Paul v. Ramos
ORDER granting 27 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Warren W. Eginton on 10/17/2016. (LaMura, K.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
No. 3:14CV1960 (WWE)
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON DEFENDANT’S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
This case concerns alleged violation of the plaintiff Christopher Paul’s Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendment rights based upon an asserted malicious prosecution by
defendant Edaliz Ramos. Plaintiff also claims that defendant intentionally caused him
to suffer emotional distress. Defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment. For
the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment will be granted.
In support of the motion for summary judgment, the parties have submitted
statements of undisputed facts in compliance with Local Rule 56(a)1, exhibits and
affidavits. These materials reflect that the following facts are undisputed.
On November 29, 2009, plaintiff was arrested for kidnaping of a minor relative in
Massachusetts. The Westborough District Court placed plaintiff on probation for a
period of one year ending in November 2013. As a condition of probation, plaintiff was
required to provide his probation officer with verification that he did not possess any
firearms, if necessary.
Plaintiff applied for transfer of his probation supervision to Connecticut where he
resided. The transfer was accepted.
On November 26, 2012, plaintiff reported to defendant Probation Officer Edaliz
Ramos for intake. Plaintiff refused to complete a substance abuse survey. After
plaintiff was informed that he would be referred for a Mental Health Evaluation, he
indicated that he would only go to a mental health provider who would “not make him
On November 28, 2012, Probation Supervisor Green determined that plaintiff
should be supervised as a Mental Health Client. Probation Officer Ramos informed
plaintiff that he needed to obtain a mental health evaluation within two weeks and
provide verification that he was no longer in possession of a firearm.
On December 4, 2012, plaintiff reported to Ramos for an office visit. Ramos
informed plaintiff that if he failed to abide by the conditions of probation, his case would
be sent back to Massachusetts. Ramos asked plaintiff about a firearm registered to
him. He responded that it was a “dead issue.” Ramos then told plaintiff that he needed
to get verification from the state police that he was no longer in possession of the
firearm registered to him.
Plaintiff also reported that he had had five mental health evaluations, although
he refused to provide any such evaluation to Ramos and he refused to provide Ramos
with a release so that she could obtain a copy from his provider.
On December 5, 2012, Ramos sent an offender violation report to
Massachusetts regarding plaintiff’s possible possession of a firearm and his refusal to
attend a mental health evaluation or provide a medical release to Ramos.
On December 7, 2012, the Westborough District Court amended plaintiff
conditions of probation to provide that plaintiff submit to a mental health evaluation and
verify by December 12, 2012, the status of any firearm he may own or have owned.
On December 11, 2012, plaintiff had an office visit with Ramos, at which time he
refused to call a doctor for a mental health evaluation and refused to sign a release. He
was informed that he needed to comply with the conditions of probation regarding his
firearm verification by December 12, 2012.
On December 12, 2012, the West Hartford police reported that they had
confiscated 16 firearms from plaintiff in 2009. However, the firearm that appeared as
registered to plaintiff was not included in the group of firearms confiscated in 2009.
That day, Ramos sent a second offender violation report to Massachusetts due
to plaintiff’s failure to comply with the conditions of his probation regarding the mental
health evaluation and verification of his firearm status as of December 12, 2012.
On December 13, 2012, Ramos sent a third offender violation report to
Massachusetts based on plaintiff continued noncompliance with the probation
conditions. Pursuant to an interstate compact policy, a third offender violation report
results in the sending state retaking the individual on probation.
On December 18, 2012, plaintiff was handcuffed and taken into custody.
Ramos’s supervision of plaintiff ceased on December 21, 2012.
On February 11, 2013, the Westborough District Court placed plaintiff on a year
long probation period ending on February 11, 2014. As a condition of probation,
plaintiff was required to contact a mental health provider to obtain a mental health
evaluation and verify his verify his weapon disposal within two weeks of February 11,
2013; plaintiff was also required to sign a medical release so that probation could verify
his medical compliance.
Plaintiff provided a mental health evaluation to his probation officer in March
2013. In October 2013, The Westborough District Court terminated plaintiff’s probation.
A motion for summary judgment must be granted if the pleadings, discovery
materials before the court and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and it is clear that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
A dispute regarding a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The burden is on the moving party to
demonstrate the absence of any material factual issue genuinely in dispute. Am. Int’l
Group, Inc. v. London Am. Int’l Corp., 664 F. 2d 348, 351 (2d Cir. 1981).
If a nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential
element of his case with respect to which he has the burden of proof, then summary
judgment is appropriate. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. If the nonmoving party
submits evidence which is “merely colorable,” legally sufficient opposition to the motion
for summary judgment is not met. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 24. The mere of
existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmoving party’s position is
insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for him.
See Dawson v. County of Westchester, 373 F.3d 265, 272 (2d Cir. 2004).
On summary judgment, the court resolves all ambiguities and draws all
permissible factual inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. See Patterson v.
County of Oneida, 375 F.3d 206, 218 (2d Cir. 2004). If there is any evidence in the
record from which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the opposing party
on the issue on which summary judgment is sought, summary judgment is improper.
See Security Ins. Co. of Hartford v. Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., 391 F.3d 77, 83 (2d
Plaintiff alleges violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights on
grounds that he was the subject of a malicious prosecution. Defendant maintains that
plaintiff cannot establish his claim of malicious prosecution and that qualified immunity
shields defendant from liability.
To prevail on a Section 1983 claim of malicious prosecution, plaintiff must show
a violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment and the elements of malicious
prosecution claim under state law. Manganiello v. City of New York, 612 F.3d 149, 160161 (2d Cir. 2010). In Connecticut, the elements of a malicious prosecution claim
require 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;
and (3) the defendant acted with malice for a purpose other than that of bringing an
offender to justice. Turner v. Boyle, 116 F. Supp. 3d 58, 84 (D. Conn. 2015).
The undisputed facts demonstrate that summary judgment should be granted on
the ground of qualified immunity.
Qualified immunity shields government officials whose conduct “does not violate
clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would
have known.” Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). The scope of qualified
immunity is broad. Qualified immunity protects “all but the plainly incompetent or those
who knowingly violate the law.” Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 341 (1986).
The test for qualified immunity is twofold and must be considered in sequence.
The threshold question is whether, taken in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the
facts demonstrate the official’s violation of one of the plaintiff’s constitutional rights.
The next question is whether that constitutional right was clearly established within the
specific context of the case. In other words, the court must consider whether the
constitutional right was clear enough so that a reasonable officer would understand that
his actions would violate that right. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001).
Thus, a qualified immunity defense is established where "(a) the defendant’s
action did not violate clearly established law, or (b) it was objectively reasonable for the
defendant to believe that his action did not violate such law." Tierney v. Davidson, 133
F.3d 189, 196 (2d Cir. 1998).
The doctrine of qualified immunity recognizes that "reasonable mistakes can
made as to the legal constraints on particular police conduct." Saucier, 533 U.S. at
205. Qualified immunity applies if the officer’s mistake as to what the law requires is
reasonable. Id. Qualified immunity does not apply if, on an objective basis, it is
obvious that no reasonably competent officer would have taken the actions of the
alleged violation. Malley, 475 U.S. at 341. Summary judgment is appropriate when a
trier of fact would find that reasonable officers could disagree. Lennon v. Miller, 66 F.3d
416, 421 (2d Cir. 1995). Even assuming that defendant’s conduct violated a clearly
established law, it was objectively reasonable for defendant to believe that her conduct
did not violate the law. She sent the three offender violation reports that resulted in
plaintiff being taken into custody on the basis of plaintiff’s continued failure to comply
with the conditions of probation. Plaintiff maintains that plaintiff should have inquired
further about his firearms with the West Hartford or Connecticut State police. However,
the record adduced does not demonstrate that defendant’s failure to make such inquiry
was improper or that the decision to send the three offender reports to Massachusetts
due to his noncompliance was unreasonable. Accordingly, the Court will grant
summary judgment in defendant’s favor on the Constitutional violations.
State Law Claims
To the extent that plaintiff asserts a claim of intentional infliction of emotional
distress or any other state law claim, the Court will decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction pursuant to jurisdiction over the such state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
For the foregoing reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. #27] is
GRANTED. The state law claims are dismissed without prejudice. The clerk is
instructed to close this case.
Dated this __17th__ day of October, 2016 at Bridgeport, Connecticut.
/s/Warren W. Eginton
WARREN W. EGINTON
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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