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Daniel P. Galliotti, & Donald P. Galliotti v. Michael Green

July 19, 2011

DANIEL P. GALLIOTTI, & DONALD P. GALLIOTTI, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MICHAEL GREEN, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR MONROE COUNTY; STEFANIE L. GUIDO, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS AN ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE MONROE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE; MONROE COUNTY; NEW YORK STATE INSURANCE FRAUD BUREAU INVESTIGATOR MARK WILLIAMS, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs Daniel Galliotti and Donald Galliotti ("Plaintiffs" or the "Galliottis"), bring this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1988(b), for false arrest, malicious prosecution, withholding evidence, false statements, conspiracy and failure to supervise. Defendants District Attorney Michael Green ("Green"), Assistant District Attorney Stefanie Guido ("ADA Guido") and Monroe County, move for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing that the Plaintiffs have failed to produce any evidence that would support their claims.*fn1

For the reasons set forth below, Defendants Michael Green, Stephanie Guido, and Monroe County's motion for summary judgment is granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Daniel Galliotti and Donald Galliotti are brothers who operate an automobile repair shop that was the subject of an investigation by insurance fraud investigators and the New York State Police. The purpose of the investigation was to determine whether or not repair shops were charging insurance companies for repairs they had not performed. As part of the investigation, investigators devised a sting operation and purposefully damaged a car and recorded and marked each damaged part. See Docket #43-2 at 81, Defendants' Exhibit H. The investigators then assessed the amount of damage done to the car, and estimated the cost of repairs that would be necessary to repair the car. The car would then be brought to a repair shop, and once repaired, investigators examined the car to determine whether or not the repair shop had completed all of the repairs for which they had charged.

With respect to the investigation of the Galliottis' repair shop, insurance investigators damaged a vehicle, and determined that it required $3,237.75 for repairs. The car was then brought to the Galliottis' shop for repairs by a purported customer. Id. The Galliottis were shown the insurance assessment indicating that the vehicle required $3,237.75 in repairs. The Galliottis took full payment of $3,237.75 but only completed some of the repairs before returning the car to the customer. Id. at 57-60, Defendants' Exhibit F. Insurance adjustors examined the car and found that the Galliottis had only repaired parts they were required to replace but did not repair certain parts at all. Id. Insurance adjustors found that the repairs made by the Galliottis were worth less than the $3,237.75 paid to them. Based on the conclusion that the Galliottis had overcharged for the repairs they made, and that they had failed to make all of the repairs as promised, the Monroe County District Attorney's Office decided to seek criminal indictments against the Galliottis for insurance fraud. Assistant District Attorney Stefanie Guido presented evidence to a Monroe County Grand Jury, which voted to indict the Galliottis. Id. at 108, Defendants' Exhibit I. The Galliottis were arrested, and eventually appeared for trial before Monroe County Court Judge John R. Schwartz.

At trial, the Galliottis argued that the repairs they performed had been in accordance with an alternative assessment of damages that they independently determined, based on their own inspection of the vehicle. According to the Galliottis, they provided a copy of their assessment to the investigator posing as a customer, and/or to the insurance company upon the return of the repaired vehicle, as an attachment to a "Certification of Automobile Repair" form. Although it is not clear that the assessment was actually attached to the Certification of Automobile Repair form, the assessment did comport with the repairs that were actually made to the vehicle. Based on this evidence, at the conclusion of the trial, Judge Schwartz dismissed the charges against the Galliottis.

The Plaintiffs then brought the instant action asserting seven causes of action*fn2 against Defendants Green, ADA Guido and Monroe County, including: (1) a § 1983 claim alleging malicious prosecution & false arrest; (2) a § 1983 claim alleging deprivation of liberty without due process of law by withholding exculpatory evidence and deliberately failing to conduct a constitutionally adequate investigation in connection with the grand jury proceedings; (3) a § 1983 claim alleging a civil rights conspiracy;

(4) a § 1983 claim alleging that Defendants conspired together to obstruct justice, with the intent to deny Plaintiffs' equal protection under the law (5) a § 1983 claim alleging that Green failed to properly train and supervise Assistant District Attorneys

(6) a § 1983 claim alleging Defendants publicly made "false statements" concerning the Plaintiffs and (7) a § 1983 claim seeking to impose liability on Monroe County pursuant to Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978).

DISCUSSION

I. Defendants' motion shall be considered as a motion for summary judgment

Defendants' motion erroneously requests summary judgment pursuant to Rule 12(b)6 rather than Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendants also failed to submit a statement of undisputed facts as required by Local Rule 56.1 in support of their motion for summary judgment. Despite these errors, it is clear that the Defendants are seeking summary judgment, as the supporting memorandum reveals numerous references to rule 56, sets forth the standard for summary judgment, and states in conclusion that summary judgment should be granted in their favor. Additionally, Defendants submitted testimony, affidavits and depositions in support of their motion for summary judgment.

In their reply brief, Defendants state that their intention was to file a summary judgment motion pursuant to Rule 56 and submit a statement of undisputed facts, and request the court to excuse their typographical error which unintentionally described their motion as being made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).

Plaintiffs contend that Defendants' motion is not a summary judgment motion and instead should be treated as a Rule 12(b)6 motion to dismiss. However, Plaintiffs have recognized Defendants' motion as one for summary judgment in their motion requesting an extension of time to respond to the Defendants' motion. See Docket #47-2 at 1. Additionally, Plaintiffs' memorandum in response to Defendants' motion correctly recognized that Defendants could not have procedurally filed a 12(b)6 motion, as Defendants had already filed their answer and engaged in considerable discovery. Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law at 10 (hereinafter Pl. Mem.). As such, Plaintiffs ...


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