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Kelsey v. City of New York

May 7, 2007

VALERIE KELSEY, AND THEODORE GODDARD, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS CO-ADMINISTRATORS OF THE ESTATE OF CURTIS GODDARD, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, P.O. THOMAS MARRONE, SHIELD #07784, SERGEANT GEORGE KALLAS, SHIELD #01144, L T. JAMES MARRON, P.O. MICHAEL SYKORA, SHIELD #18496, P.O. CORY FINK, SHIELD #14713, P.O. MARTIN HALLIGAN, SHIELD #18367, P.O. P AUL B ERNAL, SHIELD #10349, P.O. MATTHEW LINDNER, SHIELD #19417, AND P.O. SHAWLINE SENIOR, SHIELD #02385, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joseph F. Bianco, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiffs Valerie Kelsey and Theodore Goddard bring this action on behalf of themselves and the estate of Curtis Goddard (collectively, "plaintiffs"), alleging, inter alia, claims for violation of Goddard's civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a pendent wrongful death/negligence claim under state law.

On December 18, 2006, this Court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment as to plaintiffs' federal claim, and declined to exercise jurisdiction over plaintiffs' remaining state law claims. On January 30, 2007, plaintiffs moved for reconsideration of the Court's decision. For the reasons set forth below, plaintiffs' motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Facts

The Court presumes the parties' familiarity with the facts of this case. Briefly, however, this case arises from the attempted detainment by police of Curtis Goddard ("Goddard") on August 15, 2002. That day, Goddard arrived at and entered an apartment on Beach Channel Drive ("the apartment") that was occupied by Maria Buffamante, her children, and her friends Tyisha Safford, Leonar Jesus Espinal and an individual known as "Blue." (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 8.) After Goddard entered the apartment, Buffamante, Espinal and "Blue" asked Goddard to leave the premises. (See id., ¶ 12.) Goddard refused, and brandished a firearm. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 13; see also Pls.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 13(b).)

New York City Police Department Sergeant George Kallas and Police Officers Thomas Marrone, Michael Sykora, Cory Fink, Martin Halligan, and Paul Bernal responded to a call regarding a dispute with a firearm at the apartment. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 5.) The officers entered the apartment and observed Goddard running towards the kitchen. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 16.) The officers attempted to arrest Goddard in the kitchen, but he resisted and refused to be handcuffed. (See id., ¶ 17.) The officers were eventually successful in restraining and handcuffing Goddard. (See id., ¶ 22.) The officers searched Goddard and seized a sock filled with ammunition, a ski mask, a gun, and a razor blade. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶¶ 22-23, 28; see also Pls.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶¶ 22-23, 28.)

Goddard was escorted out of the apartment with his hands cuffed behind his back. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 24.) As he was being escorted out of the apartment, Goddard attempted to grab Officer Bernal's gun, while exclaiming "shoot me, kill me." (See id., ¶ 25.) Officer Marrone held Goddard until he was able to confirm that Officer Bernal had control of his gun. (See id., ¶ 26.) Goddard was brought out into the hallway, and was positioned facing the wall, approximately four to five feet from a stairwell door. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 27; see also Pls.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 27(a)). While placed facing the wall, Goddard was surrounded by Officers Sykora, Fink, Hallagan and Bernal in a semi-circle. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 29.) Sergeant Kallas instructed the officers to physically hold onto Goddard. (See id., ¶ 30.) Pursuant to that order, Officer Sykora held onto Goddard while he stood against the wall. (See id., ¶ 32.)

Sergeant Kallas requested that the Emergency Services Unit and an ambulance respond to the scene to assist with an emotionally disturbed person. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 31; see also Pls.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 31.) Kallas and Lieutenant Marron then went down the hall to interview the occupants of the apartment. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 39.) After approximately five minutes, Goddard was turned around so that he faced the surrounding officers. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 33.) Officer Sykora released his physical hold on Goddard. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 35.) Goddard then made a sudden move at Sykora, and Officer Fink pushed Sykora out of the way, in order to prevent contact between the two. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶¶ 36-37; see also Pls.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶¶ 36-37.) Goddard proceeded to escape from the officers, and ran towards the stairwell door. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 37.) According to defendants, Officer Shawline Senior was standing next to the stairwell door and attempted to grab Goddard as he ran through the stairwell door, but failed. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 38.)

Sykora, Fink, Bernal, Halligan, Marrone, Lindner and Marron immediately chased after Goddard as he ran up the stairway to the rooftop of the building while rear-cuffed. (See Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., ¶ 42.) Officer Sykora observed Goddard lean over a fence on the roof, and then twist his body so that he fell off the rooftop. (See id., ¶ 44.) Goddard died as a result of injuries he sustained from the fall. (See Okoli Decl., Ex. O.)

B. Procedural History

Plaintiffs, as administrators of Goddard's estate, filed a complaint in this action on November 25, 2003. On July 24, 2006, defendants moved for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On December 18, 2006, this Court issued a Memorandum and Order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment (hereinafter, the "Order"), and entered judgment against plaintiffs.

Subsequently, on December 22, 2006, plaintiffs sought and obtained an extension of time, to January 30, 2007, to file a motion for reconsideration of the Order. Prior to filing that motion, on January 17, 2007, plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Thereafter, on January 30, 2007, plaintiffs filed a motion, "pursuant to Local Civil Rule 6.3, for ...


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