United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON CITY OF HARTFORD'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
W. Eginton Senior United States District Judge
genesis of this action is the arrest of plaintiff Sara
Calhoun by defendant Hartford Police Officer Robert Murtha.
Against defendant Murtha, plaintiff alleges an alleged
violation of her constitutional right to be free from
excessive force pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and state
law claims of false imprisonment, assault and battery,
negligent assault and battery, and negligent infliction of
emotional distress. Against defendant City of Hartford,
plaintiff asserts claims pursuant to Connecticut General
Statutes § 7-465 and 7-101a for indemnification; and for
damages caused by the negligence of Murtha pursuant to
Connecticut General Statutes § 52-557n. Plaintiff
alleges that she is entitled to compensatory and punitive
damages from defendants.
ruling dated May 4, 2018, this Court denied a motion for
summary judgment filed by defendant Murtha. Defendant City of
Hartford has filed a motion for summary judgment on
plaintiff's claims for indemnification and for damages
based on Murtha's negligence. Defendant also seeks entry
of summary judgment on the request for punitive damages.
does not contest that summary judgment should enter on her
count alleging Section 7-101a as a direct cause of action for
indemnification and her request for punitive damages.
parties have submitted statements of undisputed facts,
exhibits and supporting materials that reveal the following
undisputed facts. The Court assumes familiarity with the
facts comprising the factual background of this Court's
prior ruling dated May 4, 2017. The Court incorporates such
factual background herein and adds the following relevant
police officers for the City of Hartford have received
training while attending the Police Training Academy prior to
being sworn in as police officers. The training curriculum
satisfies the requirements of the State of Connecticut's
Police Officers Standards Training Council
(“POST”). The City of Hartford requires that its
police officers attend job-related training and continuing
education. All police officers receive training in the use of
force, handcuffing, report writing, lawful arrests, probable
cause and search and seizure. This training is mandated and
approved by POST. Training required by POST is adequate and
consistent with generally accepted police practices on a
local and national level.
Murtha was appropriately trained in accordance with accepted
police practices on the use of less-lethal force, handcuffing
procedure, search and seizures, probable cause, laws of
arrest and on all topics in which plaintiff's expert has
an opinion. Defendant Murtha's decision to arrest and
handcuff plaintiff on August 24, 2013, was within his
prior ruling denying defendant Murtha's motion for
summary judgment, the Court found that the question of
whether the amount of force used was excessive or objectively
reasonable remained a question for the jury; that factual
questions concerning the circumstances of defendant
Murtha's use of force precluded entry of summary judgment
on the basis of qualified immunity; and that factual
questions concerning the circumstances of plaintiff's
arrest precluded entry of summary judgment on her claims for
false imprisonment, assault and battery, negligent assault
and battery, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The Court noted that Municipal employees enjoy qualified
immunity from state law tort liability based on unintentional
conduct related to the performance of governmental or
discretionary acts, but that a reasonable jury could find
that the instant plaintiff falls within the identifiable
person, imminent harm exception to discretionary act
motion for summary judgment must be granted if the pleadings,
discovery materials before the court and any affidavits show
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and it
is clear that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
dispute regarding a material fact is genuine if there is
sufficient evidence that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The burden is on
the moving party to demonstrate the absence of any material
factual issue genuinely in dispute. Am. Int'l Group,
Inc. v. London Am. Int'l Corp., 664 F.2d 348, 351
(2d Cir. 1981).
nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an
essential element of her case with respect to which she has
the burden of proof, then summary judgment is appropriate.
Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. If the nonmoving
party submits evidence which is “merely colorable,
” legally sufficient opposition to the motion for
summary judgment is not met. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S.
at 24. The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in
support of the nonmoving party's position is
insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could
reasonably find for her. See Dawson v. County of
Westchester, 373 F.3d 265, 272 (2d Cir. 2004).
summary judgment, the court resolves all ambiguities and
draws all permissible factual inferences in favor of the
nonmoving party. See Patterson v. County of Oneida,
375 F.3d 206, 218 (2d Cir. 2004). If there is any evidence in
the record from which a reasonable inference could be drawn
in favor of the opposing party on the issue on which summary
judgment is sought, summary judgment is ...