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Nasca v. County of Suffolk

January 2, 2008


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


Plaintiff Dean Nasca (hereinafter, "Nasca" or "plaintiff") brings this action against the County of Suffolk (hereinafter, "Suffolk"), and Police Officer Joseph Clements and John Does 1-10, who are alleged to be employees, agents and assigns of the County of Suffolk (hereinafter, the "defendants"), asserting violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that Officer Clements violated his Fourth Amendment rights by entering the driveway of plaintiff's residence to issue a traffic summons to plaintiff for a traffic violation that the police officer observed prior to plaintiff is pulling his car into the driveway.

Defendants now move for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that follow, defendants' motion is granted in its entirety.


A. Facts

Upon consideration of a motion for summary judgment, the Court construes the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the non-moving party.*fn1 See Capobianco v. City of New York, 422 F.3d 47, 50 (2d Cir. 2005).

On Sunday April 7, 2002, plaintiff was driving eastbound on Montauk Highway heading home to his residence at 89 Gillette Avenue in Bayport, New York. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 1-2; Nasca August 17, 2007 Affidavit (hereinafter, "Nasca Aff. I") ¶¶ 15, 21.) Police Officer Joseph Clements, an on-duty police officer in a marked unit, was traveling in the same direction heading eastbound on Montauk Highway. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 3; Nasca Aff. I ¶¶ 21-23.) According to Officer Clements, he observed the plaintiff passing him on his right while stopping at a red light at the intersection of Montauk Highway and Gillette Avenue, and crossing a solid white line into the shoulder area to make a right-hand turn at the intersection, in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law §1122(a). (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 4-8; Nasca Aff. I ¶¶ 71-74.)*fn2 Plaintiff then traveled south on Gillette Avenue and made a left-hand turn into his driveway at his residence. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 9-10; Nasca Aff. I ¶¶ 21-23.) Officer Clements followed the plaintiff into his driveway, got out of his vehicle and requested plaintiff's license, registration and insurance card. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 11; Nasca Aff. I ¶¶ 23-25.) Plaintiff initially refused to produce the requested documents and Officer Clements informed plaintiff that he would be subject to arrest if he did not comply with the request. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 12; Nasca Aff. I ¶¶ 27-28.) Plaintiff then produced the requested documents and Officer Clements issued a summons for the violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law §1122(a). (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 13-14; Nasca Aff. I ¶¶ 29-30.) Plaintiff also told Officer Clements, "I'll see you in court, pig." (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 15; Nasca Dep. at 49.)

On July 18, 2002, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Kravitz ("ALJ Kravitz") of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 16; Nasca Aff. I ¶ 31, and Ex. A (Transcript of July 18, 2002 DMV Hearing).) After Officer Clements and plaintiff testified, ALJ Kravitz found that Nasca had passed a vehicle on the right when he should have passed on the left in violation of VTL § 1122(a) and ordered plaintiff to pay $70 for the offense. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 17; Hearing Tr. at 8-9; Nasca Dep. at 48-50, 54.) In response to the fine, plaintiff asked ALJ Kravitz, "How much do you get of that?" (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 19; Hearing Tr. at 9; Nasca Dep. at 54.)

Plaintiff appealed his conviction at DMV and his conviction was affirmed. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 21; Nasca Dep., at 58-59.) Plaintiff then appealed in Suffolk County Supreme Court, pursuant to an Article 78 proceeding and his conviction was again affirmed. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 22; Nasca Dep. at 59.) Thereafter, plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal to the Second Department, but plaintiff never perfected the notice of appeal and abandoned his effort to overturn the conviction, which remains valid. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 23-24; Nasca Dep. at 59-61.)

B. Procedural History

Nasca commenced this action on April 5, 2005, alleging violations of his civil rights, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff also alleged, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 and 1986, that the County and other unnamed County defendants engaged in a conspiracy to violate plaintiff's rights. Specifically, Nasca asserted that, on or about April 7, 2002, Officer Clements unlawfully trespassed on his property to issue a summons and thereby violated his constitutional rights. (Compl. ¶¶ 17-24.) Nasca alleged that, as a result of these violations of his civil rights, he has suffered "humiliation, emotional distress, loss of property, loss of liberty and pecuniary and nonpecuniary damages." (Compl. ¶ 1.)

On May 18, 2007, defendants moved for summary judgment. On August 17, 2007, plaintiff filed his affidavit in opposition to the motion. On August 30, 2007, defendants filed a reply. On October 1, 2007, plaintiff filed a reply affidavit. On October 15, 2007, although it was clear from plaintiff's reply affidavit that he was aware of Local Rule 56.2, the Court directed that defendants provide plaintiff with the required notice under Local Rule 56.2 to advise pro se litigants on how to oppose a motion for summary judgment. The Court then provided plaintiff with another opportunity to supplement his submissions after receiving such notice. Thus, on November 5, 2007, plaintiff filed another affidavit in opposition to the motion.*fn3 The Court has fully considered all of the parties' submissions.

II. Discussion

A. Summary Judgment ...

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