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Rodriguez v. County of Suffolk

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

November 15, 2017

Angel Luis Rodriguez, appellant,
v.
County of Suffolk, et al., respondents. Index No. 4505/11

          Argued - September 15, 2017

          Bracken Margolin Besunder, LLP, Islandia, NY (Patricia M. Meisenheimer of counsel), for appellant.

          Dennis M. Brown, County Attorney, Hauppauge, NY (Christopher Jeffreys of counsel), for respondents.

          WILLIAM F. MASTRO, J.P. L. PRISCILLA HALL LEONARD B. AUSTIN SANDRA L. SGROI, JJ.

          DECISION & ORDER

         In an action, inter alia, to recover damages for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and civil rights violations pursuant to 42 USC § 1983, the plaintiff appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Santorelli, J.), dated April 8, 2015, which denied his motion pursuant to CPLR 3025(b) for leave to amend the complaint and granted the defendants' cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

         ORDERED that the order is affirmed, with costs.

         The plaintiff commenced this action, inter alia, to recover damages for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and civil rights violations pursuant to 42 USC § 1983. The plaintiff appeals from an order denying his motion pursuant to CPLR 3025(b) for leave to amend the complaint and granting the defendants' cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

         The Supreme Court erred in denying the plaintiffs motion for leave to amend the complaint on the ground that the two new proposed causes of action to recover damages for civil rights violations were not delineated in the notice of claim, as "a notice of claim is not a condition precedent to maintaining a cause of action pursuant to 42 USC § 1983" (Blake v City of New York, 148 A.D.3d 1101, 1105). Nevertheless, leave to amend was properly denied based on the palpable insufficiency of the proposed new causes of action (see Alfaro Motors, Inc. v Ward, 814 F.2d 883, 887 [2d Cir]; Triano v Town of Harrison, N.Y., 895 F.Supp.2d 526, 538 [SD NY]; Santos v New York City, 847 F.Supp.2d 573, 577 [SDNY]).

         The existence of probable cause is a complete defense to a false arrest claim under both New York law and 42 USC § 1983 (see Weyant v Okst, 101 F.3d 845, 852). Here, the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact in response to the defendants' prima facie showing that his arrest was supported by probable cause, which existed as a result of a sworn statement of an accomplice implicating the plaintiff (see People v Walker, 228 A.D.2d 798, 800; People v Scherifi, 147 A.D.2d 663, 663-664; People v Green, 118 A.D.2d 802, 803; People v White, 109 A.D.2d 859). Therefore, the Supreme Court properly granted that branch of the defendants' cross motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the false arrest cause of action (see Medina v City of New York, 102 A.D.3d 101, 108).

         Moreover, the defendants established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law dismissing the plaintiffs causes of action alleging malicious prosecution under New York State law and 42 USC § 1983 by submitting evidence that the plaintiff was indicted by a grand jury for charges of robbery in the first degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree, raising a presumption of probable cause (see Colon v New York, 60 N.Y.2d 78, 82; Savino v City of New York, 331 F.3d 63, 75 [2d Cir]). Since the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact in opposition, the Supreme Court properly granted that branch of the defendants' cross motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the malicious prosecution causes of action (see Batten v City of New York, 133 A.D.3d 803, 806-807; Santiago v City of Rochester, 19 A.D.3d 1061, 1062).

         The Supreme Court also properly granted that branch of the defendants' cross motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the causes of action alleging negligence and pursuant to 42 USC § 1983 for failure to provide medical assistance. The evidence submitted by the defendants established, prima facie, that they were not deliberately indifferent to the plaintiff's diabetic condition, and did not breach a duty to provide him with medical care (Kagan v State of New York, 221 A.D.2d 7, 16-17; see Weyant v Okst, 101 F.3d 845, 856 [2d Cir]). While the plaintiff was in the defendants' custody, he was brought to a hospital, where he was given insulin. In opposition, the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact.

         Finally, the Supreme Court properly granted that branch of the defendants' cross motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the cause of action alleging municipal liability pursuant to Monell v New York City Dept. of Social Servs. (436 U.S. 658, 690), as the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact in response to the defendants' prima facie showing that he was not subjected to any constitutional violation (see Seg ...


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