Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Simon v. City of New York

August 16, 2013

ALEXINA SIMON, PLAINTIFF–APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, ADA FRANCIS LONGOBARDI, DETECTIVE EVELYN ALEGRE, DETECTIVE DOUGLAS LEE, DEFENDANTS–APPELLEES



SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Plaintiff-appellant Alexina Simon appeals from an order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Eric N. Vitaliano, Judge ) denying her motion for reconsideration of a previous order and judgment granting defendants-appellees' motion for summary judgment on the basis of absolute immunity. Simon argues that the district court erred in finding that detaining an individual for two days pursuant to a material witness warrant is a prosecutorial function entitled to absolute immunity. We agree, and vacate the judgment of the district court and remand this case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Vacated and Remanded.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gerard E. Lynch, Circuit Judge

Argued: February 6, 2013

Before WALKER, KATZMANN, and LYNCH, Circuit Judges.

This case requires us to consider whether detaining an individual pursuant to a material arrest warrant is a prosecutorial function entitled to absolute immunity. We hold that it is not. As the record is insufficient to determine whether defendants are entitled to qualified immunity, we vacate the judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Eric N. Vitaliano, Judge ) and remand this case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff-appellant Alexina Simon commenced this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 following her arrest and detention pursuant to a material witness warrant. This case was dismissed on grounds of absolute immunity before Simon was able to depose defendants-appellees or otherwise conduct discovery. For purposes of this appeal, therefore, we take as true the facts set forth in Simon's complaint and deposition testimony. See Rolon v. Henneman, 517 F.3d 140, 142 (2d Cir.2008).

I. Simon's Arrest and Detention

The chain of events leading to Alexina Simon's detention began with an investigation of whether a police officer named Shantell McKinnies falsely reported her car stolen. Police sought to interview McKinnies's friend "Alexandra Griffin," allegedly the last person to have seen the car. Over the course of the investigation, officials confused Alexandra Griffin, McKinnies's friend, with Alexina Simon, Alexandra's mother who lives at the same residence and is the plaintiff in this case. The confusion may have arisen because Alexandra Griffin allegedly informed an NYPD detective that she goes by the name "Alexandra Simon," not "Alexandra Griffin."

After "Alexandra Simon" did not respond to a subpoena left in that name at the women's shared residence, Assistant District Attorney Francis Longobardi of the Queens District Attorney's Office ("Queens DA") obtained a material witness warrant and order for "Alexina Simon" on August 8, 2008. The material witness order instructed Simon to appear before the court on August 11, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. for a hearing to establish whether she possessed information material to the inquiry regarding McKinnies. As the court determined that Simon would be unlikely to respond to an order demanding her presence at the hearing, it also issued an "Arrest Warrant for Material Witness" authorizing "any police officer in the State of New York" to "take the above-named Alexina Simon into custody within the State of New York and bring her before this Court in order that a proceeding may be conducted to determine whether she is to be adjudged a material witness." The arrest warrant specified that the hearing was to take place on August 11, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.

Detective Douglas Lee and Sergeant Evelyn Alegre *fn1 ("the officers") executed the material witness warrant on the morning of August 11, 2008, at Simon's workplace. The parties' accounts of the execution of the warrant differ dramatically. The officers maintain that Simon consented to accompany them for questioning, while Simon maintains that she accompanied the officers against her will. Simon testified at her deposition that the investigators appeared at her workplace, asked if she was "Alexina Simon," and told her that they had a warrant for her arrest and that she needed to come with them. When asked at her deposition if she had agreed to go with the investigators, she stated: "I asked them if I have to go. They said 'Yes.' " Simon said that she asked to see the warrant, and was shown "some paper with [her] name on it" that she didn't read closely. Simon testified that when she went with them she "assumed that [she] was under arrest and [she] was going to jail, to be locked up or whatever," and that she thought this because the male investigator "told [her] that [she] was under arrest and if [she didn't] want them to put handcuffs on [her], [she] would come with them."

Simon stated that she was first taken to "the precinct" for several hours, during which she waited in a room, then taken to another building that defendants identify as the Queens District Attorney's Office. There, she spoke briefly with "the district attorney or something like that," whom defendants identify as Longobardi. She testified that Longobardi asked her about a stolen car, and that she told him that she didn't know anything. At approximately 8:00 p.m. that evening, the officers told Simon that she could leave, but that she "ha[d] to be back the next day to answer some more questions." The next day, August 12, the officers picked her up at 9:00 a.m. at her house and brought her back to "the precinct," where they further questioned her. Simon did not meet with Longobardi that day, and was allowed to leave at approximately 5:00 p.m. At no point during the two days of detention was Simon brought before a grand jury or judge.*fn2

II. District Court Proceedings

Simon began the present action on March 27, 2009, and filed an amended complaint on August 13, 2009, naming the City of New York, Lee, Alegre, and Longobardi as defendants. The amended complaint, asserting various claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law, alleged that defendants violated Simon's rights by "arresting, threatening, harassing and detaining [her] without justification, probable cause or reasonable suspicion." *fn3 The amended complaint sought ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.