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Soomro v. The City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

May 10, 2017

ASHIQUE SOOMRO, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, TIMOTHY KRAUS and JAMES LAMUR, Defendants.

          For the plaintiff: Michael Lumer Lumer & Neville

          For the defendants: Lucienne Pierre New York City Law Department

          OPINION & ORDER

          DENISE COTE United States District Judge.

         Defendants Timothy Kraus (“Kraus”) and James Lamur (“Lamur”) move for summary judgment with respect to the plaintiff's § 1983 and state law claims for malicious prosecution and denial of a fair trial. For the following reasons, the defendants' motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         The facts and procedural history of this litigation are set out in a March 30, 2016 Opinion of the Honorable Laura Taylor Swain, with which familiarity is assumed. Soomro v. City of New York, 174 F.Supp.3d 806 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) (“2016 Opinion”). The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

         Plaintiff Ashique Soomro (“Soomro”) was a yellow taxi cab driver working in the City of New York. The defendants Lamur and Kraus are New York Police Department (“NYPD”) police officers. On October 10, 2011, they were assigned to the city-wide Traffic Task Force (“TTF”) and working in the vicinity of the intersection of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York County.

         At or about 11:40 a.m., Soomro drove west on 57th Street and arrived at the intersection of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue. He had a passenger in the backseat of his cab. As Soomro finished driving through the intersection, he stopped to discharge his passenger. Kraus was standing 50 to 60 feet further west along 57th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and waved to Soomro, indicating that Soomro should keep moving and not stop his taxi in that location. Soomro understood that Kraus wanted him to move his vehicle.

         Soomro drove about eight feet past Kraus towards Sixth Avenue before he stopped his vehicle. The passenger threw down a ten dollar bill, opened the door and exited the passenger side of the taxi. Soomro discharged his passenger more than a foot away from the curb, in an active traffic lane. Kraus approached Soomro's vehicle from the passenger side of the vehicle just as the passenger was exiting and banged on the roof of Soomro's vehicle. As Soomro then drove away, Kraus' left arm was caught inside the vehicle.[1] As confirmed by two surveillance camera videos, the taxi dragged Kraus approximately 80-100 feet down the street. Kraus remained on his feet as he was pulled along by the taxi, before he tumbled to the road. He was treated at Bellevue Hospital.

         The parties disagree as to whether Soomro was aware that Kraus was caught in and being dragged by his taxi. Soomro continued driving westbound on 57th Street after Kraus fell, and did not stop until he reached the red light at 57th Street and 6th Avenue.

         Lamur was stationed roughly across the street from Kraus. Lamur observed Kraus approach Soomro and motion for Soomro to keep going. As Lamur saw Kraus being pulled along by the taxi, he ran after the taxi. Lamur caught up with Soomro at the intersection of 57th Street and Sixth Avenue and arrested him.

         Lamur prepared the arrest paperwork, spoke with prosecutors at the New York County District Attorney's Office (“DA”), and signed a criminal complaint on October 10 at 11:05 p.m. The criminal complaint charges Soomro with assault in the second degree, pursuant to New York Penal Law (“NYPL”) § 120.05(3) and includes the following statement:

Deponent [Lamur] states that deponent is informed by Police Officer Timothy Kraus, Shield 20901 of Manhattan Traffic Task Force, that when informant told the [Plaintiff] to move his taxi, the defendant (i) drove off, (ii) half of informant's body was still in said taxi as the defendant drove off, (iii) informant was hanging out of the taxi and was unable to get out of the taxi as the defendant drove off, (iv) informant fell out of the window and rolled on the ground causing informant to [suffer pain and injuries].

(Emphasis supplied.) Lamur also told the DA that Kraus could not put his feet down because the taxi was ...


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