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Dudley v. City of Glens Falls

United States District Court, Second Circuit

September 6, 2013

JAMIE S. DUDLEY, Plaintiff,
CITY OF GLENS FALLS, WILLIAM F. HOLMES, Police Officer, Defendants.

JAMIE S. DUDLEY Plaintiff, Pro Se, 11-A-5490, Mid-State Correctional Facility, Marcy, NY.

JAMES A. RESILA, ESQ., CARTER, CONBOY LAW FIRM, Albany, NY, Attorney for Defendants.


RANDOLPH F. TREECE, Magistrate Judge.

Pro se Petitioner Jamie Dudley brings this Complaint, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants' violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force by tasing him while he was being processed at the Glens Falls Police Station. Dkt. No. 2. Defendants move for Summary Judgment. Dkt. No. 15. For the reasons that follow, it is recommended that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be DENIED in part and GRANTED in part.


Pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a), summary judgment is appropriate only where "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." The moving party bears the burden to demonstrate through "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with [ ] affidavits, if any, " that there is no genuine issue of material fact. F.D.I.C. v. Giammettei, 34 F.3d 51, 54 (2d Cir. 1994) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). "When a party has moved for summary judgment on the basis of asserted facts supported as required by [FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e)] and has, in accordance with local court rules, served a concise statement of the material facts as to which it contends there exist no genuine issues to be tried, those facts will be deemed admitted unless properly controverted by the nonmoving party." Glazer v. Formica Corp., 964 F.2d 149, 154 (2d Cir. 1992).

To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-movant must set out specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial, and cannot rest merely on allegations or denials of the facts submitted by the movant. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see also Scott v. Coughlin, 344 F.3d 282, 287 (2d Cir. 2003) ("Conclusory allegations or denials are ordinarily not sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment when the moving party has set out a documentary case."); Rexnord Holdings, Inc. v. Bidermann, 21 F.3d 522, 525-26 (2d Cir. 1994). To that end, sworn statements are "more than mere conclusory allegations subject to disregard... they are specific and detailed allegations of fact, made under penalty of perjury, and should be treated as evidence in deciding a summary judgment motion" and the credibility of such statements is better left to a trier of fact. Scott v. Coughlin, 344 F.3d at 289 (citing Flaherty v. Coughlin, 713 F.2d 10, 13 (2d Cir. 1983) and Colon v. Coughlin, 58 F.3d 865, 872 (2d Cir. 1995)).

When considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant. Nora Beverages, Inc. v. Perrier Group of Am., Inc., 164 F.3d 736, 742 (2d Cir. 1998). "[T]he trial court's task at the summary judgment motion stage of the litigation is carefully limited to discerning whether there are any genuine issues of material fact to be tried, not to deciding them. Its duty, in short, is confined at this point to issue-finding; it does not extend to issue-resolution." Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., Ltd. P'ship, 22 F.3d 1219, 1224 (2d Cir. 1994). Furthermore, where a party is proceeding pro se, the court must "read [his or her] supporting papers liberally, and... interpret them to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994), accord, Soto v. Walker, 44 F.3d 169, 173 (2d Cir. 1995). Nonetheless, mere conclusory allegations, unsupported by the record, are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. See Carey v. Crescenzi, 923 F.2d 18, 21 (2d Cir. 1991).


A. Background

On May 8, 2011, the Glens Falls Police pulled over and arrested Plaintiff on a felony charge of Driving While Intoxicated ("DWI"), after he refused to take a breathalyser test. Dkt. No. 15-8, Arrest Report, undated; Compl. at p. 4.[1] Plaintiff was taken to the Glens Falls' Police Station (hereinafter "Station") where he was processed by Defendant Officer Holmes. Dkt. No. 15-1, William F. Holmes Aff., dated Sept. 5, 2012, at ¶ 3. A video, submitted by Defendants, depicts some of the events which occurred at the station on May 8; however, the video does not contain any audio. Dkt. No. 15-2, Surveillance Video (hereinafter "Video"). During the portion of the video relevant to the instant case, Plaintiff is handcuffed and seated in a chair with his foot shackled to the wall. Next, Plaintiff kicks a chair into an adjacent desk, stands up, grabs the same chair and lifts it off of the ground. Id. Plaintiff then lets go of the chair and begins to sit back down in his own chair; however, before he is completely seated he is shot with a TASER by Defendant Holmes and falls to the floor. Id. In relation to this incident, Plaintiff later pled guilty to menacing in the second degree. Dkt. No. 24, Pl.'s Opps'n, at p. 2;[2] Dkt. No. 15-9, Uniform Sentence and Commitment Form (hereinafter "Sentencing Form"), dated Dec. 7, 2011.

B. Issue Preclusion

Defendants argue that because Plaintiff pled guilty to menacing in the second degree he cannot now argue that Defendant Holmes's use of the TASER was objectively unreasonable. Defs.' Mem. of Law at pp. 4-5. We disagree.

To begin with, "[a] guilty plea does not necessarily preclude a claim that the police used excessive force in effectuating an arrest." Hayes v. Cnty. of Sullivan, 853 F.Supp.2d 400, 430 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (quoting Coleman v. City of Niagara Falls, 2010 WL 2869529, at *2 n.4 (W.D.N.Y. ...

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