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Jimenez v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

October 9, 2014

PATRICIO JIMENEZ and MARIBEL GONZALEZ-MOSSO JIMENEZ, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK; DETECTIVE JAMES QUILTY; NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS CORPORATION; HARLEM HOSPITAL CENTER; KRYSTAL MERRITT; HANNA COHEN; CYRACOM INTERNATIONAL, INC.; THE MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL; MOUNT SINAI HOSPITALS GROUP, INC.; REYNOLD TROWERS; and JOHN/JANE DOE #1-3, Defendants.

Gregory Paul Mouton, Jr., Esq., The Law Office of Gregory P. Mouton, Jr., New York, NY, Counsel for Plaintiffs.

Thomas A. Catalano, Esq., Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer, LLP, New York, NY, Counsel for Mount Sinai Defendants.

Mercedes Colwin, Esq., Kuuku Minnah-Donkoh, Esq., Vincent M. Avery, Esq., Gorden & Rees, LLP, New York, NY, Counsel for CyraCom, Inc.

Tobias Eli Zimmerman, Assistant Corporation Counsel City of New York Law Department, New York, NY, Counsel for City Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

SHIRA A. SCHEINDLIN, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Patricio Jimenez and Maribel Gonzalez-Masso Jimenez bring this action against the City of New York ("the City"), New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation ("NYCHHC"), Harlem Hospital Center ("HHC"), Detective James Quilty, Krystal Merritt, and Reynold Trowers (collectively, the "City Defendants") alleging claims under Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code ("Section 1983") and pendant state law claims. Plaintiffs allege false arrest, denial of substantive due process, assault and battery, negligence, negligent retention and supervision, malicious abuse of process, and malicious prosecution. Plaintiffs also bring an Equal Protection claim as well as a Monell claim against the City alleging a policy of racial discrimination in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs additionally bring state law claims of negligence and negligent retention and supervision against The Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospitals Group, Inc., Hannah Cohen s/h/a Hanna Cohen (collectively, the "Mount Sinai Defendants"); and CyraCom International, Inc.[1]

The City Defendants now move to dismiss the negligence, negligent retention and supervision, malicious abuse of process, Equal Protection, and Monell claims. The Mount Sinai and CyraCom Defendants also move to dismiss all claims against them. For the reasons that follow, the Mount Sinai and CyraCom Defendants' motions are granted in full, and the City Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.[2]

II. BACKGROUND[3]

On December 26, 2012, Mrs. Jimenez was at home when she became dizzy, fell, and was unable to stand.[4] Her eleven-year-old daughter called 911 and requested an ambulance.[5] EMS workers arrived and asked Mrs. Jimenez in English whether she had been physically abused by her husband.[6] Her daughter translated for Mrs. Jimenez and told the EMS workers that she had not been abused and had fallen.[7]

EMS took Mrs. Jimenez to Harlem Hospital Center and falsely told the hospital staff that she was a victim of domestic abuse.[8] Mrs. Jimenez was attended by Reynold Trowers, a doctor with HHC and NYCHHC, Krystal Merritt, a social worker with HHC and NYCHHC, and Hannah Cohen, a volunteer with the Mount Sinai Hospital ("MSH") Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program ("SAVI") (collectively, the "Hospital Defendants").[9] As none of the Hospital Defendants were fluent in Spanish, they contacted CyraCom to provide an interpreter.[10] Through the interpreter, Mrs. Jimenez told the Hospital Defendants that she had become dizzy and had fallen.[11] The Hospital Defendants, through the interpreter, told Mrs. Jimenez that she had diabetes and was suffering symptoms of hyperglycemia.[12] The conversation between Mrs. Jimenez and the Hospital Defendants through the CyraCom interpreter lasted about two minutes.[13]

Subsequently, the Hospital Defendants and the CyraCom interpreter "conspired together, creating false records for and statements by Mrs. Jimenez, stating... that she had reported she had been physically abused by her husband, Mr. Jimenez. At the time that they created these records and allegations, the Hospital Defendants and Defendant CyraCom Agent knew the allegations to be false."[14] The Hospital Defendants then called members of the NYPD to the hospital and reported that Mrs. Jimenez had been the victim of domestic violence and provided the NYPD with medical records and other information.[15] The NYPD then supplied this information to Detective James Quilty.[16]

Approximately two weeks later, Detective Quilty and his partner, who spoke Spanish, went to Mrs. Jimenez's home and spoke with her.[17] She told Detective Quilty's partner that she had not been abused by her husband, and that she had become dizzy and fallen because she had not been regulating her blood sugar.[18] Detective Quilty's partner relayed this information to Detective Quilty.[19] Detective Quilty and his partner returned to the Jimenez home one week later and told Mrs. Jimenez that they would report Mr. Jimenez to immigration officials if he did not turn himself in.[20] Believing he had no choice, Mr. Jimenez turned himself in on January 30, 2013, and was placed under arrest by Detective Quilty.[21]

Following his arrest, Detective Quilty and his partner lied to the New York County District Attorney's Office by reporting that Mr. Jimenez had violated various provisions of the New York Penal Law, and further lied by telling the prosecutors that Mrs. Jimenez reported being the victim of domestic abuse.[22] Detective Quilty and his partner then "swore out [an] information alleging that Mr. Jimenez should be deported from the United States as a result of violating New York Penal Law...."[23] As a result, Mr. Jimenez was held on an immigration detainer.[24]

Throughout the pendency of the criminal proceedings, Detective Quilty, his partner, and the Hospital Defendants forwarded false evidence to the New York County District Attorney's Office and immigration officials.[25] However, on March 7, 2013, the charges against Mr. Jimenez were dismissed, and the immigration detainer was lifted on March 8, 2013.[26]

Mr. Jimenez was held in custody from January 30, 2013, until March 8, 2013.[27] He suffered emotional distress, physical injury, mental anguish, fear, pain, anxiety, embarrassment, humiliation, lost pay, and damage to his reputation.[28] Mrs. Jimenez suffered emotional distress, loss of consortium, mental anguish, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, and humiliation.[29]

Plaintiffs allege that these events transpired because of discrimination against them based on their ethnicity.[30] Plaintiffs claim that the "NYPD['s] discriminatory program is pervasive and evident throughout many of its practices."[31] These practices include stop and search tactics aimed at minorities, including the Clean Halls Buildings program, and stop and frisk policies that discriminate against minorities.[32] Plaintiffs also cite the rate of marijuana arrests, which is significantly higher for Hispanics and Blacks than for Whites, as well as ...


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