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Karla Giraldo v. Scott Evan Kessler

September 14, 2012

KARLA GIRALDO, PLAINTIFF-CROSS-DEFENDANT-APPELLEE,
v.
SCOTT EVAN KESSLER, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, BUREAU CHIEF OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY, KESHIA ESPINAL, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS-CROSS-DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS, CITY OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, SEAN WARD, DETECTIVE, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, THOMAS FITZGERALD, P.O., IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS-CROSS-DEFENDANTS, SAFE HORIZON, INC., ENIDIA SEOANE, RICHARD A. BROWN, QUEENS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF QUEENS COUNTY, NORTH SHORE LONG ISLAND JEWISH HEALTH SYSTEM, INC., DAWNE KORT, M.D., SUSAN CABIBBO, R.N., DANIEL FROGEL, DR., DEFENDANTS-CROSS-DEFENDANTS-CROSS-CLAIMANTS.



Appeal from a denial of absolute prosecutorial immunity by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (John Gleeson, Judge).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Winter, Circuit Judge:

11-2367-cv

Giraldo v. Kessler, et al.

Argued: June 12, 2012

34 Before: WINTER, CABRANES, and CARNEY, Circuit Judges.

We vacate and remand.

27 Queens County Assistant District Attorneys Scott Evan 28 Kessler and Keshia Espinal appeal from Judge Gleeson's denial of 29 absolute immunity in an action brought under, inter alia, 42 30 U.S.C. § 1983. Karla Giraldo, the plaintiff-appellee, alleged in 31 her complaint that appellants' interrogation of her following the 32 arrest of her boyfriend, former New York State Senator Hiram 33 Monserrate, violated her civil rights.*fn1 We vacate and remand.

1 BACKGROUND

2 We view the facts alleged in the complaint in the light most 3 favorable to appellee. See Warney v. Monroe County, 587 F.3d 4 113, 116 (2d Cir. 2009). We also take judicial notice of 5 relevant matters of public record. See, e.g., Shmueli v. City of 6 New York, 424 F.3d 231, 233 (2d Cir. 2005); Fed. R. Evid. 201(b) 7 (permitting judicial notice of facts "not subject to reasonable 8 dispute").

9 On December 19, 2008, appellee suffered a laceration above 10 her left eye requiring twenty stitches to close. Monserrate 11 brought her to a hospital emergency room for treatment. There, 12 she was seen by defendants Dr. Kort and Dr. Frogel. Appellee 13 told them that she was injured as a result of an "accident" that 14 occurred when her boyfriend brought her a glass of water that 15 broke, causing shards to fly and cut her forehead. Doctors Kort 16 and Frogel suspected domestic abuse and contacted the New York 17 City Police Department. Appellee also told Nurse Susan Cabibbo 18 that she was not in need of protection and that she was not 19 involved in an altercation. The nurse nevertheless contacted the 20 police and informed them that appellee was a victim of domestic 21 violence.

22 Soon afterward, Police Officer Fitzgerald and another 23 unidentified officer arrived at the hospital and interviewed 24 Monserrate and appellee separately. Officer Fitzgerald then 25 arrested Monserrate. After the completion of appellee's 3 1 treatment, Kort and Frogel did not allow appellee to leave and 2 had her transported to the 105th Precinct where she was kept for 3 more than five hours. At the precinct, Detective Ward 4 interrogated appellee regarding her injury, and she consistently 5 responded that it was the result of an accident. Detective Ward 6 then "ordered" appellee to sign a statement accusing Monserrate 7 of assaulting her, but she refused. Appellee continued to be 8 interrogated by police personnel.

9 After the police interrogation, appellee was taken against 10 her will to the Queens District Attorney's office, where she was 11 interviewed by appellants. Appellee states she told appellants 12 that she did not want to talk, but that they nevertheless 13 continued to interrogate her. After two hours of interrogation 14 by appellants, appellee was released.

15 Meanwhile, on the day of the injury and arrest, Monserrate 16 was arraigned and bail was posted. See People v. Hiram 17 Monserrate, Docket Number 2008QN067420 (felony complaint filed 18 and dated December 19, 2008, charging two counts of felony 19 assault in the second degree and one count of misdemeanor 20 criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree; Monserrate 21 posted bail on December 19, 2008); see also Shmueli, 424 F.3d at 22 233 ("The New York State . . . prosecution of Shmueli is a matter 23 of public record, of which we take judicial notice."); cf. 24 Warney, 587 F.3d at 118 (taking judicial notice of federal habeas 25 corpus petition on appeal).*fn2

1 Appellants moved to dismiss the complaint on various 2 grounds, including absolute immunity. The district court denied 3 the motion. On the merits, the court held that appellee's 4 allegations of being "unlawfully detained, held against her will 5 and maliciously interrogated" by appellants in violation of her 6 right to be free from unreasonable seizures stated plausible 7 Section 1983 claims. The court also held that appellee could 8 bring claims against appellants in their individual capacities, 9 but that she could not proceed against them in their official 10 capacities because doing so would constitute an impermissible 11 action against the Queens District Attorney's office. Finally, 12 on the issue before us, the court rejected appellants' argument 13 that absolute immunity shielded ...


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