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De Los Reyes v. Yllanes

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Danbury

April 20, 2016

RUPERT DE LOS REYES
v.
WESLEY YLLANES, ET AL

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISIONRE: THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          OZALIS, J.

         I.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 5, 2015, the plaintiff, Rupert De Los Reyes, a state trooper employed by the State of Connecticut, filed a six count substituted complaint against the following defendants: the Town of New Fairfield (Town of New Fairfield); Wesley Yllanes (Yllanes), a dispatcher in the Town's Emergency Communication Center (Town Dispatch); Douglas Lange (Officer Lange), a police officer employed by the Town; and Sean McGuire, whose arrest gave rise to the present case. The defendants[1] filed their answer and special defenses to the plaintiffs Substituted Complaint on July 20, 2015, and the plaintiff filed his reply to the special defense on July 21, 2015.

         On October 14, 2015, the defendants filed their motion for summary judgment and memorandum of law in support thereof. On December 16, 2015, the plaintiff filed his opposition to the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The defendants filed their reply to the plaintiffs opposition on January 5, 2016.

         II.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In his substituted complaint, the plaintiff alleges the following claims against the defendants. The plaintiff asserts claims of negligence against defendants Yllanes and Officer Lange in Counts One and Three of the substituted complaint and claims of negligence against - defendants Yllanes, Officer Lange and the Town of New Fairfield pursuant to General Statutes § § 7-465 and 7-101 in Counts Two and Four of the substituted complaint.

         In his substituted complaint, the plaintiff alleges the following facts against the defendants. On May 12, 2012, at approximately 1:40 p.m., Yllanes was at work at the Town Dispatch when he received a 911 call complaining of a physical altercation between defendant McGuire and his brother, Leo McGuire, at 23 Inglenook Drive, New Fairfield (Inglenook Drive). In response to Yllanes' question, the caller, Denise Weber, stated that there were no weapons involved in the altercation. Yllanes then spoke to Leo McGuire, who stated that defendant McGuire " had driven up to their residence drunk and had smashed a window out of his car." Leo McGuire also confirmed, upon being questioned by dispatcher Yllanes, that defendant McGuire did not have any weapons. Leo McGuire further stated that the only weapons at his residence were locked up inside of the house. At the conclusion of the call, Yllanes instructed Leo McGuire to keep defendant McGuire's car keys and to go to a neighbor's house to keep himself away from defendant McGuire. In addition, dispatcher Yllanes advised Leo McGuire that officers would be dispatched to his residence.

         Yllanes then called Officer Lange to inform him of the 911 call received from the Inglenook Drive residence. Officer Lange told Yllanes that, although he was en route to Candlewood Knolls to assist another officer, he would respond to the altercation at Inglenook Drive. During their conversation, Officer Lange requested that dispatcher Yllanes call for backup to the Inglenook Drive residence. Yllanes then called the Consolidated Dispatch Center (Consolidated Dispatch) and requested that a state trooper be sent to Inglenook Drive as backup. The plaintiff, acting as Patrol 1, was subsequently dispatched to the Inglenook Drive residence as backup for Officer Lange.

         The plaintiff further alleges that, although Officer Lange informed Yllanes that he would head to the Inglenook Drive residence, he in fact headed to the incident at Candlewood Knolls. Sometime after the plaintiff was dispatched to Inglenook Drive, Officer Lange contacted Yllanes and " asked if the trooper dispatched to Inglenook Drive as his backup could handle that call because he ... now needed to backup Officer [Michael] Corrigan" on scene at Candlewood Knolls. After receiving this request, Yllanes made a call requesting that a second state trooper be sent to the Inglenook Drive residence as backup for the plaintiff. During this call, in response to a question as to whether two officers were needed at the Candlewood Knolls location, Yllanes allegedly admitted having no knowledge of whether the incident had escalated. In his complaint, the plaintiff alleges that " Yllanes had to rely on the Connecticut State Police to provide its Troopers to respond to the Inglenook Drive call because Officers Lange and Corrigan were the only New Fairfield police officers on duty at that time."

         The plaintiff further alleges that, prior to the call requesting a second state' trooper to Inglenook Drive, the Town Dispatch failed to inform Consolidated Dispatch of the existence of the dispute at Candlewood Knolls, and that such failure is in violation of a provision within a contract between the Town, the State of Connecticut, and the State Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Division of State Police.

         Upon arriving at the Inglenook Drive residence, the plaintiff did not have any backup and " encountered a scenario that in no way resembled what had been described to him by [dispatcher] Yllanes." Immediately upon arrival, the plaintiff learned from Leo McGuire that defendant McGuire had threatened to shoot both Leo McGuire and Weber, the initial 911 caller. The plaintiff learned that Weber was locked inside the residence with the heavily intoxicated defendant McGuire and that there were two firearms inside the residence. After assessing and observing the ongoing situation before him, the plaintiff subsequently radioed for backup and was informed that a state trooper was en route to the Inglenook Drive residence. Before backup arrived, however, Weber appeared at the front door of the residence, and the plaintiff observed some blood on her white shirt. Believing that Weber was injured, the plaintiff " ran to the door and pulled her outside to safety, all the while hearing [defendant] McGuire's threats to shoot him from inside the rear of the house." Defendant McGuire then exited the house while yelling some obscenities and threats to the plaintiff. In addition, defendant McGuire's body language appeared as if he had a gun. Upon defendant McGuire's exit from the residence, he and the plaintiff engaged in a physical struggle that resulted in the plaintiff suffering injuries to his back and finger. Officer Lange did not arrive at Inglenook Drive until after the plaintiff had subdued and taken defendant McGuire into custody.

         III.

         STATEMENT OF LAW

         " [S]ummary judgment shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, affidavits and any other proof submitted show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Stuart v. Freiberg, 316 Conn. 809, 820, 116 A.3d 1195 (2015). " [T]he 'genuine issue aspect of summary judgment requires the parties to bring forward before trial evidentiary facts, or substantial evidence outside the pleadings, from which the material facts alleged in the pleadings can warrantably be inferred .... A material fact has been defined adequately and simply as a fact which will make a difference in the result of the case." (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Buell Industries, Inc. v. Greater New York Mutual Ins. Co., 259 Conn. 527, 556, 791 A.2d 489 (2002). " Issue of fact encompasses not only evidentiary facts in issue but also questions as to how the trier would characterize such evidentiary facts and what inferences and conclusions it would draw from them." United Oil Co. v. Urban Redevelopment Commission, 158 Conn. 364, 379, 260 A.2d 596 (1969).

         " The courts hold the movant to a strict standard. To satisfy his burden the movant must make a showing that it is quite clear what the truth is, and that excludes any real doubt as to the existence of any genuine issue of material fact. ... As the burden of proof is on the movant, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the opponent. ... Once the moving party has met its burden, however, the opposing party must present evidence that demonstrates the existence of some disputed factual issue .... It is not enough, however, for the opposing party merely to assert the existence of such a disputed issue. Mere assertions of fact ... are insufficient to establish the existence of a material fact and, therefore, cannot refute evidence ...


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