United States District Court, S.D. New York
June 17, 2004.
CARLOS ALFONSO Plaintiff,
CITY OF NEW YORK, DETECTIVES RODRIGUEZ AND SANCHEZ AND UNIDENTIFIED NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SIDNEY STEIN, District Judge
OPINION & ORDER
This action arises out of the alleged arrest and detention of
Carlos Alfonso by officers of the New York City Police Department
on February 14, 2002. Alfonso names as defendants the City of New
York and Detectives Rodriguez and Sanchez. Plaintiff asserts
violations of his federal constitutional rights pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 as well as a gallimaufry of violations of New York
state law, including assault, false arrest, false imprisonment,
libel, slander, abuse of process, intentional infliction of
emotional distress, and invasion of privacy.
The City now moves for summary judgment pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 to dismiss the complaint in its entirety with
prejudice. Because plaintiff has failed to set forth any evidence
whatsoever to support his claims, the City's motion is granted. BACKGROUND
Alfonso alleges that on February 14, 2002 defendants seized,
searched, handcuffed, and arrested him in the Bronx and detained
him for approximately five and one-half hours. (Compl. ¶ 16). He
further asserts that his arrest and detention occurred without
any warrant or legal process and that defendants lacked "any
reasonable cause or belief that [he] was in fact guilty of crimes
or offenses." (Compl. ¶ 18). While plaintiff fails to allege the
purported reason for the arrest, he nonetheless maintains that he
is "wholly innocent of said accusation." (Compl. ¶ 20).
Only the City has been served with the summons and complaint in
this action. Accordingly, this Court dismissed this action
against Rodriguez and Sanchez pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m) on
December 23, 2003. Following the close of discovery, the City
moves for summary judgment in its favor dismissing Alfonso's
Section 1983 claims on the grounds that plaintiff had failed to
demonstrate any evidence of municipal liability and dismissing
the state law claims on the grounds that there is no evidence to
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment may be granted "only when the moving party
demonstrates 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.'" Allen v. Coughlin, 64 F.3d 77, 79 (2d Cir.
1995) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)); accord Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, (1986). The Court must "view the
evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and
draw all reasonable inferences in its favor, and may grant
summary judgment only when `no reasonable trier of fact could
find in favor of the nonmoving party.'" Allen, 64 F.3d at 79 (citation
omitted) (quoting Lund's, Inc. v. Chem. Bank, 870 F.2d 840, 844
(2d Cir. 1989)).
Though the non-movant enjoys the benefit of all reasonable
inferences drawn in its favor, to survive a motion for summary
judgment, the non-movant may not rest upon the mere allegations
in its pleadings but "must set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).; see
also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). To proceed to trial, the
non-movant must set forth sufficient evidence supporting its
versions of "the claimed factual dispute . . . to require a jury
or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth
at trial." Id. at 249 (internal citations omitted).
B. Plaintiff Has Failed to Set Forth Specific Facts
Demonstrating Municipal Liability
To establish municipal liability in an action brought pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1983, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the
alleged unconstitutional action implements or executes a custom
or policy of the municipality. See Cowan ex rel. Estate of
Cooper v. Breen, 352 F.3d 756, 758, n. 1 (2d Cir. 2003) (citing
Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. 436 U.S. 658 (1978)). The mere
assertion that a municipality has "a custom or policy is
insufficient in the absence of allegations of fact tending to
support, at least circumstantially, such an inference." See
Dwares v. City of New York, 985 F.2d 94, 100 (2d Cir. 1993)
(citations omitted). In addition, the plaintiff must demonstrate
a direct nexus between the policy or practice and the deprivation
of federal rights. See Bd. of County Comm'rs of Bryan County,
Okla. v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 397 (1997). While Alfonso alleges several different policies according to
which the police officers allegedly committed the claimed
violations, he fails to support these conclusory allegations with
any factual evidence that those policies exist. Moreover, the
complaint and plaintiff's summary judgment papers are devoid of
any factual assertions that would support a connection between
the alleged illegal policies and the constitutional deprivations.
Accordingly, plaintiff's claim against the City must fail and
summary judgment shall issue in the City's favor for the claims
brought pursuant to Section 1983.
C. Plaintiff Has Failed to Set Forth Specific Facts to
Support The State Law Claims
Although plaintiff requests that this Court not exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims if the
federal claims are dismissed, judicial efficiency is served by
taking supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1967(a),
(c); see e.g., Valencia ex rel. Franco v. Lee,
316 F.3d 299, 305 (2d Cir. 2003) (quoting Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v.
Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350 n. 7 (1988)); Surprise v. GTE Serv.
Corp., 47 F. Supp.2d 240, 244 n. 1 (D. Conn. 1999) (The court
emphasizes its discretion to retain supplemental jurisdiction
over state claims after all federal claims have dropped out for
reasons including judicial economy.); Chimarev v. TD Waterhouse
Investor Servs., Inc., 280 F. Supp.2d 208, 226 (S.D.N.Y. 2003)
("When federal claims have been dismissed, a district court . . .
retains authority to hear [state] claims.").
As noted above, Alfonso asserts numerous causes of action
pursuant to New York state law as follows: "false arrest and
imprisonment, trespass, unlawful search of person and property,
violation of civil rights, libel and slander, punitive damages,
abuse of process, negligence in hiring and retaining, negligence in performance and negligence in
training and supervising." (Compl. ¶ 12). All of these claims
arise out of the alleged arrest and detention of plaintiff by
defendant's agents. Although plaintiff claims he was arrested
(see, complaint ¶ 16; Pl's Local Rule 56.1 Statement ¶ 1), he
has not set forth any evidence whatsoever to support his claim
that he was ever arrested and has set forth not a single piece of
evidence to support any of his allegations.
Although plaintiff enjoys the benefit of all reasonable
inferences in order to survive a motion for summary judgment, he
is not permitted to rest upon the allegations in his complaint,
and, as noted above, "must set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); see
also Anderson 477 U.S. at 248. Here, no genuine dispute exists
regarding whether Alfonso was arrested because he has failed to
set forth any evidence whatsoever from which a jury could
reasonably infer that the arrest took place. Accordingly,
plaintiff's state law claims are dismissed with prejudice. CONCLUSION
For the reasons set forth above, the City's motion for summary
judgment is granted and plaintiff's claims are dismissed with
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