Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Caronte v. Chiumento

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 17, 2017

MICHAEL A. CARONTE, Plaintiff,
v.
LT. ALBERT CHIUMENTO and LT. DAVID D'AMICO, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon the Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendants Lieutenant Albert Chiumento (“Lt. Chiumento”) and Lieutenant David D'Amico (“Lt. D'Amico” and together with Lt. Chiumento, the “Defendants”) [Docket No. 26], seeking the dismissal of all claims asserted against them by Plaintiff Michael A. Caronte (the “Plaintiff”). For the reasons set forth herein, the Court administratively terminates Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, pending further Order of the Court, and orders Plaintiff to file a supplemental submission identifying the causes of action he intends to pursue and against which Defendants he asserts those claims, as well as which causes of action, if any, he concedes.

         Plaintiff initiated this action pro se on September 5, 2014 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County [Docket No. 1-5]. Plaintiff's original Complaint identified only Lt. Chiumento as a defendant and alleges, in its entirety, that Lt. Chiumento arrested Plaintiff on May 3, 2013 and “extra tightened the handcuffs during the arrest and in the processing room and [Plaintiff] suffered with an injury on [his] wrist, M.R.I. verifies I had torn ligaments on my left wrist.” Compl. ¶ 1.

         On December 5, 2014, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed an Amended Complaint in state court, naming only Lt. D'Amico as a defendant. Am. Compl. [Docket 11-4, Ex. B]. The Amended Complaint alleges as follows:

Between 5/3/13 - 5/3/14 Lt. David D'Amico/Internal affairs refused to show a line of all the police officers working the day shift so I can identify the two officers who slided [sic] up and down the side of my torso and make it look like I was resisting arrest and the officer on the right side of me who was bald headed flicked his finger on the side of my head calling me a bonehead. Lt. David D'Amico obstructed justice, derelict [sic] of duty, tappering [sic], incompetence = Corruption!

Am. Compl. ¶ 1.

         On March 11, 2015, Defendants timely removed the action to federal court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction, construing Plaintiff's pro se allegations as asserting an excessive force claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Notice of Removal [Docket No. 1].

         Thereafter, on April 23, 2015, Daniel B. Zonies, Esq. entered a notice of appearance on behalf of Plaintiff [Docket No. 6]. Over three months later, on July 30, 2015, Plaintiff, now represented by counsel, moved to amend the pleadings and add Waterford Township, Waterford Township Police Department, and several John Does as defendants, in addition to Lt. Chiumento and Lt. D'Amico [Docket No. 11]. In the Proposed Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges:

8. On or about May 3, 2013, plaintiff was wrongfully taken into custody, physically arrested, and searched by defendants without probable cause and without warrant.
9. On or about May 3, 2013, when plaintiff was complying with Daniel Chiumento's order to get out of his vehicle, he was assaulted and battered by defendants Daniel Chiumento and John Does of the WTPD before, during, and after his arrest. Daniel Chiumento tightened the hand cuff on plaintiff's left wrists [sic] to the maximum such that plaintiff injured his left wrist and continued to tighten the handcuffs on plaintiff's wrist after the arrest in the processing room of the WTPD.
10. After the arrest on or about May 3, 2013, David D'Amico violated plaintiff's due process and civil rights when he refused to show a line of all the police officers working the day shift so that the plaintiff could identify the two officers who rubbed the plaintiff's torso up and down and made it appear as if the plaintiff was resisting arrest. The officer standing on the right side of the plaintiff flicked his finger on the side of plaintiff's head calling plaintiff a “bone head.”

         Proposed Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8-10. The Proposed Second Amended Complaint then sets forth two counts. In Count I, Plaintiff appears to assert an assault and battery claim against all named defendants. Generously read, Count II seems to set forth claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, and procedural due process violations against all named defendants.

         On January 22, 2016, Magistrate Judge Williams denied Plaintiff's motion to amend, finding that the amendment would be futile as time-barred against the newly added defendants [Docket No. 20].[1] Magistrate Judge Williams, however, recognized that Plaintiff, now represented by counsel, may have wished “to amend his pleading as to the existing Defendants to replace same with a more streamlined pleading since the previously filed pleading was filed when Plaintiff was acting pro se.” Jan. 22, 2016 Order at 6. As a result, Plaintiff was permitted to file an amended complaint, if he secured Defendants' consent, or, alternatively, to file a renewed motion to amend. Plaintiff did neither. As a result, the operative pleadings in this action appear to be some combination of the original pro se Complaint against Lt. Chiumento only and the pro se Amended Complaint against Lt. D'Amico only.

         Subsequently, on October 19, 2016, Defendants moved for summary judgment on all claims asserted against them by Plaintiff [Docket No. 26]. Defendants set forth several arguments in support of their motion, including that the undisputed evidence establishes that Defendants acted lawfully and with probable cause. Defendants also argue that they are immune from suit on the basis of qualified immunity, good faith immunity pursuant to N.J.S.A. 59:3-3, and immunity pursuant to N.J.S.A. 59:3-2(b). Additionally, Defendants argue that Plaintiff cannot satisfy the damages threshold required by the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 59:9-2(d). Among other arguments, Defendants also contend that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the Heck doctrine, as Plaintiff pled guilty to and was convicted of violating the Waterford Township municipal ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.