Appeal from an order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (David N. Hurd, Judge) denying Defendant-Appellant State Trooper P.J. McCadden's motion for summary judgment. We conclude that the stipulated facts establish that McCadden reasonably believed that he was acting at the behest of Judge Shirley Herder, and, therefore, he had arguable probable cause to arrest Plaintiff Droz for criminal contempt and probable cause to commence a criminal contempt proceeding against him. We therefore conclude, contrary to the district court's ruling, that McCadden is entitled to qualified immunity with respect to the claims made against him for false arrest and malicious prosecution under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Before: WINTER and SACK, Circuit Judges, and COGAN, District Judge.*fn2
Defendant-Appellant State Trooper P.J. McCadden appeals from an order of the district court (David N. Hurd, Judge) denying his motion for summary judgment in this action against him under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on allegations of false arrest and malicious prosecution. The grounds for the motion are that McCadden was entitled to qualified immunity. We conclude that the stipulated facts establish that McCadden reasonably believed he was acting at the behest of Judge Shirley Herder. McCadden therefore had arguable probable cause to arrest Plaintiff Droz for criminal contempt. In addition, in light of this reasonable belief and McCadden's conversation with Judge Herder following Droz's arrest regarding the offense with which Droz would be charged, McCadden had probable cause to institute proceedings against him. We therefore reverse the order of the district court and remand the cause with instructions to grant the summary judgment motion and dismiss the claims.
Plaintiff Droz was arrested and charged with violating N.Y. Penal L. § 215.50(1) for "disorderly, contemptuous or insolent behavior, committed during the sitting of a court, in its immediate view and presence and directly tending to interrupt its proceedings," after arriving at a courthouse and refusing to show to Code Enforcement Officer John C. Anderson what was in a brown paper bag he was carrying. Anderson told Judge Shirley Herder about the incident. The police were then summoned, and arrived, in the person of McCadden. McCadden then arrested Droz. The subsequent contempt charge against Droz was eventually dismissed. Droz then brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Herder and McCadden asserting, inter alia, causes of action sounding in false arrest, malicious prosecution, and conspiracy to commit false arrest and malicious prosecution. Herder, having settled the claims against her, is no longer a party to this appeal.
McCadden moved for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds, arguing that he had arguable probable cause to arrest Droz inasmuch as he had been told by Herder -- a town judge whose instruction would be sufficient to give probable cause to arrest someone for contempt of court -- that he should arrest Droz for contempt. McCadden also argued that he was entitled to qualified immunity with respect to the malicious prosecution claim because it was undisputed that he spoke with Herder about what statute to charge Droz under following Droz's arrest.
The district court denied McCadden's motion for summary judgment, concluding that there was a material issue of fact as to whether Herder personally instructed McCadden to arrest Droz, and that, therefore, probable cause for the arrest had not been established as a matter of law. The court also decided that malice might be established to support the malicious prosecution claim because McCadden had no other evidence that Droz had committed criminal contempt, the charge that was brought against him and then dismissed. McCadden brings this interlocutory appeal from the denial of his motion for summary judgment.
"We review a district court's denial of summary judgment de novo . . . ." Travelers Ins. Co. v. Carpenter, 313 F.3d 97, 102 (2d Cir. 2002) (noting, however, that unlike appeals on qualified immunity issues, we typically undertake such review only "when a final decision or other distinct district court action has rendered the case appealable"). Summary judgment must be granted to the movant "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); Roe v. City of Waterbury, 542 F.3d 31, 35 (2d Cir. 2008). In an interlocutory appeal such as this one, "we may not review whether a dispute of fact identified by the district court is 'genuine.'" Escalera v. Lunn, 361 F.3d 737, 743 (2d Cir. 2004). We may only resolve the summary judgment motion insofar as we rely "on stipulated facts, or on the facts that the ...