Williams v. Young

Citation769 F.Supp.2d 594
Decision Date25 February 2011
Docket NumberNo. 08 Civ. 8667(NRB).,08 Civ. 8667(NRB).
PartiesRonald WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,v.P.O. Demetrius YOUNG, P.O. Vernon Frazier, P.O. John Conrey, and P.O.s “John Doe” # 1–10, Defendants.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York

769 F.Supp.2d 594

Ronald WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
P.O. Demetrius YOUNG, P.O. Vernon Frazier, P.O. John Conrey, and P.O.s “John Doe” # 1–10, Defendants.

No. 08 Civ. 8667(NRB).

United States District Court, S.D. New York.

Feb. 25, 2011.

[769 F.Supp.2d 596]

Jon L. Norinsberg, Esq., New York, NY, for Plaintiff.Robert William Yalen, Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York, New York, NY, for Defendant.


Plaintiff Ronald Williams was arrested for refusing orders by defendant Veterans Affairs (“VA”) Police Officer Demetrius Young to stop his vehicle and show identification outside the VA Medical Center on East 23rd Street in Manhattan. After being released within a few hours, he was

[769 F.Supp.2d 597]

again arrested several weeks later by the Division of Parole when it determined that his actions had constituted a parole violation.

In its present posture,1 plaintiff brings this action under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971),2 alleging that Officer Young deprived him of his federal civil rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments.3 Specifically, plaintiff asserts claims for false arrest and malicious prosecution in violation of the Fourth Amendment; malicious abuse of process in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; and deprivation of his right to a fair trial in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The defendant has moved for summary judgment dismissing all claims. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is granted.


This lawsuit has its origin in events which occurred on June 27, 2007. Except where indicated, the facts are not in dispute. When facts are disputed, all reasonable inferences have been drawn in favor of plaintiff.

I. Events of June 27, 2007

Ronald Williams was employed as a driver by the VA and regularly transported patients to medical appointments. On June 27, 2007, Williams was driving a patient and the patient's wife to the VA Medical Center on East 23rd Street in Manhattan. VA Police Officer Young was stationed at the bottom of a semi-circular ramp leading to the entrance of the hospital.

When Williams approached the ramp in his vehicle, Officer Young asked him for identification. Williams gestured at the government license plates on his vehicle and raised an ID attached to a lanyard around his neck. This failed to satisfy Officer Young, whose assignment to control vehicle traffic on the ramp was part of enhanced security measures for a scheduled visit by the Secretary of the VA that day. Officer Young again asked Williams to show his identification. In response, Williams made the same motion a second time and said, “I already showed you my ID.” Officer Young asked Williams who was in the car with him, and Williams responded, “This is the patient and that's his wife.” (Def.'s Decl., Ex. A 92, 94, 104.) The patient's wife, who was in the back seat of the car, testified that she heard Officer Young next ask Williams to get out

[769 F.Supp.2d 598]

of the car, and Williams refuse. When Williams was deposed, he did not remember refusing to get out of the car, but conceded, “I'd say maybe she's right about that.” (Def.'s Decl., Ex. A 129.) Williams then proceeded up the ramp, despite hearing and seeing Officer Young shouting and running behind him.

At the top of the ramp, Officers Frazier and Conrey were notified by radio to stop Williams. They opened the doors to his vehicle and turned off the ignition. Officer Young then arrived and together the three police officers forcibly removed Williams from the vehicle. In his deposition, Williams admitted grabbing the steering wheel, not letting go, and “hollering, ‘What did I do? What did I do? I'm a government employee.’ ” (Def.'s Decl. Ex. A, 113, 118.)

After being handcuffed, Williams told the officers he had sustained an injury to his pinkie finger. The officers brought him to the emergency room on the premises, where he received medical attention. He was issued summonses for the following three violations of VA regulations: failure to comply with signs of a directive and restrictive nature posted for safety purposes, 38 C.F.R. § 1.218(b)(6), failure to comply with traffic directions of VA police, 38 C.F.R. § 1.218(b)(24), and disorderly conduct which creates a loud, boisterous, and unusual noise, or which obstructs the normal use of entrances, exits, foyers, offices, corridors, elevators, and stairways or which tends to impede or prevent the normal operation of the facility, 38 C.F.R. § 1.218(b)(11). The total fines to which Williams would be subject if convicted of the violations amounted to $325 with an additional $75 in processing fees. Williams was then released and drove the patient's wife back to her home while the patient remained at the hospital overnight.

Officer Young prepared a Uniform Offense Report describing the events of June 27, 2007. The report contained several factual assertions which Williams disputes: it describes Williams (1) striking Officer Young with his vehicle as he pulled away, (2) driving up the ramp at an excessive speed, (3) resisting arrest by refusing orders to exit the vehicle and gripping the steering wheel, (4) punching and kicking the officers during his extraction from the vehicle, and (5) causing injuries to Officer Young. Williams now alleges that all of these descriptions were completely fabricated by Officer Young.5

II. Subsequent Parole Proceedings

On June 28, 2007, Williams notified his parole officer, Carole Skinner, that the previous day's incident had taken place. At the time, Williams was approximately three years and nine months into a five-year term of parole, after having served a ten-year prison sentence for attempted murder. Officer Skinner, in turn, informed her supervisor that one of her parolees had been involved in an incident with VA police.

On June 29, 2007, Officer Skinner was contacted by the VA police, and a VA detective named Rivera provided her with a faxed copy of Officer Young's report containing the disputed facts. Officer Skinner gave the report to her supervisor, who, on July 2, 2007, directed her to contact the VA police officers named in the report. Officer Skinner then called Detective Rivera, who informed her that Officer Young was not available to take her call. On July 5, 2007, Officer Skinner again called the VA police to ask whether the

[769 F.Supp.2d 599]

officers named in the report would be available to testify at a hearing. Again she was unable to speak with Officer Young and she left a message.

On July 18, 2007, Skinner's supervisor at the Division of Parole authorized the issuance of a warrant for Williams's arrest, charging him with four violations of parole conditions: (1) “disobey[ing] a police officer's traffic directions and an order to produce identification,” (2) “resist[ing] arrest by assaulting a police officer,” (3) “resist[ing] arrest by holding on to the steering wheel necessitating physical removal by three police officers,” (4) “driv[ing] recklessly striking the arresting officer on the right side of his leg and hip area.” On July 20, 2007, Williams was arrested at his scheduled meeting with Officer Skinner.

On August 2, 2007, Williams had a preliminary parole revocation hearing. The Division of Parole issued Officer Young a subpoena commanding him to appear at the hearing. He complied and briefly spoke with Parole Officer Skinner before the hearing began. When called to testify, Officer Young presented the same version of events described in his Uniform Offense Report. Williams presented his own version of the events and had the opportunity to question Officer Young. The hearing officer determined that probable cause existed for the warrant, and Williams remained in custody for approximately the next twelve weeks.

At the October 24, 2007 final parole revocation hearing, Williams accepted a plea bargain in which he pled guilty to the first violation, and in exchange the other three charges were withdrawn. The Administrative Law Judge's recommended sentence was to “revoke and restore” Williams's parole. This sentence was imposed and Williams was released from custody to continue serving the remainder of his parole.

I. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The “mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247–48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Material facts are those which “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law ... [f]actual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Id. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505. A dispute about a material fact is genuine if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

The burden to make a prima facie showing of the absence of disputed material facts rests with the moving party. See Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323–24, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Once this showing is made, the non-moving party must “designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial” to overcome the motion. Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548. A court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and make all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. See Fincher v. Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., 604 F.3d 712, 720 (2d Cir.2010).

II. Claims Arising Out of the June 27, 2007 Incident

In Bivens, the Supreme Court recognized an implied cause of action for money damages against federal officers who violate a...

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