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Raymond C. Knox, Jr. and Katherine v. County of Putnam

September 27, 2012

RAYMOND C. KNOX, JR. AND KATHERINE, C. BARRAMEN,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COUNTY OF PUTNAM, PUTNAM COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, TIMOTHY R. GANNON, CATHERINE BRUMLEY, ANDREW D. CLAVY, PATRICK J. O'CONNELL , RONALD SCHIAVONE AND CATHY BOOKLESS, DEFENDANTS.



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

OPINION AND ORDER

Defendants Putnam County and Timothy R. Gannon ("Defendants") bring this Motion for Summary Judgment seeking dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint in its entirety pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. Doc. 43. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I.Background

A.Procedural History

Plaintiff Raymond C. Knox and his wife Katherine C. Barramen commenced this action against Putnam County (the "County"), the Putnam County Sheriff's Department ("PCSD"), Timothy R. Gannon, Catherine Brumley, Andrew D. Clavy, Patrick J. O'Connell, Ronald Schiavone and Cathy Bookless on March 2, 2010, alleging state and federal claims for malicious prosecution, a federal claim for deprivation of a right to a fair trial, and a derivative claim for loss of services and consortium on behalf of Barramen.*fn1 Doc. 1 ("Compl."). On March 31, 2010, pursuant to a stipulated order executed by the parties and entered by the Honorable Cathy Seibel, to whom this case was previously assigned, Plaintiff discontinued his action against the PCSD, and discontinued his federal § 1983 malicious prosecution and fair trial claims against the County. Doc. 12. Plaintiff did not discontinue his state law malicious prosecution claim against the County. Id. On June 16, 2010, Plaintiff sought partial default judgment against Defendants Catherine Brumley, Andrew D. Clavy, Patrick J. O'Connell, Ronald Schiavone and Cathy Bookless (the "non-County Defendants"). After a show cause hearing on July 23, 2010, Judge Seibel entered partial default judgment against all of the non-County Defendants except for Bookless who appeared at the show cause hearing.*fn2 Doc. 26.

This case was reassigned to the undersigned on January 5, 2012. Doc. 41. Pursuant to a briefing schedule set by Judge Seibel, Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment on January 17, 2012; Plaintiff filed his opposition papers on March 2, 2012; Defendants filed their Reply on March 22, 2012; and, with leave of this Court, Plaintiff filed a Sur-Reply on March 27, 2012.

B.Relevant Facts

The following facts are undisputed except where otherwise noted.*fn3

In February 2007, Plaintiff was the owner and manager of a bar/restaurant known as "The Paddock" located on Route 22 in the Town of Patterson and County of Putnam, New York. Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 11-12.*fn4 Sandra Longchamps, who is not a party to this action, was employed as a part-time bartender at The Paddock in and prior to February 2007. Id. ¶ 11. Catherine Brumley and Mary Ann Arvisais were also employed as part-time bartenders at The Paddock. Pls.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 3, at 15. *fn5 On February 4, 2007, which was Super Bowl Sunday, Brumley was the bartender for the 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm shift at The Paddock, and Arvisais was the bartender for the night shift, which began immediately thereafter. Id. Longchamps was not scheduled to work that day, id.; however, it is undisputed that she was at The Paddock at various times throughout the day. Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 13. Plaintiff saw Longchamps in The Paddock at least three times on that day: first, at approximately 12:00 or 12:30 pm; a second time, at approximately 3:00 or 3:30 pm; and finally, at approximately 7:45 pm, when Longchamps arrived to order dinner for her children.*fn6 Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 14; Sivin Decl. Ex. 7 ("Knox. Tr.") 81, 83-84, 88, 94.*fn7

At approximately 9:37 pm on February 4, 2007, Longchamps was driving south on Route 22 when she crossed over the double yellow line and crashed head-on into a van in the northbound lane, killing herself and the driver of the van (the "Accident"). Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 1. Gannon, who is a certified Accident Reconstructionist and a Sergeant in the PCSD, was on his way to work when he was directed to respond to the location of the Accident. Id. ¶ 3. Gannon arrived at the scene at approximately 10:40 pm. Id. ¶ 4. Other members of the PCSD were already at the scene when Gannon arrived. Id. ¶ 2. Captain Thomas Lindert of the PCSD assigned Gannon to handle the investigation of the Accident on February 6, 2007. *fn8 Id. ¶ 17.

Over the course of the next five weeks, Gannon interviewed various witnesses to that day's events, including each of the witnesses who provided sworn statements, and who testified for the prosecution at the trial of the Plaintiff. See Randazzo Decl. Exs. L-P, R-T; Compl. ¶¶ 37-43, 52-57. On February 23, 2007, Gannon received a toxicology report indicating that Longchamps had a blood alcohol concentration of .345 at the time of her death. Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 52.*fn9 The same report revealed that Longchamps had cocaine in her system. Id. ¶ 53.

On March 30, 2007, Gannon executed three sworn accusatory instruments charging Plaintiff with selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, in violation of New York Alcoholic Beverage Control ("ABC") Law § 65(2); permitting gambling on a licensed premises in violation of ABC Law § 106(6);*fn10 and serving alcohol to a habitual drunkard in violation of ABC Law § 65(3). Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 54; Pls.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 39, at 22. Gannon issued a desk appearance ticket for the charges and served it on Plaintiff on April 4, 2007. Randazzo Decl. Ex. V.

Beginning on December 12, 2007, Plaintiff was tried for the criminal violations in the Justice Court for the Town of Patterson before a local, non-attorney judge. Pls.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 40, at 22; Compl. ¶ 51. On January 8, 2008, at the conclusion of the trial, Plaintiff was convicted on the charges of selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person and permitting gambling on a licensed premises. He was acquitted of serving a habitual drunkard.*fn11 Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 55. On March 24, 2008, Plaintiff was sentenced to a nine-month term of incarceration. Compl. ¶ 65. Plaintiff served five months, and was released from custody on October 17, 2008. Id. ¶¶ 66-67. He thereafter served an additional eleven months of supervised parole. Id. ¶ 68. On August 19, 2009, ...


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