The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAROLD BAER, JR., District Judge
Defendant City of New York ("the City") moves pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 ("Fed.R. Civ. P.") for
summary judgment dismissing the federal civil rights and pendent
state law claims of plaintiff Agyemon Foy ("Foy"). For the
reasons set forth below, defendant's motion is granted.
From what I can piece together, on June 19, 2002, Foy, a fifth
grade student at P.S. 150 in the Bronx, was involved in an
altercation with a six grade female student in the school yard during recess. Foy had been in other altercations with this girl.
On this occasion, Foy had the cap to the girl's pen or marker and
she apparently wanted it back. Without saying anything, the girl
grabbed Foy and started hitting him. According to Foy, although
the girl punched him four times in the face he did not sustain
any injuries. Foy then punched the girl in the face and hit her
in the eye. As a result, the girl's eye became bruised and
swollen and she fell to the ground. A lunchroom aid and two
teachers wtinessed what happened and intervened. The lunchroom
aid and two other students accompanied the girl to the nurse's
office. Meanwhile, other school personnel (two to three teachers
or lunch aids) took Foy to the principal's office. While Foy sat
in the office, the school personnel called the police, who
arrived shortly thereafter. Several police officers responded,
followed by the school principal. After speaking with the school
personnel, the sergeant screamed at Foy and asked him why he
started a fight with the girl. One of the officers then
handcuffed Foy and took him to the police car, where Foy
reported, he was left alone for a long time. Ultimately, the
police officers took Foy to the 42nd Precinct station house,
where yet another officer screamed at him and asked him why he
hit girls. Foy was then taken to a small room and handcuffed to a
chair. Foy remained there for approximately an hour until his
mother arrived. At no point did the police ask Foy any questions
or take his picture or fingerprints. Glover reported that when
she arrived at the station house to collect her son, as far as
she could recall, she was not given any documentation, asked to
sign anything, or told to go to court.
Pursuant to Fed.R. Civ.P. 56(c), a district court must grant
summary judgment if the evidence demonstrates 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." Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). "Summary judgment is
properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but
rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which
are designed to `secure the just, speedy and inexpensive
determination of every action.'" Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986) (quoting Fed.R. Civ. P. 1). To determine whether there is a genuine issue of material fact,
the Court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences
against the moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc.,
369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962) (per curiam); Donahue v. Windsor Locks Bd.
of Fire Comm'rs, 834 F.2d 54, 57 (2d Cir. 1987). However, the
mere existence of disputed factual issues is insufficient to
defeat a motion for summary judgment. Knight v. U.S. Fire Ins.
Co., 804 F.2d 9, 11-12 (2d Cir. 1986). The disputed issues of
fact must be "material to the outcome of the litigation," id.
at 11, and must be backed by evidence that would allow "a
rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party,"
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The non-movant "must do more than simply show
that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."
Id. With respect to materiality, "substantive law will identify
which facts are material. Only disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes
that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
B. Plaintiffs' Federal Claims*fn2
Plaintiff alleges, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that the City
and unidentified police officers, employees, and agents
("unidentified defendants") violated his Fourth Amendment rights
by arresting him without probable cause. "The elements of a claim
of false arrest under § 1983 are substantially the same as the
elements of a false arrest claim under New York law. Hygh v.
Jacobs, 961 F.2d 359, 366 (2d Cir. 1992) (internal quotation
marks omitted). In order to establish a claim of false arrest, a
plaintiff must prove that: "(1) the defendant[s] intended to
confine plaintiff; (2) the plaintiff was conscious of the
confinement; (3) the plaintiff did not consent to the
confinement; and (4) the confinement was not otherwise
privileged." Posr v. Doherty, 944 F.2d 91, 97 (2d Cir. 1991). However, "[t]he existence of probable cause to arrest
constitutes justification and `is a complete defense to an action
for false arrest.'" Weyant v. Okst, 101 F.3d 845, 852 (2d Cir.
1996) (quoting Bernard v. United States, 25 F.3d 98, 102 (2d
Cir. 1994)). "In general, probable cause exists when the officers
have knowledge or reasonably trustworthy information of facts and
circumstances that are sufficient to warrant a person of
reasonable caution in the belief that the person to be arrested
has committed or is committing a crime." Id. at 852. "Whether
or not an officer had probable cause to make an arrest is a
question of what the officer knew at the time of the arrest and
whether she or he was reasonable in relying on that knowledge."
Gaskins, 2004 WL 1777585, *2 (citation omitted).
Here, according to Foy's account of the incident, after he was
taken to the principal's office, school personnel telephoned the
police. Foy was only handcuffed and placed under arrest after the
responding police officers spoke with the school personnel who
had escorted Foy from the school yard to the principal's office.
"[I]t is well-established that a law enforcement official has
probable cause to arrest if he received his information from some
person, normally the putative victim or eyewitness, who it seems
reasonable to believe is telling the truth." Miloslavsky v. AES
Eng'g Soc., Inc., 808 F. Supp. 351, 355 (S.D.N.Y. 1992),
aff'd, 993 F.2d 1534 (2d Cir. 1993); see also Arum v.
Miller, ___ F.Supp.2d ___, No. 00 Civ. 7476, 2004 WL 1798281, at
*8 (E.D.N.Y. June 8, 2004) (holding that police officers properly
relied on statements from a school administrator that the
plaintiff had been asked to leave the premises and refused to do
so as the basis for the plaintiff's arrest for criminal
trespass). Thus, the police were entitled to rely on the
statements of the school personnel to determine that there was
probable cause for Foy's arrest.
Foy's argument that he acted in self-defense in hitting the
other student fails to negate probable cause. Foy's deposition
testimony indicates that school employees determined he was the
aggressor and accordingly, he was taken to the principle's office
and the other student was taken to the school nurse. These same
employees then relayed the events to the police, who arrested Foy
on the basis of this information. The existence of probable cause
is determined based on the information available to the officer
at the time of arrest. Ricciuti v. N.Y.C. Transit Authority,
124 F.3d 123, 128 (2d Cir. 1997). Once an officer reasonably
believes that there is probable cause for an arrest, he is "not
required to make a full investigation into plaintiff's state of mind prior to taking action" or "eliminate every theoretically
plausible claim of innocence before making an arrest." Id. The
fact that Foy may have later asserted a justification defense to
the charges levied against him does not make his arrest unlawful.
While an officer may not "deliberately disregard facts known to
him which establish justification," Jocks v. Tavernier,
316 F.3d 128, 136 (2d Cir. 2003), here the arresting officers were
unaware of any potential defense, see Gentile v. City of New
York, No. 01 Civ. 8640, 2003 WL 1872651, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. April
10, 2003). Even if Foy had told the officers that he was
justified in his actions because the other student was hitting
him, the officers would be "under no duty, once probable cause
was found to exist, to credit the plaintiff's protestations of
self-defense." Moscoso v. City of New York, 92 F. Supp.2d 310,
314 (S.D.N.Y. 2000). Foy's claim for false arrest is therefore
2. False Arrest and Unlawful Search and Seizure
Foy's allegation that he was the subject of an unlawful search
"by reason of the unlawful arrest," Compl. ¶ 23, also fails.
Having determined that Foy's arrest was lawful, any search
incident to arrest would also have been lawful. Interestingly,
Foy's description of his arrest in his deposition fails to
mention any search whatsoever, either prior to being ...