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JOSEPH v. BILOTTI

September 22, 1993

JOSEPH, CLAIRE, and ANTHONY VARRONE, Plaintiffs,
v.
M. BILOTTI, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN R. BARTELS

 MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

 Bartels, United States District Judge

 The defendants Michael Bilotti, John Matthews, Bert Ross, and Francisco Berrios move under Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for judgment on the pleadings. *fn1" The defendants seek dismissal of two of three consolidated actions, each brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on the grounds that the claims asserted therein are barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

 By order dated October 26, 1992, this Court consolidated three Section 1983 actions entitled Joseph Varrone v. Bilotti, 92-CV-1290, Claire Varrone v. Bilotti, 92-CV-1408, and Anthony Varrone v. Bilotti, 92-CV-1409. Each of the above-named actions asserted that the defendants violated each of the plaintiffs' civil rights or separate but related occasions.

 BACKGROUND

 At the time of the events precipitating this consolidated action, the plaintiff Joseph Varrone ("Joseph") was incarcerated at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility in New York (the "Facility"). On or about March 8, 1989, Joseph's son, plaintiff Anthony Varrone ("Anthony"), and Susan Wight (not a party to this action) spent what prison officials term a "contact visit" with Joseph at the Facility during regular visitation hours. Following their departure, prison officials (presumably including one or more of the defendants) subjected Joseph to a "strip frisk." The defendants apparently contend that such frisks are performed routinely on Inmates after contact visits.

 Joseph alleges that immediately following the strip frisk defendant Berrios, a correctional officer at the Facility, informed him that he would be placed in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU"), an area of solitary confinement within the Facility, because Berrios suspected Joseph and Anthony of having exchanged certain unidentified contraband during their contact visit. Defendant Berrios admittedly placed Joseph in an SHU "drug watch" cell, where the parties agree that Joseph was held for a period of twenty-seven hours. Plaintiff's SHU confinement thus extended from March 8 through March 9, 1989. While Joseph was confined in the drug watch cell, the defendants inspected his bowel movement, which proved negative for contraband. Joseph asserts that the twenty-seven-hour SHU confinement constitutes a violation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

 The Section 1983 claim asserted by Joseph's wife, the plaintiff Claire Varrone ("Claire"), is founded upon events occurring on March 9, 1989 when Claire went to visit her husband. Upon Claire's arrival at the Facility, the defendant Bilotti, a correction sergeant assigned to the visiting room of the Facility at the time in question, informed her that before she would be permitted to see Joseph she was required to submit to a strip search. The defendants admit that defendant Johnson, a corrections officer at the Facility, escorted Claire to a private room where she then conducted a strip search that uncovered no contraband. Defendant Johnson then escorted Claire to SHU, where the defendants permitted her a non-contact visit with Joseph. Claire avers that the defendants violated her civil rights by wrongfully subjecting her to the strip search.

 The plaintiff Anthony alleges that the defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 10, 1989 when he again visited his father at the Facility. Upon Anthony's arrival, defendant Matthews, a Facility correction sergeant assigned to the visiting room at the relevant time, informed Anthony that he, too, must submit to a strip search before he would be granted visitation privileges. Anthony admits having signed a Consent to Search form before defendant Matthews escorted him to a private room where a full-body search proved negative for contraband. This strip search serves as the foundation of Anthony's Section 1983 claim.

 Although the plaintiffs currently are represented by counsel, at the time they filed their respective complaints, each of the plaintiffs was proceeding pro se. Joseph presented his complaint against the defendants to the pro se office on March 10, 1992, and his complaint thereafter was filed with the Clerk of this Court on March 19, 1992. Similarly, plaintiffs Claire and Anthony presented complaints to the pro se office on March 10, 1992, which subsequently were filed with the Court on March 25, 1992. The present motion challenges only the timeliness of plaintiffs Joseph and Claire's Section 1983 claims.

 DISCUSSION

 A Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings "may be interposed after the answer is flied, as a vehicle for raising defenses enumerated in Rule 12(b)." Viacom Int'l, Inc. v. Time, Inc., 785 F. Supp. 371, 375 n.11 (S.D.N.Y. 1992). Thus, a statute of limitations defense properly is the subject of a Rule 12(c) motion. See e.g., Ortiz v. Cornetta, 867 F.2d 146, 148 (2d Cir. 1989); Viacom Int'l, Inc., 785 F. Supp. at 375 n.11.

 The federal courts generally "'have followed a fairly restrictive standard in ruling on motions for judgment on the pleadings,'" McNeill v. New York City Housing Authority, 719 F. Supp. 233, 256 (S.D.N.Y. 1989) (quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 1363, p. 689 [1969)), granting such motions only "where material facts are undisputed and . . . judgment on the merits is possible merely by considering the contents of the pleadings." Sellers v. M.C. Floor Crafters, Inc., 842 F.2d 639, 642 (2d Cir. 1988). On Rule 12(c) motions, the court is compelled to accept as true "all of the well pleaded facts alleged" by the nonmoving party, Bloor v. Carro, Spanbock, Londin, Rodman & Fass, 754 F.2d 57, 61 (2d Cir. 1985), and must draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in his favor. DeSantis v. United States, 783 F. Supp. 165, 168 (S.D.N.Y. 1992). Where, as here, defendant alleges that the ...


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