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2004RNC SJ Decision

2004RNC SJ Decision

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Published by Nell Casey

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Published by: Nell Casey on Oct 02, 2012
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11/30/2012

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
No. 04 Civ.
7921
(RJS) (JCF)
USDSSDNY
RACER DINLER,
et al.,
DOCUMENTELECTRONICALLY FILED
DOC#:
______
~ ~ - - -
Plaintiffs,
DATE FILED:
C{
1
'b
l2
0
rL
VERSUS
THE
CITY
OF
NEW
YORK,
et al.,
Defendants.
CONSOLIDATED
RNC
CASES
OPINION
AND
ORDER
September 30, 2012
RICHARD
J.
SULLIVAN,
District Judge:Beginning in 2004, Plaintiffs filed theseactions against the City
of
New York (the"City") and several individuals pursuant to42 U.S.C. §
1983
and various provisions
of
state law, alleging violations
of
their stateand federal constitutional rights inconnection with mass arrests atdemonstrations relating
to
the 2004Republican National Convention (the"RNC" or "Convention"). Before the Courtare the parties' cross-motions for summaryjudgment on Plaintiffs' false arrest claimsrelating to their arrests at Fulton Street andEast 16th Street, and on Defendants'policies with respect to fingerprinting andarrests on minor violations during the RNC.Additionally, Plaintiffs have moved to striketestimony by New York Police Department("NYPD") Deputy Commissioner DavidCohen, which they allege is improper expertevidence. For the reasons set forth below:
(1)
Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgmentwith respect to the Fulton Street arrests isgranted, and Defendants' motion
is
denied;(2) the parties' cross-motions for summaryjudgment with respect to the East 16th Streetarrests are denied; (3) Plaintiffs' motion forsummary judgment with respect to theirstate law fingerprinting claims
is
granted,and Defendants' motion is denied;( 4) Defendants' motion for summaryjudgment regarding the constitutionality
of
Case 1:04-cv-07922-RJS-JCF Document 628 Filed 09/30/12 Page 1 of 32
 
2the
City’s policies concerning
fingerprintingand arrests during the RNC is granted; and(5)
Plaintiffs’ motion to strike certain
testimony of Deputy Commissioner Cohenis denied.I.
 
B
ACKGROUND
1
 During the 2004 Republican NationalConvention, which was held at MadisonSquare Garden in Manhattan, thousands of individuals representing a wide range of political and social views came to New York City to participate in demonstrations relatingto the RNC. Those demonstrations led tomass arrests and detention of protestors.Following those mass arrests, hundreds of plaintiffs filed the instant lawsuits againstthe City and various individual NYPDofficers and other individuals associatedwith the City
(collectively, “Defendants”)
.
2
 
1
The follow
ing facts are drawn from the parties’
Rule 56.1 Statements, and the exhibits anddeclarations attached thereto. The facts areundisputed unless otherwise noted. Where oneparty
s 56.1 Statement is cited, the other party doesnot dispute the fact asserted, has offered noadmissible evidence to refute that fact, or merelyobjects to inferences drawn from that fact. The Court
has also considered the parties’ briefs in connection
with their motions. The various submissions andbriefs will be referred to as follows: [party name][subject of motion] [type of document]. Forexample, the Rule 56.1 Statement submitted byDefendants in connection with their motion forsummary judgment on
Plaintiffs’ false arrest claims
arising out of the August 31, 2004 arrests at Fulton
Street is called “Defs.’ Fulton 56.1”; the
Schiller 
 
Plaintiffs’ brief opposing Defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissing Plaintiffs’ claims
relating to the No-Summons and Fingerprinting
Policies is called “Schiller Policies Opp’n Br.”
2
Although the Plaintiffs in the various cases did notsue identical groups of Defendants
 – 
indeed, not allPlaintiffs even named the City as a Defendant
 – 
theCourt nevertheless refers to the City and variousindividual Defendants
collectively as “Defendants”
unless otherwise noted.
Plaintiffs in the various cases includeprotesters, journalists, and bystanders.
3
 The first Plaintiffs filed these actions inlate 2004, shortly after the arrests inquestion, followed by hundreds morePlaintiffs filing individually, jointly, and, insome cases, seeking to certify a class. Thecomplaints in these actions raise claims of,
inter alia
, false arrest, unreasonable andunhealthy terms of confinement, andunlawful fingerprinting and detentionpolicies. The cases were referred to JudgeFrancis for discovery and assigned to mydocket on October 2, 2007. By Opinion andOrder dated May 19, 2011, the Court
granted in part and denied in part Plaintiffs’
motion for class certification in
 MacNamarav. City of New York 
, 275 F.R.D. 125(S.D.N.Y. 2011). Discovery concluded onSeptember 16, 2011.The parties filed cross-motions forsummary judgment on October 3, 2011; themotions were fully submitted as of November 23, 2011. On December 1, 2011,Plaintiffs in
Schiller 
and
 Dinler 
submitted aletter seeking leave to file a motion to strike
Cohen’s testimony
.
4
Defendants submitteda letter opposing this request on December6, 2011. By Order dated December 14,
2011, the Court deemed Plaintiffs’ motion to
3
This Opinion and Order refers to several sets of Plaintiffs. The
 Dinler 
and
 Adams
Plaintiffs werearrested in connection with the East 16th Streetdemonstration. The
Schiller 
and
 Abdell
Plaintiffswere arrested in connection with the Fulton Streetmarch. The
 MacNamara
Plaintiffs were arrested atvarious sites throughout the City and, for purposes of this Opinion and Order, join the other
 
Plaintiffs inchallenging the arrests at the Fulton and East 16thStreet demonstrations and the constitutionality of several law enforcement policies adopted by the Cityto address security concerns during the RNC.
4
Several Plaintiffs submitted letters to the Court joining in the
Schiller 
and
 Dinler 
 
Plaintiffs’ motion
to strike.
Case 1:04-cv-07922-RJS-JCF Document 628 Filed 09/30/12 Page 2 of 32
 
3strike made and determined that it wouldaddress the motion when it ruled on the
 parties’ cross
-motions for summary judgment,
 based on the parties’ letters and
arguments already contained in the summary judgment briefing. On May 31, 2012, theCourt heard oral argument regarding the
 parties’ motions.
Although these cases cover a wide rangeof complaints about conduct by the City, andparticularly the NYPD, the parties agreed tolimit their motions at this time to four issues:(1) whether the police had probable cause toarrest protesters and bystanders at ademonstration on Fulton Street on August31, 2004; (2) whether the police hadprobable cause to arrest protesters andbystanders at a demonstration on East 16thStreet on August 31, 2004; (3) whether the
City’s
suspension of its summons policy forminor offenses, when those offenses relatedto the RNC, was constitutionallypermissible; and (4)
whether the City’s
blanket fingerprinting policy with respect toRNC-related arrests was lawful andconstitutionally permissible.In all, the parties have filed more thanfifty motions, together with hundreds of pages of briefing and thousands more pagesof declarations, exhibits, and Local Rule56.1 statements, as well as several hours of video of the events surrounding the FultonStreet and East 16th Street arrests.II.
 
L
EGAL
S
TANDARD
 Pursuant to Rule 56(a) of the FederalRules of Civil Procedure, summary
 judgment should be rendered “if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as toany material fact and the movant is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(a);
see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett 
,477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The movingparty bears the burden of proving that thereis no genuine issue of material fact.
 Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.
, 477 U.S.242, 256 (1986). Once the moving party has
met its burden, the nonmoving party “must
come forward with specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Caldarola v. Calabrese
, 298 F.3d 156, 160(2d Cir. 2002) (citations and internalquotation marks omitted).In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must resolve anyambiguity in favor of the nonmoving party.
 Amnesty Am. v. Town of W. Hartford 
, 361
F.3d 113, 122 (2d Cir. 2004). The court “is
not to weigh the evidence but is insteadrequired to view the evidence in the lightmost favorable to the party opposingsummary judgment, to draw all reasonableinferences in favor of that party, and toeschew credibility assessments
.”
Weyant v.Okst 
, 101 F.3d 845, 852 (2d Cir. 1996).
However, “[w]
hen opposing parties tell twodifferent stories, one of which is blatantlycontradicted by the record, so that noreasonable jury could believe it, a courtshould not adopt that version of the facts forpurposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment.
Scott v. Harris
, 550 U.S. 372,380 (2007). Specifically, where, as here, theevents in question are captured on videosthat are not alleged to have been doctored or
altered, the court should “view[] the facts inthe light depicted by the videotape.”
 Id.
at381.As a result, summary judgment will not
issue where “the evidence i
s such that areasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.”
 Anderson
, 477 U.S. at
248. “Inferences and burdens of proof on
cross-motions for summary judgment are thesame as those for a unilateral summary
 judgment motion.”
Ferrigno v.
U.S. Dep’t 
of Homeland Sec.
, No. 09 Civ. 5878 (RJS),2011 WL 1345168, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 29,2011).
Case 1:04-cv-07922-RJS-JCF Document 628 Filed 09/30/12 Page 3 of 32

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