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Kusak v. Klein

United States District Court, W.D. New York

February 6, 2015

PAUL KENNETH KUSAK, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPUTY KLEIN, LIEUTENANT SCHROTH, and DEPUTY DYJAK, Defendants.

DECISION AND ORDER

FRANK P. GERACI, Jr., District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Pro se Plaintiff Paul Kenneth Kusak brings this action against three employees of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office: Deputy Klein, Lieutenant Schroth, and Deputy Dyjak. The Complaint centers around an incident that occurred on July 29, 2011, and resulted in the Plaintiff being taken into custody under the provisions of the New York Mental Hygiene Law. Plaintiff's Complaint is difficult to parse, but read generously, it alleges causes of action against the Defendants for false arrest and false imprisonment, illegal search and seizure, failure to give Miranda warnings, and slander. The Defendants have moved for summary judgment, and the Plaintiff has filed numerous letters in response. For the following reasons, the Defendants' Motion is granted, and this case is dismissed with prejudice.

DISCUSSION

I. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment shall be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[T]he mere existence of some allegedly factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original). While the court must view the inferences to be drawn from the facts in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), a party may not "rely on mere speculation or conjecture as to the true nature of the facts to overcome a motion for summary judgment." Knight v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 12 (2d Cir. 1986). The non-moving party may defeat the summary judgment motion by producing sufficient specific facts to establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). However, "mere conclusory allegations or denials" are not evidence and cannot by themselves create a genuine issue of material fact where none would otherwise exist. Quinn v. Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corp., 613 F.2d 438, 445 (2d Cir. 1980).

Because the Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, his submissions are read liberally and interpreted "to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Fulton v. Goord, 591 F.3d 37, 43 (2d Cir. 2009). Nevertheless, proceeding pro se does not relieve a litigant from the usual requirements of summary judgment. See Wolfson v. Bruno, 844 F.Supp.2d 348, 354 (S.D.N.Y. 2011). When a pro se plaintiff fails to oppose a motion for summary judgment after having been warned of the consequences of such a failure, "summary judgment may be granted as long as the Court is satisfied that the undisputed facts show that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Almonte v. Pub. Storage Inc., No. 11 CIV. 1404 DLC, 2011 WL 3902997, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 2, 2011) (quoting Champion v. Artuz, 76 F.3d 483, 486 (2d Cir. 1996)).

Because pro se litigants are generally unfamiliar with the procedural requirements of summary judgment motions, they are provided with a specific notification at the time the motion is filed. See Irby v. New York City Transit Auth., 262 F.3d 412, 414 (2d Cir. 2001); see also Local Civ. R. 56(b). Here, the record reflects that the Plaintiff was served with the required notice that informed Plaintiff of his obligation to respond, his burden of producing evidence in opposition, and that his opponent's factual statements may be accepted as true if he failed to respond.

Despite that clear warning, the Plaintiff failed to appropriately respond to the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Instead, he sent numerous rambling letters to the Court which have nothing to do with this case and are largely comprised of irrelevant statements such as "World Wide child molestation stops here with this landmark victory over VZW/USPS leaders flexing their might, filthy influence and there (sic) perversion thinking from these communication companies." Dkt. # 57. Of course, this case has absolutely nothing to do with Verizon Wireless or the U.S. Postal Service, but the Plaintiff spills much ink throughout his incoherent letters regarding these (and other) entities. As just a small sampling of other dubious statements made by the Plaintiff, his letters claim that he is the "sole owner of Verizon Wireless, " Dkt. #57, that "Eileen Collins who was the best female pilot to command the Space Shuttle Discovery endorses this Endeavour, " Id., and that he has "Judicial Immunity with Chief Justice Roberts and now with Chief Justice of Western, NY William M. Skretny." Dkt. # 69. The only potentially relevant sentences out of the multitude of letters sent by the Plaintiff are comprised of only short, conclusory statements, such as "this is all lies, " Dkt. # 63, that are wholly insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment.

II. The Material Facts Are Undisputed

As previously alluded to, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) provides that if a party "fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact... the court may... consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion." The same rule is contained in Local Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a)(2), which provides that:

The papers opposing a motion for summary judgment shall include a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, in correspondingly numbered paragraphs and, if necessary, additional paragraphs containing a short and concise statement of additional material facts as to which it is contended there exists a genuine issue to be tried. Each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement of material facts will be deemed admitted for purposes of the motion unless it is specifically controverted by a correspondingly numbered paragraph in the opposing statement.

Because the Plaintiff has failed to file a statement of material facts addressing Defendant's statement of material facts, the Court considers the facts alleged by Defendants which are supported by citations to evidence in admissible form - to be undisputed, in accordance with these rules. See Gubitosi v. Kapica, 154 F.3d 30, 31 n.1 (2d Cir. 1998). Accordingly, I adopt the Defendants' Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute (Dkt. # 53-11), and those undisputed facts establish the following:

1. On July 29, 2011, Norman Klein (Deputy Klein) was employed by the Monroe County Sheriff as a Monroe County Deputy Sheriff assigned to his Road Patrol Division, Zone B.
2. On July 29, 2011, Brian Dyjak (Deputy Dyjak) was employed by the Monroe County Sheriff as a Monroe County Deputy Sheriff.
3. Prior to Kusak's arrest, Deputy Klein received training regarding enforcement of the Mental Hygiene Law, and mental health issues in general.
4. Prior to Kusak's arrest, Deputy Dyjak received training regarding enforcement of the Mental Hygiene Law, and mental health issues in general.
5. On July 29, 2011, Lt. Schroth was employed by the Monroe County Sheriff as a Monroe County Deputy Sheriff, ...

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