Cugini v. City of New York, No. 18-1378 (2d Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against the City and an officer in his individual capacity, alleging claims of excessive force against the officer and state law claims against the City for assault and battery and negligence. Plaintiff's claim stemmed from a handcuffing incident during her voluntary surrender to police custody in connection with a misdemeanor complaint of domestic stalking and harassment filed by her estranged sister.
The Second Circuit held that plaintiff sufficiently established her constitutional claim for excessive force for purposes of surviving a motion for summary judgment. In this case, a reasonable jury could find that the officer's actions in handcuffing plaintiff were objectively unreasonable in light of, inter alia, the minor nature of plaintiff's crime, the circumstances of her arrest, and the fact that she posed no apparent risk of flight or physical threat to the officers or others. However, the court held that, at the time of plaintiff's arrest, the officer's actions did not violate clearly established constitutional law. Therefore, the district court correctly concluded that his actions were protected by qualified immunity and summary judgment was proper on that basis. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment.