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Kurylo v. Rizzo

United States District Court, D. Maine

October 12, 2016

SUSAN KURYLO, Plaintiff,
v.
SULLIVAN RIZZO, Defendant.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          NANCY TORRESEN, UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before me is the Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (ECF No. 29). For the reasons stated below, the motion is GRANTED.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

         This case arises out of a warrantless arrest that occurred on the morning of July 29, 2013. On that morning, then-Oxford County Sheriff's Department Deputy Sullivan Rizzo (“Deputy Rizzo” or the “Defendant”) was advised by the Oxford County Sheriff's Department dispatcher that there was a domestic dispute at the residence shared by Pamela Reardon and Susan Kurylo, the Plaintiff in this matter. Consolidated Statements of Material Fact and Resps. ¶¶ 1, 5-7 (“SMF”) (ECF No. 47). Reardon had informed the dispatcher that she and her partner were having problems and that her partner was upset. SMF ¶ 2. Reardon also informed the dispatcher that her partner would not permit her to leave the house and had disabled her car. SMF ¶¶ 3-4.

         When Deputy Rizzo arrived at the residence, he found Reardon outside in a wheelchair. SMF ¶ 9. Deputy Rizzo did not notice any fresh cuts or injuries on Reardon.[2] SMF ¶ 47. Reardon told him that she had been arguing all morning with her partner Kurylo and that she wanted to leave the residence but Kurylo had disabled Reardon's vehicle. SMF ¶¶ 10-11, 46. She also told Deputy Rizzo that Kurylo kept a gun in a lockbox in the basement of the house. SMF ¶ 83.

         Kurylo had been outside speaking to Reardon when Deputy Rizzo arrived in his police car, but she went inside when the police car pulled up. Pl.'s Ans. to Interrog. 7 (ECF No. 35). While Deputy Rizzo was attempting to figure out what was wrong with Reardon's car, Kurylo came back outside because she did not want Deputy Rizzo to damage the car. Pl.'s Ans. to Interrog. 7. Deputy Rizzo asked Kurylo if she disabled the car, and she initially told him that she did not. Pl.'s Ans. to Interrog. 7. Kurylo later admitted to Deputy Rizzo that she had disabled Reardon's vehicle to keep her from driving. SMF ¶ 12. Both Kurylo and Reardon told Deputy Rizzo that Reardon was not supposed to drive per her doctor's order. SMF ¶¶ 49-51.

         At some point, Kurylo told Reardon that she was going back inside to finish feeding their pets, and Reardon said that she wanted to get some of her things from the house. Pl.'s Ans. to Interrog. 8-9. Kurylo said to Reardon that she could come inside the house to get her things.[3] See SMF ¶ 52.

         As Kurylo went back inside the house, Deputy Rizzo bolted after her. SMF ¶ 59. When Kurylo was a few feet inside the house, she heard a loud bang, and the door flew open and struck her in the back.[4] SMF ¶¶ 61-62, 65; Pl.'s Ans. to Interrog. 9. Kurylo realized that Officer Rizzo had kicked the door open, and she noticed Deputy Rizzo's sole print scratched into the paint of the entry door. SMF ¶¶ 66-67. Deputy Rizzo then grabbed her, a struggle ensued, and Kurylo was placed under arrest for assaulting him. See SMF ¶¶ 20, 69, 75.

         Kurylo was taken by an ambulance to a local hospital because she sustained injuries during her arrest. SMF ¶ 37. After the arrest, Deputy Rizzo conducted a recorded interview with Reardon about the incident. SMF ¶¶ 25-26. She told Deputy Rizzo that Kurylo had been physically and verbally abusive with her in the past. SMF ¶ 27. Reardon also told Deputy Rizzo that Kurylo was screaming at her that morning and that she had attempted to leave, but Kurylo grabbed her bag and wallet. SMF ¶ 29. Reardon said that Kurylo had gotten right up against her and leaned into her so hard that she would have fallen down if she had not been up against a bed. SMF ¶¶ 30-31. Reardon was afraid that Kurylo would hit her because she had hit her in the past. SMF ¶¶ 32-33.

         Later in the afternoon at the Brownfield Substation, Deputy Rizzo gave Kurylo three summonses for assault, domestic violence assault, and criminal restraint. SMF ¶¶ 39-40. Kurylo was not deprived of her liberty at any time following her arraignment. SMF ¶ 44. All of the criminal charges brought against her were eventually dismissed.[5] SMF ¶ 85.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “A dispute is genuine if the evidence about the fact is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the point in favor of the non-moving party.” Johnson v. Univ. of P.R., 714 F.3d 48, 52 (1st Cir. 2013) (citation and quotations omitted). “A fact is material if it has potential to determine the outcome of the litigation.” Id. On a motion for summary judgment, courts construe the record in the light most favorable to the non-movant and resolve all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Burns v. Johnson, 829 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir. 2016).

         DISCUSSION

         Kurylo filed this three-count lawsuit in December of 2014. See Compl. (ECF No. 3-3). She presses claims for false arrest, excessive force, and malicious prosecution under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Compl. ¶¶ 29-39. Deputy Rizzo's motion for summary ...


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