The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM PAULEY, District Judge
This federal civil rights action involves claims by Lamont
Smith for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious
prosecution, and deprivation of his Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff Lisa Smith asserts a claim
for loss of consortium under New York law as a result of the
arrest and criminal proceeding against her husband, Lamont Smith.
Defendants move for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.*fn1 Plaintiffs move for sanctions against defendants for their failure to preserve
certain documents relevant to this action. For the following
reasons, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted and
plaintiffs' motion for sanctions is denied.
On August 4, 2001, Lamont Smith was arrested and charged with
the rape of a seventeen year-old female acquaintance identified
as "D.G." (Defendants' Statement Pursuant to Rule 56.1 ("Defs.
56.1 Stmt.") ¶¶ 11, 33-34; Deposition of Frankie Rosado, dated
January 14, 2004 ("Rosado Dep.") at 55; Declaration of Seth D.
Eichenholtz, dated March 12, 2004 ("Eichenholtz Decl.") Ex. D;
Deposition of Lamont Smith, dated November 19, 2003 ("Smith
Dep.") at 41.) While driving his van the prior evening, Smith
picked D.G. up and then left her on a street in Mount Vernon
early in the morning of August 4, 2001. (Smith Dep. at 41, 58-59;
Affidavit of Lamont Smith, dated April 5, 2004 ("Smith Aff.") ¶¶
1-19; Eichenholtz Decl. Ex. F.)*fn2 D.G ran to a nearby
house for assistance. (Eichenholtz Decl. Ex. F.) The Mount Vernon police interviewed
D.G. and transported her to the Emergency Room at Montefiore
Medical Center (the "Hospital"). (Eichenholtz Decl. Ex. F.)
Hospital staff notified the New York City Police Department.
New York City Police officer Rosado was assigned to investigate
D.G.'s complaint. (Rosado Dep. at 29.) Rosado spoke with other
police personnel at the Hospital, who informed him of what they
had learned from the Mount Vernon police. (Rosado Dep. at 29,
31-32.) Rosado also spoke with D.G. and then went to D.G.'s home
in an attempt to locate her mother. (Rosado Dep. at 30-31.)
Meanwhile, Smith went to D.G.'s home, picked up D.G.'s mother
and took her to the Hospital. (Smith Dep. at 67, 70.) When they
arrived, Hospital security guards prevented Smith from leaving
and notified Rosado. (Rosado Dep. at 42, 83; Smith Dep. at
73-74.) Rosado returned to the Hospital where other police personnel informed him that Smith had been apprehended by
security staff as he attempted to leave. (Eichenholtz Decl. Ex.
B.)*fn3 Rosado then spoke with D.G., who was crying and
appeared to be upset. (Rosado Dep. at 44.) D.G. described the
rape to Rosado and identified Smith as the perpetrator. (Rosado
Dep. at 45-46, 48-49.) The Hospital's treating doctor advised
Rosado that he had not observed any physical injuries on D.G. and
that a "rape kit" was being prepared. (Rosado Dep. at 50-51.) At
the time, Rosado observed that it was odd for a rape suspect to
accompany the victim's mother to the Hospital and that he
personally believed Smith's claim of innocence. (Deposition of
Loretta McCoy, dated February 17, 2004 ("McCoy Dep.") at 28-29.)
Thereafter, Rosado arrested Smith. (Rosado Dep. at 55-56.)
Rosado swore out a criminal complaint at the Bronx District
Attorney's Office. (Eichenholtz Decl. Ex. B.) Smith was arraigned
on August 5, 2001, and released on August 10, 2001. (Smith Aff.
¶¶ 40-41.) Assistant District Attorney Rachel Singer interviewed
D.G. several days after the alleged attack and concluded she was
credible. However, the rape kit yielded no physical evidence. (Singer Dep. at 90-91, 93, 140,
142, 148.) A.D.A. Singer did not put D.G. into the grand jury
because D.G. was too distraught by an unrelated family crisis.
(Singer Dep. at 75-76, 123-26, 131, 139, 141, 148, 154.) On May
1, 2002, the rape charge was dismissed for failure to comply with
New York's speedy trial rules, N.Y.C.P.L. § 30.20 (McKinney
2003). (Eichenholtz Decl. Ex. I. at 3; Singer Dep. at 117-18.)
On July 22, 2002, plaintiffs filed a notice of claim against
the City of New York and commenced this action on April 30, 2003.
I. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Courts may grant summary judgment only if "there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact" and "the moving party is entitled
to summary judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
The movant bears the burden of establishing that no genuine
issues of material fact exist. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322-24 (1986); accord McLee v. Chrysler Corp.,
109 F.3d 130, 134 (2d Cir. 1997). Once the movant satisfies this
requirement, the burden shifts to the non-moving party "to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex,
477 U.S. at 322. The court is required to resolve any ambiguities and
to make all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving
party. Flanigan v. Gen. Elec. Co., 242 F.3d 78, 83 (2d Cir.
2001). A genuine issue of material fact exists when "a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
B. False Arrest and False Imprisonment
The elements of a false arrest or false imprisonment claim are
similar under New York law and Section 1983 based on the Fourth
Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.
See Hygh v. Jacobs, 961 F.2d 359, 366 (2d Cir. 1992); Dukes
v. City of New York, 879 F. Supp. 335, 340 (S.D.N.Y. 1995); see
also Brome v. City of New York, No. 02 Civ. 7184 (WHP), 2004
WL 502645, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2004) (false arrest and false
imprisonment claims are synonymous under New York law). To
establish a false arrest claim, a plaintiff must show that: (1)
the defendant intentionally confined the plaintiff; (2) the
plaintiff was aware of the confinement; (3) the plaintiff ...