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Adel Mikhaeil v. Angel Santos

December 14, 2012

ADEL MIKHAEIL,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANGEL SANTOS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Martini, U.S.D.J.:

OPINION

Plaintiff Adel Mikhaeil brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") action against various defendants, including Desiree Broady,*fn1 Christino Felix, Phillip Webb, and the Jersey City Police Department (collectively, "Defendants"), for false arrest and false imprisonment. This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. There was no oral argument. Fed.

R. Civ. P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

I.BACKGROUND

A.UNDISPUTED FACTS

On August 7, 2008, Angel Santos came into the West District Precinct of the Jersey City Police Department and reported that Plaintiff Adel Mikhaeil had threatened him. Detective Broady took Santos' formal statement. According to the statement, Santos reported that he was a witness for the Attorney General's Office and the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office in an ongoing case against Mikhaeil. Santos stated that Mikhaeil and Michaelangelo Conte, a reporter for the Jersey Journal, were in a car outside of his home, and as they were driving off, Mikhaeil screamed "You rat! You're going to get your[s], You're dead you rat . . . by the end of the month it's gonna be two dead rats!" Defs.' Mot. Ex. B, ECF No. 56-2. Santos stated that Mikhaeil had "six handguns, a rifle, and a shotgun," and that Mikhaeil would "pay people to kill [him]." Id. Santos stated that he knew Mikhaeil and Conte because he "used to work with [Mikhaeil]" and he had seen Conte "around a lot" and knew that "he work[ed] for the Jersey Journal." Id. Santos stated that his statement to the police was "true and voluntary" and that he was "willing to appear in court and give testimony if necessary." Id. Santos also signed the statement.

After taking Santos' statement, Detective Broady contacted Detective Mary Reinke of the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office. Reinke verified that Santos was, in fact, a witness for the State in an active investigation against Mikhaeil. Detective Broady notified the Night Detective Commander Sergeant Felix. Sergeant Felix reviewed and approved Santos' formal statement for completeness and to make sure the elements of the crime were satisfied. Detective Broady then contacted the Honorable Nelsa Rodriguez via telephone and received a probable cause determination to issue a warrant for Mikhaeil's arrest for terroristic threats and tampering with a witness.

The next day, August 8, 2008, Detective Phillip Webb was instructed by his supervisor to contact Conte, the reporter for the Jersey Journal, as a potential witness in the case. Detective Webb called Conte and told him that he needed to interview him regarding an investigation of Mikhaeil. Conte informed Detective Webb that he needed to consult with his supervisor, Mr. Zeitlinger. Mr. Zeitlinger came to the phone and informed Detective Webb that the lawyers of the Jersey Journal would have to be consulted regarding Detective Webb's request. Neither the Jersey Journal nor Conte ever followed up with Detective Webb. This was Detective Broady, Sergeant Felix, and Detective Webb's only involvement in the case.

Plaintiff was arrested on August 8, 2008 and charged with making terroristic threats and witness tampering. He was incarcerated until September 4, 2008, when he was released on bail. After being released, Mikhaeil spoke with Conte. Conte told Mikhaeil that, after Mikhaeil was incarcerated, Conte contacted the Jersey City Police Department and the Hudson County Prosecutor, and informed them that Mikhaeil was not in the car with Conte on August 7, 2008. The criminal proceeding against Mikhaeil ended on January 7, 2009, with an order of dismissal.

B.PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On July 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Complaint pro se against sixteen defendants, asserting claims for false arrest and false imprisonment under Section 1983 and various state laws. Nine defendants filed motions to dismiss, and two defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. On June 13, 2011, this Court issued an opinion and order dismissing all eleven defendants from the action. The Court also dismissed all of Plaintiff's state law claims. The only claims that survived were the federal claims asserted against the five remaining defendants: Santos, Broady, Felix, Webb, and the Jersey City Police Department. On September 15, 2011, four of the five defendants (Broady, Felix, Webb, and the Jersey City Police Department) filed the instant motion for summary judgment.*fn2

II.LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, the discovery [including, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file] and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Turner v. Schering-Plough Corp., 901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1990). A factual dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, and is material if it will affect the outcome of the trial under governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 ...


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