304 F.Supp.2d 296 (2004) | Cited 3 times | D. Connecticut | January 23, 2004


These consolidated cases arise out of a long-standing and regrettablybitter dispute among family members. In both cases, Steven Szekeres andhis wife, Denise Miller, have sued various family members for incidentsrelating to their on-going disputes. In each case, non-family membershave also been caught in the cross-fire of the family feud. In the leadcase, Szekeres v. Schaeffer, No. 3:01cv2099 (MRK) (the"Schaeffer case"), the non-family member defendant is Denise C.Schaeffer, a family violence victim advocate employed by HartfordInterval House who had been assisting Mr. Szekeres' mother, JoyceSzekeres, in connection with a domesticPage 2violence claim involving Mr. Szekeres. In addition to Ms.Schaeffer, plaintiffs also sued Mr. Szekeres' mother, Joyce, and hissister, Stephanie Ann Dridi. In the second case, Szekeres v.Howard, No. 3:01cv2108 (MRK) (the "Howard case"), the non-familymember defendants are two Monroe police officers, Officers Peter Howardand Mark Caulfield, who responded to a report of a dispute among Szekeresfamily members at a residence in Monroe that Mr. Szekeres and Ms. Millerhad leased from Mr. Szekeres' mother, Joyce. In that second case,plaintiffs have also sued Mr. Szekeres' sister, Ms. Dridi, and herhusband, Chaker Dridi. In each case, plaintiffs allege that thenon-family members acted under color of state law in violation of28 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs also assert various pendent state lawclaims against the non-family defendants as well as the familydefendants. The Szekeres family is no stranger to litigation, having beenparties to other legal actions involving one another in Connecticut statecourt, at least one of which is still pending.

Defendants in both cases have filed motions for summary judgment and,in addition, the Dridi defendants have filed a Motion for Reconsideration[doc. #58] in the Howard case in connection with the Court's retention ofpendent state claims following dismissal of Constitutional claims againstthe Dridis in the Schaeffer case.1 The Court will address the motionsfiled in the Howard case in a separate decision to be issued at a latertime. In this decision, the Court addresses only the motions filed in theSchaeffer case: to wit, Ms. Schaeffer's Motion for Summary Judgment [doc.# 36]; Ms. Szekeres' and Ms. Dridi's Motions to Dismiss [doc. ## 55, 59].For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants summary judgment to allPage 3defendants on the plaintiffs' § 1983 claims. The Court alsodeclines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining pendentstate claims. Therefore, the Court dismisses all remaining claims againstall defendants in the lead case, Szekeres et al v. Schaeffer, etal, 3:01cv2099.


Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are drawn from theplaintiffs' Amended Complaint [doc. #24], affidavits, and the parties'statements submitted pursuant to Local Rule 56.2 Regarding the issueson which the Court bases its decision, the Court finds that there are nogenuine issues of material fact. Instead, the parties merely contend thatdifferent legal conclusions and consequences flow from those undisputedfacts.

Hartford Interval House ("HIH") is a private not-for-profit corporationlocated in the Hartford, Connecticut area. See Amended Affidavitof Jennifer Lopez in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment ("LopezAffidavit") [doc. #53], ¶ 3; Amended Affidavit of Denise C. Schaefferin Support of Motion for Summary Judgment ("Schaeffer Affidavit") [doc.#54], ¶ 3. According to its Web site, HIH provides support servicesin Hartford area towns to victims of domestic violence throughcounseling, advocacy, support groups, a shelter for women andPage 4children and other services. See HIH has three offices located in theHartford area. See id. Connecticut Coalition Against DomesticViolence, Inc. ("CCADV") is another not-for-profit corporation, and itprovides family violence response programs and services to residentsthroughout the State of Connecticut, not just in the Hartford area. LopezAffidavit, ¶ 10; see also Sub-Contract for Services toVictims of Family Violence ("Agreement"), [doc. #54], Exhibit A.

In 1999, CCADV contracted with the State of Connecticut's Office ofVictim Services, a state agency, to provide services to individuals whohave been victims of family violence and who have been referred forfamily violence services by the Support Services Division of the JudicialDepartment of the State of Connecticut.3 CCADV, in turn,subcontracted with HIH, which was to employ a staff of family violencevictim advocates in the Hartford area who would provide services toindividuals who have been victims of crimes of family violence as definedin section 46b-38a of the Connecticut General Statutes.4 Thesubcontract between CCADV andPage 5HIH was for an initial term of one year (July 1, 1999 to June 30,2000), and it required CCADV to pay HIH not more than $126,205 for thatone year period. There is no information in the record on whether thesubcontract was renewed for future years.Page 6

To fulfill its obligations under its subcontract with CCADV, HIHemploys family violence victim advocates; these individuals are employedby HIH, not the State of Connecticut, and they are paid by HIH, not theState. Moreover, HIH is paid by CCADV, not the State, for the staff andservices HIH provides under its subcontract with CCADV. CCADV presumablyreceives some or all of the funds it uses to pay HIH from CCADV'scontract with the State, though neither party provided the Court withinformation regarding the precise funding sources for either HIH or CCADVor even whether all of the money CCADV pays HIH under the subcontract isderived from State sources. For purposes of the current motions, theCourt will assume that CCADV pays HIH for its services with funds thatCCADV, in turn, receives from the State. At oral argument on the pendingmotions, counsel for Ms. Schaeffer represented to the Court that HIH'stotal revenues are not limited solely to the payments it receive from itssubcontract with CCADV and that HIH also receives funds from privatephilanthropic sources, such as individuals and foundations. Transcript at24. Counsel for plaintiff did not dispute that representation.

The defendant Denise Schaeffer is employed by HIH and holds theposition of "Family Violence Victim Advocate." Ms. Schaeffer is paid byHIH, not the State, and despite the allegations of the Amended Complaint,the undisputed facts show that she is employed by HIH and not, at leastdirectly or nominally, by any State agency or the State judicial branch.See Lopez Affidavit, ¶ 11; Schaeffer Affidavit, ¶ 11.Ms. Schaeffer provides services to victims of family violence under theterms of HIH's subcontract with CCADV. Schaeffer Affidavit, ¶ 13.Counsel for Ms. Schaeffer stated at oral argument that she performs hervictim advocate duties principally in courthouses located in the Hartfordarea. There, he represented, Ms. SchaefferPage 7receives referrals from Support Services personnel, meets withvictims, appears with them in court if that is needed, and stays in touchwith her clients by using her cellphone. Transcript at 26.

At the time of the events that give rise to this action, Ms. Schaefferwas providing family violence services to the defendant Joyce Szekeres,though the parties have not informed the Court how Ms. Schaeffer came tobe providing services to Ms. Szekeres, for what duration Ms. Schaefferwas performing these services or even precisely what services Ms.Schaeffer provided Ms. Szekeres. However, plaintiffs attached to theirSupplementary Submission Regarding Motions for Summary Judgment in LeadCase ("Plaintiffs' Supplementary Submission") [doc. #86] a portion of atranscript [Exhibit C] from a November 30, 1999 hearing in State SuperiorCourt in Connecticut v. Szekeres, during which the State appearsto have sought no-contact orders for the protection of Ms. Szekeres andMs. Dridi as a result of alleged threats and/or assaults by Mr. Szekeres.During the course of that proceeding, Ms. Schaeffer, among others,5addressed the Court on Ms. Szekeres' behalf. Ms. Schaeffer identifiedherself to the Court as a "Victim Advocate," and she explained why shebelieved the Court should issue the no-contact orders. State SuperiorCourt Transcript at 7.

Whether as a part of that proceeding or otherwise, on November 18,1999, it is undisputed that Ms. Schaeffer called Ms. Szekeres inconnection with providing victim related services to her under HIH'ssubcontract with CCADV. Deposition of Ms. Szekeres [doc. # 88], at 23.According to a portion of a transcript of the deposition of Ms. Szekeressubmitted byPage 8plaintiffs with their Supplementary Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement,id., during the telephone conversation, Ms. Schaeffer identifiedherself to Ms. Szekeres as a victim advocate and offered emotionalsupport to Ms. Szekeres. Ms. Szekeres also testified that Ms. Schaeffertold her that she "worked with the court" and offered "to help [Ms.Szekeres] through the court process." Joyce Szekeres deposition at 23.Ms. Szekeres said that she expressed her concerns to Ms. Schaeffer andtold her that she was fearful about handguns, including a magnum .357,that Mr. Szekeres purportedly owned and also about the possibility thathe would hurt himself with the weapon. According to Ms. Szekeres'stestimony, which plaintiffs have not disputed, Ms. Szekeres then askedMs. Schaeffer "to do something about that," and Ms. Schaeffer respondedthat "she would be in touch with the detectives in Monroe and that theywould remove the guns from the house." Id. at 24.

On the same day, Ms. Schaeffer telephoned the Monroe Police Departmentand spoke with Detective Bernard M. Halapin. The location from which Ms.Schaeffer made the telephone call in question is not clear from therecord, but the Court will assume that she made the call on her own cellphone from the West Hartford courthouse, as counsel for Ms. Schaefferintimated at oral argument. Transcript at 27. Ms. Schaeffer stated in heraffidavit that she called the Monroe police as a part of the duties sheperformed for HIH under its subcontract with CCADV, and plaintiffs havenot submitted any evidence to the contrary. Schaeffer Affidavit, ¶17.

According to a search warrant affidavit executed by Detective Halapinand Lieutenant Michael R. Flick, which is attached as Exhibit A toPlaintiff's Supplementary Submission [doc. # 86], Ms. Schaefferidentified herself to Detective Halapin as "a Victims Advocate for theWest Hartford Court." Halapin and Flick Affidavit at 2. Detective Halapinstated that Ms. SchaefferPage 9informed him that Mr. Szekeres had been arrested on a warrantcharging him with assaulting his 60-year old mother; that as a conditionof his release he was not to possess any weapon without further noticefrom the court; and that while in court on November 15, 1999, Mr.Szekeres had turned over to the court a receipt indicating that he hadrelinquished to the Monroe Police a pellet pistol and three BB/pelletrifles. Id. at 2. As is particularly relevant here, according toDetective Halapin, Ms. Schaeffer also told him: Szekeres was a "Paranoid Schizophrenic and that his mother and sister both state that he owns a .357 magnum handgun and threatened them with it in the past. Ms. Schaeffer went on to say that she was attempting to protect Szekeres's family and feels action should be taken to locate the weapon that he did not turn over to police.Id. at 3a.

According to the affidavit, after speaking with Ms. Schaeffer,Detective Halapin contacted Mr. Szekeres, who denied that he had a .357magnum handgun or that one existed in his home. However, he refused togrant permission to allow the police to search his residence.Id. Detective Halapin also telephoned Ms. Szekeres, who statedthat she had seen the .357 magnum handgun about three years ago, whichwas also when Mr. Szekeres supposedly put the gun to his head while itwas unloaded. Id.

After making the telephone calls described above, Detective Halapin andLieutenant Flick applied for a warrant to search Mr. Szekeres' homepursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a). Section 29-38c(a)authorizes a Superior Court judge to issue a search warrant if two policeofficers, after having "conducted an independent investigation,"determine that probable cause exists to believe that: (1) a person posesa risk of imminent personal injury to himself or herself or otherindividuals; (2) the person possesses one or more firearms; and (3) thefirearm orPage 10firearms are within or upon any place, thing or person.See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38c(a).6 The affidavit thatDetective Halapin and Lieutenant Flick submitted in connection with thewarrant application recited the facts set forth above and concluded asfollows: "Based upon the facts reported by Victim's Advocate Denise C.Schaeffer, the affiants are respectfully requesting authorization tosearch the residence [of Mr. Szekeres] to locate and seize all firearms."The affidavit and warrant application were presented to Superior CourtJudge George Thim, who issued the search warrant on the same day,November 18, 1999.

Monroe police executed the warrant, but the search of Mr. Szekeres'residence yielded no gun or weapon. Plaintiffs have also submitted to theCourt a "To Whom It May Concern" letter from a Dr. Jay Berkowitz, M.D.,Supervisor of Mental Health for the Community Correctional Center ofBridgeport, which stated that Dr. Berkowitz evaluated Mr. Szekeres onOctober 23, 2000 and found Mr. Szekeres to be "mentally stable" and"mentally sound," "with no evidence of psychosis, depression or anymental illness." Plaintiff's Supplementary Submission Regarding Motionfor Summary Judgment, [doc. #86], Exhibit B.

This lawsuit was filed on November 1, 2001. In their Amended Complaint,plaintiffs allege that the statements by Ms. Schaeffer and Ms. Szekeresthat Mr. Szekeres possessed a .357 magnum handgun, that he had put thegun to his head and that he was a "Paranoid Schizophrenic" were all falseand malicious. For purposes of this motion, the Court assumes thatPage 11the information Ms. Schaeffer supplied the police was false.

Plaintiffs also allege in the Amended Complaint that at all times, Ms.Schaeffer was a "Connecticut Victims Advocate acting within the scope ofher authority as an officer of the Executive Branch of the State ofConnecticut pursuant to the provisions of Sections 446-a-13b, 46a-13c and46-a-13d of the Connecticut General Statutes and/or as an officer of theJudicial Branch of the State of Connecticut pursuant to the provisions ofSection 46-b-38c of the Connecticut General Statutes." Amended Complaint[doc. # 24], ¶ 4. "As such," the Amended Complaint alleges, Ms.Schaeffer "was empowered by Section 46a-13d of the Connecticut GeneralStatutes to compel all state, local and private agencies to `cooperate'with her in the performance of her duties." Id. Plaintiffsallege in their Amended Complaint that Ms. Szekeres and Ms. Dridi "wereprivate citizens acting jointly and in concert with defendant Schaeffer."Id. ¶ 5. Accordingly, plaintiffs assert that at all times,the defendants were "acting under color of Section 46a-13b through46a-13d of the Connecticut General Statutes and of the constitution,laws, rules, regulations, customs and usages of the State ofConnecticut." Id. ¶ 6. Plaintiffs sued all defendants under42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of their Fourth Amendment right to befree from unreasonable searches and seizures and also asserted pendentstate law claims against all defendants for slander, intentionalinfliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotionaldistress.

All of the defendants have now filed motions for summary judgment.After holding argument on the summary judgment motions, the Court gaveeach party the right to submitPage 12additional evidence and briefing in support of their positions, andall parties did so.7


The Court applies the familiar standards for considering a summaryjudgment motion. Briefly stated, summary judgment is appropriate onlywhen "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, andadmissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that thereis no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party isentitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(b). Agenuine issue of fact exists when "a reasonable jury could return averdict for the nonmoving party," and facts are material to the outcomeif the substantive law renders them so. Andersen v. Liberty Lobby,Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). The moving party bears the burdenof demonstrating that no genuine issue exists as to any material fact.Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-25 (1986). If themoving party carries its burden, the party opposing summary judgment "maynot rest upon mere allegations or denials," rather the opposing partymust "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue fortrial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The Court has drawn all ambiguities andinferences in favor of the plaintiffs. See Andersen, 477 U.S. at255. However, to defeat a motion for summary judgment, the nonmovingparty "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysicaldoubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986). "If the evidence is merelycolorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may begranted." Andersen, 477 U.S. at 249-50.Page 13


"To state a claim for relief in an action brought under § 1983,[plaintiffs] must establish that they were deprived of a right secured bythe Constitution or laws of the United States, and that the allegeddeprivation was committed under color of state law." American Mfrs.Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40, 49-50 (1999). Courts haveconsistently treated the "under color of state law" element of § 1983"as the same thing as the `state action' required under the FourteenthAmendment." Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 838 (quotingUnited States v. Price, 383 U.S. 794 (1966)); see UnitedStates v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 941 F.2d 1292, 1295 (2d Cir.1991) ("Because the United States Constitution regulates only theGovernment, not private parties, a litigant claiming that hisconstitutional rights have been violated must first establish that thechallenged conduct constitutes `state action'"). "State action requiresboth an alleged constitutional deprivation `caused by the exercise ofsome right or privilege created by the State or by a rule of conductimposed by the State or by a person for whom the State is responsible,'and that `the party charged with the deprivation must be aperson who may fairly said to be a state actor.'" Sullivan, 526U.S. at 50 (quoting Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922,937 (1982)) (emphasis in original). Careful attention to the state actionrequirement serves two purposes: it "preserves an area of individualfreedom by limiting the reach of federal law and federal judicial power,"Lugar, 457 U.S. at 936; and it avoids imposing on a stateresponsibility for conduct that it could not control. Brentwood Acad.v. Tenn. Secondary Sch. Athletic Ass'n, 531 U.S. 288, 295 (2001).

As a consequence, the threshold issue on plaintiffs' § 1983 claimsis whether defendants were acting under color of state law when they madethe allegedly false statements to police thatPage 14led to issuance of the search warrant. Plaintiffs readilyacknowledge that Ms. Szekeres and Ms. Dridi are private individuals.However, plaintiffs claim that Ms. Szekeres and Ms. Dridi were acting inconcert with Ms. Schaeffer and plaintiffs further assert that Ms.Schaeffer was acting under color of state law when she telephonedDetective Halapin, gave him the false information and asked him to takeaction to locate Mr. Szekeres' alleged .357 handgun. (Amended Complaint,¶ 5). Plaintiffs' § 1983 claim against all defendants, therefore,rises or falls on whether plaintiffs can establish that Ms. Schaeffer wasa state actor when she called the police.


In the Amended Complaint, plaintiffs assert that Ms. Schaeffer was a"Connecticut Victims Advocate" acting as an officer of the ExecutiveBranch under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-13b-d or an officer of theJudicial Branch under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-38c. The Office of theVictim Advocate was established pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-13b and provides for the appointment of a Victim Advocate by theGovernor. The Victim Advocate serves a four-year term, and must be bothan attorney and qualified to assume the responsibilities of the VictimAdvocate. The Victim Advocate has funds available to hire staff, who mayassume the duties of the Victim Advocate under the supervision of theVictim Advocate. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-13b(a). Under§ 46a-13c, the Victim Advocate may, in pertinent part, (1) Evaluate the delivery of services to victims by state agencies and those entities that provide services to victims, including the delivery of services to families of victims by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner;

(2) Coordinate and cooperate with other private and public agencies concerned with the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of the constitutional rights of victims and enter into cooperative agreements with public or private agencies for the furtherance of constitutional rights of victims;Page 15

(4) Receive and review complaints of persons concerning the actions of any state or other entity providing services to victims and investigate those where it appears that a victim or family of a victim may be in need of assistance from the Victim Advocate; (5) File a limited special appearance in any court proceeding for the purpose of advocating for any right guaranteed to a crime victim by the Constitution of the state or any right provided to a crime victim by any provision of the general statutes; (6) Ensure a centralized location for victim services information.Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-13c. In carrying out the foregoingpowers and duties, the Victim Advocate can compel "all state, local andprivate agencies to cooperate with any investigation conducted by theOffice of the Victim Advocate." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-13d(a).

Based on the affidavit of Ms. Schaeffer and her supervisor, Ms. Lopez,it is clear that Ms. Schaeffer is not Connecticut's Victim Advocate, asthe Amended Complaint suggests; nor is she an employee of the Office ofthe Victim Advocate or an employee of the Executive or Judicial Branchesof state government, as the Amended Complaint alleges. Instead, theundisputed facts show that Ms. Schaeffer is employed by HIH, a privatenot-for-profit corporation. However, the fact that the allegations of theAmended Complaint are erroneous and that Ms. Schaeffer is an employee ofa private corporation does not necessarily end the matter because theSupreme Court and the Second Circuit have held that under certaincircumstances even private individuals or entities can been deemed to bestate actors for purposes of § 1983.

When analyzing allegations of state action, both the Supreme Court andSecond Circuit have instructed courts to begin "`by identifying thespecific conduct of which the plaintiff complains.'" Tancredi v.Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 316 F.3d 308, 313 (2d Cir. 2003)(quoting Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 51). When, as here, the defendantis a private entity or individual, in orderPage 16to satisfy the state action requirement, the allegedlyunconstitutional conduct must be "fairly attributable" to the State.Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 50. The Second Circuit recently observedthat "[c]onduct that is ostensibly private can be fairly attributable tothe state only if there is such a close nexus between the State and thechallenged action that seemingly private behavior may be fairly treatedas that of the State itself." Tancredi, 316 F.3d at 313(internal quotations omitted); see Brentwood, 531 U.S. at 295.State action may properly be found: where the State exercises "coercive power" over, is "entwined in [the] management or control" of, or provides "significant encouragement, either overt or covert" to, a private actor, or where the private actor "operates as a wilful participant in joint activity with the State or its agents," is "controlled by an agency of the State," has been delegated a "public function" by the state, or is "entwined with governmental policies."Tancredi, 316 F.3d at 313 (quoting Brentwood, 531U.S. at 296); see also Lugar, 457 U.S. at 941. In decidingwhether a particular action or course of action is governmental incharacter, it is relevant to examine the extent to which the actor relieson governmental assistance and benefits; whether the actor is performinga traditional governmental function; and whether the injury caused isaggravated in a unique way by the incidents of governmental authority.Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., 500 U.S. 614, 621 (1991).

Here, the conduct that is alleged to have violated Mr. Szekeres'constitutional rights is Ms. Schaeffer's allegedly false statements toDetective Halapin about Mr. Szekeres and her request that he take someaction regarding Mr. Szekeres' purported. 357 handgun. This is not acase, therefore, where a victim of domestic violence complainsof unconstitutional conduct by a victim's advocate assigned by the Stateto care for and provide services to the victim. Cf. West v.Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 55-56 (1988) (when state delegates itsconstitutional duty to provide medicalPage 17care to prison inmates to private physician, physician acts undercolor of law in providing medical care to inmates). Instead, Mr.Szekeres, a third party, complains that while providing assistance to Ms.Szekeres, a victim of domestic violence, Ms. Schaeffer made statements tothe police that Mr. Szekeres alleges violated his constitutionalright to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Plaintiffs advance four theories upon which they assert the existenceof a close enough nexus between Ms. Schaeffer's conduct and the Statethat her actions are "fairly attributable" to the State: (1) that HIH andits employees were an instrumentality of the State, or, stateddifferently, that the State was sufficiently entwined in the managementor operation of HIH that it is fair to treat HIH and the State as one;(2) that the State compelled the conduct of Ms. Schaeffer which is atissue in this case; (3) that the State significantly encouraged theactivities of Ms. Schaeffer which allegedly resulted in the violation ofplaintiffs' constitutional rights; and (4) that public funding combinedwith Ms. Schaeffer's performance of an exclusively public function wassufficient to render her a state actor and treat her actions as those ofthe State. The Court concludes that plaintiffs' theories are eitherunsupported by the factual record, unsupported by relevant case law, orboth.

First, HIH is not an instrumentality of the State. It is undisputedthat HIH is a private not-for-profit corporation that is paid by CCADV,another private non-profit corporation, for the services that Ms.Schaeffer was providing Ms. Szekeres. Plaintiffs have submitted noevidence that would suggest that the State is entwined in HIH'smanagement or that it provides any direct funding for HIH's activities.It may be true that HIH was paid by CCADV with funds thatPage 18CCADV received through its contract with the State VictimAdvocate's office,8 but the public funds HIH received were at bestindirect and resulted from a subcontract between two privateentities. "[A]cts of . . . private contractors do not become acts ofthe government by reason of their significant or even total engagement inperforming public contracts." Rendell-Baker, 457 U.S. at 841.Moreover, even assuming that the funds HIH received from CCADV areproperly characterized as "state funds," the Supreme Court has repeatedlymade clear that government funding of a private entity, no matter howextensive, is insufficient in and of itself to establish state action.See Rendell-Baker, 457 U.S. at 840 (a private school receiving90% of its operating budget from public funds was not deemed a stateactor); see also Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991, 1011 (no stateaction even though state paid the medical expenses of more than 90% ofthe patients and subsidized the operating and capital costs of thenursing homes).

Plaintiffs have not come forward with any facts, as it is required todo in order to succeed under its first theory, that would showsubstantial control by the State over HIH's management generally or inthe performance of its duties under its subcontract with CCADV. See,e.g., Schnabel v. Abramson, 232 F.3d 83, 87 (2d Cir. 2000)(affirming dismissal of § 1983 claim against Legal Aid Societybecause of' "lack of governmental control over or interference with'legal aid societies' affairs `notwithstanding the receipt of substantialgovernment funds' by the societies") (quoting Graseck v.Mauceri, 582 F.2d 203, 208 (2d Cir. 1978)). In arguing that HIH, andhence its employees, should be treated as an instrumentality of theState, plaintiffs rely on Lebron v. National RR Passenger Corp.,513 U.S. 374 (1995). But in Lebron, the SupremePage 19Court declared Amtrak a governmental actor despite its designationby statute as a private entity on the grounds that "Amtrak was created bya special statute, explicitly for the furtherance of federal governmentalgoals . . . [I]t is established and organized under federal law forthe very purpose of pursuing federal governmental objectives, under thedirection and control of federal governmental appointees." 397-98. In contrast to Amtrak, HIH was not "created" by state law toachieve state objectives.9 Nor have plaintiffs presented any evidencethat would suggest that the State exercises any control over HIH suchthat its actions are fairly attributable to the State. SeeSchnabel, 232 F.3d at 87.10

For similar reasons, this case also differs from the TennesseeSecondary School Athletic Association involved in Brentwood,supra, another decision cited by plaintiffs. There, the AthleticAssociation's "nominally private character [was] . . . overborne bythe pervasive entwinement of public institutions and public officials inits composition and workings . . ." Brentwood, 531 U.S. at298. Public school officials in Brentwood comprised 86% of theAthletic Association, and they did not "merely control but overwhelminglyperform[ed] all but the purely ministerial acts by which the Associationexists and functions in practical terms." Id. at 300. Plaintiffshave not submitted any facts that would permit a trier of fact toconclude thatPage 20the State dominated HIH or otherwise controlled the composition ofthis private not-for-profit corporation or its workings.

Second, plaintiffs also have not submitted any evidence that proves, oreven suggests through reasonable inference, that the State compelled Ms.Schaeffer's actions in purportedly giving false information to the Monroepolice and requesting the police to obtain a search warrant for Mr.Szekeres' home. Indeed, the evidence submitted is to the contrary. Intheir affidavits, Ms. Schaeffer and her supervisor, Ms. Lopez, state thatnone of the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes cited in theAmended Complaint apply to HIH and that when she called the Monroe policeand relayed Ms. Szekeres' concerns, Ms. Schaeffer was performing herduties as a victim advocate for HIH in connection with HIH's subcontractwith CCADV. Schaeffer Affidavit, ¶ 13; Lopez Affidavit, ¶ 13.That subcontract generally describes the nature of HIH's responsibilitiesand the duties of victim advocates, but it does not do so in great detailand it says nothing about reporting claims of the victim to the police orindeed how or when a victim advocate should contact the police or seek asearch warrant. Notably as well, all of the duties of HIH under thesubcontract run explicitly to CCADV, not to the State or the JudicialDepartment. Agreement, at 6. For example, HIH agrees to comply withpolicies developed by CCADV; there is no similar provision regardingstate policies.11 HIH also agrees to indemnify CCADV, not the State,for the conduct of HIH employees. Id. at 7. While the Statemight wellPage 21be considered to be a third-party beneficiary of HIH's obligationsto CCADV, plaintiffs cite no decision holding that a State's third-partybeneficiary status under a contract between private entities issufficient to transform private conduct into state action.

To be sure, one can certainly imagine a situation in which a Statehires a private individual to perform services that the State isobligated to perform, trains the individual, actively controls theperformance of the individual's duties, cloaks the individual with stateauthority, monitors the individual's performance and substantiallydictates the conduct that is the subject of the § 1983 action.See Focus on the Family v. Pinellas Suncoast Transit Autho.,344 F.3d 1263, 1278 (11th Cir. 2003) (the State contractually requiredprivate entity to take the particular actions that allegedly causedharm). However, that is not remotely what the record in this casediscloses. The affidavits of Ms. Schaeffer and Ms. Lopez state that Ms.Schaeffer was providing services to Ms. Szekeres pursuant to theHIH-CCADV sub-contract, not pursuant to any State directive, statute orobligation, and the subcontract between HIH and CCADV does not even hintat control by the State over the manner in which Ms. Schaeffer providedservices to Ms. Szekeres. See Atkinson v. B.C.C. Assocs.,829 F. Supp. 637 (S.D.N.Y. 1993) (private employer under contract to bridgeand tunnel authority did not act under color of state law because noevidence that the authority played any role in the conduct that issubject of § 1983 action). In fact, plaintiffs have submitted noevidence whatsoever of any state control or involvement in this matterother than the fact that the Support Services Division apparentlyreferred Ms. Szekeres to Ms. Schaeffer for the provision of appropriateservices.12 Since the State's reference of Ms. Szekeres to Ms.Page 22Schaeffer is not the conduct at issue in this case, however, thatfact is irrelevant. See Rendell-Baker, 457 U.S. at 841;Slum, 457 U.S. at 1008; Flagg Bros., 436 U.S. at164-66; Intl. Bhd., 941 F.2d at 1296. Moreover, "`[a]ction takenby private entities with the mere approval or acquiescence of the Stateis not state action.'" Tancredi, 316 F.3d at 313 (quotingSullivan, 526 U.S. at 52); see also Flagg Bros., 436U.S. at 164.

Third, plaintiffs have also not established that the State sosignificantly encouraged the conduct of Ms. Schaeffer in contacting thepolice that her acts should be attributed to the State. Plaintiffs allegethat Ms. Schaeffer is authorized by Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-13d(a) tocompel "all state, local and private agencies to `cooperate' with her inthe performance of her duties." Amended Complaint, ¶ 4. However,there is no basis for these allegations since, by its terms, thisstatutory section applies to the Connecticut Victim Advocate, not to theprivate contractors of CCADV, a fact also confirmed by the affidavits ofMs. Schaeffer and Ms. Lopez and not contradicted by plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs also argue that the evidence shows that Ms. Schaeffer did infact compel Detective Halapin to seek a search warrant that he otherwisedid not want to obtain. Transcript, 21-22; Deposition of Joyce Szekeres,25-26. However, there is no competent evidence to support thatassertion.13 More importantly, even if the Court assumes thatDetective Halapin feltPage 23compelled or even pressured by Ms. Schaeffer to ask Judge Thim fora warrant, that fact would not permit the Court to conclude that Ms.Schaeffer's false statements to the police are fairly attributable to theState. See Tancredi, 316 F.3d at 313. Similarly, the fact that,according to plaintiffs, Ms. Schaeffer misrepresented herself "as a courtofficial, to wit: Victim Advocate," Plaintiffs' Supplementary LocalRule 56(a)2 Statement, at § B(1) [doc. #88], even if true, would nottransform Ms. Schaeffer into a state actor absent some indication thatthe State exercised coercive power over her or provided significantencouragement, either overt or covert, for her actions, neither of whichplaintiffs has shown. See Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 52;Tancredi, 316 F.3d at 313.

Plaintiffs argue that because Ms. Schaeffer performs her duties instate courthouses, she was acting with significant encouragement, eitherovert or covert from the State. However, "[m]ere approval of oracquiescence in the initiatives of a private entity is not sufficient tojustify holding the State responsible for those initiatives . . ."Blum, 457 U.S. at 1004; see also Flagg Bros., 436 164. As the Supreme Court's decisions show, "the crucial relationshipfor a finding of state action is between the governmental entity and theaction taken by the privatePage 24entity, not between the governmental entity and the privateactor." Young, 152 F. Supp.2d at 364. While the factthat Ms. Schaeffer was permitted to or even expected to assist familyviolence victims principally at or around the courthouse "might speak tothe latter, in the absence of some indication of how [the State] shapedor compelled the challenged conduct, [it] simply do[es] not speak to theformer in any meaningful way." Id.

At argument, plaintiffs asserted that it is Ms. Schaeffer's burden toprove that her actions are not attributable to the State.Transcript at 8 and 11. Plaintiffs have it backwards. "Where one startswith an admittedly private institution the question is not what testsshow its action are not attributable to the state, but, rather, whatshows they are attributable." Johnson v. Pinkerton Academy,861 F.2d 335, 337 (1st Cir. 1988). It is, therefore, plaintiffs' burden toestablish that the State played a role in substantially encouraging, ifnot dictating, the conduct of Ms. Schaeffer that is the focus ofplaintiffs' § 1983 claim. See Blum, 457 U.S. at 1004(plaintiff has the burden of showing "the State is responsiblefor the specific conduct of which the plaintiff complaints") (emphasis inoriginal); see also Young, 152 F. Supp.2d at 364;Atkinson, 829 F. Supp. at 645. That is a burden plaintiffs havenot satisfied.

Finally, the Court rejects plaintiffs' public function argument. Thepublic function theory applies only to the "exercise by a private entityof powers traditionally exclusively reserved to the state." Jacksonv. Metro. Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 352 (1974). However, "[t]he factthat a private entity performs a function which serves the public doesnot make its acts [government] action." Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 56(quoting San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. v. United StatesOlympic Comm., 483 U.S. 522, 544 (1987)) (internal citationomitted). The relevant question is not simply whether a private group isserving a "public function" but rather "whether the functionPage 25performed has been `traditionally the exclusiveprerogative of the State.'" Rendell-Baker, 457 U.S. at 842(quoting Jackson, 419 U.S. at 353). Expressed another way, toconstitute state action under the public function doctrine, privateconduct must not only be something the government traditionally does, butit also must be something that only the government traditionallydoes.

There are no facts to support plaintiffs' allegation that victimsupport services are the exclusive or even traditional prerogative of theState, and merely asserting as much does not present a triable issue.CCADV itself was founded in 1978 and is an umbrella group for 18 programsoperating throughout the State that provide services to victims ofdomestic abuse, many of which are funded at least in part by privatedonations. See Thestatute establishing the Office of the Victim Advocate was passed only in1998, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-13b, and there is no evidence in therecord showing that the State had historically provided services tovictims of domestic violence.14

Finally and most importantly, plaintiffs do not provide facts tosupport the view that assistance to victims of domestic violence hastraditionally been provided exclusively by the government.See Andrews v. Fed. Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, 998 F.2d 214, 219(4th Cir. 1993) (bank examinations and auditing not functions exclusivelyperformed by government); Gerena v. Puerto Rico Legal Serv.,Inc., 697 F.2d 447, 451 (1st Cir. 1983) (legal services corporationnot a state actor because providing assistance in civil actions to thoseunable to payPage 26has never been a traditionally exclusive function of thegovernment); Henderson v. Center for Cmty. Alternatives,911 F. Supp. 689, 709 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (providing advocacy services to juvenileoffenders is not "exclusive province of the state"). To the contrary,providing comfort, sympathy and assistance to those who find themselvesin court, including victims of family violence or domestic abuse, areservices that traditionally have been provided by private non-profitgroups.

The Court emphasizes that it does not hold that the conduct of privatevictim advocates such as Ms. Schaeffer can never constitute state action.Instead, the Court merely holds that in this particular case, plaintiffshave simply failed to carry their burden of showing that the conduct ofMs. Schaeffer that forms the basis of their lawsuit is "fairlyattributable" to the State. See Blum, 457 U.S. at 1004; seealso Atkinson, 829 F. Supp. at 645. In short, plaintiffs have failedto show that the alleged constitutional deprivation was "caused by theexercise of some right or privilege created by the State or by a rule ofconduct imposed by the State or by a person for whom the State isresponsible, "as required for a § 1983 action. Sullivan, 526U.S. at 50.


Because plaintiffs have failed to establish the threshold requirementfor a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 — that Ms. Schaeffer actedunder color of state law — the Court will grant Ms. Schaefferjudgment on plaintiffs' § 1983 claim.15 Plaintiffs acknowledgedat oral argument andPage 27in their briefs that their § 1983 claims against Ms. Szekeresand Ms. Dridi — both of whom plaintiffs acknowledge are privatecitizens — were dependent on whether plaintiffs could establishthat Ms. Schaeffer acted under color of state law. Since the Court hasconcluded that Ms. Schaeffer is entitled to judgment on plaintiffs' §1983 claim, so, too, are Ms. Szekeres and Ms. Dridi entitled to judgmenton plaintiffs' § 1983 claim.


Plaintiffs' remaining claims against all defendants — for slanderand intentional and negligent infliction of emotional harm — areexclusively state law claims. Since the parties are not completelydiverse, plaintiffs have sought to ground this Court's jurisdiction overthose state law claims on the basis of the presence of their federal§ 1983 claim and the supplemental jurisdiction statute,28 U.S.C. § 1367. Defendants argue that if this Court grants judgment onplaintiffs' § 1983 claim, the Court should decline to exercisesupplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims and should remit theparties to state court to pursue those claims. Defendants point out thatplaintiffs currently have pending at least one state court actioninvolving both Ms. Szekeres and Ms. Dridi. See Szekeres v.Szekeres, Docket No. 1006022, attached to doc. # 83.

"In exercising its discretion with respect to retaining supplementaljurisdiction, the district court balances several factors `includingconsiderations of judicial economy, convenience, and fairness tolitigants.'" Correspondent Serv. Corp. v. First Equities Corp. ofFlorida, 338 F.3d 119, 126 (2d Cir. 2003) (quoting Purgess v.Sharrock, M.D., 33 F.3d 134, 138 (2d Cir. 1994). Defendants arguethat because this case has been pending for some time in federal court,the Court should continue to exercise jurisdiction over the dispute andshould dispose of the parties' state law claims as well. It is true thatthe case has been pending for some time, butPage 28plaintiffs have also been well aware from the outset of theseconsolidated cases that defendants did not believe that plaintiffs couldestablish the state action needed to support the § 1983 claim andthat, therefore, their state claims were at risk of being dismissed.See Ruling on Motion to Dismiss [doc. #33]. In that regard aswell, the Court would note that plaintiffs could have avoided thesupplemental jurisdiction issue entirely by filing both their state lawclaims and § 1983 claim in state court in the first instance. SeeFelder v. Casey, 487 U.S. 131, 147 (1988) (holding that federal andstate courts have concurrent jurisdiction over § 1983 claims).

After careful consideration of the relevant factors and the equities,the Court concludes that it is not in the interests of fairness, justiceor economy for the Court to continue to exercise supplementaljurisdiction over plaintiffs' state law claims. See, e.g., K.M.B.Warehouse Distribs., Inc. v. Walker Mfg. Co., 61 F.3d 123, 130-31(2d Cir. 1995) (upholding district court's dismissal of state law claimsupon granting summary judgment in defendants' favor where, as in thiscase, jurisdiction over state law claims were premised solely onsupplemental jurisdiction under § 1367 due to absence of completediversity between the parties.).16 In reaching that conclusion, theCourt has considered, among other factors, the following: the partieshave previously pursued litigation in state court involving one anotherand therefore litigating disputes in state court is neither burdensomenor unfamiliar to plaintiffs; the family parties already have at leastone case still pending in Bridgeport Superior Court that involves relatedaspects of their ongoing disputes and therefore there may be economies tobe achieved by combining their disputes in one state court action;plaintiffs have been on notice since the outset of this case that therewas a risk thatPage 29their state law claims would be dismissed if judgment was grantedon their federal law claims; the gravamen of plaintiffs' cause of actionhas always fundamentally sounded in state law issues and the § 1983claim appeared to be the federal claim "tail" wagging a state claim"dog"; the remaining issues would require this Court to construe statelaw and all involve conduct that, if actionable at all, involves issuesin which state courts have a greater interest and familiarity thanfederal courts; and the parties will in any event be able to use in statecourt the discovery they have already conducted in this case, therebyavoiding duplication and conserving resources. Accordingly, the Courtdeclines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs' state lawclaims and dismisses the remaining claims against all defendants withoutprejudice to their renewal in state court.


Defendants' Schaeffer, Dridi and Szekeres' Motions for Summary Judgment[doc. ## 36, 55 and 59, respectively], are GRANTED. The Court declines toexercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining Connecticut statelaw claims on the ground that the Court has dismissed all federal lawclaims. The Clerk is ordered to close the lead case in this matter,Szekeres v. Schaeffer, 3:01cv2099.


1. The Dridis assert that, in the event the Court grants the Motionfor Summary Judgment in the lead case, the Court should decline toexercise supplemental jurisdiction over the pendent state claims.

2. The relevant documents include: Amended Affidavit of JenniferLopez in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. #53]; AmendedAffidavit of Denise C. Schaeffer in Support of Motion for SummaryJudgment [doc. #54]; Defendant Stephanie Dridi's Local Rule 56 Statementfor Lead Case [doc. #57]; Defendant Stephanie Dridi's Response toPlaintiffs' Local Rule 56 Statement in Response to Summary JudgmentMotion [doc. #76]; Reply Brief By Defendant Schaeffer in Response toPlaintiffs' 9(c) Rule 56 Statement [doc. #77]; Plaintiffs' SupplementaryLocal Rule 56(a)2 Statement [doc. #79]; Defendant Schaeffer's ThirdAmended Statement of Material Facts [doc. #81]; Addendum to SupplementalExhibits to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [doc. #83]; Plaintiffs'Supplementary Submission Regarding Motions for Summary Judgment in LeadCase [doc. #86]; Plaintiffs' Supplementary Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement[doc. #87]; and Plaintiffs' Supplementary Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement[doc. #88].

3. The contract between the State and CCADV is not a part of therecord of this case, but is referred to in the HIH-CCADV subcontract,which is a part of the record. See Amended Affidavit of DeniseC. Schaeffer in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. #54],Exhibit A, at 1.

4. The "Sub-Contract: Services To Victims of Family Violence,Domestic Violence Program: Referred By Court Support Services Division,Superior Court, State of Connecticut — July 1, 1999 — June30, 2000 ("Agreement") provides, in pertinent part, "This agreement ("Agreement") is between the CONNECTICUT COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, INC. . . ., and HARTFORD INTERVAL HOUSE, INC. Its purpose is to provide services to victims of family violence crimes in cases referred to the Sub-Contractor by Court Support Services Division of the Superior Court, Connecticut Judicial Department. This Agreement for service is subject to the provisions of the contract between the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc. and the State of Connecticut, Office of Victim Services (OVS) executed on September 28, 1999. I. Description of Services The primary goal of this Agreement is for the Sub-Contractor to employ Family Violence Victim Advocate (FVAA) staff who will provide services to individuals who have been referred by the Court Support Services Division of the Superior Court . . . under Connecticut General Statute (CGS) 46b-38c. Referred individuals shall have been a victim of a crime of family violence as defined in CGS 46b-38a. The services shall be rendered by individuals designated as Family Violence Advocates who will be employees of the Sub-Contractor. V. Programmatic Modifications The Sub-Contractor agrees to comply with program requirements or policies developed by the Contractor. VI. Covenant to Hold Harmless The Sub-Contractor shall indemnify the Contractor and save it harmless from and against any and all claims, actions, damages, liability and expense, including but not limited to attorneys' fees, in connection with all services rendered by the Sub-Contractor or its agents and/or employees . . . VII. Awards The Contractor shall pay the Sub-Contractor for a sum not to exceed $126.205 during the term of this Agreement (July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000) for providing services to victims . . . X. Right to Inspect Contractor or its agent shall have the right to observe the FVAA program, in the performance of services under this Agreement upon the provision of at least forty-eight (48) hours prior oral notice. XIII. Dispute/Grievance Resolution/Termination Any dispute or grievance that arises during the course of this Agreement shall be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of both parties by the Contractor's Program Oversight Committee, Executive Director or other authorized agent and that Sub-Contractor or its authorized agent.

5. It appears from the transcript that the State's Attorneyrepresented the State and sought the no-contact order. State SuperiorCourt Transcript at 6.

6. Section 29-38c(a) also provides in pertinent part as follows: A warrant shall not be issued unless "such police officers have conducted an independent investigation and have determined that such probable cause exists and that there is no reasonable alternative available to prevent such person from causing imminent personal injury to himself or herself or to others with such firearm."

7. These supplemental documents consist of: Defendant Schaeffer'sThird Amended Statement of Material Facts [doc. #81]; Addendum toSupplemental Exhibits to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [doc. #83];Plaintiffs' Supplementary Submission Regarding Motions for SummaryJudgment in Lead Case [doc. #86]; Plaintiffs' Supplementary LocalRule 56(a)2 Statement [doc. #87]; and Plaintiffs' Supplementary LocalRule 56(a)2 Statement [doc. #88].

8. The Agreement states that "[p]ayments due Sub-Contractor from theContractor are contingent upon Contractor's receipt of sums dueContractor under the contract or subsequent amendments with the Office ofVictim Services." Agreement at 7.

9. Moreover, it is insufficient standing alone to declare an entitya state actor on the basis that the government created the entity tofurther a stated governmental objective. See Hack v. President andFellows of Yale College, 237 F.3d 81, 84 (2d Cir. 2000) (findingthat although the State of Connecticut created Yale College by speciallaw for a governmental objective, the State's reservation to appoint twoof the nineteen board members was "a long way from control.").

10. Plaintiffs also citeMalesko v. Correctional Serv.Corp., 229 F.3d 374 (2d Cir. 2000), but inexplicably fail to notethat the decision was reversed by the Supreme Court, CorrectionalServ. Corp. v. Malesho, 534 U.S. 61 (2001). Brief in Opposition toMotion for Summary Judgment of Defendant Schaeffer [doc. #61], at 6.

11. Plaintiffs have not submitted any of the policies developed byCCADV, and therefore, there is nothing in the record from which one couldconclude that Ms. Schaeffer was following CCADV policies, let alone theState's, when she called the Monroe police. Indeed, both Ms. Schaefferand Ms. Lopez state, without dispute, in their affidavits that Ms.Schaeffer was following HIH's policies in connection with the servicesshe rendered to Ms. Szekeres. Schaeffer Affidavit, ¶ 13; LopezAffidavit, ¶ 13.

12. Section 46b-38c(f) of the Connecticut General Statutes states,in pertinent part, that "[i]n cases referred to the local family violenceintervention unit, it shall be the function of the unit to (1) identifyvictim services needs and, by contract with victim service providers,make available appropriate services . . . Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-38c(f) (emphasis added).

13. To support this claim plaintiffs rely on two items in therecord, neither of which provide the evidentiary support plaintiffs seek.The first is a deposition transcript in which Ms. Szekeres testified thatwhen Detective Halapin called her, he was "annoyed and angry with me thatsomehow Denise Schaeffer had this influence over the Monroe PoliceDepartment and he did not want to go out and search the house."Deposition of Joyce Szekeres at 26. Second, plaintiffs cite DetectiveHalapin's affidavit, in which he concludes that "Based upon the factsreported by Victim's Advocate Denise C. Schaeffer, the affiants arerespectfully requesting" a warrant. Affidavit of Halapin and Flynn, at3a. Ms. Szekeres's testimony about what Detective Halapin told her isclearly inadmissible hearsay. At oral argument, plaintiffs' counselclaimed the statement was admissible as an "excited utterance," but thereis no basis in the record or relevant caselaw for such a conclusion.See Fed.R.Evid. 803(2); see also United States v.Jones, 299 F.3d 103, 112 (2d Cir. 2002); see also 5 J.Weinstein & M. Berger, WEINSTEIN'S FEDERAL EVIDENCE ¶ 803.04[1]— [2] (2d ed., 2003). Furthermore, under state law, both detectiveshad a statutory duty to make an "independent investigation" anddetermination of probable case. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §29-38c(a), and plaintiffs have not provided any evidence from which onecould conclude that the officers did anything other than discharge theirstatutory duties. In the end, of course, the search warrant was issued byJudge Thim after he made a determination based on the affidavitssubmitted by the Monroe police that probable cause existed for issuanceof the warrant.

14. On the contrary, the Senate and House proceedings on the billestablishing the Office of the Victim Advocate suggest that the servicesto be provided by the Office to victims of crimes was not only a novelundertaking by the State of Connecticut, but that the bill itself wasinitiated by a coalition of private advocacy groups, including MothersAgainst Drunk Driving, Connecticut Conference Against Domestic Violence,Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, and Survivors of Homicide.See S. 449, PA 98-321, Reg. Sess., at 229-30 (Conn. 1998);see also H. 449, PA 98-231, Reg. Sess., at 341, 345, and 350(Conn. 1998).

15. In view of the Court's ruling, there is no need to address Ms.Schaeffer's alternative argument that plaintiffs cannot establish thatMs. Schaeffer violated their constitutional rights (Memorandum of Law inSupport of Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. #51], at 7) or thealternative arguments of Ms. Dridi that plaintiffs cannot establish thatshe or Ms. Szekeres acted in concert with Ms. Schaeffer. Memorandum ofLaw in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment in Lead Case [doc. #56], at7.

16. Section 1367 states that a district court may decline toexercise supplemental jurisdiction if it "has dismissed all claims overwhich it has original jurisdiction." 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).

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