United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
MICHAEL P. SHEA, U.S.D.J.
Rena Avitable and Claire Fein filed suit against defendant
Detective Daniel Raywood of the West Hartford Police
Department. They allege that the defendant subjected them to
malicious prosecution in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983
when he filed criminal charges against them for a dispute
with their plumbing contractor that was, in their view, civil
in nature. They seek compensatory damages, punitive damages,
as well as attorneys' fees and costs. Defendant filed a
motion for summary judgment arguing that he is entitled to
judgment on plaintiffs' Section 1983 claim as a matter of
law. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion
for summary judgment is GRANTED.
following facts, which are taken from the parties' Local
Rule 56(a) statements and supporting exhibits, are undisputed
unless otherwise indicated.
Cravo's Allegations to Officer Urso
November 30, 2015, Fernando Cravo went to the West Hartford
Police Department (“WHPD”) and lodged a complaint
against plaintiffs with Officer Danielle Urso, who is not a
party. ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 6; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 6. He
reported to Officer Urso that he was a self- contracting
plumber and had been doing renovation work for plaintiffs at
49 Kingswood Road (“49 Kingswood”) for
approximately one month. ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 7; ECF No.
29-1 at ¶ 7. Plaintiffs had established a limited
liability company that owned 49 Kingswood, ECF No. 28-2 at
¶ 3; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 3, and had hired Cravo in
October 2015 to install new water lines at the building. ECF
No. 28-2 at ¶¶ 4-5; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶¶
4-5. Cravo reported to Officer Urso that plaintiffs agreed to
pay him $850 to install the new water lines, ECF No. 28-2 at
¶ 8; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 8, and that he was not paid
despite completing the work, ECF No. 28-2 at ¶¶
9-10; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶¶ 9-10. Cravo provided
Officer Urso with a copy of a hand-written invoice for the
plumbing work he had completed. ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 9; ECF
No. 29-1 at ¶ 9.
also reported to Officer Urso that, on November 15, 2015,
plaintiffs asked him to perform a second job at 49 Kingswood.
ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 11; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 11. The
second job included, among other things, replacing radiators
on the first and second floors of the residence. ECF No. 28-2
at ¶ 11; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 11. Cravo showed Officer
Urso text messages he exchanged with Avitable in which they
agreed on $6, 200 for this work. ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 12;
ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 12.
told Officer Urso that, based on the agreement regarding the
second job, he purchased more than $1, 000 worth of plumbing
supplies from Bender Plumbing Supplies
(“Bender”). ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 13; ECF No.
29-1 at ¶ 13. He also reported that Bender delivered the
supplies to 49 Kingswood on November 24, 2015 and provided
Officer Urso with a copy of the Shipment Confirmation. ECF
No. 28-2 at ¶ 14; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 14. Cravo
reported to Officer Urso that he was present outside 49
Kingswood when the plumbing supplies were delivered. ECF No.
28-2 at ¶ 15. Plaintiffs deny this statement and point
to Fein's testimony that she did not know how the
supplies got to the residence. ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 15.
This is not a proper denial as plaintiffs cite only a lack of
personal knowledge about the fact, rather than any evidence
that Cravo was not present when the supplies were delivered.
Moreover, Fein testified that Cravo was outside the home with
the supplies when she arrived that evening. ECF No. 29-1 at
¶ 15. The fact is therefore deemed admitted. Cravo
further reported to Officer Urso that when plaintiffs arrived
at 49 Kingswood that day, they claimed that they forgot to
bring a check for the $850 they owed him for the first job.
ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 16; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 16. Cravo
told Officer Urso that, because he still expected plaintiffs
to pay him for the first job, he placed the supplies inside
the home and planned to return on November 28, 2015, to work
on the second job. ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 17; ECF No. 29-1 at
reported to Officer Urso that he returned to 49 Kingswood on
November 28, 2015 to begin working on the second job and that
neither plaintiff was there to let him into the residence.
ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 18; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶ 18. He said
that Avitable ceased all communication with him that day
regarding the outstanding bill for $850 and the materials he
had purchased from Bender, which remained locked inside 49
Kingswood. ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 19; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶
19. He also showed Officer Urso the text messages that he
sent to Avitable while he was waiting outside the residence
that day. ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 18; ECF No. 29-1 at ¶
18. These messages are as follows:
[Cravo, 8:01am]: Rena I am going to to the house can you open
[Cravo, 8:10am]: I am at the house call me
[Cravo, 10:17am]: I am waiting for you call if you don't
want to do the job then let me go and get the material
[Cravo, 2:45pm]: Rena can you have clairese call me
ECF No. 28-2 at ¶¶ 18, 40-42; ECF No. 29-1 at
¶¶ 18, 40-42; ECF No. 28-16 at 3. Defendant asserts
that the plumbing supplies from Bender are still inside 49
Kingswood. ECF No. 28-2 at ¶ 48. Plaintiffs do not deny
that plumbing supplies are still inside the property, but
cite Fein's testimony that the Bender supply list did not