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Chen v. City of Syracuse

March 2, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Neal P. McCURN, Senior U.S. District Court Judge


Plaintiff Ling-Rong Chen ("Mrs. Chen") brings this action for monetary damages against the City of Syracuse ("City"), Syracuse Police Officer Joseph Reilly ("Officer Reilly"), Syracuse Police Officer Harry Burns*fn1 ("Officer Burns") and Syracuse Police Officer Mark Kleist ("Officer Kliest") (collectively, "police officer defendants"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks redress for alleged violations of civil rights secured to her by, but not limited to, the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, in the form of generaldamages against all defendants and punitive damages against the police officer defendants in their individual capacities, together with the costs and disbursements of this action. Specifically, the eight-count amended complaint (Doc. No. 56) alleges the following federal and supplemental state law claims: excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, illegal search and seizure, and unlawful interrogation pursuant to § 1983 against the police officer defendants; false arrest, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and malicious prosecution brought under pendent jurisdiction against all defendants; and negligent supervision, including negligent training of officers, detectives and employees, against the City only.

The court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 1331 and 1343(a)(3). Currently before the court is defendants' motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 45) pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons stated below, the motion for summary judgment will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

A. Facts

The court assumes familiarity with the facts and procedural history of this case, as set forth in the court's Memorandum Decision and Order dated March 9, 2007 (Doc. No. 12). The court reiterates those facts and any additional facts taken from the parties' briefs on this new motion only as necessary to clarify its findings.

II. Discussion

As a threshold matter, the parties concur that no evidentiary documentation has been proffered that supports a claim for negligent hiring, training and/or supervision against the City which would support a Monell*fn2 claim. Accordingly, Mrs. Chen consents to dismissal of this portion of her claim against the City.

A. Summary Judgment

A motion for summary judgment shall be granted "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) (West 2009). See also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552 (1986); Security Ins. Co. of Hartford v. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., 391 F.3d 77, 82 (2d Cir. 2004). "[I]n assessing the record to determine whether there is a genuine issue as to a material fact, the court is required to resolve all ambiguities and draw all permissible factual inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought[.]" Security Ins., 391 F.3d at 83, citing Anderson V. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (1986). "Only when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper." Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.), citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250-51.

While the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact falls upon the moving party, once that burden is met, the non-moving party must "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial," see Koch v. Town of Brattleboro, Vermont, 287 F.3d 162, 165 (2d Cir. 2002), (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)), by a showing sufficient to establish the existence of every element essential to the party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See Peck v. Public Serv. Mut. Ins. Co., 326 F.3d 330, 337 (2d Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 124 S.Ct. 540 (2003).

B. 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 Generally

In order to prevail on a claim under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983, a plaintiff must establish the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that the violation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. Section 1983 states in pertinent part that

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.... 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 (West 2007).

In the case at bar, it is undisputed that the defendants were acting under the color of state law.

C. Federal Claims

1. False Arrest and ...

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