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ALFONSO v. CITY OF NEW YORK

United States District Court, S.D. New York


June 17, 2004.

CARLOS ALFONSO Plaintiff,
v.
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

INTRODUCTION

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 support them.

  DISCUSSION

  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 prejudice.

  SO ORDERED.

20040617

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