DelaRosa then admitted plaintiff to "01," the closed psychiatric unit of the Nassau County Medical Center.
In this ward and later that day at 11:20 A.M., defendant Dr. Vincent Manetti performed a psychiatric exam of plaintiff. Dr. Manetti found the plaintiff to be "dangerous" and "delusional." Plaintiff was carrying knives "for his own protection" and delusional in thinking that there were people who were trying to steal his alleged personal injury claim against TransAmerica Corp. Affidavit of Manetti at 2. Dr. Manetti admitted Richardson to the psychiatric ward pursuant to § 9.39 of New York's Mental Hygiene Law,
and he was discharged on August 19, 1992, by order of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Nassau County by Mr. Justice Joseph Goldstein. Manetti Affidavit at 2. September 14, 1992, plaintiff brought this claim seeking compensation for the alleged violation of his civil rights. Defendants thereafter filed this motion for summary judgment.
A motion for summary judgment should be granted when the movant demonstrates that there are no triable issues of fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986). The plaintiff does not dispute the basic facts raised by defendants in their papers. This case turns on whether the defendants benefit from the protection of qualified immunity.
Qualified immunity shields a government official from liability in a civil action if the official's "conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known." Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 102 S. Ct. 2727, 2738, 73 L. Ed. 2d 396 (1982). Whether the government official can benefit from qualified immunity "turns on the 'objective legal reasonableness' of the action . . . assessed in light of the legal rules that were 'clearly established' at the time it was taken." Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 639, 107 S. Ct. 3034, 3038, 97 L. Ed. 2d 523 (1987), quoting Harlow, at 819, 818, 102 S. Ct. at 2739, 2738.
When faced with the issues of qualified immunity in the context of a summary judgment motion, the Second Circuit provides the following guideline:
a court should ask whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the conduct that may be proved at trial is conduct that, at the time it occurred, violated a clearly established constitutional or statutory right. If the answer is no, the court should grant a defendant's motion for summary judgment.