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Chunn v. Coleman

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

February 21, 2019

Christopher Chunn Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Amtrak, P.O. Coleman, P.O. Looney, Defendants-Appellees, Drug Enforcement Administration Agency, Colon, Supervising John Doe, Agent, DEA Officer Alex Colon, Special Agent John Hannon, Defendants.

          Submitted On: January 24, 2019

         Appellant Christopher Chunn, pro se, appeals the judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Crotty, J.; Pitman, M.J.) granting summary judgment in favor of Amtrak with respect to his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state-law conversion claims. Amtrak transferred to the DEA cash that Amtrak police seized from Chunn incident to his arrest. Chunn contended that Amtrak's transfer of his property without first offering him an opportunity to contest the transfer violated his due process rights and amounted to conversion under New York law. Because due process is afforded by the required post-deprivation procedures and because Chunn was not unlawfully deprived of his property, we affirm.

          Christopher Chunn, pro se, Coxsackie, NY, for the Plaintiff-Appellant.

          Willaim G. Ballaine, Tina S. Bhatt, Theresa A. Frame, Landman Corsi Ballaine & Ford P.C., New York, NY, for the Defendants-Appellees.

          Before: Kearse, Jacobs, Sack, Circuit Judges.

          Dennis Jacobs, Circuit Judge.

         Appellant Christopher Chunn, pro se, appeals the judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Crotty, J.; Pitman, M.J.) granting summary judgment in favor of Amtrak, dismissing his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the state law of conversion.[1] Incident to Chunn's arrest in the waiting area at New York's Pennsylvania Station, Amtrak police seized $10, 400, which the Amtrak police then transferred to the Drug Enforcement Agency ("DEA"). Chunn contends that Amtrak's transfer of his property without first affording him an opportunity to contest the transfer violated his due process rights and amounted to conversion under New York law. We recount only the facts that bear upon our disposition.

         BACKGROUND

         Chunn was sleeping in the Amtrak waiting area in Pennsylvania Station when he was roused by Amtrak Police Officer Jerry Coleman. An altercation ensued and Chunn was arrested for disorderly conduct, trespassing, and resisting arrest. During a search incident to this arrest, Amtrak officers discovered $10, 400 cash in Chunn's pocket. The officers confiscated the cash, and upon investigation by Amtrak's Criminal Investigation Division and an Amtrak officer assigned to the Amtrak-DEA joint task force, the DEA decided to seize the money for possible forfeiture as proceeds of drug sales. Amtrak transferred the cash to the DEA and gave Chunn a receipt.

         Chunn sued Amtrak, Amtrak officers, the DEA, and DEA agents alleging a violation of due process and conversion. Chunn agreed to dismiss his claims against the DEA and its agents. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Amtrak defendants and denied Chunn's motion to amend his complaint to add as a defendant the Amtrak officer responsible for turning over Chunn's property to the DEA.

         This appeal followed.

         DISCUSSION

         We review orders granting summary judgment de novo and focus on whether the district court correctly concluded that there was no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Sotomayor v. City of New York, 713 F.3d 163, 164 (2d Cir. 2013). We review the denial of a motion ...


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