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Battisti v. Rice

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

January 9, 2017, Decided; January 9, 2017, Filed

10-CV-4139(JS)(AYS)

Opinion

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

SEYBERT, District Judge:

This case involves claims for false arrest and malicious prosecution by Plaintiff Anthony Battisti ("Plaintiff") against Defendants Assistant District Attorney Michael Canty ("ADA Canty"), Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Kelly ("ADA Kelly"), Detective Jason Gaertner ("Detective Gaertner"), Sergeant Robert Galgano ("Sergeant Galgano") (collectively the "County Defendants"), and Timothy Gersbeck ("Gersbeck"). Currently pending before the Court is the County Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Defs.' Mot., Docket Entry 52.) For the following reasons, the County Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual Background3

A. The Assault and Preliminary Investigation

On January 23, 2009, Plaintiff's [*2]  ex-wife, Patricia Battisti, was assaulted outside her home in Franklin Square, New York. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., Docket Entry 52-2, ¶¶ 35, 38, 51.) After the attack, Detective Gaertner, a detective with the Nassau County Police Department, arrived at the scene. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 35.) He learned that the suspected assailant, Gersbeck, had been apprehended by two men after he fled the scene of the assault. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 36.) At least two people at the scene, Brian Dashner and Sergeant Joseph Pizzimenti, heard Gersbeck say something to the effect of "You should go back to the house before someone finishes the job" and "I was hired by Tony." (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 37; Supporting Dep., Defs.' Ex. C, Docket Entry 52-6, at 2; Pizzimenti Crim. Tr., Defs.' Ex. PPP, Docket Entry 52-71, 1226:10-20.)4

After Gersbeck was arrested, Detective Gaertner searched the area and directed officers to call the Crime Scene Unit to gather evidence. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 40-42.) Detective Gaertner discovered two blue latex gloves on the path Gersbeck took to flee the scene. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 43.) Detective Gaertner also instructed that a black Jeep belonging to Gersbeck be impounded to preserve any evidence [*3]  inside. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 45.) At some point during the preliminary stages of the investigation, Sergeant Galgano arrived, although the parties dispute whether he provided any direction to Detective Gaertner or others regarding the conduct of the investigation. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 44; Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt., Docket Entry 54-1, ¶ 44.)

Next, Detective Gaertner, Sergeant Galgano, and another officer went to Winthrop Hospital to speak to Ms. Battisti and photograph a wound she suffered to her neck. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 46.) Ms. Battisti stated that she was opening the front door of her home after a shopping trip when "an unknown male put his hand around her mouth, stabbed her in the back of her neck with a sharp instrument, told her that 'if you tell anyone, I'll kill your son and daughter,' pushed her to the ground and ran away." (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 47.) Afterward, she identified the individual as Timothy Gersbeck. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 47.) When they returned to the scene, "a sharpened screwdriver was found inside a pair of white latex gloves" near where Gersbeck was apprehended, which was later determined to be the weapon used in the attack. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 48-49.)

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2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2887 *; 2017 WL 78891

ANTHONY BATTISTI, Plaintiff, -against- KATHLEEN RICE, ADA MICHAEL CANTY, ADA CAROLYN KELLY, ADAs JOHN DOE 1-5, DETECTIVE JASON GAERTNER, SERGEANT ROBERT GALGANO, OFFICERS JOHN DOE 1-5, THE COUNTY OF NASSAU, and TIMOTHY GERSBECK, Defendants.1

Prior History: Matter of Battisti v. City of New York, 121 A.D.3d 520, 994 N.Y.S.2d 597, 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7024 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep't, 2014)

CORE TERMS

probable cause, screwdriver, kill, indictment, grand jury, arrest, marks, summary judgment, dissipated, gloves, grinder, video, exculpatory evidence, false arrest, allegations, initiation, sharpened, charges, testing, tools, bad faith, genuine, parties, match, scene, malicious prosecution, rebut a presumption, corroborated, quotation, Assault