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Saenz v. Lucas

September 12, 2008

SOFIA SAENZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDWARD LUCAS, INDIVIDUALLY, VINCENT MUSSOLINO, INDIVIDUALLY, RICHARD LIGHT, INDIVIDUALLY, MARK DIGIACOMO, INDIVIDUALLY, POLICE OFFICER JANE DOE, INDIVIDUALLY, AND THE TOWN/VILLAGE OF HARRISON, NEW YORK, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Conner, Sr. D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Sofia Saenz, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants Edward Lucas ("Lucas"), Vincent Mussolino ("Mussolino"), Richard Light ("Light"), Mark DiGiacomo ("DiGiacomo"), Police Officer Jane Doe ("Doe") and the Town/Village of Harrison, New York (the "Town"), alleging that defendants violated her rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Defendants Lucas, DiGiacomo and the Town moved to dismiss the claims against them pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). In an Opinion and Order filed July 9, 2008 (the "Opinion"), we denied defendants' motion to dismiss. Defendants Lucas and DiGiacomo (hereinafter "defendants") move for reconsideration of that portion of the Opinion related to the claims against them pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 59(e) and S.D.N.Y. LOCAL CIV. R. 6.3. For the following reasons, defendants' motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are laid out at length in our Opinion, familiarity with which is presumed. We briefly summarize the facts relevant to this motion, as alleged in the Amended Complaint.

On August 20, 2007 plaintiff witnessed an incident between her then boyfriend, Joshua D. Clark ("Clark"), and her former boyfriend, Ralph Tancredi ("Tancredi"), during which Clark threatened to strike Tancredi with a baseball bat. (Am. Complt. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff was transported to Police Headquarters from the scene and officers Mussolino and Doe detained her in a room for approximately three hours in an attempt to coerce her to bear witness against Tancredi. (Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff alleges defendants did this to retaliate against Tancredi for filing civil rights actions against the Town. (Id.)

Assistant District Attorney Barbara Eggenhauser ("Eggenhauser") directed plaintiff to report to the District Attorney's Office twice regarding this event. (Id. ¶¶ 13-16.) The second time Eggenhauser summoned plaintiff to her office, acting in concert with Officer Lucas and Detective Light, she told plaintiff that plaintiff had been "abused" by Tancredi and questioned her about alleged cocaine use by Tancredi. (Id. ¶ 16.) Light falsely informed plaintiff that Tancredi had referred to her as a "coke whore," and Lucas told her that Tancredi had stolen money from the Police Benevolent Association. (Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) Eggenhauser, Light and Lucas then threatened to seek to have plaintiff deported if she did not cooperate with them by testifying against Tancredi (plaintiff is of Peruvian national origin.) (Id. ¶¶ 3, 19.)

Plaintiff was brought to Tancredi's court appearance and subsequently Light, on the pretext that he would drive her to her residence, drove her to Police Headquarters, placed her in a room and interrogated her about Tancredi. (Id. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff protested her confinement, stating that she wanted to leave and did not "want to be part of this." (Id.) Light would not permit her to leave. (Id.) Officers Lucas and DiGiacomo joined Light in the room with plaintiff and further interrogated her, suggesting that Tancredi was involved in illegal gambling operations. (Id. ¶ 21.) Plaintiff again protested that she wanted to go home, and in response Lucas told her "go with the order of protection -- you're in with us." (Id.)

Plaintiff filed this action on February 12, 2008 claiming defendants violated her rights under the Fourth Amendment because she did not consent to her confinements at Police Headquarters and in Eggenhauser's office, she was aware of the confinements, there was no probable cause or arguable probable cause to detain her and the detentions were not otherwise privileged or authorized.

Defendants Lucas and DiGiacomo moved to dismiss the claim against them because there was no indication in the Amended Complaint that they arrested or confined plaintiff.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

A motion for reconsideration or re-argument may be granted only if the court has overlooked "'controlling decisions or factual matters that were put before it on the underlying motion . . . and which, had they been considered, might have reasonably altered the result before the court.'" Greenwald v. Orb Commc'ns & Mktg., Inc., 2003 WL 660844, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 27, 2003) (quoting Range Road Music, Inc. v. Music Sales Corp., 90 F. Supp. 2d 390, 392 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)); see also S.D.N.Y. LOCAL CIV. R. 6.3. Controlling decisions include decisions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; they do not include decisions from other circuits or district courts, even courts in the Southern District of New York. See Ades v. Deloitte & Touche, 843 F. Supp. 888, 892 (S.D.N.Y. 1994). Local Rule 6.3 should "be narrowly construed and strictly applied so as to avoid repetitive arguments on issues that have been considered fully by the Court." Dellefave v. Access Temporaries, Inc., 2001 WL 286771, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 22, 2001). Where the movant fails to show that any controlling authority or facts have actually been overlooked, and merely offers substantially the same arguments he offered on the original motion or attempts to advance new facts, the motion for reconsideration must be denied. See Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995); Brown v. Barnhart, 2005 WL 1423241, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. June 16, 2005) ("Accordingly, the moving party may not advance new facts, issues or arguments not previously presented to the Court.") (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "Whether to grant or deny a motion for reconsideration or reargument is in the sound discretion of a district court judge." Greenwald, 2003 WL 660844, at *1 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

II. Defendants' Arguments for Reconsideration

Defendants argue that the Court should grant reargument because our Opinion "expands the protections of the Fourth Amendment by allowing claims to be pursued against individuals who allegedly caused seizures that were less than an arrest, despite the fact that the [p]laintiff had already been 'seized' at the time." (Defs. Mem. Supp. Mot. Recons. at 7.) We disagree with defendants' ...


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