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.

Estate of Smith v. City of Wildwood

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 29, 2019

ESTATE OF CLAYTON SMITH, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF WILDWOOD, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Renée Marie Bumb United States District Judge.

         1. Plaintiff Liudmila Smith, both as the administratrix of the estate of Clayton Smith and in her own right, (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) brings this action against Defendants City of Wildwood, James Neill, Louis Raniszewski, Ryan Troiano, and Aldo Sacco (hereinafter, collectively, “Defendants”)[1] alleging a variety of claims arising from the unfortunate death of Clayton Smith on February 19, 2016. (See Complaint [Docket Item 1].)

         2. Factual and Procedural Background.

         The factual and procedural background of this case was previously detailed in Judge Simandle's Memorandum Opinion of September 27, 2018, Estate of Smith v. City of Wildwood, No. 16-0925, 2018 WL 4639182 (D.N.J. Sept. 27, 2018), and shall not be repeated herein, except as necessary for the resolution of the present motion.[2]

         3. On February 19, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant action. (See Complaint [Docket Item 1].) Defendants filed their Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint on May 12, 2016. (See Answer [Docket Item 11].) On October 31, 2017, the parties stipulated to the dismissal, with prejudice, of Counts Two and Five of Plaintiff's Complaint. (See Stipulation of Dismissal [Docket Item 40].) On September 27, 2018, the Honorable Jerome B. Simandle, U.S.D.J., granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants with respect to Plaintiff's claims for “punitive damages arising at state law and in relation to Plaintiff's claims for relief under the ‘state-created danger' exception to [42 U.S.C.] § 1983.” (Order [Docket Item 53], Sept. 27, 2018, 1-2.) In the same Opinion and Order, Judge Simandle dismissed as moot a portion of Defendants' motion for summary judgment, “because Plaintiff is not seeking to hold City Defendant liable for any civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or Monell, ” (Estate of Smith, 2018 WL 4639182, at *6; Order [Docket Item 53], Sept. 27, 2018, 2), and further noted that as Judge Simandle “grant[ed] summary judgment in favor of EMT Defendants with regard to all claims under [42 U.S.C.] § 1983, th[e] portion of Defendants' motion, ” seeking summary judgment with regard to punitive damages in connection with such § 1983 claims, “shall be dismissed as moot.” (Estate of Smith, 2018 WL 4639182, at *6; Order [Docket Item 53], Sept. 27, 2018, 2.)

         4. Thereafter, Judge Simandle granted Defendants leave to file a second motion for summary judgment,

addressing any or all of the three remaining claims; those three claims are understood as: (1) A federal constitutional claim for denial of equal protection to a “Class of One” under Section 1983; (2) a state law claim on behalf of the Estate for negligence resulting in denial of lost chance of survival; and (3) a Portee claim for bystander distress to Liudmila Muraviva arising from the tort in (2) above

         (Scheduling Order [Docket Item 75], Apr. 9, 2019, 2.) On June 13, 2019, Defendants filed the present motion for summary judgment [Docket Item 76], seeking summary judgment in Defendants' favor with respect to each of the three claims remaining, as enumerated in Judge Simandle's Scheduling Order, supra. Briefing is now complete and the motion is ripe for disposition. The Court will decide the motion without oral argument, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78.

         5. Standard of Review.

         At summary judgment, the moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating 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); accord Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the burden shifts to the non-moving party, who must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court is required to examine the evidence in light most favorable to the non-moving party and resolve all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); Halsey v. Pfeiffer, 750 F.3d 273, 287 (3d Cir. 2014).

         6. A factual dispute is material when it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, ” and genuine when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The non-moving party “need not match, item for item, each piece of evidence proffered by the movant, ” but must present more than a “mere scintilla” of evidence on which a jury could reasonably find for the non-moving party. Boyle v. Cnty. of Allegheny, Pa., 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 1998) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252).

         7. Discussion.

         The Court shall address Defendants' request for summary judgment pertaining to Plaintiff's remaining federal claim and then proceed to discuss Plaintiff's remaining state law claims.

         a. Plaintiff's federal constitutional claim for denial of equal protection to a “Class ...


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.