United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
EDGARDO RAMOS, U.S.D.J.
D.J.: Plaintiff Benjamin Ortiz (“Plaintiff” or
“Ortiz”) brought this action against the City of
New York (the “City”) and police officers Julio
Gonzalez and Jane Doe (the “Officer Defendants”)
on May 4, 2015. See Compl. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff raised five
claims: false arrest, false imprisonment, reckless
investigation, and two claims for inadequate training and
supervision. On September 29, 2017, Defendants moved
for summary judgment on all five claims. See Doc. 40. For the
reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.
3, 2012 at approximately 8:01 p.m., an unknown individual
made a 911 call to report an argument coming from an
apartment to the left of the elevators on the 11th
floor of 735 Magenta Street in the Bronx. Defs.' Stmt.
¶ 4. At that time, Ortiz lived in Apartment 11B
of 735 Magenta Street with his cousin, Dominique Coe
(“Coe”) and his mother. Id. ¶ 2,
Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 2. Apartment 11B was one of four
apartments to the left of the elevators. Defs.' Stmt.
¶ 3, Pl's Stmt. ¶ 3.
p.m., New York City Police Officer Gonzalez arrived at 735
Magenta Street. Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 5. A friend of
Ortiz's happened to be leaving Apartment 11B at that
time, and when he did, Officer Gonzalez entered the apartment
without receiving permission to do so. Id. ¶ 6.
While Officer Gonzalez was in the apartment, Ortiz had a
verbal argument with Coe and her sister Ashley
(“Ashley”). Id. ¶ 7. Officer
Gonzalez then exited the apartment with both women while
Ortiz remained inside to watch television. Id.
¶¶ 8-9. According to police reports and complaints
filed later, Coe informed Officer Gonzalez that Ortiz had
pulled her hair and punched her several times. Id.
¶¶ 12-13. Officer Gonzalez also observed a scratch
on Coe's face. Id. ¶ 14. A few minutes
after leaving with Coe and Ashley, Officer Gonzalez returned
and asked Ortiz to step into the hallway, at which point he
was arrested. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. Ortiz was
arrested for assault in the third degree; however, the Bronx
District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute Ortiz
because Coe did not wish to press charges. Id.
judgment is only appropriate where the “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, [and] other
materials” show “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)-(c).
“An issue of fact is ‘genuine' if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the non-moving party.” Senno v.
Elmsford Union Free Sch. Dist., 812 F.Supp.2d 454, 467
(S.D.N.Y. 2011) (citing SCR Joint Venture L.P. v.
Warshawsky, 559 F.3d 133, 137 (2d Cir. 2009)). A fact is
“material” if it might affect the outcome of the
litigation under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
party moving for summary judgment is first responsible for
demonstrating the absence of any genuine issue of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986); see also Atl. Mut. Ins. Co. v. CSX Lines,
L.L.C., 432 F.3d 428, 433 (2d Cir. 2005). If the moving
party meets its burden, “the nonmoving party must come
forward with admissible evidence sufficient to raise a
genuine issue of fact for trial in order to avoid summary
judgment.” Saenger v. Montefiore Medical
Center, 706 F.Supp.2d 494, 504 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (quoting
Jaramillo v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 536 F.3d 140, 145 (2d
deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must
“‘construe the facts in the light most favorable
to the non-moving party and must resolve all ambiguities and
draw all reasonable inferences against the
movant.'” Brod v. Omya, Inc., 653 F.3d
156, 164 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting Williams v. R.H.
Donnelley, Corp., 368 F.3d 123, 126 (2d Cir. 2004)).
However, a motion for summary judgment cannot be defeated on
the basis of conclusory assertions, speculation, or
unsupported alternative explanations of facts. Major
League Baseball Props., Inc. v. Salvino, Inc., 542 F.3d
290, 310 (2d Cir. 2008); see also Senno, 812
F.Supp.2d at 467 (citing Scotto v. Almenas, 143 F.3d
105, 114 (2d Cir. 1998)). The non-moving party must do more
than show that there is “some metaphysical doubt as to
the material facts.” McClellan v. Smith, 439
F.3d 137, 144 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586
(1986)). To defeat a motion for summary judgment, “the
non-moving party must set forth significant, probative
evidence on which a reasonable fact-finder could decide in
its favor.” Senno, 812 F.Supp.2d at 467-68
(citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57).
“summary judgment may not be granted simply because the
court believes that the plaintiff will be unable to meet his
or her burden of persuasion at trial. There must either be a
lack of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position
or the evidence must be so overwhelmingly tilted in one
direction that any contrary finding would constitute clear
error.” Danzer v. Norden Systems, Inc., 151
F.3d 50, 54 (2d Cir. 1998) (internal citations omitted).
False Arrest, Imprisonment, and Reckless Investigation
brings a false arrest claim pursuant to § 1983 for his
arrest on May 3, 2012. “[A] § 1983 claim for false
arrest derives from [the] Fourth Amendment right to remain
free from unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to
remain free from arrest absent probable cause.”
Jaegly v. Couch, 439 F.3d 149, 151 (2d Cir. 2006).
In order to establish a § 1983 claim for false arrest, a
plaintiff must show: “(1) the defendant intended to
confine the plaintiff; (2) the plaintiff was conscious of the
confinement; (3) the plaintiff did not consent to the
confinement; and (4) the confinement was not otherwise
privileged.” Bernard v. United States, 25 F.3d
98, 102 (2d Cir. 1994). Generally, confinement is privileged
when there is probable cause to effectuate an arrest. See
Jenkins v. City of New York, 478 F.3d 76, 84 (2d Cir.
2007) (quoting Weyant v. Okst, 101 F.3d 845, 852 (2d
Cir. 1996) (“The existence of probable cause to arrest
constitutes justification and ‘is a complete defense to
an action for false arrest, ' whether that action is
brought under state law or § 1983.”). The same is
true for claims of false imprisonment. See Jones v. J.C.
Penny's Dept. Stores Inc., No. 03 Civ. 920A (RJA),
2007 WL 1577758, at *10 (W.D.N.Y. May 31, 2007)
aff'd 317 Fed.Appx. 71, 73-74 (2d Cir. 2009)).
argues, however, that Officer Gonzalez needed both probable
cause and exigent circumstances to arrest Ortiz because he
was in his home when Officer Gonzalez entered without a
warrant and ordered him to go into the hallway. Memorandum of
Law in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment (“Pl.'s Mem.”) (Doc. 46), at 7-8.
Under Payton v. New York, police officers entering a
residence without a warrant may only lawfully do so if there
is “probable cause plus exigent circumstances.”
Loria v. Gorman, 306 F.3d 1271, 1283 (2d Cir. 2002)
(quoting Kirk v. Louisiana, 536 U.S. 635, 637
(2002)). Plaintiff argues that because Ortiz was ordered to
leave his residence by Officer Gonzalez, and was subsequently
arrested in the hallway, he was arrested in violation of
Payton. Pl.'s Mem. at 8. Plaintiff is incorrect.
Ortiz does not assert that he was placed under arrest while
still in his residence; he admits that he was standing in the
hallway of the apartment when the arrest occurred. Although
Plaintiff cites United States v. Allen for the
proposition that “threshold arrests” require
probable cause plus exigent circumstances, Allen is
expressly limited to a scenario in which “officers
approach the door of a residence, announce their presence,
and place the occupant under arrest when he or she,
remaining inside the premises, opens the door in
response to the police request.” 813 F.3d 76, 85 (2d
Cir. 2016) (emphasis added). In that ...