial
treatment recommendations of Pilgrim Psychiatric
Center when clinically appropriate and necessary.
5. The patient, Barry Vallen, shall submit to
appropriate laboratory tests to test for levels of
neuroleptic medications and compliance with taking
his medications as prescribed by his physicians.
6. The patient, Barry Vallen, shall refrain from the
consumption of alcoholic beverages and any
unauthorized drugs not prescribed by his
7. The patient, Barry Vallen, shall submit to
random blood and urine screenings administered
for the purpose of detecting unauthorized or
illicit drugs or alcohol consumption.
* * *
12. If the patient, Barry Vallen, fails to comply with
the treatment and/or the conditions of this
order, or if his conditions should decompensate,
treating the patient and/or the Commissioner New
York State Office of Mental Health shall
immediately notify this Court, the Orange County
District Attorney's office, Mental Hygiene Legal
Service and the Attorney General's office . . .
Order of Conditions, Declaration of Assistant Attorney General Anne
Bomser in Support of State Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
("Bomser Decl."), at 45-48.
While living in a state-owned community residence on the grounds of
Pilgrim State, Vallen became noncompliant with the terms of the Order of
Conditions. Consequently, on August 15, 1992, Vallen was civilly
committed to Pilgrim State upon the certification of two physicians that
he was in need of involuntary care and treatment in a psychiatric
hospital. See Def. 56.1 ¶ 28. An application was made by the
Commissioner of OMH ("Commissioner") to recommit Vallen pursuant to CPL
§ 330.20(14). On October 9, 2002, Vallen was transferred from Pilgrim
State to Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center ("Kirby"), a secure facility,
for a psychiatric evaluation in connection with the recommitment
application. See id. ¶ 29. The Commissioner subsequently withdrew the
recommitment application and, on April 2, 1993, Vallen was transferred
from Kirby to Rockland, a non-secure psychiatric facility. See id. ¶
In January of 1994, Vallen was released from Rockland to once again
live in the community. See id. ¶ 31, The Order of Conditions issued in
1991 remained in effect. See id. ¶ 33. Vallen was to receive outpatient
services through the Sullivan County Department of Community Services
("DCS"). See id. ¶ 32. Clinicians at Rockland were to monitor Vallen's
compliance with the Order of Conditions. See id. With Rockland's
approval, Vallen took up residence in an apartment in Monticello, New
York. He lived there until he was re-arrested on September 15, 1994,
pursuant to New York Mental Hygiene Law ("MHL") § 9.45.
C. Plaintiff's Deteriorating Mental Condition
Defendants claim that after his release from Rockland in January 1994,
Vallen became noncompliant with the Order of Conditions. See Def. 56.1
¶ 34. Vallen disputes this, citing a July 29, 1994 Progress Note from
Dr. M. Malik, a DCS staff psychiatrist. In that Note, Dr. Malik stated:
"[Vallen] complains of poor sleep. He's alert, oriented to 3 spheres. He
complains of being depressed. He has no energy or motivation to do
anything. Currently, I don't think he's dangerous to himself or others. I
believe he's compliant with his medications." 7/29/94 Progress Note, Ex.
D to the Affidavit of Arthur S. Linker, plaintiff's attorney, in
Opposition to Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment ("Linker
Aff."). As further ...