United States District Court, D. Maryland
ANGELLO A.D. OSBORNE, Plaintiff,
CORPORAL PETER GEORGIADES, Defendant.
Richard D. Bennett United States District Judge.
Angello Osborne (“plaintiff” or
“Osborne”) has filed this action against
defendant Corporal Peter Georgiades (“defendant”
or “Georgiades”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 alleging civil rights violations during Georgiades'
investigation and referral of charges against Osborne based
on allegations that Osborne had sexually assaulted his
five-year old daughter (“JMLO”). (ECF No. 1.)
Specifically, Osborne alleges that he was arrested without
probable cause as a result of certain material omissions by
Georgiades in his January 2011 arrest warrant application.
(Id.) While Osborne was held in pretrial custody for
over eight months, the charges against him were ultimately
placed on the ‘stet' docket by the State's
Attorney for Harford County, Maryland in December
Court previously denied Georgiades' first Motion for
Summary Judgment based on his assertion of qualified immunity
from suit. (ECF Nos. 49, 50.) Following an affirmance of this
Court's prior decision by the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, a trial was scheduled to
begin in this Court on September 18, 2017. (ECF No. 64.)
pending before this Court is defendant Corporal
Georgiades' Second Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
71). The parties' submissions have been reviewed, and a
hearing was conducted on September 6, 2017. For the reasons
stated below, defendant Corporal Peter Georgiades's
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 42) is GRANTED, and
summary judgment shall be ENTERED in his favor.
filed his Complaint in this Court on January 23, 2014 against
defendant Corporal Peter Georgiades, social worker Dione
White, and Meredith Lynn Pipitone, the mother of JMLO. (ECF
No. 1.) Defendant Georgiades and former defendant White filed
motions to dismiss, and by Memorandum Opinion and Order dated
January 20, 2015, this Court dismissed plaintiff's claims
against White, dismissed Osborne's § 1985 claim
(Count II), but permitted Osborne to pursue his § 1983
claim (Count I) against defendant Georgiades. (ECF Nos. 19,
20.) By subsequent Memorandum Opinion and Order dated June 4,
2015, this Court granted former defendant Meredith Lynn
Pipitone's motion for judgment on the pleadings, and
dismissed her from this action. (ECF Nos. 37, 38.)
the close of discovery, defendant Georgiades filed his first
Motion for Summary Judgment, asserting that he was entitled
to qualified immunity from suit. (ECF No. 42.) By Memorandum
Opinion and Order dated October 23, 2015, this Court denied
Georgiades' motion and directed that this case should
proceed to trial on the question of whether Georgiades,
acting under color of law, violated Osborne's Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. (ECF Nos. 49, 50.) Trial was
scheduled to begin on January 11, 2016. (Id.)
November 18, 2015, Georgiades noted an appeal of this
Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order denying his first
Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 51.) This Court then
entered an order staying the trial of this case pending
Georgiades' appeal. (ECF No. 55.) By Opinion and Judgment
dated Febraury 8, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit affirmed this Court's judgment
denying Georgiades' motion for summary judgment based on
qualified immunity. (ECF No. 60.) Osborne v.
Georgiades, 679 F. App'x 234, 236 (4th Cir. 2017).
The Fourth Circuit's Mandate took effect on March 2,
2017. (ECF No. 62.)
Revised Scheduling Order was issued on March 9, 2017, setting
a three-day jury trial to begin on Monday, September 18,
2017. (ECF No. 64.) Georgiades filed his now-pending Second
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 71) on July 28, 2017,
and this Court conducted a hearing on Defendant's Motion
on September 6, 2017. (ECF No. 78.)
pertinent factual background is set forth in this Court's
Memorandum Opinion dated October 23, 2015 (ECF No. 49) and
repeated herein for ease of reference. Osborne v.
Georgiades, RDB-14-182, 2015 WL 6447503 (D. Md. Oct. 23,
2015), aff'd, 679 F. App'x 234 (4th Cir.
Osborne and Pipitone are the parents of two minor children-a
daughter (“JMLO”), aged five years at the time of
the events in question, and a son (“CJP”), aged
two years. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 1, 3, ECF No.
42-3 (Children & Family Services Intake Worksheet). On
November 1, 2010, Pipitone contacted the Harford County Child
Advocacy Center to report the alleged sexual assault of JMLO.
See Id. Pipitone claimed that JMLO did not want to
spend Halloween with her father, with whom JMLO allegedly
“d[id] not have a good relationship.”
Id. JMLO purportedly told Pipitone that, several
weeks prior, Osborne had “put his penis on her
vagina” when she was asleep. Id.
The same day, White, a licensed social worker for the Harford
County Child Advocacy Center, interviewed
Pipitone. Pipitone allegedly acted “in a
manner that would cause [Corporal Georgiades and White] to be
sympathetic to her and biased against” Plaintiff.
Compl. ¶ 9, ECF No. 1. Following the meeting with
Pipitone, White questioned JMLO regarding her mother's
statements. Georgiades was not present, instead observing the
interview from an adjoining room via a live video feed. White
Dep. 29:9-20, ECF No. 42-5. Corporal Georgiades observed the
interview for purposes of investigating the allegations.
Pl.'s Resp. in Opp'n Ex. 3, 4:2-6, 6:24-7:4 (Circuit
Court for Harford County, Maryland Motions Hearing Tr., June
21, 2011). Throughout the interview, Georgiades remained in
telephone contact with White. Pl.'s Resp. in Opp'n
Ex. 2, 32:11-33:12 (Circuit Court for Harford County,
Maryland Motions Hearing Tr., June 20, 2011). Corporal
Georgiades and White spoke at least three times, see
Id. 32:9-33:25, but White stated that she did not recall
the content of their conversations. Pl.'s Resp. in
Opp'n Ex. 3, 29:13-20.
White employed the “Rapport, Anatomical Identification,
Touch Inquiry, Abuse Scenario, Closure (“RATAC”)
method when questioning JMLO. White Dep. 24:21; 25:1-4. RATAC
focuses on reducing any potential trauma to the child during
the interview. Pl.'s Resp. in Opp'n Ex. 3, 12:5-8. In
response to White's interrogation, JMLO consistently
denied that Osborne, or anyone, had touched her on parts of
her body covered by a bathing suit. Id. 15:1-15.
JMLO also denied that anyone had asked or forced her
“to touch their privates with their penis, ”
id. 15:13-20; that she had told her mother that
someone attempted to touch her, id. 17:5-7; and that
she had told her mother that “somebody put their penis
in your private, ” id. 17:16-20. In total,
JMLO denied abuse six different times. Id.
Despite the repeated refutations, JMLO then changed course,
describing instances in which Osborne “took his pants
off and he got his penis and put it on [her] vagina and then
he pressed it really bad and then it hurt.” Def.'s
Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 3, 12, ECF No. 42-6 (JMLO Interview).
JMLO also stated that Osborne had used his foot in the same
manner. Pl.'s Resp. in Opp'n Ex. 3, 29:6-8. After
this statement, Corporal Georgiades and White terminated the
interview. Id. 29:21-30:8. Osborne claims that
White, with Corporal Georgiades's guidance, constructed
questions “that were unduly suggestive and leading in
nature[, ] . . . designed and intended to cajole the minor
child into making up a story to support” Pipitone's
accusations. Compl. ¶ 13.
After White completed her examination of the minor child,
Pipitone called Osborne to accuse him of sexually assaulting
their daughter. See Pl.'s Resp. in Opp'n Ex.
5 (Osborne-Pipitone Telephone Tr.) With Pipitone's
consent, Corporal Georgiades listened in on the call to
Plaintiff. Compl. ¶ 15. During the telephone
conversation, Osborne consistently denied Pipitone's
accusations. See Pl.'s Resp. in Opp'n Ex. 5.
Dr. Paul Lomonico (“Dr. Lomonico”) examined JMLO
on November 3, 2010 for evidence of sexual assault.
Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 4, ECF No. 42-7 (Report of
Dr. Lomonico); see also Pl.'s Resp. in Opp'n
Ex. 6 (Report of Dr. Lomonico). The alleged assault occurred
on October 16, 2010. See Id. Dr. Lomonico found no
physical evidence of sexual abuse, but noted that his
findings “do not rule out abuse.” Id.
In contrast, White concluded that sexual abuse was
“indicated.” Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 5,
4, ECF No. 42-8 (Child Abuse Report).
On December 15, 2010, Corporal Georgiades met with Diane
Tobin (“Tobin”), a Deputy State's Attorney
for Harford County, Maryland. Tobin Aff., ECF No. 42-10.
After reviewing the video of the JMLO interview, Tobin
accepted the case for prosecution. Id. Corporal
Georgiades attempted to contact Osborne, but was
unsuccessful. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 6, ECF No.
42-9 (Corporal Georgiades Supplemental Report). Corporal
Georgiades then applied for an arrest warrant on January 24,
2011. Corporal Georgiades Dep. 60:7-12, ECF No. 42-11;
Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 9, ECF No. 42-12
(Application for Statement of Charges). Corporal
Georgiades's affidavit disclosed only JMLO's
accusations of sexual abuse, and not her repeated
refutations, nor the results of any medical examination.
Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 9, at 3. An arrest warrant
was issued and Plaintiff was arrested on the same day.
Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. 10, 4, ECF No. 42-13.
Osborne was charged with eight counts of sexual assault-based
offenses. See id., at 2-3 (Statement of Charges). On
January 25, 2011, Osborne was detained in the Harford County
Detention Center, with bail set for $500, 000. Pl.'s
Resp. in Opp'n Ex. 8 (Commitment Pending Hearing). A
grand jury subsequently indicted Osborne on sixteen counts of
sexual assault-related crimes. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J.
Ex. 11 (Commitment Pending Hearing, Indictment). Osborne was
incarcerated without bond for over eight months, until
October 3, 2011, after which date a bond was set for $25,
000. Osborne Dep. 46:8-9, ECF No. 42-15. Finally, the Office
of the State's Attorney for Harford County declined to
prosecute Osborne on December 13, 2011, instead placing his
case on the inactive “stet” docket. Osborne Dep.
(ECF No. 49 at 2-6.)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a court
“shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A material fact is one that “might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
law.” Libertarian Party of Va. v. Judd, 718
F.3d 308, 313 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A
genuine issue over a material fact exists “if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson,
477 U.S. at 248. When considering a motion for summary