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Rodriguez v. Bubnis

United States District Court, N.D. New York

November 13, 2014

SEAN BUBNIS, City of Utica Police Officer; SAMUEL GEDDES, City of Utica Police Officer; RICHARD ROE, Unknown City of Utica Police Officer; JOHN DOE, Unknown City of Utica Police Officer; and CITY OF UTICA, NEW YORK, Defendants.


JOHN P. ORILIO, ESQ., JOAN K. HARRIS, ESQ., MARK C. CURLEY, ESQ., Assistant Corporation Counsel, HON. WILLIAM BORRILL, Corporation Counsel for City of Utica, Utica, NY, Counsel for Defendants.


GLENN T. SUDDABY, District Judge.

Currently before the Court, in this civil rights action filed by Luis Rodriguez ("Plaintiff") against the City of Utica and four of its police officers ("Defendants"), is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 22.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is granted.


A. Plaintiff's Claims

Generally, liberally construed, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint asserts seven claims against Defendants arising from his arrest on the morning of August 2, 2009, in Utica, New York: (1) a claim of false arrest/false imprisonment under the Fourth Amendment and New York State law; (2) a claim of excessive force under the Fourth Amendment; and (3) a claim of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs under the Fourteenth Amendment; (4) a claim of malicious prosecution under the Fourth and/or Fifth Amendments and New York State law; (5) a claim of municipal liability against the City of Utica; (6) a pendent claim of assault and battery under New York State common law; and (7) a pendent claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress under New York State common law. (Dkt. No. 11 [Plf.'s Am. Compl.].)

B. Statement of Undisputed Material Facts

Unless followed by record citations, the below facts were asserted and supported by Defendants in their Local Rule 7.1 Statement, and either expressly admitted or denied without a supporting record citation by Plaintiff in his Local Rule 7.1 Response. ( Compare Dkt. No. 22, Attach. 1 [Defs.' Rule 7.1 Statement] with Dkt. No. 26, Attach. 7 [Plf.'s Rule 7.1 Response].)

1. On August 1, 2009, at approximately 11:50 p.m., Plaintiff exited a birthday party at the Polish Veteran's Club on Francis Street in the City of Utica, New York.

2. At approximately this time, more than 200 people exited the party with Plaintiff and began walking up Francis Street towards Oneida Square, walking both on the sidewalk and in the road.[1]

3. Of the more than 200 people that were walking up Francis Street both on the sidewalk and in the road, more than 100 people were walking in the road.[2]

4. The street was completely blocked, and cars could only pass through "if they beeped their horn."

5. At approximately 12:15 a.m. on August 2, 2009, Utica Police Officers arrived at Oneida Square, including Defendant officers Sean Bubnis and Samuel Geddes. At approximately this time, Plaintiff saw "a whole bunch of police cars" approach with their lights flashing.[3]

6. Upon arrival, the officers took out their Tasers and directed the crowd to "get out of the road" and "go somewhere" else.[4]

7. Following the directive to get out of the road and go somewhere else, the crowd failed to do so.[5] People did not move; instead, they just stood there.

8. As police officers pointed their Tasers at the crowd in order to disperse it, Plaintiff was still in the area looking for his aunt's car.[6]

9. As Plaintiff was standing near his aunt's car, a random person confronted him, and they started arguing.[7]

10. As Plaintiff was engaged in the confrontation, two unknown police officers grabbed Plaintiff and pushed him up against a wall at the old Mr. Convenience store, across the street from the pizza parlor located on Oneida Street.

11. One of the officers (alleged "upon information and belief" to be Defendant Bubnis, Geddes or Richard Roe) twisted and bent Plaintiff's arm behind his back, an action that Plaintiff contends caused him pain.[8]

12. At this point Plaintiff's brother, Nicholean, arrived and attempted to break apart Plaintiff and the officers. Nicholean yelled, "get the hell off my brother."

13. In response, one or more officers grabbed Nicholean, who subsequently tried to break free of the officers' grasp and run away. The officers then tackled Nicholean and took him to the ground in order to arrest him.

14. The officer let go of Plaintiff in order to secure Plaintiff's brother, Nicholean.[9] Plaintiff then began to run towards his brother, telling the officers to get off his brother.

15. As Plaintiff was running, his God-brother, Chris Pete, grabbed and wrapped up Plaintiff. Upon being grabbed by his God-brother, Plaintiff"was spazzing" because the officers had taken down his brother, Nicholean.

16. Plaintiff broke free of his God-brother's grip and began running again, this time away from the scene.

17. While running toward the corner of Hobart Street and Kemble Street, Plaintiff was yanked by the back of his collar and taken to the ground by an unknown Utica Police officer (alleged "upon information and belief" to be Defendant Bubnis or Geddes).[10]

18. Plaintiff tried to get up off the ground two or three times, meeting resistence from one or more officers.[11]

19. Before his final attempt to get up, Plaintiff was pushed forward and "that's when my hands and my chin scraped the ground...."

20. After his final attempt to get up, Plaintiff was kicked one time in the face. "[B]ut I got back up, not, like, all the way up, just on my fingers a little bit, and that's when I seen the boot come."

21. Plaintiff does not remember what the "kicking" officer looked like or who he was.

22. Indeed, Plaintiff concluded that it was an officer who kicked him only from the fact that it was a black boot that struck him, "it was only police officers wearing black boots out there, " and "nobody else was around me."[12]

23. After Plaintiff was yanked to the ground, and before he was handcuffed, Plaintiff "kind of blacked out a little bit, " and does not remember anything that was said, until he was in the police car.

24. Subsequently, Plaintiff was handcuffed and placed in the police car by Defendants Bubnis and Geddes.

25. After being placed in the police car, Plaintiff was driven to the police station.

26. After arriving at the police station, Plaintiff was handcuffed to a ...

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