Willoughby v. Peterson et al
RULING: granting 102 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting 105 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Joan G. Margolis on 8/27/2012. (Rodko, B.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
JOANNE PETERSON, LISA DADDIO,
FRANCISCO ORTIZ, RACHEL ROSS,1
AND CITY OF NEW HAVEN
3:10 CV 509 (JGM)
DATE: AUGUST 27, 2012
RULING ON MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
On April 6, 2010, plaintiff Clarence Willoughby, a former detective with the City of
New Haven Police Department ["NHPD"], commenced this action against the City of New
Haven and defendants Joann Peterson, a Captain of the NHPD, Lisa Dadio, a former
Lieutenant of the NHPD, Francisco Ortiz, the former Chief of Police of the NHPD, and Rachael
Ross, a Sergeant of the NHPD assigned to the Internal Affairs unit, individually and in their
official capacities (Dkt. #1).2 On November 18, 2010, plaintiff filed his First Amended
Complaint in which he alleges that defendants acted individually and in concert to bring
criminal charges against plaintiff for making a false statement, for forgery and for larceny,
which charges resulted in plaintiff's arrest and trial by jury, at the conclusion of which plaintiff
Defendant Ross' first name is spelled "Racheal," and now she is known as "Racheal Cain";
however, the Court will refer to her as defendant Ross throughout this Ruling. (Dkt. #103, Exh. B;
Dkt. #106, Exh.1). Defendant Peterson's first name is "Joann," not "Joanne," and defendant
Daddio's last name is spelled "Dadio." (Dkt. #103, Exhs. A & C; Dkt. #106, Exhs. 2-3).
On November 9, 2010, defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss the complaint in their
official capacities (Dkts. ##31-32), which U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton granted in part
and denied in part on February 28, 2010, such that plaintiff's Monell claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against defendants in their official capacities and the City of New Haven were dismissed, and
plaintiff's state law claims against the City of New Haven and the individual defendants in their
official capacity remain. (Dkt. #43; see also Dkts. ##39, 41, 42, 44).
was acquitted of all criminal charges.3
Specifically, plaintiff asserts that
defendants' actions constituted a false arrest under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count One), wrongful
detention under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count Two), negligent supervision under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 (Count Three), malicious prosecution (Count Four), false arrest and imprisonment
(Count Five), negligence (Count Six), and defamation (Count Seven). (Id.). On December
6, 2010, defendants, in their individual capacities, filed their Answer (Dkt. #36).4
On April 11, 2011, the parties consented to trial before this Magistrate Judge (Dkt.
#55; see also Dkts. ##25, 28, 30), and on June 7, 2012, defendants, in their official
capacities, filed the pending Motion for Summary Judgment with Rule 56(a)1 Statement,
affidavits, exhibits, and brief in support. (Dkts. ##102-04).5 On the same day, defendants,
Specifically, plaintiff was charged with False Statement in the 2nd Degree under CONN.
GEN. STAT. § 53a-139; Forgery in the 2nd Degree under CONN. GEN. STAT. § 53a-123; and Larceny
in the 2nd Degree under CONN. GEN. STAT. § 53a-123. (Id., ¶ 13).
Plaintiff suffered an cerebral aneurysm rendering him incompetent shortly after the filing
of this lawsuit. (See Dkt. #20). On August 16, 2010, plaintiff's daughter, who was the appointed
conservator, was substituted as the party plaintiff until November 28, 2011 when plaintiff was
reinstated as the plaintiff in this action, the conservatorship having closed in April 2011. (Dkts.
##23, 62, 83-84).
Attached to defendants' brief in support (Dkt. #103) are the following twenty-five exhibits:
affidavit of Lisa Dadio, sworn to May 29, 2012 ["Dadio Aff't"](Exh. A); affidavit of Racheal Cain,
formerly known as Racheal Ross, also sworn to May 29, 2012 ["Ross Aff't"](Exh. B); affidavit of
Joann Peterson, sworn to June 6, 2012 ["Peterson Aff't"](Exh. C); affidavit of Francisco Ortiz,
sworn to June 5, 2012 ["Ortiz Aff't"](Exh. D); copies of Information and Application for Arrest
Warrant, dated February 6, 2008 (Exhs. E-H); copy of Case Preparation Expenditures, dated
February 5, 2007 (Exh. I); copy of Informant Payment Request in the amount of $1500, approved
February 6, 2007 (Exh. J); copy of Narcotic Enforcement Unit C.I. Payment Receipt in the amount
of $1500, approved March 22, 2007 (Exh. K); copies of Information and Application for Arrest
Warrant, dated January 30, 2007 (Exh. L); copy of Case Preparation Expenditures, dated
November 7, 2006, in the amount of $1000 (Exh. M); copy of Informant Payment Request, in the
amount of $1000, approved November 7, 2006 (Exh. N); copy of Narcotic Enforcement Unit C.I.
Payment Receipt, in the amount of $1000, approved November 7, 2006 (Exh. O); copy of Case
Preparation Expenditures, dated July 26, 2006, in the amount of $500 (Exh. P); copy of Informant
Payment Request, in the amount of $500, approved July 26, 2006 (Exh. Q); copy of Narcotic
Enforcement Unit C.I. Payment Receipt, in the amount of $500, dated July 26, 2006 (Exh. R); copy
of Case Preparation Expenditures, dated July 20, 2004, in the amount of $1500 (Exh. S); copy of
Informant Payment Request in the amount of $1500, approved July 20, 2004 (Exh. T); copy of
in their individual capacities, also filed their Motion for Summary Judgment with Rule 56(a)1
Statement, affidavits, exhibits, and brief in support. (Dkts. ##105-07).6 On June 29, 2012,
plaintiff filed his brief in opposition, along with his Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement. (Dkt.
For the reasons stated below, the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defendants
in their official capacities and the Motion for Summary Judgment filed in their individual
capacities (Dkts. ##102 and 105) are granted.
Informant Payment Request in the amount of $300, approved July 20, 2004 (Exh. U); copy of Case
Preparation Expenditures, dated July 20, 2004, in the amount of $300 (Exh. V); copy of Case
Preparation Expenditures, dated July 20, 2004, in the amount of $500 (Exh. W); copy of Informant
Payment Request, in the amount of $500, approved July 20, 2004 (Exh. X); and copy of Case
Incident Report taken by plaintiff, dated July 19, 2004 (Exh. Y).
Attached to defendants' Local 56(a)1 Statement (Dkt. #106) are the following fifteen
exhibits: another copy of the Ross Aff't (Exh. 1); another copy of the Peterson Aff't (Exh. 2);
another copy of the Dadio Aff't (Exh. 3); another copy of the Ortiz Aff't (Exh. 4); copy of excerpts
of plaintiff's deposition transcript, taken on April 11, 2012 ["Plaintiff's Depo."](Exh. 5); redacted
copy of Application for Arrest Warrant, dated January 30, 2007 (Exh. 6); additional copies of
Informant Payment Request and expenditure documents, dated February 5-6 and March 22, 2007
(Exh. 7); additional copies of Informant Payment Requests, dated July 20, 2004, in the amount of
$1500, $500 and $300 (Exh. 8); additional copy of Informant Payment Request, dated July 26,
2004, in the amount of $500 (Exh. 9); additional copy of Informant Payment Request, dated
November 7, 2006, in the amount of $1,000 (Exh. 10); additional copy of redacted Internal Affairs
164-07-I investigation report, dated January 7, 2008 (Exh. 11); and additional copies of
Information and Application for Arrest Warrant, dated February 6, 2008 (Exhs. 12-15).
In a limited number of instances, the parties made reference to pages of plaintiff's
deposition that were not attached to their filings. This Ruling will not reference any deposition
page that was not filed with the Court.
Attached to plaintiff's brief in opposition is another copy of excerpts from Plaintiff's Depo.
See note 6 supra.
I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND8
A. BENNETT HOMICIDE CASE
On November 27, 2006, Robert Bennett was shot to death. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt
¶ 1; Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 10; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶¶ A.1, B.10; Ross Aff't ¶ 8). The Bennett
homicide case was assigned Case Number 06-66928 by the NHPD, and at some point,
plaintiff, then a detective with the NHPD, was assigned as the lead investigator for this
homicide case. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 2; Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 9-10; Plaintiff's Stmt
¶¶ A.2, B.9-10; Ross Aff't ¶ 8; Peterson Aff't ¶ 8; Ortiz Aff't ¶ 12). Errie McClendon was
arrested for this homicide pursuant to an arrest warrant prepared by plaintiff. (Indiv. Cap.
Defs. Stmt ¶ 4; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ A.4; Dadio Aff't ¶ 8; Exh. L; Exh. 6).
On or about April 1, 2007, defendant Dadio was transferred to the Investigative
Services Unit ["ISU"] of the NHPD, where she was second in command of this unit. (Indiv.
Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 3; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ A.3; Dadio Aff't ¶ 7). Shortly after her transfer, she
and representatives of the Office of the State's Attorney had discussions about problems that
had arisen with the State's prosecution of the Bennett homicide. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶
5; Plaintiff's Depo. at 89-91 (Dadio contacted the Office of the State's Attorney, not the other
way around); see Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 5; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ A.5, B.5). Plaintiff was aware
that the Office of the State's Attorney was concerned about plaintiff's investigation of the
Bennett homicide case, and that they had questions about his investigation. (Indiv. Cap.
Defs. Stmt ¶ 6; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ A.6; see Plaintiff's Depo. at 92).
In June 2007, defendant Dadio discovered in the files maintained at ISU, a
The following factual background is taken from the Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement of the
defendants in their official capacities ["Official Cap. Defs. Stmt"](Dkt. #104); the Local Rule 56(a)1
Statement of the defendants in their individual capacities ["Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt"](Dkt. #106);
and plaintiff's Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement ["Plaintiff's Stmt"](Dkt. #108).
confidential informant packet for the Bennett homicide case, in which plaintiff had requested,
and received, $1500 to pay a confidential informant identified as 01-02 ["CI-01-02"]. (Indiv.
Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 7; Official Cap. Defs Stmt ¶ 11; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶¶ A.7, B.11; Dadio Aff't
¶ 10). It was soon revealed that on or about February 5, 2007, plaintiff drafted and signed
an Informant Payment Request form for CI-01-02, to be paid $1500 for information
"regarding the names of the person(s) responsible for the homicide of Robert Bennett."
(Official Cap. Defs Stmt ¶ 11; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ B.11; Dadio Aff't ¶ 10; Peterson Aff't ¶ 12;
However, before an individual can receive money from the NHPD as a "confidential
informant," that individual has to be registered as a confidential informant with the NHPD,
which registration cannot be done until such individual has gone through a screening process
by the Department. (Indiv. Cap. Defs Stmt ¶ 8; Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 1-2; Plaintiff's
Stmt ¶¶ A.8, B.1-2; Dadio Aff't ¶ 11).9 Plaintiff never mentioned either in the reports he had
prepared for the Bennett homicide case, or in his arrest warrant affidavit for the Bennett
homicide, that he had obtained information from a confidential informant during the course
of his investigation. (Indiv. Defs. Stmt ¶ 10; see also id. ¶ 25; Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 14;
Plaintiff's Stmt ¶¶ A.10, B.14; Dadio Aff't ¶ 13; Ross Aff't ¶ 10; Peterson Aff't ¶ 13; Exh. L;
Plaintiff disputes that New Haven police officers are trained that if the information is
received during the course of an investigation from a confidential informant to whom funds have
been paid, that fact that a confidential informant has been used by an investigating officer should
be noted in his or her police report, and if an arrest warrant is prepared that is based on
information obtained from a paid confidential informant, this fact should be included in the arrest
warrant affidavit as it could be an issue of exculpatory information. (Compare Indiv. Cap. Defs.
Stmt ¶ 9; Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 3; Plaintiff Stmt ¶¶ A.9, B.3; Dadio Aff't ¶ 12; Ortiz Aff't ¶ 14;
with Plaintiff's Depo. at 11)("I was in the habit of not putting confidential information in the reports
and stuff like that.").
Exh. 6).10 However, plaintiff did mention that he had received information from a concerned
citizen. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 11; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ A.11; Dadio Aff't ¶ 13; Exh. L; Exh.
B. INTERNAL INVESTIGATION
On December 20, 2007, defendant Francisco Ortiz, then Chief of the NHPD, ordered
the Internal Values and Ethics unit ["IV&E"] to commence an internal investigation into the
Bennett homicide. (Official Cap. Defs Stmt ¶ 4; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ B.4; Ross Aff't ¶ 8; Peterson
Aff't ¶ 8; Ortiz Aff't ¶ 15). Defendant Peterson, a Captain in charge of the IV&E unit, and
defendant Ross, a Sergeant, conducted the internal affairs investigation. (Official Cap. Defs.
Stmt ¶ 7; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ B.7; Ross Aff't ¶ 7; Peterson Aff't ¶¶ 7, 9; Ortiz Aff't ¶ 15).
The investigation commenced by looking into the use of CI-01-02 in the Bennett
homicide investigation, and then grew to include investigating the use of CI-01-02 in three
additional homicide investigations: the homicide of Herbert Fields, the homicide of Domingo
Rodriguez, and the "Hill Shooting Spree." (Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 8; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ B.8;
Ross Aff't ¶ 12; Peterson Aff't ¶ 14). The scope of the internal investigation of plaintiff thus
widened to include misappropriation of state funds as additional facts became known.
(Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 6; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ B.6; Ross Aff't ¶ 9; Peterson Aff't ¶ 10).
Plaintiff's Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement in response to the individual capacity defendants'
Statement is incomplete and misnumbered, as it contains admissions and denials for paragraphs 113, and denials for paragraphs 17, 18, 27, 29, 33, 35, 40, and 45, skipping paragraphs 14-16, 1926, 28, 30-32, 34, 36-39, 41-44, and 46-61. (Plaintiff's Stmt at 2).
Similarly, plaintiff's Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement in response to the official capacity
defendants is incomplete and misnumbered, as it contains admissions and denial for paragraphs
1-13, and denials for paragraphs 23, 36-37, 39, and 45, skipping paragraphs 14-22, 24-35, 38, 4044, and 46-53. (Plaintiff's Stmt at 3).
In the absence of responses for such a significant number of paragraphs, the Court will
assume that plaintiff has admitted these paragraphs.
According to defendants' Statements,11 the investigation revealed payments in 2004,
2006 and 2007. Defendants discovered that on July 20, 2004, pursuant to the investigation
of the "Hill Shooting Spree[,]" in which five shootings took place on July 11-12, 2004, three
Informant Payment Request forms and three Case Preparation Expenditure Forms had been
submitted; each of the forms contained plaintiff's signature and requested $1500 to be paid
to CI-01-02, $300 to be paid to CI-01-07, and $500 to be paid to CI-01-019. (Official Cap.
Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 27, 36-42; Exhs. S-X; Exh. 8).12 Defendants also uncovered that during July
2006, in connection with the Rodriguez homicide investigation, plaintiff requested a $500
payment for CI-01-02, stating that, "Individual provided this Detective with information
regarding the names of the person(s) responsible for the homicide of Domingo Rodriguez."
(Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 24-25; Exh. 9; Ross Aff't ¶ 12; Peterson Aff't ¶ 29; Exhs. Q-R).
Defendants similarly learned that on or about November 7, 2006, with respect to the Fields
homicide investigation, which homicide occurred on August 1, 2006, an Informant Payment
Request form was submitted for $1000 with plaintiff's signature, allegedly to pay CI-01-02
for "information regarding the names of the person(s) responsible for the homicide of
Herbert Fields." (Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 15, 18-19; Peterson Aff't ¶ 26; Exhs. M-O; Exh.
10). Finally, defendants found that on or about February 5, 2007, regarding the Bennett
homicide investigation, an Informant Payment Request form for $1500 for CI-01-02 was
submitted by plaintiff pertaining to information "regarding the names of the person(s)
responsible for the homicide of Robert Bennett." (Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 11-12;
Plaintiffs's Stmt ¶¶ B.11-12; Dadio Aff't ¶ 10; Peterson Aff't ¶ 12; Exhs. I-K; Exh. 7).
See note 10 supra.
Plaintiff denies his involvement with these payments. (Plaintiff's Stmt ¶¶ B.36-37;
Plaintiff's Depo. at 67-69).
As part of the internal investigation, on January 16, 26, and 28, 2008, defendants
Peterson and Ross met with CI-01-02, CI-01-07, and CI-01-019. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶
28-29, 32-35;13 Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 45-47;14 Ross Aff't ¶¶ 12(a), 13, 16-19; Peterson
Aff't ¶¶ 15-16, 19-22). Each confidential informant averred that he or she had never given
any information to New Haven Police pertaining to homicide or shooting investigations; they
knew nothing about the Bennett homicide, the Rodriguez homicide, the Fields homicide, or
the Hill Shooting Spree; they did not receive any money from any police officer or detective
in New Haven for any of these cases; the signature on each of the Informant Payment
Receipts was not their signature;15 and that they never received the money listed on the
receipts. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 29, 32-33, 35; Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 45-47; Ross
Aff't ¶¶ 13, 17, 19; Peterson Aff't ¶¶ 16, 20, 22).
In addition, on December 26, 2007, defendants Ross and Peterson interviewed retired
NHPD Detective Michael Quinn, who had been the lead detective assigned to investigate the
Hill Shooting Spree and the Field homicide; Quinn did not recall having been informed that
a CI was being utilized to the Hill Shooting Spree, he was unaware of plaintiff having
submitted forms for CI payments for this investigation, and plaintiff failed to file any type of
investigative report for the Field homicide investigation that would have documented his use
Plaintiff denies paragraphs 29, 33, and 35, regarding all three meetings, in that he
testified at his deposition that the CI's were not credible during their interviews, including that one
was "under heavy medication" and another was not the right person. (Plaintiff's Stmt ¶¶ A.29,
A.33, A.35; Plaintiff's Depo. at 26-29, 43-49, 64-65).
Plaintiff similarly denies paragraph 45, regarding the January 16, 2008 meeting with CI01-02. (Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ B.45; Plaintiff's Depo. at 62, 64-65). See note 13 supra.
A comparison was made between known examples of CI-01-02's signature and the
signatures on the confidential informant payment receipts submitted by plaintiff; the signatures did
not match. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 30; Ross Aff't ¶ 14; Peterson Aff't ¶ 17).
of a CI. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 36-39; Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 16-17, 20, 34-35,
43–44; Ross Aff't ¶¶ 20-24; Peterson Aff't ¶¶ 23-26).
Defendants also interviewed retired NHPD Detective Martin Dadio, who had been in
charge of the investigation of the Rodriguez homicide; he likewise was unaware of any
confidential informant having been utilized in that case and plaintiff similarly failed to file any
type of investigative report for the Field homicide investigation that would have documented
his use of a CI. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 40-42;16 Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 22, 26; Ross
Aff't ¶¶ 25-27; Peterson Aff't ¶¶ 27-29).
Lastly, plaintiff's investigation report and arrest
warrant for the Bennett homicide did not mention the use of a confidential informant in that
investigation. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 44; Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 14; Dadio Aff't ¶ 13;
Ross Aff't ¶¶ 10, 29; Peterson Aff't ¶¶ 13, 31; Exh. L; Exh. 6).
On February 6, 2008, based upon the information known to defendant Ross as a
result of the internal investigation, she prepared four affidavits in support of arrest warrants
for the arrest and prosecution of plaintiff Willoughby. (Official Cap. Defs. Statement ¶¶ 4852; Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 47; Ross Aff't ¶ 32; Peterson Aff't ¶ 34; Exhs. E-H; Exhs. 12-15).
All four arrest warrants were signed by a Connecticut Superior Court Judge on February 6,
2008. (Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 53; Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 48; Ross Aff't ¶ 33; Peterson
Aff't ¶ 35; Exhs. E-H; Exhs. 12-15).17
Plaintiff denies paragraph 40, for reasons not relevant to these pending motions.
(Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ A.40; Plaintiff's Depo. at 57-60).
The first arrest warrant application for Case Number 08-5732 focused on the investigation
into the use of CI funds in the Bennett homicide investigation and sought three charges: false
statement in the second degree, forgery in the second degree, and larceny in the second degree.
(Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 49; Ross Aff't ¶ 32; Exh. E; Exh. 12). The second arrest warrant
application for Case Number 08-5733 focused on the investigation into the use of CI funds in the
Fields homicide investigation and sought two charges: forgery in the second degree and larceny in
the second degree. (Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 50; Ross Aff't ¶ 32; Exh. F; Exh. 13).
The standard for summary judgment is well established. The moving party is entitled
to summary judgment if it demonstrates that there is no genuine issue of material fact and
that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). Upon motion,
following adequate time for discovery, Rule 56(c) requires that summary judgment be
entered against a party:
who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial. In such a situation, there can be “no genuine issue
as to any material fact,” since a complete failure of proof concerning an
essential element of the nonmoving party’s case necessarily renders all other
facts immaterial. The moving party is “entitled to judgment as a matter of
law” because the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on
an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).
This showing may be made by “pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories,
and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any.” FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). “On summary
judgment the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts contained in the [the moving
party’s] materials must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the
motion.” Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970), quoting United States
v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962). “If reasonable minds could differ as to the import
The third arrest warrant application for Case Number 08-5734 focused on the investigation
into the use of CI funds in the Rodriguez homicide investigation and sought three charges: false
statement in the second degree, forgery in the second degree and larceny in the second degree.
(Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶ 51; Ross Aff't ¶ 32; Exh. G; Exh. 14).
The fourth arrest warrant application for Case Number 08-5735 focused on the
investigation into the use of CI funds in the "Hill Shooting Spree" investigation and sought two
charges: forgery in the second degree and larceny in the second degree. (Official Cap. Defs. Stmt
¶ 52; Ross Aff't ¶ 32; Exh. H; Exh 15).
of the evidence, . . . the moving party simply cannot obtain summary judgment.” R.B.
Ventures, Ltd. v. Shane, 112 F.3d 54, 59 (2d Cir. 1997)(citations & internal quotation marks
omitted). Thus, the party moving for summary judgment must “carry its burden of showing
the absence of any genuine issue of fact.” Adickes, 398 U.S. at 153.
A. PROBABLE CAUSE/FALSE ARREST
In Count One of plaintiff's Amended Complaint, he asserts a claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for false arrest and malicious prosecution on grounds that defendants lacked probable
cause to arrest plaintiff. Section 1983 provides that any person who, acting under color of
law, "subjects or causes to be subjected, any Citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United States shall be liable to the injured party
in actions at law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In a § 1983 false arrest claim, a plaintiff must establish
that "(1) the defendant intentionally arrested him or had him arrested; (2) the plaintiff was
aware of the arrest; (3) there was no consent to the arrest; and (4) the arrest was not
supported by probable cause." Shattuck v. Town of Stratford, 233 F. Supp. 2d 301, 306 (D.
Conn. 2002)(multiple citations & internal quotations omitted).
Plaintiff bears the burden of putting forth evidence that the underlying action was
instituted without probable cause. Pinsky v. Duncan, 79 F.3d 306, 312 (2d Cir. 1996).
Probable cause exists so long as "‘facts and circumstances within [the officers'] knowledge
and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information [are] sufficient in themselves to
warrant a [person] of reasonable caution in the belief that an offense has been or is being
committed." Brinegar v. U.S., 338 U.S. 160, 175 (citation & footnote omitted)(emphasis in
original), reh. denied, 338 U.S. 839 (1949). While probable cause requires more than a
“mere suspicion” of wrongdoing, its focus is on “probabilities,” not “hard certainties.”
Walczyk v. Rio, 496 F.3d 139, 156 (2d Cir. 2007)(multiple citations & internal quotations
omitted). "It has long been recognized that, where there is no dispute as to what facts were
relied on to demonstrate probable cause, the existence of probable cause is a question of law
for the court." Id. at 157 (citations omitted).
In this case, as plaintiff was aware, the NHPD, along with the New Haven State's
Attorney's Office, had concerns about plaintiff's investigation of the Bennett homicide case,
which led to an investigation by the IV&E unit. (Ross Aff't ¶¶ 8-9; Peterson Aff't ¶ 8; Ortiz
Aff't ¶ 15; Plaintiff's Depo. at 89-93). During the course of their investigation, defendants
Peterson and Ross discovered plaintiff's requests for funding to pay confidential informants
in three other cases in which plaintiff submitted Case Preparation Expenditure forms and
Informant Payment Request Forms. (Ross Aff't ¶¶ 9, 12; Peterson Aff't ¶¶ 9-10, 14; Exhs.
I-K, M-X; Exhs. 7-10). Their investigation revealed payments to confidential informants in
2004, 2006 and 2007, as well as plaintiff's applications for and receipt of funds for
confidential informants in these investigations, which named informants in subsequent
interviews denied having provided information to, or being paid by, plaintiff. (Ross Aff't ¶¶
10-13, 17, 19; Peterson Aff't ¶¶ 15-16, 20, 22; Exhs. I-K, M-X; Exhs. 7-10). Defendants
Peterson and Ross additionally interviewed two retired NHPD detectives who had been
involved in the investigations of the Hill Shooting Spree, Field homicide, and Rodriguez
homicide; neither of them was aware of plaintiff having utilized a confidential informant in
these investigations, and plaintiff's written submissions did not document his use of a CI.
(Ross Aff't ¶¶ 10, 20-27, 29; Peterson Aff't ¶¶ 13, 23-29, 31; Exh. L; Exh. 6).
On February 6, 2008, based upon the information known to defendant Ross as a
result of the internal investigation, which investigation included interviewing twenty people
(Exh. 11, at 2-8),18 she prepared four affidavits in support of arrest warrants for plaintiff
Willoughby. (Ross Aff't ¶ 32; Peterson Aff't ¶ 34). All four arrest warrants were signed by
a Connecticut Superior Court Judge on February 6, 2008. (Ross Aff't ¶ 33; Peterson Aff't ¶
35; Dkt. #103, Exhs. E-H).
Defendants Peterson and Ross are "not required to explore and eliminate every
theoretically plausible claim of innocence before making an arrest[,] . . . nor [are they]
required to sit as prosecutor, judge and jury in making [their] probable cause
determination."19 Cerrone v. Brown, 246 F.3d 194, 203 (2d Cir. 2001)(citation & internal
quotations omitted). As a result of the investigation, Peterson and Ross prepared four arrest
applications on various charges including False Statement in the Second Degree, Forgery in
the Second Degree, and Larceny in the Second Degree (Exhs. E-H; Exhs. 12-15), all of which
were approved by New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington and then presented to
Superior Court Judge William Holden who signed them and issued the warrants for the arrest
In their Internal Affairs investigation report submitted to defendant Ortiz, defendants
Ross and Peterson noted that when they met with one of the witnesses at the Hospital of St.
Raphael, he stated that he received $500 for information about the person responsible for the
Bennett homicide, and that he was paid several times in the past, in $500 increments, by plaintiff.
(Exh. 11, at 2). Thirty minutes after the interview, State Inspector Lawlor met with the witness,
who then said that plaintiff paid him $1500 in increments of $500 each for this information
regarding the Bennett homicide. (Id.). Because of the discrepancy in what this witness said in such
a short period of time, defendants obtained ex parte orders for plaintiff's cell phone records, which
records revealed that the witness called plaintiff immediately after the first interview and may have
"been influenced or coached" by plaintiff. (Id.).
Defendant Dadio informed defendants Peterson and Ross that plaintiff represented that he
did use a CI in the Bennett case but that he did not disclose who he or she was, and that the CI
number in his report was not the person to whom he paid the money. (Id. at 2-3).
In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that he denied the accusations of misconduct (Amended
Compl. ¶¶ 11-12), whereas at his deposition, he testified that he declined to be interviewed after
speaking with his attorney. (Plaintiff's Depo. at 34, 49, 110-12. See also Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶
45; Plaintiff's Stmt ¶ A.45; Ross Aff't ¶ 31; Peterson Aff't ¶ 31; Exh. 11, at 9).
of plaintiff. (Id.). Probable cause is based on the facts known at the time of the complaint,
see Brinegar, 338 U.S. at 175, and a magistrate's finding of probable cause in issuing a
warrant creates a presumption that probable cause existed. Dirienzo v. United States, 690
F. Supp. 1149,1156, n.6 (D. Conn. 1988).
Moreover, a district court should not overturn a judge's determination of probable
cause so long as the issuing magistrate had a "substantial basis" for issuing the warrant.
Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 236 (citations, internal quotations & footnote omitted), reh.
denied, 463 U.S. 127 (1983). The fact that charges were later nolled or even that the
accused was later acquitted of the crime does not obviate the validity of the warrant, as
"[t]he quantum of evidence required to establish probable cause to arrest need not reach the
level of evidence necessary to support a conviction." United States v. Fisher, 702 F.2d 372,
375 (2d Cir. 1983)(citations omitted).
A plaintiff may rebut a finding of probable cause only by showing fraud, perjury, or
misrepresentation or falsification of evidence.
Dirienzo, 690 F. Supp. at 1156, n.6, citing
McSorley v. Consol. Rail Corp., 581 F. Supp. 642, 643 (S.D.N.Y. 1984). However, in this case
plaintiff cannot establish as a matter of law that there was no probable cause for his arrest.
Plaintiff's brief argues: "In this case, crediting plaintiff's deposition testimony, . . .
defendants, either personally or by assisting other defendants, caused the submission of
affidavits seeking arrest warrants for the plaintiff which contained material falsehoods[.]"
(Dkt. #108, at 5). At his own deposition, however, plaintiff did not testify as to any
intentional submission of material falsehoods to the judge. Rather, plaintiff testified that
defendants Peterson and Ross "secretly recorded" the purported confidential informant to
whom plaintiff claims he paid the monies, that this person was under the influence of
medication at that time, and defendants "misled him" as to the purpose of the interview.
(Plaintiff's Depo. at 26-29, 44-45; see id. at 46-47, 65, 67-68, 70-71). Additionally, when
asked why he believes that there was no probable cause, he responded, "The reason I think
there was no probable cause, I didn't take any money. I didn't steal the money; I paid the
informant the money." (Id. at 35). When asked if it is plaintiff's "theory, or [his] belief, . .
. that these applications for arrest warrant were fabricated in order to implicate you to get
you out of the running for the chief investigator position?[,]" plaintiff responded, "[n]o, they
didn't get me out of the running . . . ." (Id. at 79)(emphasis added).20
The facts offered by defendants and supported by affidavits and admissible exhibits
support a finding that more than sufficient probable cause existed to arrest and prosecute
Accordingly, "[i]f there is no question of material fact that probable cause to
arrest and prosecute [plaintiff] existed, summary judgment must enter for the defendants."
Bontatibus v. Ayr, 386 F. Supp. 2d 28, 32 (D. Conn. 2005).
B. ABANDONMENT OF DEFENSES
Before addressing defendants' remaining arguments, the Court notes that plaintiff's
The law is well-settled that a party may not, in order to defeat a summary judgment
motion, create a material issue of fact by submitting an affidavit disputing his own prior sworn
testimony. Trans-Orient Marine Corp. v. Star Trading & Marine, Inc., 925 F.2d 566, 572-73 (2d Cir.
1991)(multiple citations omitted); Mack v. U.S., 814 F.2d 120, 124 (2d Cir. 1987)(multiple citations
omitted). Here, the circumstances are even less impressive as plaintiff did not submit an sworn
affidavit, but rather posited his theory only by way of argument in his brief in opposition to
defendants' motions. In his deposition, plaintiff never asserted or pointed to evidence that
defendants had committed fraud or perjury, or misrepresented or falsified evidence to obtain the
Furthermore, the individual claims against defendants Dadio and Ortiz in Counts One,
Two and Four must fail as plaintiff cannot establish actual participation by these defendants. "It is
well settled in this Circuit that personal involvement of defendants in alleged constitutional
deprivations is a prerequisite to the award of damages under § 1983." Farid v. Ellen, 593 F.3d
233, 249 (2d Cir. 2010)(citations omitted). Neither defendant Dadio nor defendant Ortiz conducted
the internal affairs investigation nor did they initiate or procure the arrest and prosecution of
plaintiff. (Indiv. Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 49-51; Dadio Aff't ¶¶ 20-21; Ortiz Aff't ¶ 16).
brief in opposition is limited to what he describes as the "central issue[,]" and "the [only] one
which . . . plaintiff . . . address[es]" in his brief, that is, whether defendants "submitted
truthful affidavits which established probable cause for . . . plaintiff's arrest." (Dkt. #108,
at 1-2). As the Court concluded in Section II.A. supra, plaintiff has not established that his
underlying arrest was instituted without probable cause.
The failure to respond to arguments supporting summary judgment constitutes an
abandonment of the claim. Carone v. Mascolo, 573 F. Supp. 2d 575, 591 (D. Conn.
2008)(federal courts may deem a claim abandoned when a party moves for summary
judgment on one ground and the party opposing summary judgment fails to address the
argument in any way)(internal quotations & citations omitted). As noted, a "party may not
rely on his pleadings to avoid judgment against him[,]" and in addition,
There is no burden upon the district court to distill every potential argument
that could be made based upon the materials before it on summary
judgment. Rather, the onus is upon the parties to formulate arguments;
grounds alleged in the complaint but not relied upon in summary judgment
are deemed abandoned.
Resolution Trust Corp. v. Dunmar Corp., 43 F.3d 587, 599 (11th Cir.)(multiple citations
omitted), cert. denied sub nom. Jones v. Resolution Trust Corp., 516 U.S. 817 (1995). In
this case, in limiting his response to the issue of probable cause, plaintiff has abandoned all
other unrelated claims. However, notwithstanding plaintiff's waiver of his defenses, this
Court will address each of defendants' remaining arguments in support of summary
C. WRONGFUL DETENTION
In Count Two of plaintiff's Amended Complaint, he asserts a claim for wrongful
detention and malicious prosecution under § 1983 against the four individual defendants.22
(Amended Compl. ¶ 18). In Count Five, plaintiff asserts a state law claim for false arrest
and imprisonment. (Id. ¶¶ 27-29). Under Connecticut law, claims of false arrest and
wrongful detention are synonymous; both involve the "unlawful restraint by one person of
the physical liberty of another."
Russo v. City of Bridgeport, 479 F.3d 196, 204 (2d
Cir.)(citations & internal quotations omitted), cert. denied, 552 U.S. 818 ( 2007). A false
arrest claim cannot hold when the challenged arrest was supported by probable cause.
Beinhorn v. Saraceno, 23 Conn. App. 487, 491 (App. Ct. 1990), certif. denied, 217 Conn. 809
(1991). Additionally, claims for false arrest and false imprisonment fail if the plaintiff was
arrested pursuant to a facially valid warrant. Outlaw v. City of Meriden, 43 Conn. App. 387,
392 (App. Ct.), certif. denied, 239 Conn. 946 (1996); Dirienzo, 690 F. Supp. at 1154 ("It is
well settled that an arrest made pursuant to a valid warrant issued by a court of competent
jurisdiction is privileged and cannot support an action for false arrest.")(citations omitted).
The analysis for the preclusion of the wrongful detention and confinement claim is
identical to the analysis of the false arrest claim in Section II.A. supra. Since the claim for
false arrest is precluded, and the claim for false arrest is the same as the claim for wrongful
detention and confinement, the claim for wrongful detention and confinement is therefore
D. MALICIOUS PROSECUTION
In Count Four, plaintiff asserts a claim of malicious prosecution by all four individual
(Amended Compl. ¶ 23).23 To prevail on a § 1983 claim for malicious
See note 21 supra.
See note 21 supra.
prosecution, plaintiff must show both a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights and
establish elements of malicious prosecution claims under state law. Rotbergs v. Guerrera,
No. 3:10 CV 1423 (MRK), 2012 WL 1204729, at *6 (D. Conn. April 11, 2012). To prevail on
a malicious prosecution claim under Connecticut law, plaintiff must prove that: "(1) . . .
defendant[s] initiated or procured the institution of criminal proceedings against . . . plaintiff;
(2) the criminal proceedings have terminated in favor of . . . plaintiff; (3) [defendants] acted
without probable cause; and (4) [defendants] acted with malice, primarily for a purpose
other than that of bringing an offender to justice." McHale v. W.B.S. Corp., 187 Conn. 444,
447 (1982)(multiple citations omitted). While the first two elements may be satisfied in this
case, plaintiff fails at the third as an action for malicious prosecution cannot be maintained
where there was probable cause for the charge on which the accused was tried and
acquitted. McKenna v. Whipple, 97 Conn. 695, 118 A. 40, 41 (1922); see McSorley, 581 F.
Supp. at 643 ("To make out a case of malicious prosecution, plaintiff must prove, inter alia,
the absence of probable cause for the criminal proceeding.")(citation omitted). In the context
of malicious prosecution, "[p]robable cause is the knowledge of sufficient facts to justify a
reasonable person in the belief that there are reasonable grounds for prosecuting an action."
Smith v. Globe Ford, 39 Conn. Supp. 27, 33 (Super. Ct. 1983)(multiple citations omitted).
In such an action, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving "affirmatively, by circumstances
or otherwise, that the defendant had no reasonable ground for instituting the criminal
proceeding." Zenik v. O'Brien, 137 Conn. 592, 597 (1951)(multiple citations omitted).
Here, the action for malicious prosecution cannot be maintained because, as stated
above, there was probable cause for the charge on which the accused was tried and
acquitted. Plaintiff's arrest was pursuant to facially valid warrants issued by a court of
competent jurisdiction. (Exhs. E-H; Exhs. 12-15).
The fourth element of malicious prosecution, closely related to the probable cause
element, is malice. Express malice can be implied by a lack of probable cause in initiating
prosecution. Zitkov v. Zaleski, 102 Conn. 439, 128 A. 779, 781-82 (1925); see also Zenik, 79
A.2d at 772 (citations omitted).
As discussed in Sections II.A and II.C supra, the
circumstances in this case show that defendants had probable cause to initiate prosecution.
Since no other evidence of malice is established, and plaintiff has not implied malice from a
want of probable cause, plaintiff has failed to establish the requisite malice. In the absence
of a want of probable cause and the absence of the existence of malice, plaintiff's claim for
malicious prosecution cannot survive.
E. NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION
In Count Three of plaintiff's Amended Complaint, he alleges that defendant Ortiz
refused or failed to instruct, supervise, control and discipline subordinate officers, including
defendants Peterson, Dadio and Ross. (Amended Compl. ¶ 20). "A supervisor may not be
held liable under section 1983 merely because his subordinate committed a constitutional
tort"; a supervisor's liability cannot be vicarious. Poe v. Leonard, 282 F.3d 123, 140 (2d Cir.
2002)(citation omitted); Atwood v. Town of Ellington, 468 F. Supp. 2d 340, 353 (D. Conn.
As the Second Circuit explained in Poe:
[A] supervisor may be found liable for his deliberate indifference to the rights
of others, by his failure to act on information indicating unconstitutional acts
were occurring, or for his gross negligence in failing to supervise his
subordinates who commit such wrongful acts, provided that the plaintiff can
show an affirmative causal link between the supervisor's inaction and [his]
282 F.3d at 140 (citations and footnote omitted). However, here, plaintiff has presented no
evidence that defendant Ortiz knew or should have known that his subordinates were
involved with any violations of constitutional rights.
Plaintiff has not alleged "sufficient facts to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether
[defendant Ortiz] knew or should have known that there was a high degree of risk" that his
subordinates would engage in a violation or violations of his rights, and then either
deliberately or recklessly disregarded that risk by failing to take action that a reasonable
supervisor would find necessary to prevent such a risk, and that this failure caused a
constitutional injury to the plaintiff. Id. at 142 (citations omitted). Therefore, defendant Ortiz
is not liable as a supervisor for the constitutional torts of his employees.24
In Count Six of plaintiff's Amended Complaint, he alleges negligence against
defendant City of New Haven and defendant Ortiz, in that they violated their duty to train
While plaintiff does not have a separate count for conspiracy, he does mention in Count
Three that defendants Peterson, Ross and Dadio had conspired to violate his rights under the U.S.
Constitution and Connecticut laws. (Amended Complaint ¶ 20.c.
To establish a claim for § 1983 conspiracy, plaintiff must prove that: “(1) a state official
and private individual(s) reached an understanding to deprive the plaintiff of [his] constitutional
rights, . . . and (2) those individual(s) were willful participants in joint activity with the State or its
agents.” Cooney v. Casady, 746 F. Supp. 2d 973, 975 (N.D. Ill. 2010)(citation & internal quotations
omitted)(alterations in original with one addition alteration added). Furthermore, to survive a
summary judgment motion, a plaintiff must "proffer specific facts tending to show that a conspiracy
existed . . .; conclusory allegations will not suffice." Id. (citation omitted).
In this case, plaintiff 's allegations in his Amended Complaint fail to include the general
purpose of the alleged conspiracy, nor does it include the time frame of this alleged conspiracy,
included when the purported conspiracy began. Although plaintiff alleges that the motivation of
the defendants for the actions taken against him was to prevent him from being made "Chief
Investigator[,]" (Plaintiff's Depo. at 79; see also Tr. 76-82), this allegation is factually without merit
as defendants Ross and Peterson were not in the Investigative Services Unit, they were in the
Internal Affairs unit, and thus they would not have been under plaintiff's command even if he was
to assume that position. (Official Cap. Defs. Stmt ¶¶ 59-61). Therefore, to the extent plaintiff has
asserted any conspiracy claim in this lawsuit, such claim falls short of the standard laid out in
defendants Peterson, Ross and Dadio according to the standard of care established by, inter
alia, the State of Connecticut Municipal Police Training Council and the City of New Haven
Department of Police Services Police Academy, in "conducting an investigation, establishing
probable cause and preparing written reports and affidavits under oath . . . ." (Amended
Complaint ¶ 32). "[I]n Connecticut, the operation of a police department is a discretionary
government function [and] [t]his includes the training and supervision of police officers."
Odom v. Matteo, 3:08 CV1569 (VLB), 2010 WL 466000, at *4 (D. Conn. Feb. 3, 2010), citing
Hughes v. Hartford, 96 F. Supp. 2d 114, 119 (D. Conn. 2000)("extensive and nearunanimous precedent in Connecticut clearly demonstrates that the acts or omissions alleged
in plaintiff's complaint – the failure to screen, hire, train, supervise, control and discipline –
are discretionary acts as a matter of law."); Coletosh v. City of Hartford, No. CV 970573462S,
1999 WL 259656, at *1 (Conn. Super. Ct. Apr. 13, 1999)(in a case alleging excessive force
by Hartford police officers, "instructing, supervising, controlling and disciplining police officers
were found to be discretionary acts as a matter of law."); Cook v. City of Hartford, No. CV
89-0362482, 1992 WL 220102, at *2 (Conn. Super. Ct. Aug. 31, 1992)("The act of training
and supervising police officers is clearly a discretionary governmental function. Consideration
of whom to hire, how to train such people, and how to supervise police officers on the job
are decisions requiring the use of judgment and discretion. A municipality cannot employ a
standard list of actions which must be taken in utilizing its police department."); see also
Gordon v. Bridgeport Housing Auth., 208 Conn. 161, 179-80 (1988)("[I]t is firmly established
that the operation of a police department is a governmental function, and that acts or
omissions in connection therewith ordinarily do not give rise to liability on the part of the
municipality. . . .")(citations & internal quotations omitted).
Since the training and
supervision of defendant police officers were discretionary functions, the City would be
entitled to governmental immunity unless it was apparent that the City's failure to supervise
and train has subjected an identifiable person to imminent harm. Shore v. Town of
Stonington, 187 Conn. 147, 153 (1982). However, other than his conclusory allegation,
plaintiff has made no factual allegations that it was apparent to defendant City of New Haven
or defendant Ortiz there was a need for training of the defendant officers.
Lastly, plaintiff alleges defamation in Count Seven.25 Even assuming arguendo that
plaintiff can prove that the statements themselves were defamatory,26 the statements at
issue are governed by an absolute privilege. If "communications are uttered or published
in the course of judicial [or quasi-judicial] proceedings, even if they are published falsely and
maliciously, they nevertheless are absolutely privileged provided they are pertinent to the
subject of the controversy." Hopkins v. O'Connor, 282 Conn. 821, 838 (2007)(citation
omitted); see Wolinksy v. Std. Oil of Conn., Inc., No. 3:08 CV 832(MRK), 2008 WL 3984593,
at *1 (D. Conn. Aug. 25, 2008). "[A]bsolute immunity furthers the public policy of
encouraging participation and candor in judicial . . . proceedings." Gallo v. Barile, 284 Conn.
The Amended Complaint, as presently drafted, fails to state what specific defamatory
statements were made, to whom, and how these statements were made. (Amended Compl. ¶¶
36-39). As such, it fails to establish a prima facie case of defamation. To establish a prima facie
case of defamation, plaintiff must demonstrate that: "(1) the defendant published a defamatory
statement; (2) the defamatory statement identified the plaintiff to a third person; (3) the
defamatory statement was published to a third person; and (4) the plaintiff's reputation suffered
injury as a result of the statement.” Gambardella v. Apple Health Care, Inc., 291 Conn. 620, 627-28
(2009)(citation omitted). Additionally, "a complaint for defamation must, on its face, specifically
identify what allegedly defamatory statements were made, by whom, and to whom . . . ."
Chertkova v. Conn. Gen. Life Ins. Co., No. CV 980486346S, 2002 WL 1902988, at *4 (Conn. Super.
Ct. July 12, 2002)(citations & internal quotations omitted), aff'd mem., Chertokova v. Conn. Gen.
Life Ins., 76 Conn. App. 907 (App. Ct. 2003).
See note 25 supra.
459, 466 (2008)(citation omitted)(alteration in original).
In determining whether a statement is made in the course of a judicial proceeding,
“it is important to consider whether there is a sound public policy reason for permitting the
complete freedom of expression that a grant of absolute immunity provides.” Hopkins, 282
Conn. at 839 (citations & internal quotations omitted). "[T]he court must decide as a matter
of law whether the alleged defamatory statements are sufficiently relevant to the issues
involved in a proposed or ongoing judicial proceeding, so as to qualify for the privilege." Id.
The test for relevancy is "generous, and 'judicial proceeding' has been defined liberally to
encompass much more than civil litigation or criminal trials."
Id. (citation omitted).
However, "whether and what form of immunity applies in any given case is a matter of policy
that requires a balancing of interests[,]" and "[i]n weighing those considerations, [the court
is] mindful of that fact that absolute immunity is strong medicine." Gallo, 284 Conn. at 471
(citations, internal quotations & alterations omitted).
Here, the statements by defendants were made in the course of an extensive
investigation and development of a case which culminated in arrest warrant applications that
were issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. The preparation and submission of an
arrest warrant application is an integral part of the criminal prosecution process. See id. at
Moreover, "statements made in the course of an internal affairs investigation
against a . . . police officer are sheltered by the common-law doctrine of absolute immunity
from actions of defamation." Craig v. Stafford Const., Inc., 78 Conn. App. 549, 560-61 (App.
Ct. 2003)(footnote omitted), aff'd, 271 Conn. 78 (2004). Accordingly, even if plaintiff could
have established a claim for defamation, defendants enjoy absolute immunity for the
statements made in the course of the quasi-judicial and judicial proceedings.
I. QUALIFIED IMMUNITY
In light of the conclusions reached above, the Court need not address this issue of
For the reasons stated above, the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defendants
in their official capacities and the Motion for Summary Judgment filed in their individual
capacities (Dkts. ##102 and 105) are granted.
The Clerk's Office is directed to close this file.
Dated this 27th day of August, 2012, at New Haven, Connecticut.
_/s/ Joan G. Margolis, USMJ
Joan Glazer Margolis
United States Magistrate Judge
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