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Wiltshire v. Wanderman

United States District Court, S.D. New York

July 10, 2015


Quinton B. Wiltshire Valhalla, New York Plaintiff Pro Se.

Rory McCormick, Associate Corporation Counsel for the City of Yonkers, Yonkers, New York, Counsel for Defendants.


CATHY SEIBEL, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant Phil Wanderman's Motion for Summary Judgment.[1] (Doc. 20.) For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.


The following facts are based upon the parties' Local Civil Rule 56.1 statements and supporting materials, and are undisputed except as noted.

Defendants are the City of Yonkers ("City") and Yonkers Police Officer Phil Wanderman. On October 10, 2012, at 1:00 pm, Officer Wanderman and his partner responded to a radio call reporting two suspicious males looking into apartments at 150 Glenwood Avenue. (Ds' 56.1 ¶¶ 1-2; P's Response ¶¶ 1-2.)[2] The suspects were described as two black males in their early twenties both wearing tan pants. (Ds' 56.1 ¶ 1; P's Response ¶ 1.) Officer Wanderman and his partner observed two males fitting that description walking westbound at the subject location. (Ds' 56.1 ¶ 2; P's Response ¶ 2.) Officer Wanderman recognized Plaintiff from prior police contact. (Ds' 56.1 ¶ 2; P's Response ¶ 2.) The officers conducted a field interview and searched the two men. (Ds' 56.1 ¶ 2; P's Response ¶ 2.)[3] Officer Wanderman recovered a yellow Bulova watch from Plaintiff's left sweatshirt pocket along with $297 from Plaintiff's right pants pocket. (Ds' 56.1 ¶ 3; P's Response ¶ 3.) Officer Wanderman then canvassed the complex, observed a window screen pushed in at Apartment F1, and spoke with the person who made the 911 call, who identified Plaintiff and the other individual as the suspicious males. (Ds' 56.1 ¶¶ 4-5.)[4]

The officers then contacted the occupant of Apartment F1, who responded to the location and positively identified as his the yellow Bulova watch that had been in Plaintiff's possession. (Ds' 56.1 ¶ 6; P's Response ¶ 6.) Plaintiff was arrested on charges of burglary in the second degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, and arraigned on the latter offense the next day. (Ds' 56.1 ¶ 8; P's Response ¶ 8.) On January 8, 2013, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal possession of stolen property, and was sentenced on May 17, 2013, to a period of incarceration of one year. (Ds' 56.1 ¶ 8; P's Response ¶ 8.)[5]

Plaintiff brings this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging a claim for false arrest and imprisonment in violation of his rights under the Fourth and Eighth Amendments and a claim for defamation of character. (Doc. 2 at 5.)


A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate when "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[T]he dispute about a material fact is genuine'... if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.... Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Id. On a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255. The movant bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, and, if satisfied, the burden then shifts to the non-movant to present evidence sufficient to satisfy every element of the claim. Holcomb v. Iona Coll., 521 F.3d 130, 137 (2d Cir. 2008) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986)). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-movant's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant]." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. Moreover, the non-movant "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, " Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), and he "may not rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation, " Fujitsu Ltd. v. Fed. Express Corp., 247 F.3d 423, 428 (2d Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted).

"A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by... citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). Where an affidavit is used to support or oppose the motion, it "must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant... is competent to testify on the matters stated." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4); see Major League Baseball Props., Inc. v. Salvino, Inc., 542 F.3d 290, 310 (2d Cir. 2008). In the event a party "fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may, " among other things, "consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion" or "grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials - including the facts considered undisputed - show that the movant is entitled to it." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2), (3).

Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court must read his papers liberally and construe them "to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." McPherson v. Coombe, 174 F.3d 276, 280 (2d Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks omitted). Nevertheless, "when confronted with evidence of facts that would support [the opposing party's motion for] summary judgment, the [ pro se ] plaintiff must come forward with evidence in admissible ...

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