Federal court agrees with dismissal of malicious prosecution claims brought by former school superintendent


POUGHKEEPSIE – The Second Circuit Court of Appeals Friday affirmed a May 2005 decision of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, which had dismissed malicious prosecution claims brought by former Poughkeepsie City School District Superintendent Robert Watson, Sr.
In February 2008, a Dutchess County grand jury indicted Watson, charging him with two counts of grand larceny, four counts of offering a false instrument for filing, and one count of payment of an unqualified teacher. He was cleared of all charges following a criminal trial.
Watson then filed a civil suit for malicious prosecution against Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady, the state comptroller, Poughkeepsie school district, former Business Manager Jeffrey Baker and school attorney Beth Sims.
In September 2010, District Court Judge Karas dismissed claims against the DA and state comptroller, as well as a number of claims against the other defendants. District court then granted a motion for summary judgment dismissing all of the remaining claims against the district, Baker and Sims.
In Friday’s summary order, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals said that neither the Poughkeepsie school district, nor the other named defendants could be potentially liable for the malicious prosecution claims brought because no reasonable jury could conclude that those defendants had initiated Watson’s criminal prosecution through false information.
Watson has one more judicial recourse, if he so chooses and that would be to pursue an appeal to the US Supreme Court, providing the high court agrees to hear the case.