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STARK v. COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER

September 2, 1994

EDWARD STARK, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER AND WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VINCENT L. BRODERICK

 VINCENT L. BRODERICK, U.S.D.J.

 I

 This prisoner suit brought under 42 USC 1983 against Westchester County and its Department of Corrections presents questions of what steps must be taken at a jail in response to a threat by one prisoner against another.

 Defendants County of Westchester and Westchester County Department of Corrections move for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, on the ground that the jail took reasonable precautions to protect inmates from violence and that plaintiff has failed to provide facts sufficient to establish a genuine issue of material fact in regard to deliberate indifference to constitutional rights or an unconstitutional municipal policy or custom.

 Defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint is granted.

 II

 On or about November 1, 1989, plaintiff Edward Stark ("Stark") *fn1" pled guilty to a charge of attempted burglary and was sentenced to 3 to 6 years. Stark was held at Westchester County Jail (the "Jail") in cell-block 2H on June 3, 1990 when the alleged incident occurred between Stark and another inmate (the "other inmate"). *fn2"

 At that time, Stark held a position as "trustee," giving him the privilege of having his cell remain open all day and locked only at count time or at night. The remainder of the time, Stark was able to move freely within his cell block, or leave the cell block with a pass.

 Approximately one or two weeks prior to the incident that is the basis of this suit, the other inmate verbally threatened Stark. There was no physical violence at that time. Stark asserts that an officer on the scene told Stark that he would call to obtain a "no-contact" order preventing unsupervised contact between the two inmates, and that shortly thereafter, a corrections officer working in the law library showed Stark a document calling for "no-contact" with Stark's name on it. According to the testimony of the Warden of the Jail, a search was conducted but no evidence of such a document was found.

 The afternoon of June 3, 1990, Stark left his cell block with a pass to go to the forensic department where he worked and entered an elevator containing many inmates. While in the elevator Stark was stabbed in the back by the other inmate. The two inmates were immediately separated by a corrections officer and Stark was treated.

 III

 Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence offered, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, demonstrates that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986); Turtur v. Rothschild Registry International Inc., 26 F.3d 304 (2nd Cir 1994).

 Farmer v. Brennan, 114 S. Ct. 1970, 128 L. Ed. 2d 811 (1994), states that "the treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions under which he is confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment." Farmer, 114 S. Ct. at 1976. The Eighth Amendment guarantees that ...


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