Rogoz v. Hartford et al
ORDER denying 68 Motion for Reconsideration. See the attached Order. Signed by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on 2/20/14. (Ives, D)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
CITY OF HARTFORD,
CHIEF OF POLICE DARYL K. ROBERTS,
DETECTIVE G. WATSON, DETECTIVE
RIVERA, OFFICER GEORGE WATER,
OFFICER JAMES RUTKAUSKI, OFFICER
BRANDON FLORES, OFFICER STEVEN J.
PILESKI, OFFICER CESAR A. BEIROS,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
February 20, 2014
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [Dkt. #68]
On July 22, 2013 this Court granted summary judgment in favor of
defendants on plaintiff’s claims for excessive use of force and failure to intervene
in contravention of the Fourth Amendment. The plaintiff has moved for
reconsideration of this decision, which the defendants oppose.
The standard for granting a motion for reconsideration “is strict, and
reconsideration will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to
controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked—matters, in other words,
that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court.”
Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). “A motion for
reconsideration is justified only where the defendant identifies an intervening
change in controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct
a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Ayazi v. United Fedn. of Teachers
Local 2, 487 F. App'x 680, 681 (2d Cir. 2012) (internal citation and quotation marks
omitted); Ensign Yachts, Inc. v. Arrigoni, 3:09–CV–209 (VLB), 2010 WL 2976927
(D. Conn. July 23, 2010) (same). A “motion to reconsider should not be granted
where the moving party seeks solely to relitigate an issue already decided.”
Shrader, 70 F.3d at 257. Further, Local Rule of Civil Procedure 7(c) requires
parties seeking reconsideration to “set[ ] forth concisely the matters or
controlling decisions which counsel believes the court overlooked in the initial
decision or order.” D. Conn. Loc. Civ. R. 7(c).
The plaintiff moves for reconsideration on the grounds that the Court
clearly erred in its decision, which resulted in manifest injustice to the plaintiff.
First, plaintiff argues that the Court did not view the facts in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff or credit all factual inferences in his favor as to Rogoz’s
claim for excessive use of force. In support, Rogoz argues that a reasonable jury
could have concluded that the force used was excessive because Rogoz had,
after he had pulled to the side of the highway, complied with the Hartford Police
officer’s commands to exit his vehicle, lie on the ground, and put his hands
behind his back.
The plaintiff has pointed to no law that the Court overlooked and has
conveniently excluded the Court’s extensive analysis of Mr. Rogoz’s actions in
actively and recklessly evading law enforcement after he had engaged in a drug
deal and before he finally obeyed Hartford Police’s command that he pull his car
to the side of the highway. Thus, Rogoz’s contention that he “was not a threat to
anyone” at the time he pulled his car to the side of the highway is irrelevant to the
Court’s qualified immunity analysis, as the Court explained in detail in its earlier
decision on summary judgment. Further, the plaintiff’s subjective assertion that
the Court ignored the evidence that Mr. Rogoz did not know that he was being
pursued by the police until he saw the police cruisers and heard the sirens as he
was driving on the highway is entirely irrelevant to the Court’s analysis of what a
reasonable officer – in this case Detective Watson – would have concluded under
the totality of the circumstances.1 The Court addressed this issue in the July 22,
2013 decision and the plaintiff has offered no precedent that the Court did not
consider. Moreover, although Rogoz argues that the Court’s choice of words in
describing the force used against Rogoz – that Officer Watson “quickly
transferr[ed]” his weight to Rogoz’s back rather than “jumped” on his back – did
not take the facts in the light most favorable to Rogoz, this classification is a
matter of semantics. Moreover, the velocity or degree of pressure exerted does
not change the Court’s qualified immunity analysis. Reconsideration of these
issues is denied.
Rogoz also argues that reconsideration should be granted on his failure to
intervene claim because the defendants offered unsworn statements that they did
not see any force being applied to Rogoz at the scene, which is inadequate to
support a motion for summary judgment. The Court, however, did not consider
The Court notes that, as set forth in the summary judgment decision, Mr. Rogoz
did not dispute most of Detective Watson’s recollection of events.
these unsworn affidavits in its decision. Rather, the Court granted summary
judgment on Rogoz’s failure to intervene claim based on the plaintiff’s failure to
present any evidence in the record that the officers on the scene had a
reasonable opportunity to intervene. In fact, as the Court noted, the only
evidence in the record as to this claim was Mr. Rogoz’s own deposition
testimony, pursuant to which the only reasonable inference that could be drawn
was that the defendant officers did not have sufficient time to intervene.
Reconsideration is denied as to this claim.
Lastly, reconsideration is denied as to Rogoz’s claim pursuant to Conn.
Gen. Stats. §§ 7-465 and 52-557n, as reconsideration is premised on
reconsideration of the federal claims in this action.
As the Court did not overlook any argument or law now raised by the
plaintiff, Mr. Rogoz’s Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant
United States District Judge
Dated at Hartford, Connecticut: February 20, 2014
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