United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (DOC. NO. 37 & DOC NO. 40)
C. Hall United States District Judge.
plaintiff, Ijahmon Walcott (“Walcott”), currently
incarcerated at Carl Robinson Correctional Institution in
Enfield, Connecticut, commenced this action by Complaint
filed pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
defendants are Hartford Police Officer Robert Fogg
(“Fogg”) and Windsor Police Detective Brian
Connaughton (“Connaughton”). Fogg has filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 37). Connaughton has
also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 40). Both
Fogg and Connaughton transmitted a Notice to Pro Se
Litigant to Walcott, as required by District of Connecticut
Local Rule of Civil Procedure 56(b). See Notice
(Doc. No. 37) at Att. 4; Notice (Doc. No. 40) at Att. 6.
Despite these Notices, Walcott has filed no Opposition.
reasons that follow, Fogg's Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. No. 37) is granted and Connaughton's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 40) is granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion for summary judgment may be granted only where there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56(a),
Fed. R. Civ. P.; Redd v. New York Div. of Parole,
678 F.3d 166, 173-74 (2d Cir. 2012). “When the
nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the
moving party can satisfy its burden at summary judgment by
‘pointing out to the district court' the absence of
a genuine dispute with respect to any essential element of
its opponent's case: ‘a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts
immaterial.'” Cohane v. National Collegiate
Athletic Ass'n, 612 Fed.Appx. 41, 43 (2d Cir. 2015)
(quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323, 325 (1986)).
the moving party meets this burden, the nonmoving party must
set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial. Wright v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266
(2d Cir. 2009) (citation and quotation omitted). He cannot
“rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated
speculation' but ‘must come forward with specific
evidence demonstrating the existence of a genuine dispute of
material fact.” Robinson v. Concentra Health
Servs., 781 F.3d 42, 43 (2d Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). He must present such evidence as would allow a jury
to find in his favor in order to defeat the motion for
summary judgment. Graham v. Long Island R.R., 230
F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000). Although the court is required to
read a self-represented “party's papers liberally
and interpret them to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest, ” Willey v. Kirkpatrick, 801 F.3d 51,
62 (2d Cir. 2015), “unsupported allegations do not
create a material issue of fact” and do not overcome a
properly supported motion for summary judgment. Weinstock
v. Columbia Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000).
December 1, 2015, Fogg and Connaughton, members of the
Hartford Police Shooting Task Force, applied for a search and
seizure warrant for the second-floor residence at 80 Cabot
Street, Hartford, Connecticut. The warrant was signed by a
state court judge the same day. See Local Rule 56(a)
Statement (“L.R. 56(a)(1)”) (Doc. No. 37-2) at 1
¶ 1. The warrant request was based on a police
investigation and credible information that drug sales were
being conducted from 80 Cabot Street and that Antonio Keane
(“Keane”) was storing illegal firearms at that
location. Id. ¶ 2.
warrant described the location as:
The address commonly known as 80 Cabot Street, 2nd floor in
Hartford CT. With access to attic and common access to
basement. A multi-family residence with yellow siding on
bottom half of resident and gray siding on the top half. A
set of wooden stairs and front porch leads to brown front
door located to the left of the residence and is located on
the east side of the street. 78 Cabot Street, Hartford, CT
1st floor located to the right is not included.
Id. at 2 ¶ 3 (internal quotation marks
omitted). The warrant authorized a search for various
firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories, and other items
related to possession of illegal firearms along with proceeds
of criminal activity and proof of residency. Id.
December 7, 2015, Fogg and Connaughton conducted surveillance
of 80 Cabot Street from an unmarked police vehicle.
Id. ¶¶ 5-6. They saw a male, later
identified as Walcott, leave through the front door of 80
Cabot Street. This door leads to only one apartment, which is
located on the second and third floors of the building. They
saw Walcott use a key to lock the door behind him.
Id. at 2-3 ¶ 7. Walcott denies locking the door
to 80 Cabot Street with a key, stating that he did not have
such a key in his possession when he was arrested. Complaint
(“Compl.”) Doc. No. 1 at 10-11 ¶ 11(A).
and Connaughton continued to watch 80 Cabot Street. In the
late afternoon, they saw another man leave through the front
door of 80 Cabot Street. This man was identified as Keane and
taken into custody. Although Keane denied living at 80 Cabot
Street or having a key, he told police that the apartment was
unoccupied. L.R. 56(a)1 at 3 ¶ 9. Fogg and Connaughton
conducted a thorough search of both the second and third
floors of 80 Cabot Street. See Memorandum in Support
of Fogg's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 37-1) at
2. Fogg and Connaughton searched for items listed on the
warrant, which included, inter alia, (1) firearms,
(2) ammunition and other firearm accessories, (3) photos and
video related to illegal firearm possession, (4) proceeds of
illegal activity, and (5) proof of residency. See
LR. 56(a) ¶ 4. They gave Keane a copy of the search
warrant and affixed another copy to the refrigerator.
Id. ¶ 10. The defendants found drugs and drug
paraphernalia in a second-floor bedroom along with mail
addressed to Keane. Id. ¶ 11. In a third-floor
bedroom, they found additional drugs and drug paraphernalia,
ammunition, a firearm, and a letter addressed to Walcott when
he was previously incarcerated. Id. at 3-4
¶¶ 12, 14. Walcott alleged that he was staying with
Keane at the time of the search. Id. ¶ 13.
returned to 80 Cabot Street while the officers were searching
the apartment. He was detained by other officers and showed
them a valid Connecticut Identification Card. Id.
¶ 15. The officers performed a DMV/NCIC check and
discovered that Walcott had an active arrest warrant issued
by the Hartford Police Department. The officers conducted a
State Police Records Check which showed that Walcott had been
convicted of a serious ...