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.

WASHINGTON v. KELLY

November 12, 2004.

WILLIAM WASHINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER RAYMOND KELLY, POLICE OFFICER STEVEN MILUTINOVIC, in his official and individual capacities, NEW YORK CITY PORT AUTHORITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, and DISTRICT ATTORNEY ROBERT MORGANTHAU, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

  William Washington, proceeding pro se, brings this action under section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code ("section 1983") seeking damages for false arrest, wrongful imprisonment and malicious prosecution.*fn1 Washington alleges that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated on April 16, 2002, when Police Officer Steven Milutinovic ("P.O. Milutinovic") arrested him at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City (the "Bus Terminal") for robbery and criminal possession of stolen property.*fn2 After trial, Washington was acquitted of the robbery charge but was found guilty of grand larceny in the fourth degree. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (the "Port Authority")*fn3 and P.O. Milutinovic now move for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

  II. BACKGROUND*fn4 The mission of the Port Authority is to develop terminal, transportation and other facilities of commerce within the Port of New York District, which includes the Bus Terminal.*fn5 P.O. Milutinovic is a police officer employed by the Port Authority at the Bus Terminal.*fn6 On April 16, 2002, at the Bus Terminal, P.O. Milutinovic arrested Washington for the theft of William Carellis' wallet.*fn7 Abdoulaye Sahko, a witness who claimed he observed Washington steal Carellis' wallet, held Washington until P.O. Milutinovic arrived.*fn8 On June 14, 2002, a grand jury indicted Washington for robbery in the third degree and grand larceny in the fourth degree.*fn9 On October 31, 2002, Washington was convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree after a full trial.*fn10 Washington was sentenced to twenty years to life in prison as a persistent felony offender.*fn11

  Washington claims that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when P.O. Milutinovic arrested him at the Bus Terminal for robbery and criminal possession of stolen property.*fn12 Washington claims that he should only have been charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor, because the stolen wallet found in his possession contained only $90 in cash.*fn13 Washington asserts that P.O. Milutinovic knew that the robbery arrest was a "fraud" but nonetheless detained him and initiated a criminal proceeding.*fn14 Washington seeks compensatory damages from both defendants.*fn15

  III. LEGAL STANDARD

  A. Summary Judgment

  Summary judgment is permissible "if 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 judgment as a matter of law."*fn16 "An issue of fact is `genuine' if `the evidence is such that a jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'"*fn17 A fact is material when "it `might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.'"*fn18 The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue of material fact exists.*fn19 In turn, to defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must raise a genuine issue of material fact.*fn20 To do so, he "`must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts,'"*fn21 and he "`may not rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation.'"*fn22 "If the evidence presented by the non-moving party is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted."*fn23 In this regard, "[t]he `mere existence of a scintilla of evidence' supporting the non-movant's case is also insufficient to defeat summary judgment."*fn24

  B. When a Motion for Summary Judgment Is Unopposed

  When the non-moving party "`chooses the perilous path of failing to submit a response to a summary judgment motion, the district court may not grant the motion without first examining the moving party's submission to determine if it has met its burden of demonstrating that no material issue of fact remains for trial.'"*fn25 If the movant does not meet its burden of production, then the court must deny summary judgment even if the non-movant does not oppose the motion.*fn26 Moreover, the court may not rely solely on the movant's statement of undisputed facts contained in its Rule 56.1 statement.*fn27 The court must be satisfied that the movant's assertions are supported by the evidence in the record.*fn28

  IV. DISCUSSION

  A. False Arrest

  New York law provides the frame of reference for the instant action.*fn29 Under New York law, false arrest is synonymous with false imprisonment.*fn30 To establish a cause of action for false arrest or false imprisonment, a plaintiff must show that "(1) the defendant intended to confine him, (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."*fn31 If a person is validly convicted of the crime for which he was arrested, he is barred from bringing a claim for false arrest because the conviction is "conclusive evidence of the good faith and reasonableness of the officer's belief in the lawfulness of the arrest."*fn32 In Heck v. Humphrey, the Supreme Court held that in order to recover damages under section 1983 for false arrest where there has been a conviction, a plaintiff must first show that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal or otherwise declared invalid.*fn33

  A grand jury indicted Washington for both robbery in the third degree and grand larceny in the fourth degree. This indictment alone creates a presumption of probable cause.*fn34 Although Washington was not convicted of the more serious robbery charge, he was convicted of the grand larceny charge, which is also a felony. Because Washington has offered no evidence, nor even alleged, that his conviction has been ...


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.