Mara v. MacNamara et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 98 Motion for Summary Judgment. Please see attached Ruling & Order for details. Signed by Judge Robert N. Chatigny on 9/30/17. (Jones, P.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
CHIEF GARY MACNAMARA,
DETECTIVE STEPHEN RILLING,
DETECTIVE EDWARD NOOK,
SERGEANT FREDERICK HINE,
LIEUTENANT MICHAEL GAGNER,
SERGEANT ANTONIO GRANATA,
DETECTIVE JASON TAKACS, AND
TOWN OF FAIRFIELD,
Case No. 3:14-cv-1095 (RNC)
RULING AND ORDER
Plaintiff John Mara brings this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the Town of Fairfield and the following members of
the Fairfield Police Department: Chief Gary MacNamara, Detective
Stephen Rilling, Detective Edward Nook, Sergeant Frederick Hine,
Lieutenant Michael Gagner, Sergeant Antonio Granata and Detective
Plaintiff claims the defendants conspired to
coercively interrogate, falsely arrest, and maliciously prosecute
him, in violation of his rights under the Fourth, Fifth and
He also brings state law claims for false
imprisonment, false arrest, intentional infliction of emotional
distress and malicious prosecution.
He claims the Town is liable
under a state indemnification statute.
Defendants move for
For reasons explained below, the motion is
granted as to the claims against Chief MacNamara, Lt. Gagner,
Sgt. Granata and Det. Takacs but denied as to the other claims.
The record shows the following.
At a New Year’s eve party
during the late evening of December 31, 2012, or early morning of
January 1, 2013, Philip Blackman was struck in the head with a
That morning, while Blackman was undergoing surgery, his
father notified the Fairfield Police Department.
acting as lead investigator, and Det. Nook spoke to Blackman’s
father and several people who were at the party. The attendees
told the detectives they had not witnessed the assault but had
heard plaintiff was responsible. Later that day, while speaking
to the host of the party at her home, the detectives were
approached by David O’Brien, who informed them that Luke
Kazmierczak witnessed the assault.
Later that day at the Fairfield Police Station, Kazmierczak
stated that he saw the person who hit Blackman.
He said it was a
white male in his twenties with short, dark-colored hair.
told the detectives the suspect ran from the scene and was
shirtless, highly intoxicated and out of control.
obtained a photograph of plaintiff from his student ID at
Fairfield University (“University”).
Lt. Gagner, an officer in
charge of technology and building photo arrays, created a photo
array including plaintiff and five other young males with dark
hair and light skin.
When Sgt. Granata showed the photo array to
Kazmierczak, he selected a photograph of another individual with
Later that day, plaintiff’s mother called Det. Rilling. She
said plaintiff had been told police were looking for him in
connection with the assault and he was receiving threatening
phone calls from Blackman’s friends.
According to plaintiff,
Det. Rilling told her the police wanted to speak with plaintiff,
but he was not the target of their investigation or a suspect.
They made arrangements for Mara to come to the police station on
January 2, 2013, at 5:00 p.m.
Plaintiff had class at the
University until around 3:00 p.m.
At some point prior to the
planned meeting, William Heller, an attorney who worked for
plaintiff’s father, spoke with Det. Rilling. According to Heller,
Rilling told him plaintiff was not a target or suspect in the
investigation and did not need an attorney to accompany him to
On January 2, 2013, Det. Rilling, Dt. Nook and Sgt. Hine
went to the University to speak with plaintiff.1 Det. Rilling and
a University Public Safety Officer were waiting for plaintiff by
his car when his class ended.
The officers were armed and had
used their vehicles to block plaintiff’s car.
According to defendants, Det. Rilling chose to meet plaintiff at the
University to make him more comfortable, to avoid interference and to
make sure he did not forget to go to the station. Plaintiff claims the
officers intended to surprise and confront him.
asked plaintiff if he was willing to have the interview on campus
instead of the police station and plaintiff said yes.
officers took him to a small room in the Public Safety
Once in the room, the officers told plaintiff he was not
under arrest but did not allow him to use his cell phone.2
asked him about New Years night and plaintiff admitted to
attending several parties that evening, including the party where
Blackman was struck.
He said he was drunk that evening and
couldn’t remember parts of the night. From what he was told by
friends, though, he believed he did not arrive until after
Blackman was struck.
The detectives pressed him for more
information about that night and about the party.
stated repeatedly that he did not remember assaulting Blackman,
whom he barely knew, and his friends had told him he did not
At one point, plaintiff mentioned he would
like to talk to some other people.
The detectives asked who
plaintiff wanted to talk to, and Mara responded “Um, my father.
Um, possibly a lawyer.”
Det. Rilling then stated, “So, are you
saying you want to talk to a lawyer right now?” Plaintiff
responded, “No, no.”
Despite plaintiff’s repeated denials, the detectives
continued to press him. Det. Rilling posited that surveillance
Sgt. Hine observed the interview but did not participate and was not
involved in the investigation after the interview.
footage existed from the party and would show what happened,
including whether plaintiff was guilty. The officers discussed
their experiences with other suspects and said plaintiff would
later look like a “sociopath” if he was lying. They said he could
be “locked up” in Bridgeport if he was guilty.
You're going to Bridgeport court and you're going to have to
hang out with all the people that are drug addicts, that
commit crimes and all that. There's a chance that you are
going to get locked up for a little bit. You're going to
end up with some guy that killed somebody, that robbed
somebody, that likes to smoke crack, that likes to do drugs
and cocaine, whatever. That's not you. That's not you.
That's what I am saying to you. You don't belong there.
That's why you need to make a decision right now of how
we're leaving this. Because I am getting aggravated, I'm
getting aggravated because you're closed off and you're not
wanting to tell me.
Plaintiff responded, “But I’ve told you everything I know.” Det.
Rilling then asked why so many people were picking him as the one
who committed the assault.
Plaintiff responded, “I'm not sure. I
would love to find out if I actually did it, I would have loved
to find out from someone.” After the detectives continued to
press plaintiff, he eventually said, “I was drunk and I don't
remember some, like a lot of the night, so there's a chance it
could have happened.”
According to plaintiff, he was afraid of Det. Rilling.
the interrogation room, plaintiff was in a corner and Det. Nook
was blocking the door.
Plaintiff thought Det. Rilling was being
aggressive, and in the small room, he felt he had no choice but
to talk to the officers.
Plaintiff later stated in his
It made me question myself. I mean, it was something I knew
I did not do. They just got into my head so much that, you
know, I could be going to jail for something that I -- had
no involvement in. . . . He was trying to get me to believe
I did it, and they messed with my head so much that when I
left, I was doubting myself. Even though going into it I
knew I did not do this, they - - they messed with my head so
much while I was in there that I was questioning myself.
He said that when he asked to speak to a lawyer, “I got a
horrible response from them . . . it was aggressive, loud. They
made me feel like if I got up and left, they would be sending me
to jail in Bridgeport with murderers and that's why I decided to
stay because of what they said and how they said it.” Plaintiff’s
father testified that when he saw his son after the
interrogation, plaintiff started crying.
Upon meeting plaintiff in person, Det. Rilling thought he
looked different than in his student ID photo, so he took an
updated photo during the interview.
This photo was provided to
Lt. Gagner, who prepared a second photo array including plaintiff
and five other young males with dark hair and light skin.
Plaintiff was the only person who appeared in both arrays.
Kazmierczak returned to view the second photo array and selected
plaintiff’s photo with 100% certainty.
He later provided a sworn
statement that plaintiff was the assailant.
On January 3, 2017, David O’Brien went to the Fairfield
O’Brien reported that he was at the party at
the time of the assault.
Though he did not witness the assault,
he said Kazmierczak pointed out the assailant at the party soon
after the assault.
Det. Takacs showed O’Brien the second photo
array and asked him whether he could identify the person
Kazmierczak had pointed to. O’Brien selected the photo of
plaintiff with 100% certainty.
He gave a sworn statement that
Kazmierczak had pointed to plaintiff. He also said he had taken a
photo of plaintiff that night after Kazmierczak identified him as
the person who struck Blackman.
Det. Rilling also interviewed Daniel Langlais, who attended
the party with Blackman and knew plaintiff from class.
he saw Blackman being pushed out of the house.
intervened but was tackled.
When he got up, he saw a group of
people standing around Blackman.
He heard someone shout his name
and saw it was plaintiff, who had no shirt and was “jumping
Not all the people interviewed by defendants pinned the
assault on plaintiff.
Plaintiff’s friend Kyle Cullam told Det.
Rilling that plaintiff and his friends all arrived at the party
after the assault occurred.
Two other friends confirmed this
version of events. Plaintiff’s brother, Sean Mara, stated that
the assault occurred before he and his brother arrived at the
He also stated his brother was drunk, shirtless for part
of the evening and acting “crazy.”
At one point, Sean put
plaintiff in a choke hold and punched him because of how he was
On February 21, 2013, Det. Rilling prepared an arrest
warrant for Mara. His supporting affidavit contained information
about both photo arrays and summarized the various interviews the
The warrant was reviewed by Sgt. Granata,
Lt. Gagner and State’s Attorney John Smriga. Smirga determined
there was probable cause and signed the warrant.
signed by Judge Devlin on Feburary 22, 2013.
The warrant was
himself in and posted bond.
After plaintiff’s arrest, Det. Rilling received an anonymous
phone call from a woman who said the wrong person was in custody.
Two weeks later, another caller stated that two of John Cordone’s
friends were involved in Blackman’s assault.
Det. Rilling spoke
with Cordone and concluded that Cordone’s friends committed the
Det. Rilling contacted State’s Attorney Smriga
regarding this new evidence.
Smriga decided to nolle plaintiff’s
charges and the case was dismissed on October 3, 2013.
Defendants move for summary judgment as to all claims,
arguing plaintiff has not produced sufficient evidence to prove
his claims, the officers are entitled to qualified immunity, many
of the officers were not personally involved, and the Town is not
subject to liability under these circumstances.
Summary judgment may be granted when there is no genuine
issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.
317, 322 (1986).
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
To avoid summary judgment, the non-moving party
must point to evidence that would permit a jury to return a
verdict in his or her favor.
477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
In determining whether this standard
is met, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable
to the non-moving party.
Id. at 255.
Liability Under Section 1983
To recover under section 1983, a plaintiff “must allege that
(1) the challenged conduct was attributable at least in part to a
person who was acting under color of state law and (2) the
conduct deprived the plaintiff of a right guaranteed under the
Constitution of the United Stats.” Snider v. Dylag, 188 F.3d 51,
54 (2d Cir. 1999).
Qualified immunity shields defendants from liability unless
they violate clearly established rights that an objectively
reasonable official would have known.
U.S. 800, 818 (1982).
Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457
“Official conduct violates clearly
established law ‘when, at the time of the challenged conduct,
‘the contours of a right are sufficiently clear’ that every
‘reasonable official would have understood that what he is doing
violates that right.’” Terebesi v. Torreso, 764 F.3d 217, 230 (2d
Cir. 2014) (quoting Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 563 U.S. 731, 741
To determine whether a right was clearly established,
courts consider “(1) whether the right in question was defined
with ‘reasonable specificity’; (2) whether the decisional law of
the Supreme Court and the applicable circuit court support the
existence of the right in question; and (3) whether under
preexisting law a reasonable defendant official would have
understood that his or her acts were unlawful.”
Smith, 945 F.2d 547, 550 (2d Cir. 1991).
Fifth Amendment Self-Incrimination Claim
Plaintiff claims that Det. Rilling and Det. Nook violated
his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was
interrogated. The Fifth Amendment provides that no person “shall
be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against
U.S. Const. Amend. V.
The key inquiry is whether,
looking at the totality of the circumstances, inculpatory
statements used in a criminal case were obtained by coercion.3
Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 226 (1973). The totality
of the surrounding circumstances test asks whether the
complainant’s “will was overborne by looking at both the
characteristics of the accused and the details of the
Use in a criminal case is broadly defined. Higazy v. Templeton, 505
F.3d 161, 173 (2d Cir. 2007) (holding that use of a coerced statement
at a pretrial bail hearing violates the Fifth Amendment); Weaver v.
Brenner, 40 F.3d 527 (2d Cir. 1994) (holding that use of a coerced
statement at a grand jury proceeding violates the Fifth Amendment).
interrogation.” Id. Courts consider the “experience, background,
and education of the accused; the conditions of the
interrogation; and the conduct of the law enforcement officials,
notably, whether there was physical abuse, the period of
restraint in handcuffs, and use of psychologically coercive
tactics, including whether police engaged in trickery.”
v. Spitzer, 170 F. Supp. 2d 327, 339 (E.D.N.Y. 2001) aff’d, 343
F.3d 553 (2d Cir. 2003).
Here, plaintiff alleges the defendants lied to and
intimidated him until he told them what they wanted to hear.
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, I
agree.4 Plaintiff was 21 years old, had limited experience
dealing with police or police interrogation, and thought he was
going to the police station with his father merely to help clear
up the confusion stemming from the assault.
officers surprised him after class, blocking his car and
intimating that he had to talk to them right away.
interview, the officers told plaintiff they would put him in
prison with dangerous individuals.
They told him that if he did
not confess, he would look like a sociopath.
After one and a
half hours of interrogation, and after the officers refused to
believe his repeated statements that he had told them everything
Plaintiff also alleges that the defendants violated his Miranda
rights. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 479 (1966). However,
Miranda violations do not give rise to a claim for damages under §
1983. Chavez v. Martinez, 538 U.S. 760, 767 (2003) (plurality);
Weaver v. Brenner, 40 F.3d 527, 534 (2d Cir. 1994).
he knew, he acquiesced to their version of events.
In the end,
he stated, “I was drunk and I don't remember some like a lot of
the night so there's a chance it could have happened.”
Plaintiff’s statement was then used against him to obtain an
arrest warrant and support an information charging him with
Plaintiff has shown a genuine dispute of fact as to whether
his will was overborne resulting in an inculpatory statement that
was used against him. The right against self-incrimination in the
interrogation context, as articulated in Schneckloth and other
cases, is clearly established.
Thus, if plaintiff can prove his
Fifth Amendment claim, the officers will not be entitled to
qualified immunity, making summary judgment inappropriate.
Due Process Eyewitness Identification Claim
Plaintiff claims the witness identification procedure used
by the defendants violated due process.
To prevail on this
claim, he must show that the procedure was unnecessarily
suggestive and, looking at the totality of the circumstances,
there was a “substantial likelihood of misidentification.”
v. New Hampshire, 565 U.S. 228, 239 (2012).
“The fairness of a
photographic array depends on a number of factors, including the
size of the array, the manner of presentation by the officers,
and the array's contents.”
369, 377 (2d Cir. 1992).
United States v. Concepcion, 983 F.2d
A suggestive procedure, standing alone,
does not constitute a constitutional violation: plaintiff must
show the “right to a fair trial . . . was impaired by the
admission of testimony regarding the unreliable identification.”
Wray v. City of N.Y., 490 F.3d 189, 193 (2d Cir. 2007).
Plaintiff claims the eyewitness identification was improper
and unnecessarily suggestive because Kazmierczak failed to
identify him in the first photo array and he was the only person
who appeared in both arrays shown to Kazmierczak.
suspect’s photo in two photo spreads is not necessarily
constitutionally impermissible. See United States v. Maguire, 918
F.2d 254, 263 (1st Cir. 1990) (permissible even if it is the same
However, whether the use of two photos is permissible in
a particular case is a highly fact-intensive inquiry. See Gilbert
v. Superintendent of Collins Corr. Facility, No. 03 CIV.3866 LBS,
2004 WL 287683, at *10–11 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 11, 2004) (finding,
post-trial, that since witness had seen suspect previously and
the pictures of the accused in two photo arrays were noticeably
different, multiple viewings were not unduly suggestive).
Viewing the evidence in a manner most favorable to the plaintiff,
a reasonable jury could find the photos were impermissibly
suggestive and there was a likelihood of misidentification.
Therefore, summary judgment is not appropriate.
False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution Claims
Plaintiff claims the defendants falsely arrested and
maliciously prosecuted him in violation of the Fourth Amendment
and state law.
To establish a claim for false arrest in
violation of the Fourth Amendment, plaintiff must show: “(1) the
defendant intentionally arrested him or had him arrested; (2) the
plaintiff was aware of the arrest; (3) there was no consent for
the arrest; and (4) the arrest was not supported by probable
Shattuck v. Town of Stratford, 233 F.Supp.2d 301, 306
(D.Conn. 2002) (citation omitted). Plaintiff’s false arrest claim
requires a showing that his physical liberty was restrained by
the defendants and the restraint was against his will - “that is,
that he did not consent to the restraint or acquiesce in it
Lo Sacco v. Young, 20 Conn. App. 6, 19, 564 A.2d
610, 617 (Conn. App. 1989), cert. denied, 213 Conn. 808, 568 A.2d
Malicious prosecution claims require a showing that:
“(1) the defendant initiated or procured the institution of
criminal proceedings against the plaintiff; (2) the criminal
proceedings have terminated in favor of the plaintiff, (3) the
defendant acted without probable cause; and (4) the defendant
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, 446 A.2d 815 (1982).
For all three claims, the existence of probable cause is a
complete defense, “whether the action is brought under state law
or under Section 1983.” Frey v. Maloney, 476 F. Supp. 2d 141, 150
(D. Conn. 2007).
Probable cause “exists when the officers have
knowledge or reasonably trustworthy information of facts and
circumstances that are sufficient to warrant a person of
reasonable caution in the belief that the person to be arrested
has committed or is committing a crime.”
Walczyk v. Rio, 496
F.3d 139, 156 (2d Cir. 2007)(quotations and citations omitted).
An officer is entitled to qualified immunity if he can show the
arrest was supported by “arguable probable cause,” which exists
if either (a) “it was objectively reasonable for the officer to
believe that probable cause existed,” or (b) “officers of
reasonable competence could disagree on whether the probable
cause test was met.”
Escalera v. Lunn, 361 F.3d 737, 743 (2d
While the arguable probable cause standard is “more
favorable” to officers than the probable cause standard, it is
not toothless: qualified immunity will not apply if reasonable
officers “would have to agree” that the information does not “add
up” to probable cause - even if it “came close.”
City of White Plains, 702 F.3d 15, 21 (2d Cir. 2012).
Plaintiff claims he was falsely arrested on two occasions:
when Det. Rilling and Det. Nook interrogated him at the
University, and when he turned himself in after the defendants
obtained an arrest warrant.
Viewing the evidence in a manner
most favorable to the plaintiff, there is a genuine dispute as to
whether he was falsely arrested during the interrogation at the
When the officers first approached him, they were
armed and had used their vehicles to block his car, preventing
him from leaving.
He was surprised by their presence on campus,
felt coerced and did not feel free to leave.
At that time, there
was merely a rumor he was the assailant; no one had positively
identified him in a line up or photo array, and the officers had
no concrete evidence linking him to the assault.
lacked even arguable probable cause for an arrest.
There is also a genuine dispute as to whether plaintiff was
falsely arrested when he was confined pursuant to the arrest
The issuance of a warrant by a neutral magistrate
creates a presumption that it was objectively reasonable for the
officer to believe probable cause existed.
Haven, 950 F.2d 864, 870 (2d Cir. 1991).
Golino v. City of New
This presumption can be
overcome, however, if the officer who applied for the warrant
knowingly or recklessly included false statements or omitted
material information in the affidavit, and the false or omitted
information was necessary to the finding of probable cause.
Walczyk, 496 F.3d at 155-56. To determine whether false or
omitted information was necessary to establish probable cause for
the issuance of a warrant, courts consider whether probable cause
still exists when the challenged affidavit is “corrected.”
Pines v. Bailey, 563 F. App’x 814, 817 (2d Cir. 2014).
are not material if, after correcting any misstatements and
including any omitted information, the corrected affidavit would
have been “sufficient to support arguable probable cause.”
Escalera, 361 F.3d at 743-44.
If the corrected affidavit
provides “an objective basis to support arguable probable cause,”
any remaining factual disputes are not material to the qualified
immunity determination, and the defendant is entitled to summary
According to plaintiff, his arrest warrant was premised on
1) a coercive interrogation, and 2) a constitutionally defective
identification. As discussed above, there is a genuine dispute as
to whether plaintiff’s interrogation was coercive and the
eyewitness identification procedure was permissible with respect
There is also a genuine dispute as to whether
the officers recklessly included this information.5
these two pieces of evidence, the arrest warrant was premised on
the following evidence: 1) plaintiff attended the party where the
assault occurred; 2) plaintiff was highly intoxicated and acting
erratically that night; 3) plaintiff was chosen out of a photo
The officers interrogated plaintiff for one and a half hours.
Plaintiff “admitted” he might be the assailant only after the officers
repeatedly pressed him about the party and suggested he would look
like a “sociopath” if he were lying. Det. Rilling and Det. Nook may
have known this “admission” was suspect. The officers were also on
notice Kazmierczak’s identification might be suspect because he had
failed to identify plaintiff the first time they showed him a photo
array by O’Brien, who had not himself witnessed the assault; and
4) Langlais placed plaintiff at the party shirtless and acting
crazy at the time of the assault.
Given that there was no direct
evidence linking plaintiff to the assault, there is a genuine
dispute as to whether there was arguable probable cause at the
time the officers obtained the warrant.
Thus, summary judgment
is not appropriate.
Fourteenth Amendment Substantive Due Process and Inentional
Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims
To prove a Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process
violation, plaintiff must provide evidence of coercive custodial
interrogation techniques that “shock the sensibilities of a
Deshawn E. by Charlotte E. v. Safir, 156
F.3d 340, 346 (2d Cir. 1998) (quoting Moran v. Burbine, 475 U.S.
412, 433-34 (1986)).
A claim for intentional infliction of
emotional distress requires a showing of conduct that is “so
extreme and outrageous that it goes beyond all possible bounds of
decency, is regarded as atrocious, is utterly intolerable in a
civilized society, and is of a nature that is especially
calculated to cause, and does cause, mental distress of a very
Miner v. Town of Cheshire, 126 F. Supp. 2d 184,
194 (D. Conn. 2000).
Plaintiff may be able to prove the elements of these claims.
Crediting his account, and giving him the benefit of all
reasonable inferences, the officers deliberately surprised him
when they confronted him on campus and, in accordance with a
calculated plan, gained an advantage by causing him to think he
could not leave.
They did this in order to interrogate him when
he would be alone and unaccompanied by his father.
aggressively interrogated him over one and a half hours.
threatened him with incarceration and caused him to fear that he
was going to be locked-up in jail, where he would be at the mercy
of dangerous, hardened criminals.
They did not relent until they
got him to say that their version might be true.
distressed immediately after the interrogation.
He was visibly
He was later
arrested and held in custody based on a defective warrant.
reasonable jury could conclude that this conduct was sufficiently
beyond the pale to justify a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
Individual Defendants and Conspiracy Claims
Plaintiff brings his claims against numerous defendants.
defendant is liable under section 1983 only if he “subjects or
causes [plaintiff] to be subjected” to a constitutional
deprivation. 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Thus, plaintiff must establish
causation as to each defendant.
To prove a conspiracy, he must
show an agreement “to act in concert to inflict an
unconstitutional injury” and “an overt act done in furtherance of
that goal causing damages.”
Ciambriello v. Cty. of Nassau, 292
F.3d 307, 324–25 (2d Cir. 2002).
To prove aiding and abetting
under state law, plaintiff must show: 1) a wrongful act; 2) that
the actor was “generally aware of his role as part of an overall
illegal or tortious activity” when he provides the assistance;
and 3) the actor “knowingly and substantially assist[ed] the
Fink v. Magner, 988 F. Supp. 70, 72 (D.
Conn. 1997) (quotation marks and citation omitted).
Several defendants had little to no involvement in
Lt. Gagner was uninvolved beyond reviewing the
arrest warrant and compiling photo arrays, which was a part of
his role in the department.6
Sgt. Granata merely presented the
Det. Takac’s role was limited to presenting a
photo array to David O’Brien.
I agree with defendants that this
evidence is insufficient to prove individual liability under
Thus, Lt. Gagner, Sgt. Granata, and Det. Takacs
are entitled to summary judgment on all counts against them.7
Defendants also argue Chief MacNamara lacks any involvement
beyond supervising the other defendants.
Supervisors cannot be
held liable under section 1983 solely on a theory of respondeat
Richardson v. Goord, 347 F.3d 431, 435 (2d Cir. 2003).
Plaintiff must show with specific facts that a supervisor was
personally involved in a constitutional violation.
MacNamara was not involved in the investigation and did not write
Det. Rilling made the decision to include different photos of the
Sgt. Hine was present when plaintiff was confronted at the University
but did not participate in the interrogation or any other subsequent
events. Although his role was limited, I find there is a genuine
dispute as to whether he is liable for false arrest.
or review plaintiff’s arrest warrant.
In fact, plaintiff has
failed to provide any evidence that Chief MacNamara was even on
notice of what the other defendants were doing.
plaintiff has failed to provide evidence of individual liability,
Chief MacNamara is entitled to summary judgment as to all counts
Defendants argue that, even if the individual defendants
violated plaintiff’s rights, the Town is not liable. To hold the
Town liable under Section 1983, plaintiff must show that it
caused the constitutional deprivation through an official “policy
or custom” of the municipality or a municipal officer responsible
for establishing official policy. See Hartline v. Gallo, 546 F.3d
95, 103 (2d Cir. 2008) (citing Monell v. Dep’t Social Servs. City
of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 695 (1978)). Plaintiff has made no
such allegations and provided no evidence the Town or a final
policymaker caused his injuries.
Plaintiff argues instead that the Town is liable under Conn.
Gen. Stat. § 7-465, which requires municipalities to pay “all
sums which [employees] become obligated to pay . . . for
damages awarded for infringement of any person’s civil rights.”
Defendants appear to concede that the Town will be required to
indemnify any of the individual defendants if plaintiff can prove
liability as to any of them. Because summary judgment is denied
as to some individual defendants, the indemnification claim
remains as well.
Accordingly, the motion for summary judgment [ECF No. 98]
is granted in part and denied in part.
So ordered this 30th day of September 2017.
Robert N. Chatigny
United States District Judge
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