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Lamar v. Brevetti

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

May 16, 2017

SOLOMON LAMAR
v.
FRANCIS BREVETTI ET AL.

          Argued December 6, 2016

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Waterbury, Roraback, J.

          Daniel S. DiBartolomeo, filed a brief for the appellant (plaintiff).

          Daniel J. Foster, with whom, on the brief, was Joseph A. Mengacci, for the appellees (defendants).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Prescott and Alander, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         The plaintiff, Solomon Lamar, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendants, Francis Brevetti, Michael Guglioti, Vernon Riddick, Jr., Fernando Spagnolo, David Janetty (individual defendants) and the city of Waterbury (city). On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly rendered summary judgment with respect to (1) his negligence and recklessness claims against the individual defendants, (2) his negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims against Brevetti and (3) his claims against the city pursuant to General Statutes §§ 7-465 and 7-101a. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         In his complaint filed on August 19, 2010, the plaintiff alleged twenty-four counts against the six defendants.[1]The genesis of this action was the arrest of the plaintiff by Brevetti, a Waterbury police officer, on July 31, 2008. The other individual defendants were high ranking members of the Waterbury Police Department. On August 31, 2010, the defendants removed the action to United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (District Court). On September 26, 2012, the District Court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment with respect to the plaintiff's claims of civil rights violations, false arrest, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.

         In that decision, the District Court set forth the following facts. On July 31, 2008, Brevetti responded to a report of a disturbance. Lamar v. Waterbury, Docket No. 3:10CV1390 (RNC), 2012 WL 4481677, *1 (D. Conn. September 26, 2012). Accompanied by police officer Michael Modeen, Brevetti interviewed the two complainants, Hector Ramos and Jessie Stein, who stated that the plaintiff had been yelling obscenities and making threats. Id. Ramos and Stein directed the officers to the home of the plaintiff, who answered the door in a state of undress and appeared nervous. Id. During the officers' questioning, the plaintiff admitted to having a dispute with his neighbors. Id. Brevetti placed the plaintiff under arrest for breach of peace. Id. The plaintiff indicated that he needed to get a pair of pants, and walked up the stairs. Id. The officers followed him to the top of the stairs, where they placed him in handcuffs. Id. At that point, the officers observed, in plain view, ‘‘a clear plastic bag containing a white rock-like substance [later determined to be crack cocaine], together with a small scale and a box of sandwich bags.'' Id. The plaintiff was charged with breach of peace in the second degree and various narcotics offenses.

         As a result of this arrest, the Superior Court conducted a hearing on May 13, 2009, on whether the plaintiff had violated a conditional discharge he had received as a part of his sentence on a prior conviction.[2] Id., *2. The court, Fasano, J., determined that the plaintiff, by virtue of this new arrest, had violated his conditional discharge, notwithstanding some discrepancy between Ramos' testimony and the police report completed by Brevetti. Id. Judge Fasano opened the judgment and sentenced the plaintiff to three and one-half years incarceration. Id.

         On September 24, 2009, Brevetti was arrested after narcotics were found in his vehicle. Id. He subsequently pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and possession of a controlled substance. Id.

         The state elected not to prosecute the plaintiff for the charges stemming from the July 31, 2008 incident. Id. Following the plaintiff's release from custody on March 26, 2010, he commenced the present action. Id.

         The defendants moved for summary judgment in the District Court. In ruling on that motion, the District Court determined that ‘‘[i]n this case, uncontested facts establish that the plaintiff's arrest [for breach of peace and the narcotics charges] was supported by probable cause. . . . Because probable cause existed for the plaintiff's arrest, the plaintiff cannot prevail on his claims under [42 U.S.C.] § 1983 and state law for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution as a matter of law and, accordingly, the defendants are entitled to summary judgment on these claims.'' Id., *3. The District Court then declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims and remanded the case to the Superior Court. Id.

         On January 27, 2014, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment in the Superior Court as to the plaintiff's remaining claims. The plaintiff filed his objection on July 24, 2014. The court, Roraback, J., held a hearing and subsequently issued a memorandum of decision ...


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