Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Raffaele v. City of New York

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 16, 2017

THOMAS D. RAFFAELE, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK; RAYMOND W. KELLY, individually and in his official capacity as Police Commissioner for the City of New York; RICHARD A. BROWN, in his official capacity as the Queens District Attorney; DANIEL O'LEARY, individually and in his official capacity as an Assistant District Attorney for Queens County; PETER A. CRUSCO, individually and in his official capacity as an Assistant District Attorney of Queens County; LUIS SAMOT, individually and in his official capacity as a New York City Police Officer; RUSSELL LAWRY, individually and in his official capacity as a New York City Police Officer; JON-KRISTIAN RZONCA, individually and in his official capacity as a New York City Police Officer; MOSES LEE, individually and in his official capacity as a New York City Police Officer; CARON ADDESSO, individually and in her official capacity as a New York City Police Officer; DAVID TAORMINA, individually and in his official capacity as a New York City Police Officer; ANIBAL MARTINEZ, individually and in his official capacity as a New York City Police Officer; and NICHOLAS GIGANTE, individually and in his official capacity as a New York City Police Officer, Defendants .

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          Kiyo A. Matsumoto United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Thomas D. Raffaele (“plaintiff” or “Judge Raffaele”) commenced this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986 in connection with police activity at the intersection of 37th Road and 74th Street in Jackson Heights, New York, in the early morning hours on June 1, 2012. Presently before the court is a motion by defendants the City of New York, Sergeant Jon-Kristian Rzonca, Police Officer Luis Samot, Police Officer Russell Lawry, Police Officer Moses Lee, Lieutenant Caron Jo Addesso, Sergeant David Taormina, Police Officer Anibal Martinez, and Police Officer Nicholas Gigante (together, the “defendants”)[1]for partial summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth below, the defendants' motion for partial summary judgment is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Rule 56.1 of the Local Civil Rules of the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York (“Local Rule 56.1”) requires a party moving for summary judgment to submit a statement of the undisputed material facts as to which there is no genuine issue to be tried, together with citation to the admissible evidence of record supporting each such fact. See Local Rule 56.1(a), (d). The facts described below have been taken from the defendants' Rule 56.1 statements. (See Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement (“Defs.' 56.1”), ECF No. 110.). Plaintiff did not submit an opposing Rule 56.1 statement, as required, and, therefore the facts set forth in defendants' Rule 56.1 statement are deemed admitted. Giannullo v. City of N.Y., 322 F.3d 139, 140 (2d Cir. 2003) (“If the opposing party then fails to controvert a fact so set forth in the moving party's Rule 56.1 statement, that fact will be deemed admitted.”) (citing Local Rule 56.1(c) (“Each numbered paragraph in the statement of material facts set forth in the statement required to be served by the moving party will be deemed to be admitted for purposes of the motion unless specifically controverted by a correspondingly numbered paragraph in the statement required to be served by the opposing party.”)); see also DeRienzo v. Metro. Transp. Auth., 237 F. App'x 642, 644 (2d Cir. 2007) (A district court has “broad discretion” to refuse to consider “what the parties fail to point out in their Local Rule 56.1 statements.”) (internal quotation marks omitted). Citations to the record are provided where a fact, although not admitted in the parties' papers, is uncontroverted by record evidence. The court resolves all conflicts in the evidence and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiff, the nonmoving party. See Smith v. Cnty. of Suffolk, 776 F.3d 114, 121 (2d Cir. 2015) (“We ‘resolve all ambiguities and draw all permissible factual inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought.'”) (quoting Lederman v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Parks & Recreation, 731 F.3d 199, 202 (2d Cir. 2013)).

         Shortly after 12:00 a.m. on June 1, 2012, Judge Raffaele encountered Officer Samot near the intersection of 37th Road and 74th Street in Queens, New York. (Defs.' 56.1 at ¶ 1.) In addition to Officer Samot and Judge Raffaele, there was also a crowd of people, some of whom were uniformed police officers near the intersection of 37th Road and 74th Street. (See Compact Disk Containing Video Footage of the underlying Incident (“Video Footage”), Annexed to the Declaration of Brian Francolla, dated June 10, 2016 (“Francolla's Decl.”) as Exhibit (“Ex”) C.) Plaintiff testified at his deposition that he was pushed and hit by Officer Samot, and that two seconds elapsed between the push and the hit. (Defs.' 56.1 at ¶ 2; Francolla's Decl., Ex. B (Deposition of Judge Raffaele on September 11, 2014 (“Pl. Dep.”), ECF No. 112-2 at 125:18.) The Video Footage of the incident from that night shows that the interaction between plaintiff and Officer Samot took place within three seconds. (Defs.' 56.1 at ¶ 4; Video Footage, Ex. C at 9 second to 12 second mark.)

         According to plaintiff, the force used by Officer Samot was unprovoked and it occurred while plaintiff was standing on a public street doing nothing unlawful. (Defs.' 56.1 at ¶ 5; Pl. Dep., ECF No. 112-2 at 126:2-8.) The only other individual defendant plaintiff recalled seeing during his encounter with Officer Samot was Sergeant Rzonca. (Defs.' 56.1 at ¶ 6; Pl. Dep., ECF No. 112-2 at 131:23-133:7.) Plaintiff estimated that Sergeant Rzonca was standing approximately four to six feet away from him when he was hit by Officer Samot. (Defs.' 56.1 at ¶ 7; Pl. Dep., ECF No. 112-2 at 132:21-23.) Plaintiff could not recall where the other police officers were when he and Officer Samot approached one another. (Defs.' 56.1 at ¶ 8; Pl. Dep., ECF No. 112-2 at 123:21-25.) According to plaintiff, Officer Samot was moved away by other police officers immediately after he hit plaintiff. (Defs.' 56.1 at ¶ 9.)

         The Video Footage of the incident shows a police officer walking toward a lamppost followed by two other officers approximately ten feet behind the first. (Video Footage, Francolla Decl., Ex. C.) As the officer approached a street sign at the corner, a man in a white short-sleeved shirt, identified by plaintiff as himself, walked toward the officer who is seen walking and pushing three bystanders back. (Id.; Memorandum of Law by Plaintiff Thomas D. Raffele in Opposition To Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (“Pl. Opp.”), ECF No. 113 at 5-6.) When plaintiff and the officer reached the lamppost from opposite directions, the officer appears to push plaintiff and immediately hit plaintiff. (Video Footage, Francolla Decl., Ex. C.) The plaintiff claims the other officers were six to ten feet away. (Pl. Opp., ECF No. 113 at 5-6.) After the push and the hit, the officer turned away and walked away from plaintiff toward the right of the screen. (Video Footage, Francolla Decl., Ex. C.)

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         I. Motion for Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is proper only when, construing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant, “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); see also Redd v. N.Y. Div. of Parole, 678 F.3d 166, 174 (2d Cir. 2012); Doninger v. Niehoff, 642 F.3d 334, 344 (2d Cir. 2011). The role of the court is not “to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Cioffi v. Averill Park Cent. Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 444 F.3d 158, 162 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). A genuine issue of fact exists when there is sufficient “evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff.” Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 2512, 106 S.Ct. 2505. The “mere existence of a scintilla of evidence” is not sufficient to defeat summary judgment; “there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff.” Id. The court's function is to decide “whether, after resolving all ambiguities and drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party, a rational juror could find in favor of that party.” Pinto v. Allstate Ins. Co., 221 F.3d 394, 398 (2d Cir. 2000).

         “When the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56[(a)], its opponent 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) (footnote omitted). To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-movant must identify probative evidence on the record from which a reasonable factfinder could find in its favor. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 256-57. That is, the non-movant must make a showing of sufficient evidence of a “claimed factual dispute as to require a judge or jury's resolution of the parties' differing versions of the truth.” Senno v. Elmsford Union Free Sch. Dist., 812 F.Supp.2d 454, 468 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (citing Kessler v. Westchester Cnty. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 461 F.3d 199, 206 (2d Cir. 2006)). “[T]he nonmoving party [is therefore required] to go beyond the pleadings and by her own affidavits, or by the ‘depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, [and] designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).

         DISCUSSION

         After construing the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the court finds that there are no triable issues of fact regarding plaintiff's failure to intercede claim against all officers except Officer Samot and plaintiff's supervisory liability claim against Rzonca, Addesso and Taormina. Therefore, defendants are entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's failure to intercede and supervisory liability claims.

         I. Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion as to Plaintiff's Claim ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.