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Quintana v. New York State Division of State Police

United States District Court, Second Circuit

May 17, 2013

JORGE L. QUINTANA; and LIBERTAD QUINTANA, Plaintiffs,
v.
NEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF STATE POLICE; DOUGLAS MARSCHILOK; BRIAN DENGLER, Defendants.

DECISION and ORDER

THOMAS J. McAVOY, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiffs Jorge and Libertad Quintana commenced the instant action against Defendants New York State Division of State Police, Douglas Marschilok, and Brian Dengler, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 1983 and 1985 claiming violations of their rights as protected by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs also assert various state law causes of action. Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 seeking dismissal of the Amended Complaint in its entirety. Plaintiffs oppose the motion.

I. FACTS

On September 2, 2011, Defendant New York State Troopers Douglas Marschilok and Brian Dengler responded to a radio call about a trespass in progress at 17 River Street in Stamford, New York (the "property" or "real property"). The call had apparently been made by Patricia Vanloo. The officers arrived on the scene and spoke with Vanloo. Vanloo advised that she lost her house located at 17 River Street to the bank. Vanloo stated that Bank of America held the mortgage, but that her name was still on the paperwork. Vanloo further advised that Plaintiffs Jorge and Libertad Quintana gave Delaware County Real Estate Broker George Bergleitner a $20, 000 deposit for the purchase of the real property. Bergleitner apparently was retained to sell the property on behalf of Bank of America. Vanloo told the officers that she made a verbal agreement with Plaintiffs that they could move their property into the house, but they could not do anything else with the property until the closing. Vanloo stated that she found Plaintiffs on the property, that they were operating a thrift store on the property, and that she wanted them to leave.

The officers interviewed Plaintiffs who stated that they bought the house from Bergleitner for $20, 000 and that they, therefore, had a right to be on the property. Plaintiffs claimed that they paid the purchase price in full and had an oral agreement to use and possess the property. Plaintiffs stated that Bergleitner gave them the keys so they could store their belongings on the property.

The officers contacted Bergleitner who stated that Vanloo was the record owner, he had been unsuccessfully attempting to contact Bank of America concerning a sale of the property to Plaintiffs, and that he would be willing to return Plaintiffs' deposit until he heard from Bank of America. Bergleitner advised the officers that he agreed with Vanloo that Plaintiffs should not be permitted to remain on the property until closing.

The officers advised Plaintiffs that Vanloo and Bergleitner wanted them off the property. Plaintiffs indicated they needed two weeks to remove their property. Vanloo stated she would give Plaintiffs one week. Plaintiffs agreed to remove their belongings.

Thereafter, in November 2011, Vanloo reported ongoing issues concerning the property. Police reports indicate that Vanloo complained that Plaintiffs were given the keys to the property to put boxes therein, but were not permitted to reside there. Vanloo further complained that Plaintiffs had been coming and going in excess of their limited authority to store personal property. New York State Trooper Ralph Reed (not a Defendant herein) responded to this call and advised Plaintiffs that they must stay off the property.

On November 20, 2011, the New York State Police received a call from Plaintiffs requesting assistance in the removal of their personal property from the real property. New York State Trooper Matthew Strobeck (not a named Defendat) escorted Jorge Quintata to the real property to assist him in removing his personal property.

On February 24, 2012, Trooper Richard Cecce responded to Plaintiffs' request for assistance in the removal of their personal property from the real property. The police report indicates that Plaintiffs were permitted to enter the real property to remove their personal property, that the lock on the back door had been cut with bolt cutters, Plaintiffs claimed that numerous items of their personal property were missing, and the Vanloo and the Quintanas were accusing one another of wrongdoing. The police considered the matter closed.

Plaintiffs filed various other complaints with the New York State Police concerning the real property, all of which were determined not to have any basis and were not pursued.

Plaintiffs commenced the instant action claiming that Defendants violated their rights as protected by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and asserting various state law causes of action. Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P 56 seeking dismissal of the Complaint in its entirety. Plaintiffs oppose the motion.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Defendants move for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56. It is well settled that, on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, see Tenenbaum v. Williams , 193 F.3d 581, 593 (2d Cir. 1999), and may grant summary judgment only where "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). An issue is genuine if the relevant evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of informing the court of the basis for the motion and of identifying those portions of the record that the moving party believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact as to a dispositive issue. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the movant is able to establish a prima facie basis for summary judgment, the burden of production shifts to the party opposing summary judgment who must produce evidence establishing the existence of a factual dispute that a reasonable jury could resolve in his favor. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). A ...


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