Boans v. Town of Cheektowaga et al
DECISION AND ORDER: For the reasons stated in the attached Decision and Order, the Court finds that: (1) Defendant Town of Cheektowaga remains potentially liable on the state-law false arrest and false imprisonment claims of Plaintiff Rudolphus Bo ans, Jr.; and, (2) a motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15 of Defendant Cheektowaga to amend its Answer to interpose two affirmative defenses, Dkt. No. 65, is denied. The parties shall appear to schedule a final pretrial conference and to set a date for trial on January 25, 2018, at 2:00 pm. SO ORDERED. Signed by Hon. Richard J. Arcara on 10/23/2017. (LAS) (Main Document 71 replaced on 10/24/2017) (LAS).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
RUDOLPHUS BOANS, JR.,
DECISION AND ORDER
TOWN OF CHEEKTOWAGA, et al.,
This action alleging police misconduct is before the Court for resolution of
issues concerning the scope of the trial. For the reasons that follow, the Court finds
that: (1) Defendant Town of Cheektowaga remains potentially liable on the state-law
false arrest and false imprisonment claims of Plaintiff Rudolphus Boans, Jr.; and,
(2) a motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15 of Defendant Cheektowaga to amend its
Answer to interpose two affirmative defenses, Dkt. No. 65, is denied. The parties
shall appear to schedule a final pretrial conference and to set a date for trial on
January 25, 2018, at 2:00 pm.
The Court assumes the parties’ close familiarity with all prior proceedings and
with the issues presently before the Court. Defendant Town of Cheektowaga has
taken the position that state-law false arrest and false imprisonment claims against it
were previously dismissed. Defendant Cheektowaga suggests that when the Court
granted summary judgment in its favor on claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because
there are inadequate grounds for imposition of § 1983 municipal liability, Dkt. No. 45,
that ruling encompassed all pending state-law tort claims as well. Dkt. No. 68.
Specifically, Defendant Town of Cheektowaga suggests “[i]t makes no sense”
to have granted summary judgment on the § 1983 claims against it, but not on the
common-law false arrest and false imprisonment claims. Dkt. No. 68, p.3.
Defendant Cheektowaga’s argument is without merit. It is firmly settled that “[u]nlike
cases brought under [42 U.S.C.] § 1983, municipalities may be liable for the
common law torts, like false arrest and malicious prosecution, committed by their
employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior.” L.B. v. Town of Chester, 232
F. Supp. 2d 227, 239 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). The Court granted the Defendant summary
judgment on all the § 1983 claims against it because Plaintiff Boans failed to adduce
facts legally sufficient to establish a unconstitutional custom or practice triggering the
municipality’s § 1983 liability. Dkt. No. 45. That finding is not dispositive of the
common law claims, and while Court specifically awarded the Defendant summary
judgment on some common law claims, it also found material fact issues to be
decided by a jury concerning the reasons for the arrest and detention of the Plaintiff
and denied summary judgment on the false arrest and false imprisonment claims.
Dkt. No. 45.
Defendant Town of Cheektowaga moved pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15, after
the Court granted partial summary judgment in its favor, to add two affirmative
defenses to its Answer that the Defendant believes would be dispositive of the false
arrest and false imprisonment claims against it. Dkt. No. 65. Defendant
Cheektowaga seeks to add a statute of limitations defense and a defense based
upon a failure of a notice-of-claim condition precedent to Plaintiff Boans’ suit.
However, the Defendant has not carried its burden to establish good cause for its
delay in interposing the affirmative defenses sufficient to overcome the prejudice to
the Plaintiff of the amendments to the Answer. See e.g., Funk v. F&K Supply, Inc.,
43 F. Supp. 2d 205 (N.D.N.Y. 1999).
During oral argument of Defendant Town of Cheektowaga’s motion to amend
its Answer on September 8, 2017, the Defendant offered to stipulate to its
conditional liability for a false arrest, or a false imprisonment, on the respondeat
superior theory. While such a stipulation would at least substantially mitigate
prejudice to Plaintiff Boans from dismissal of the Defendant after a dispositive
motion based upon a new affirmative defense, the Court finds the offer of the
stipulation does not warrant granting the late motion to amend1.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
____Richard J. Arcara____________
HONORABLE RICHARD J. ARCARA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Dated: October 23, 2017
The Court notes that while evidence of an unconstitutional custom or practice is not
necessary for a municipality to be liable for a false arrest or false imprisonment, such evidence
may not even be admissible during a trial of such claims because the liability of a municipality
for an employee's conduct is limited to compensatory damages. Sharapata v. Islip, 56 N.Y.2d
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?