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Lewis v. City of New York

United States District Court, E.D. New York

May 7, 2014

WILLIAM LEWIS, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER RAYMOND W. KELLY, LIEUTENANT LUAT FRANK SARAYLI, in his individual and official capacities, DEPUTY INSPECTOR DANIEL A. CARIONE, in his individual and official capacities, CHIEF CAMPISI, in his individual and official capacities, CAPTAIN MARKOV, in his individual and official capacities, DETECTIVE VICTOR CRESPO, in his individual and official capacities, LIEUTENANT SHAWN CARLSON, in his individual and official capacities, and JOHN DOE #'S 1-5, in their individual and official capacities, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For William Lewis, Plaintiff: Jeffrey H. Lichtman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman, New York, NY; Mariel S. Lasasso, LaSasso Law Group PLLC, New York, NY; Philip A. Byler, Nesenoff & Miltenberg, LLP, New York, NY.

For City of New York, New York City Police Department, Raymond Kelly, New York City Police Commissioner, Deputy Inspector Daniel A. Carione, in his individual and official capacities, Chief Campisi, in his individual and official capacities, Captain Markov, in his individual and official capacities, Detective Victor Crespo, Lieutenant Shawn Charlson, in his individual and official capacities, Lieutenant Luat Frank Sarayli, in his individual and official capacities, Defendants: Brian Paul Ceballo, LEAD ATTORNEY, New York City Law Department, Brooklyn, NY; Kimberly Conway, LEAD ATTORNEY, Virginia Jackson Nimick, New York City Law Department, New York, NY; Okwede N Okoh, NYC Law Department, New York, NY; Vicki Becker Zgodny, NYC Law Department Corporation Counsel, New York, NY.

OPINION

Page 232

MEMORANDUM, ORDER, & JUDGMENT

Jack B. Weinstein, Senior United States District Judge.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Facts

A. Departmental Trial

B. Federal Trial

C. Dismissal

III. Law

A. Summary Judgment Standard

B. False Arrest Standard

C. Malicious Prosecution Standard

D. Monell Liability Standard

E. Stigma-plus Standard

IV. Application of Law to Facts

A. False Arrest

B. Malicious Prosecution in Departmental Trial

C. Malicious Prosecution in Federal Trial

D. Monell Liability

E. Stigma-plus

V. Conclusion

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I. Introduction

Plaintiff, a former New York City Police Department (" NYPD" ) detective, sues the City of New York, the NYPD, and various employees of the Department under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for: (1) false arrest; (2) malicious prosecution in a departmental trial; (3) malicious prosecution in a federal trial; (4) municipal violations; and (5) defamation with stigma-plus.

He was fired after a quarter century of service, the immediate cause being his arrest by federal authorities for structuring monetary transactions--a charge on which he was acquitted in a jury trial. While seemingly harsh, the result comports with due process in the peculiar circumstances of the case. The complaint is dismissed.

II. Facts

A. Departmental Trial

From 2004 through 2010, plaintiff was investigated by the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau (" IAB" ) for violations of NYPD Rules and Regulations. Defendant Daniel Crespo and his supervisor, Daniel Carione, were among the group of IAB investigators. See Pl.'s Compl. ¶ ¶ 11, 14, ECF No. 1. After reviewing the results of this investigation, the Department Advocate's Office brought departmental charges against plaintiff. Plaintiff was represented by counsel throughout the proceedings. Id. at ¶ 50.

On March 30, 2009, Trial Commissioner Martin Karopkin announced the disposition of charges and recommended a penalty. Plaintiff pleaded guilty to: (1) failing to notify the NYPD of his change of address between 2004 and 2006; (2) engaging in off-duty employment without authorization; (3) owning real estate for rental purposes; and (4) employing individuals for business deals with establishments in his precinct. He was found guilty of: (1) failing to inform the NYPD that he had a relative employed in his precinct; and (2) employing individuals for business deals with establishments that participated in illegal gambling. Finally, he was found not guilty of: (1) divulging an undercover police operation; (2) attempting to collect debts in an intimidating manner; and (3) employing individuals for business deals with establishments in his precinct in conflict with his duties. See Nimick Decl. in Supp. of Def. Mot. for Summ. J., Tr. Comm'r's Decision, Ex. E, ECF No. 68.

Trial Commissioner Karopkin characterized the result as follows: " Some of the charges which this Respondent has been found guilty of do constitute serious misconduct but they do not rise to the level of corruption and misuse of authority claimed by the Department." See Ex. E. at 199. He recommended that plaintiff be dismissed from the NYPD but that his dismissal be held in abeyance for one year. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly approved the recommendation on October 16, 2009. See Ex. E. Plaintiff did not file an appeal pursuant to Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules. See Lewis Dep., Ex. T. at 255:1-17.

Page 234

On October 22, 2009, plaintiff signed a probationary dismissal memorandum acknowledging that he could be terminated during the period of abeyance without further hearing by order ...


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