Ramos v. Poore et al
ORDER: For reasons explained in the attached Order, the Court amends its judgment and dismisses the remaining claims in this case under Rule 60(d)(1). Signed by Judge Victor A. Bolden on 10/20/17.(McDonough, S.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
COREY POORE, et al.
Civil No. 3:15-cv-518 (VAB)
RULING ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
Jose Eric Ramos (“Plaintiff”), is currently confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution in Suffield, Connecticut (“MacDougall-Walker”). Mr. Ramos initially filed this action
in the Connecticut Superior Court for the Judicial District of New London, asserting claims of
excessive force, lack of speedy arraignment, and violations of the right to counsel and the right to
remain silent against Sergeant Corey Poore, Detectives James Curtis and H. Reams, Supervisor
John Doe on Shift 9-16-12 and the Norwich Police Department (together “Defendants”). On
April 9, 2015, Defendants removed the action from state court to this Court under 28 U.S.C. §
1446. See Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1.
On April 20, 2016, Defendants moved for summary judgment. Defs. Mot. for Summ. J.,
ECF No. 13. On March 31, 2017, the Court granted the motion for summary judgment as to the
majority of Mr. Ramos’s claims and dismissed the claims against the Norwich Police
Department under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). See Summ. J. Ruling, ECF No. 27. The Court,
however, denied the motion as to the as to the Fourth Amendment failure to intervene in the use
of force claim against Detective Poore. Id.
Defendants have now moved for reconsideration of the denial of their motion for
summary judgment as to the Fourth Amendment failure to intervene claim against Detective
Poore. Def. Mot. for Reconsid., ECF No. 30. Because Defendants filed the motion for
reconsideration past the deadline, the motion is denied. However, for reasons explained below,
the Court will amend its judgment and dismiss the remaining claim in this case under Rule
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL SUMMARY
Mr. Ramos initially brought Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims against
several members of the Norwich Police Department, alleging failure to intervene, lack of speedy
arraignment, and violations of the right to counsel and the right to remain silent. See Not. of
Removal, ECF No. 1; Summ. J. Ruling, ECF No. 27. Mr. Ramos never alleged any claims
against officers or detectives with the New York Police Department (“NYPD”), nor did he
identify anyone from the NYPD as a Defendant in this action. On March 31, 2017, the Court
dismissed all claims as to all Defendants, with the exception of a Fourth Amendment failure to
intervene claim against Detective Poore. Summ. J. Ruling at 16, ECF No. 27.
According to Mr. Ramos, unnamed officers and an unnamed detective from the New
York Police Department used excessive force against him in the context of his arrest and a
subsequent criminal interrogation. Id. at 14-15. Mr. Ramos alleged that Detective Poore was
present during his arrest, when officers with the New York Police Department allegedly
assaulted him. Id. at 13. He also alleged that Detective Poore asked Mr. Ramos questions while
another detective twisted the handcuffs on Mr. Ramos’s wrists and pulled Mr. Ramos’s arms
over his head. Id. Based on these factual allegations, the Court found a genuine dispute of
material fact as to whether Detective Poore failed to intervene in the use of excessive force
against Mr. Ramos and allowed Mr. Ramos’s failure to intervene claim to go forward as to
Detective Poore only.
On April 19, 2017, nineteen days after the Court’s ruling on the motion for summary
judgment, Defendants filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court’s decision. Def. Mot. for
Reconsid., ECF No. 30. Defendants argue that the Court failed to consider relevant case law,
including the Court’s ruling in Anderson v. Waterbury Police Dep't, No. 14-CV-829 (VAB),
2017 WL 1157843 (D. Conn. Mar. 28, 2017), and Usavage v. Port Auth. of New York & New
Jersey, 932 F. Supp. 2d 575 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), suggesting that a failure to intervene claim should
only proceed in connection with a valid underlying excessive force claim. Def. Mot. for
Reconsid., ECF No. 30. According to Defendants, because Mr. Ramos never brought an
excessive force claim against the NYPD officials who allegedly used excessive force against him
during his arrest and interrogation, his failure to intervene claim against Detective Poore must
fail as a matter of law.
As explained in further detail below, the Court agrees with Defendants. However,
Defendants filed their motion for reconsideration after the deadline had passed. Therefore, their
motion is denied, but the Court will issue a Rule 60(b) order to amend the judgment; as a result,
all claims are dismissed.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
“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);
see also Virgin Atlantic Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992)
(“The major grounds justifying reconsideration are an intervening change of controlling law, the
availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice”
(internal citations omitted)).
“[A] motion for reconsideration should not be granted where the moving party seeks
solely to relitigate an issue already decided.” Shrader, 70 F.3d at 257. Under Rule 7(c), D. Conn.
L. Civ. R., a motion for reconsideration “shall be filed and served within seven (7) days of the
filing of the decision or order from which relief is sought.”
Rule 60(d)(1) empowers the court to “entertain an independent action to relieve a party
form a judgment, order, or proceeding.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(d)(1). Under that Rule, setting aside a
judgment is appropriate where there is “no other available or adequate remedy,” where the party
receiving relief did not create situation “such as through [its own] fraud, accident, or mistake,”
and where there is a “recognized ground – such as fraud, accident, or mistake – for equitable
relief.” In re Hoti Enter., L. P., 549 Fed. Appx. 43, 44 (2d Cir. 2014) (quoting Campaniello
Imports, Ltd. V. Saporiti Italia S.p.A., 117 F.3d 655, 662 (2d Cir. 1997)).
Defendants’ motion for reconsideration was filed on April 19, 2017, nineteen days after
the Court’s ruling on the motion for summary judgment and outside the permissible window
provided by Rule 7(c) of the District of Connecticut Local Rules of Civil Procedure. See D.
Conn. L. Civ. R. 7(c).1 Thus, the motion was untimely, and the motion is DENIED. Id.
Further, the prior version of Local Rule 7(c)(1) permitted a party fourteen days to file a motion
for reconsideration. See Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Century Indem. Co., No. 3:16-CV-170
Notwithstanding the motion’s untimeliness, the Court has taken Defendants’ argument
under consideration and has decided to amend the judgment under Federal Rule of Civil
When ruling on Defendant’s  motion for summary judgment, the Court did not
properly consider the applicable case law for a failure to intervene claim – specifically, that a
failure to intervene claim survives a summary judgment motion only if the record contains an
underlying civil rights claim. See Figueroa v. Mazza, 825 F.3d 89, 106 (2d Cir. 2016). “Failure
to intervene claims are ‘contingent upon the disposition of the primary claims underlying the
failure to intervene claim.’” Usavage, 932 F. Supp. 2d at 599 (quoting Matthews v. City of New
York, 889 F. Supp. 2d 418, 443 (E.D.N.Y. 2012) (internal citations omitted)). As a result, where
the record contains no related primary claim that an official violated an individual’s rights,
“summary judgment on a duty to intercede claim is appropriate.” Id.
Quoting Usavage, this Court confirmed in Anderson that, if “there is no valid claim that
one police officer violated an individual's rights, there also will be no valid failure to intervene
claim arising from that same course of events.” Anderson, 2017 WL 1157843, at *13. That is so
because “[l]iability attaches on the theory that the officer, by failing to intervene, becomes a
‘tacit collaborator’ in the illegality.” Figueroa v. Mazza, 825 F.3d 89, 106 (2d Cir. 2016)
(quoting O’Neill v. Krzeminski, 839 F.2d 9, 11-12 (2d Cir. 1988)). In determining whether an
(JCH), 2017 WL 88969, at *1 (D. Conn. Jan. 10, 2017) (citing prior version of Local Rule 7(c)
(1) which required a motion for reconsideration to be filed and served “within fourteen days of
the filing of the decision or order from which relief is sought”). The Court revised Local Rule 7
as of January 18, 2017. See Rule 7(c), D. Conn. L. Civ. R. amended January 18, 2017,
http://www.ctd.uscourts.gov/court-info/local-rules-and-orders. Even under the prior version of
the rule, Defendants’ motion for reconsideration was untimely.
officer is liable for failure to intervene, the court considers factors including whether “a
reasonable person in the officer’s position would know that the victim’s constitutional rights
were being violated.” Jean-Laurent v. Wilkinson, 540 F. Supp. 2d 501, 512 (S.D.N.Y. 2008).
Thus, if there is no underlying illegal action that the officer should have been aware of, the
officer cannot be liable as a tacit collaborator.
Here, Mr. Ramos never asserted an underlying excessive force claim. As Defendants
correctly note in their motion for reconsideration, the officers who allegedly used excessive force
against Mr. Ramos were never named as defendants in this action, and Mr. Ramos never claimed
that Detective Poore himself used excessive force against him. To determine that Detective
Poore failed to intervene, a jury must first conclude that other individuals, who are not parties to
this case, used excessive force against Mr. Ramos. As Mr. Ramos has not made any excessive
force claim, his failure to intervene claim against Detective Poore cannot succeed as a matter of
Accordingly, the Court corrects its prior decision to deny summary judgment as to Mr.
Ramos’s claims against Detective Poore, and Mr. Ramos’s sole surviving claim is dismissed.
Defendants’  Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED as untimely. However, under
Rule (60)(d)(1), the Court relieves Defendant Detective Poore of the claims against him, and
dismisses Plaintiff’s sole surviving claim. The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter judgment
for Defendants and close this case.
SO ORDERED at Bridgeport, Connecticut this 20th day of October, 2017.
/s/ Victor A. Bolden
VICTOR A. BOLDEN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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