Cardoso v. City of Brockton et al
Judge Richard G. Stearns: Supplemental ORDER entered on defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Zierk, Marsha)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
CIVIL ACTION NO. 13-10482
CITY OF BROCKTON, LINDA M. BALZOTTI, CHIEF OF POLICE
EMANUEL GOMES, OFFICER ROBERT GRAYSON, AND POLICE
LIEUTENANT CHRISTOPHER LA FRANCE
SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON
DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
January 22, 2015
On November 26, 2014, the court dismissed the majority of plaintiff
Aristides Cardoso’s Civil Rights Act and common-law claims against
various defendants, save two claims against defendant Officer Robert
Grayson — a § 1983 claim based on an alleged false arrest and a commonlaw claim of malicious prosecution. Relying on Kossler v. Crisanti, 564
F.3d 181, 194 (3d Cir. 2009) (en banc ), the court observed that “imposition
by the [state] court of pretrial probation from March 18, 2010, until
December 17, 2010, would preclude Cardoso from demonstrating the fourth
element of his claim — a termination of the underlying proceeding in his
favor.” See Cardoso v. City of Brockton, 2014 WL 6682653, at *n.10 (D.
Mass. Nov. 26, 2014).
However, defendants had failed to adequately
demonstrate the disposition of disorderly conduct charge brought against
Cardoso. Absent such an explanation, the court scheduled the outstanding
counts against Grayson for trial on February 2, 2015.
On January 20, 2015, defendants filed a supplemental memorandum
with an attested record of the disposition of Cardoso’s underlying criminal
case. See Dkt #79-1. The record demonstrates that on March 18, 2010, a
Judge of the Brockton District Court placed Cardoso on pretrial probation
on the disorderly conduct charge and fined him $150.1 Id. at 1. Cardoso’s
probation ended (apparently without incident) on December 17, 2010, and
his criminal case was dismissed.
A disposition of pretrial probation does not amount to the “favorable”
termination of Cardoso’s criminal charges necessary to enable his civil suit
against Grayson to proceed. Gilles v. Davis, 427 F.3d 197, 211 (3d Cir.
2005); see also Taylor v. Gregg, 36 F.3d 453, 455-456 (5th Cir. 1994) (“A
‘pre-trial diversion order’ is not a favorable termination . . . criminal
defendants are effectively foregoing their potential malicious prosecution
suit in exchange for conditional dismissal of their criminal charges.”).
The Court also found Cardoso “not responsible” for two motor
Rather, pretrial probation is a “court supervised compromise.” Gilles, 427
F.3d at 211. “Probation constitutes an ‘unfavorable’ period of judicially
imposed limitations on freedom in which the probationer’s violation of the
program’s terms may result in criminal prosecution.” Id., citing Singleton
v. City of New York, 632 F.2d 185, 193-195 (2d Cir. 1980).
Under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), “a § 1983 action that
impugns the validity of the plaintiff’s underlying conviction cannot be
maintained unless the conviction has been reversed on direct appeal or
impaired by collateral proceedings.” Gilles, 427 F.3d at 209, citing Heck,
512 U.S. at 483.
We hold that, in order to recover damages for allegedly
unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm
caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a
conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove
that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct
appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into
question be a federal court’s issuance of a writ of habeas corpus,
28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for damages bearing that relationship
to a conviction or sentence that has not been so invalidated is
not cognizable under § 1983.
Id. at 486-487; see also Kennedy v. Town of Billerica, 2014 WL 4926348,
at *3 (D. Mass. Sept. 30, 2014) (O’Toole, J.) (holding that a criminal
defendant’s acceptance of participation in a Massachusetts court’s pretrial
diversion program barred a subsequent § 1983 false arrest claim). I agree
with Judge O’Toole in the matter.
Consequently, the claims against
Grayson will be dismissed.
For the foregoing reasons, judgment will enter for Officer Robert
Grayson on Cardoso’s Fourth Amendment false arrest Claim (Count II) and
the common-law malicious prosecution claim (Count XII). The bifurcated §
1983 claims against former Mayor Balzotti, Chief Gomes, Lieutenant La
France, and the City of Brockton are DISMISSED with prejudice as
derivative of the claims against Officer Grayson. See City of Los Angeles v.
Heller, 475 U.S. 796, 799 (1986) (per curiam) (verdict in favor of defendant
officer on plaintiff's excessive force claim precluded liability on the part of
his supervisors and employer). The Clerk will enter judgment accordingly
and close the case.
/s/ Richard G. Stearns
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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