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Brodie v. Fuhrman

March 29, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Trager, J.


Plaintiff Timothy Brodie ("Brodie" or "plaintiff") brings this action against the City of New York ("the City"), Detective Felix Colon ("Colon") and New York City employees John and Jane Does #1-10,*fn1 alleging claims of false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff also asserts state claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and abuse of process pursuant to the laws of the State of New York. Defendants move for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Procedure.*fn2 For the reasons stated below, defendants' motion is granted.


(1) Plaintiff and Fuhrman's Relationship

Plaintiff and Glendon Fuhrman ("Fuhrman") lived and worked across the street from each other on Clarendon Road in Brooklyn, New York for approximately ten years. Brodie Dep. at 61:13-15, 71:7; Fuhrman Dep. at 3:11-13. Although plaintiff knew Fuhrman from seeing him around the neighborhood, plaintiff states that the two did not have any significant interactions prior to May 28, 2005. Brodie Dep. at 64:18-19, 76:10-11.

At some point in May 2005, plaintiff's friend, who worked for the New York City Public School system, told plaintiff that Fuhrman had asked him for plaintiff's Social Security number and other private information. Id. at 67:17-22. According to Fuhrman, he needed plaintiff's private information to help Ralph Buonomo ("Buonomo"), plaintiff's landlord, sue and evict plaintiff for failing to pay his rent. Fuhrman Dep. at 121:18-19, 132:22-253, 138:10-13. In order to help Buonomo, Fuhrman claims that he accompanied Buonomo to a landlord-tenant proceeding against plaintiff, where plaintiff requested that Fuhrman leave the courtroom.*fn3 Id. at 141:3-6, 100:25-101:14, 147:7-25, 148: 1-2, 11-12, 17-18.

However, plaintiff makes no mention of this housing court incident in his deposition or motion papers. Furthermore, plaintiff states that he did not know why Fuhrman was trying to obtain his personal information given that they had not previously interacted and did not have a relationship. Brodie Dep. at 70:4-25.

(2) The May 28, 2005 Incident

On May 28, 2005, plaintiff saw Fuhrman on the street and confronted him about his alleged efforts to obtain plaintiff's personal information. Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 54; Brodie Dep. at 69:19-25; Fuhrman Dep. at 96:6-11. Plaintiff told Fuhrman to "mind [his] business." Id. As plaintiff was walking away from the encounter, Fuhrman urged plaintiff to hit him. Brodie Dep. at 76:2-6. In response, plaintiff walked away, responding that Fuhrman was not "worth it." Id. at 76:5-6; Fuhrman Dep. at 97:15-16. Fuhrman claims that in an effort to antagonize plaintiff, Fuhrman "taunted" plaintiff as plaintiff walked away, stating multiple times, "Have a nice day, Timothy." Fuhrman Dep. at 98:13, 97:19-23.

Immediately after this incident, Fuhrman called 911, and a police officer, accompanied by Fuhrman, arrived at plaintiff's house. Brodie Dep. at 96:1-7. Plaintiff requested that the officer ask Fuhrman to leave. Id. at 96:13-15. After Fuhrman left, the officer informed plaintiff that he would write a report regarding the earlier incident.*fn4 Id. at 98:1-2.

According to plaintiff, he had no further interactions with Fuhrman following this incident. Id. at 381:3-8. Plaintiff moved out of the neighborhood on June 30, 2005. Id.

(3) The August 11, 2005 Assault on Fuhrman

On August 11, 2005, Fuhrman fell asleep at his desk in his basement office located on Clarendon Road. Fuhrman Dep. at 78:19-20. Around midnight, he awoke to a man wielding a knife a foot away from his face.*fn5 Id. at 78:13, 80:2-12. When the assailant demanded money, Fuhrman informed him that there was no cash on the premises. Id. at 81:13-15. Fuhrman then attempted to push the assailant out of the way in order to run for the door. Id. at 81:20-24. In response, the assailant hit Fuhrman twice on the head, rendering him unconscious. Id. at 82:3-7.

Fuhrman later testified that the incident lasted about one to two minutes and that he could not remember if there were lights on during the attack. Id. at 83: 15-17, 84:19-22. He also stated that although he could see the face of his assailant, he could not see his clothing nor did he remember if the assailant was wearing a hat. Id. at 83:3-7, 84:6-8. According to Fuhrman, toward the middle of the assault, he began to think that the assailant was plaintiff. Id. at 161:21-25.

Fuhrman's injuries from the assault included two black eyes, cuts, and bruises on his ears, back, ribs and knee, and required him to be hospitalized. Id. at 165:9-13. Additionally, Fuhrman stated that he had some loss of memory as a result of being unconscious. Id. at 24:10-17.

After the attack, Fuhrman was taken to the hospital, where he spoke to two police officers. Id. at 48:12-16. According to Fuhrman, he told the officers that he had been assaulted, gave them the address of the location of the assault and identified his attacker as Timothy Brodie.*fn6 Id. at 47:4, 48:10-14. After the fact, Fuhrman could not remember how much detail he provided the officers with and whether he told the officers about his prior history with plaintiff. Id. at 49:4-10, 18-21. Additionally, he did not give the officers an extensive physical description of plaintiff and merely described him as an "African American, taller than [himself]." Id. at 49:13-14. It is unclear from the record whether the officers filed a report following their interview of Fuhrman.*fn7

On or about the day after Fuhrman's release from the hospital, Fuhrman's daughter photographed his injuries on her cell phone. Id. at 163:6-25; see also Defs.' Ex. I.

(4) Colon's Involvement in the Criminal Investigation

a. Colon's Investigation

On August 22, 2005, Fuhrman visited the 67th Precinct in Brooklyn to report the August 11 assault, and the case was assigned to Detective Colon. Defs. Ex. G. On August 23, 2005, Colon and Fuhrman spoke for the first time on the telephone. Colon Dep. at 12:13-15; Defs. Ex. J. During this conversation, Fuhrman identified plaintiff as his ...

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