The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the city’s motion for summary judgment on the 42 USC 1983, false arrest, assault and battery causes of action should not have been granted. Under the Aguilar-Spinelli analysis, there were questions of fact about the existence of probable cause for plaintiff’s arrest:
“The existence of probable cause constitutes a complete defense to a cause of action alleging false arrest, including a cause of action asserted pursuant to 42 USC § 1983 to recover damages for the deprivation of Fourth Amendment rights under color of state law that is the federal-law equivalent of a state common-law false arrest cause of action” … . “However, [w]hen an arrest is made without a warrant, as here, a presumption arises that it was unlawful, and the burden of proving justification is cast upon the defendant” … . Where the arrest was made without a prior judicial determination of probable cause, and where the arresting officer’s alleged probable cause is based on hearsay, probable cause is properly evaluated under the Aguilar-Spinelli test … . Under the Aguilar-Spinelli rule, where, as here, probable cause is predicated upon the hearsay statement of an informant, the proponent of the hearsay statement “must demonstrate that the informant is reliable and that the informant had a sufficient basis for his or her knowledge” … . Here the defendants failed to eliminate triable issues of fact as to the existence of probable cause for the arrest. The existence of triable issues of fact with respect to whether the police evaluations at issue, such as the evaluation of probable cause to arrest and requisite suspicion to perform a strip search, were objectively reasonable precludes an award of summary judgment … on the ground of qualified immunity … .
“To sustain a cause of action to recover damages for assault, there must be proof of physical conduct placing the plaintiff in imminent apprehension of harmful contact” … . “To recover damages for battery, a plaintiff must prove that there was bodily contact, made with intent, and offensive in nature” … . A claim predicated on assault and battery may be based upon contact during an unlawful arrest … . Here, the defendants’ failure to establish, prima facie, that the plaintiff’s arrest was lawful precluded an award of summary judgment dismissing the sixth cause of action, which alleged assault and battery … . Cayruth v City of Mount Vernon, 2020 NY Slip Op 07027, Second Dept 11-25-20