The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT KUGLER, Magistrate Judge
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This case is unpublished as indicated by the issuing court.] OPINION
Following two altercations with the police at his Willingboro
home on May 17, 2001 and February 2, 2002, plaintiff Larry Glenn
Person, Sr.*fn1 brought various claims against Willingboro
Township, the Willingboro Township Police Department, and Patrol
Officers James Zarzaca, William Smith, and William Spanier. On
December 10, 2004, this Court entered summary judgment in favor
of all defendants as to all claims, except for Person's claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and
excessive force against defendants Zarzaca and Smith. Summary
judgment was denied as to those claims because the defendants'
motion papers failed to address them. Cf. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 330 (1986) (observing that the burden of
establishing the nonexistence of a genuine issue of material fact
is on the party moving for summary judgment).
Defendants' motion for reargument was denied on January 31,
2005. However, in the interest of judicial economy, this Court
invited Zarzaca and Smith to file a second motion for summary
judgment as to the remaining claims against them. This matter now
comes before the Court upon Defendants' motion for summary
judgment*fn2 on all remaining claims. For the reasons
expressed in this opinion, Defendants' motion for summary
judgment will be granted.
Person resided at 10 Country Club Road in Willingboro, New
Jersey, for over twenty years. He lived there with his wife, Bobbie Ann Person, and had four adult children.
On February 2, 2002, Officer Zarzaca went to Person's residence
with a warrant to arrest Person's son Lee. As he pulled onto the
street, Zarzaca saw Lee outside the residence. When Zarzaca
reached the end of the driveway, Lee saw him and ran toward the
back of the house. Zarzaca saw Lee enter Person's residence
through a rear sliding glass door.*fn3
Zarzaca went to the front door, where he was confronted by
Person. Person, who was carrying a cane and was in poor health,
asked Zarzaca who he was looking for. At this point in the story,
the parties' version of the events changes.
Zarzaca told Person that he was looking for Lee, and that he
had seen Lee go into the house. (Person Dep. 78:23-24.) Person,
who did not know that Lee was inside, told Zarzaca that Lee was not there and attempted to close the door. (Id.
79:202-2, 80:12-14.) Zarzaca pushed the door open, knocking
Person who was on the other side of the door to the
ground. (Id. 79:22-23, 83:2-9.) Though his body had been
positioned behind the door, Person did not intend thereby to
prevent the police from entering his house. (Id. 89:11-14.0
Zarzaca entered the house and began to direct other police
officers inside. (Person Dep. 81:9-15.) Person, who was wearing
only underwear, asked Zarzaca if the police had a warrant. (Id.
82:7-8, 92:17-18.) Zarzaca, who did have a warrant, said only
that the police didn't need one. (Zarzaca Dep. 49:21-23; Person
Dep. 82:14-16.) At that point in time, but no other, Person
"probably" used "foul and abusive" language toward the officers
and told them to get out of his house. (Person Dep. 86:3-21.) At
no point did Person put his hands on any officer. (Id.
Zarzaca walked down the hall and began to search a closet.
(Person Dep. 87:17-21.) Person followed Zarzaca, stood in front
of a bedroom door near the closet, and asked Zarzaca what he was
looking for. (Id. 88:5-9, 89:17-25.) In positioning his body in
front of the door, Person did not intend to prevent Zarzaca from
entering the bedroom. (Id. 89:6-14.) However, Zarzaca "jumped
up crazily" and told Person that he was under arrest for
obstruction. (Id. 89:25-90:1.) Zarzaca pulled Person down to the floor, put his knee across Person's body, and
handcuffed him. (Id. 90:7-9.)
Person, who had an injured foot, was unable to walk following
his arrest. (Person Dep. 92:22-23.) Along with another officer,
Zarzaca dragged Person out of the house and placed him in a
police car. (Id. 93:11-22.) These events caused Person
emotional distress, from which Person suffered severe
hypertension. (Pl.'s Ex. B.)
Zarzaca told Person that he had a warrant for Lee's arrest, and
that he had seen Lee enter the house. (Zarzaca Dep. 62:16-18.)
Person, who was "screaming" and "very irate," told Zarzaca to
"[g]et the fuck out" and called Zarzaca a "white SOB." (Id.
62:19-20.) Zarzaca repeated several times that he had a warrant
for Lee's arrest and that he had seen Lee enter the house. (Id.
62:21-23.) Person tried to slam the door in Zarzaca's face, but
Zarzaca put his foot in the door and began to push it open.