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Jarvis v. Conway

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 20, 2019

KEVIN CONWAY et al., Defendants.


          Freda L. Wolfson, U.S. Chief District Judge.


         Plaintiff, Willie Jarvis (“Jarvis” or “Plaintiff”), is proceeding pro se with a complaint alleging civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (2d Am. Compl., ECF No. 34.) Presently before the Court is a motion by defendants, Kevin Conway (“Conway”) and Vincent Monaghan (“Monaghan”) (collectively, “Defendants”), for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (Mot., ECF No. 85.) For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.


         A. Underlying Facts [1]

         As the underlying allegations are well known to the parties, I include here only the undisputed facts as directly relevant to Jarvis's active claims. On the evening of July 11, 2014, at around 11:00 p.m., non-party Lamont Sterling (“Sterling”) reported to the New Brunswick Police Department that four men, two of whom had guns, had tried to kidnap and rob him. (Statement of Undisputed Facts, ECF No. 85-2 at 3-10, ¶ 2 [hereinafter, “Defs.' Stmt.”]; see also Pl.'s Disputed Facts, ECF No. 89, at ECF pp. 2-6, ¶ 2 [hereinafter, “Pl.'s Stmt.”].) Sterling reported that his assailants had fled towards a liquor store near his residence, Hub Liquors. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 3; see also Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 3.) Officers Henry Gliottone (“Gliottone”) and Erika DiMarcello (“DiMarcello”) responded to Sterling's home, where he explained to the officers that four men, two with guns, had encountered him near Hub Liquors and had ordered him to take them to his apartment, threatening to shoot him if he attempted to escape. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 4; see also Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 4.) Once in the building, Sterling had apparently entered a neighbor's apartment and closed the door on the other men, who had then left.[2] (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 4; see also Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 4.) Sterling described the assailants as four black, Jamaican men who were wearing jeans and t-shirts, one of whom had dreadlocks, and Gliottone distributed that description as well as the possible location of Hub Liquors over police radio. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 5; see also Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 5.)

         Defendants, both also New Brunswick police officers, responded to the area of Hub Liquors and saw Jarvis, who “matched the description of the suspect with dreadlocks that had been broadcast over the radio.” (Defs.' Stmt. ¶¶ 6-7; see also Pl.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 6-7.) Defendants detained Jarvis and frisked him. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 8; see also Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 8.) Gliottone and DiMarcello then brought Sterling to Hub Liquors and conducted a “show-up” of Jarvis. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 10; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 10.) Sterling identified Jarvis to officers as one of the assailants who had had a gun. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 11; see also Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 11.) Jarvis was then placed under arrest. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 11; see also Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 11.)

         Jarvis was subsequently charged with kidnapping, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, possession of an unpermitted handgun, terroristic threats, possession of a weapon by a felon, and refusing to allow fingerprints to be taken. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 12; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 12.) He was indicted on charges of kidnapping, conspiracy, attempted burglary, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, possession of an unpermitted handgun, terroristic threats, obstruction, and possession of a weapon by a felon. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 20; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 20.) Jarvis ultimately pleaded guilty to burglary and attempt, and he was sentenced to three years in prison. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 21; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 21.)

         B. Procedural History

         On October 8, 2014, Jarvis filed a Complaint against the New Brunswick Police Department, Gliottone, and Middlesex Adult Corrections, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, which Complaint was, apparently, never served. (See Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 1-2; Notice of Removal, Ex. A, ECF No. 1-1, at ECF pp. 1-6.) Plaintiff then filed a First Amended Complaint in state court on November 6, 2014. (See Id. ¶ 3; Notice of Removal, Ex. B, ECF No. 1-1, at ECF pp. 7-19.) The First Amended Complaint added as defendants DiMarcello, Judge Philip Barow (“Barow”), Middlesex Adult Correctional Center Warden Mark Cranston (“Cranston”), County Councilor Ronald Rios (“Rios”), and Police Director Anthony Caputo (“Caputo”). (See ECF No. 1-1 at ECF p. 12.) On December 12, 2014, the defendants removed the action to this Court. (See ECF No. 1.)

         On June 22, 2015, Jarvis, with leave of the Court, filed a Second Amended Complaint, portions of which remain the operative pleading in this action. (See ECF Nos. 18, 27, 34.) The Second Amended Complaint alleged claims arising from his arrest and prosecution against Gliottone, DiMarcello, Barow, Caputo, Cranston, Conway, Monaghan, and Rios for unlawful search and seizure, false arrest, false imprisonment, failure to provide Miranda warnings, failure to bring Jarvis before a neutral magistrate, failure to intervene, and supervisory liability or failure to train. (See ECF No. 34.) The Court granted, on August 7, 2015, a motion by Barow to dismiss the claims against him as barred by judicial immunity. (See ECF Nos. 5, 41, & 42.) On September 21, 2015, Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert stayed the action pending the conclusion of the state criminal proceedings against Jarvis. (Order, ECF No. 49.) The action was reopened on March 10, 2017, after the Court was informed of Jarvis's guilty plea and the conclusion of the criminal proceedings. (See ECF No. 64.)

         Thereafter, the defendants filed motions to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint, (ECF Nos. 65, 66, & 67), which I interpreted as motions for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), as the defendants had previously filed answers, (see Op., ECF No. 68, at 5.) I declined to dismiss the Fourth Amendment claims as barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), finding that, because the claims “do not automatically impugn the validity of a subsequent conviction arising from that arrest, the Court is unable to determine whether Plaintiff's success on his Fourth Amendment claims would necessarily impugn the validity of his guilty plea for Burglary and Attempt without the full record.” (ECF No. 68 at 12 (citation omitted).) Nonetheless, I granted dismissal as to Cranston and Rios, as Jarvis had included no factual allegations suggesting that either of them was personally involved in any constitutional violations. (Id. at 12-13.) Furthermore, pursuant to the Court's screening power under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I dismissed the claims related to the alleged failure to bring Jarvis before a neutral magistrate for a probable cause determination within 48 hours of his arrest and the claims against Caputo. (Id. at 13-16.) The only claims remaining active following the issuance of that Opinion and Order are the Fourth Amendment claims-for unlawful search and seizure, false arrest, and false imprisonment-against Conway and Monaghan, and the other defendants were dismissed. (See ECF No. 68 at 16 & n.12; ECF No. 69 at 2 & n.1.)

         The remaining parties thereafter participated in discovery overseen by Judge Arpert. (See ECF Nos. 75 & 94.) Upon the conclusion of fact discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment as to the remaining claims. (ECF No. 85.) Jarvis filed an opposition to the motion, and Defendants filed a reply brief. (ECF Nos. 89 & 92.) Concurrently, Jarvis filed a motion to strike Defendants' Answer based on lengthy delays in their compliance with discovery obligations. (See ECF Nos. 88 & 91.) Judge Arpert denied the application to strike the Answer, but, given the discovery delays, granted Jarvis leave to file a supplemental opposition to the summary judgment motion. (ECF No. 94.) Jarvis thereafter filed a supplemental opposition, and Defendants filed a sur-reply. (ECF Nos. 97 & 98.)


         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 permits a court to award a party summary judgment if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A factual dispute is genuine if supported by evidence such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in the non-movant's favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 251-52 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Kaucher v. County of Bucks, 455 F.3d 418, 422-23 (3d Cir. 2006). A fact is material if, under the governing substantive law, a dispute about the fact might affect the outcome of the suit. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Kaucher, 455 F.3d at 423. In determining whether a genuine dispute of material fact exists, the Court must view the facts and all reasonable inferences drawn from those facts “in the light most favorable to the [non-movant].” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 587.

         A movant for summary judgment “bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). While a defendant moving for summary judgment must support assertions by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), the movant is not required to “support its motion with affidavits or other similar materials negating the opponent's claim, ” Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. Instead, “the burden on the moving party may be discharged by ‘showing'- that is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Id. at 325. If the movant has shown an absence of material factual dispute, the non-movant then bears the burden to “designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 324 (internal quotation marks omitted). Moreover, the non-movant may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the pleadings. Id. at 324; Maidenbaum v. Bally's Park Place, Inc., 870 F.Supp. 1254, 1258 (D.N.J. 1994), aff'd 67 F.3d 291 (3d Cir. 1995). The non-movant must “do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 586. A mere “scintilla of evidence . . . will be insufficient.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

         Local Civil Rule 56.1 requires that a motion seeking summary judgment include a statement of material facts not in dispute and that an opponent of summary judgment shall file “a responsive statement of material facts, addressing each paragraph of the movant's statement, indicating agreement or disagreement and, if not agreed, stating each material fact in dispute and citing to the affidavits and other documents submitted in connection with the motion.” L. Civ. R. 56.1(a). The rule further provides that “any material fact not disputed shall be deemed undisputed for purposes of the summary judgment motion.” Id. Although a motion for summary judgment may not be granted by default, merely because it goes unopposed, Anchorage Assocs. v. V.I. Bd. of Tax Review, 922 F.2d 168, 175 (3d Cir. 1990), the motion may be granted if the ...

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