The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAROLD BAER, JR.
HAROLD BAER, JR., District Judge, S.D.N.Y.
Bradshaw Samuels, pro se, a former state prisoner, brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that certain defendants used excessive force to restrain him during an August 1985 incident at Clinton Correctional Facility ("Clinton"), and that other defendants violated several of his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights during two disciplinary hearings resulting from that incident. Samuels seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
Defendants moved to dismiss plaintiff's complaint, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), claiming that it failed to state a valid claim. On September 19, 1990, then Chief Judge Neal P. McCurn, N.D.N.Y., dismissed, inter alia, the assault claim as to defendant Thomas A. Coughlin, III, New York State Corrections Commissioner, and all due process violations claims against all defendants except for the denial of Samuels' right to call a witness at the hearing.
Defendants Coughlin, Donald Selsky, Director of Housing and Inmate Discipline, and Armond Trudo, a correctional officer at Clinton, now move for summary judgment, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(b), claiming that no genuine issues of material fact exist regarding Samuels' due process claim, the only claim remaining against these three defendants. Also before this court is Samuels' motion to compel defendant Trudo to answer interrogatories.
For the reasons that follow, defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED, and Samuels' motion to compel is DENIED.
On August 22, 1985, an altercation occurred between an inmate, Ali Q. Abdullah, and corrections officers in the Clinton recreation yard. Abdullah, apparently bleeding from the face due to injuries sustained during a recent fight with other inmates, approached officers Mark Drown and John Landry with rocks in his hands. After Abdullah ignored the officers' orders to drop the rocks and started running toward them, Officer Landry wrestled Abdullah to the ground. While Officer Drown tried to pry the rocks from Abdullah's clenched fists, Samuels pulled at Drown's shirt and exhorted the officers to leave Abdullah alone. Despite Samuels' refusal to follow Officer Drown's repeated orders to leave the area, the officers eventually managed to restrain Abdullah.
Due to his interference in the Abdullah incident, the officers removed Samuels from the yard and escorted him to the commissary for a "pat frisk." Samuels, however, refused to cooperate and attacked Officer Drown. The officers again restrained Samuels, resulting in injuries to Samuels that required treatment at the infirmary. While at the infirmary, Samuels was restrained a third time because he refused to remain on the stretcher.
Samuels' actions violated a host of prison rules, resulting in the filing of several disciplinary charges against him. On September 4, 1985, Captain Trudo held a disciplinary hearing. At the hearing, Samuels asked to call as witnesses Abdullah, Officer Drown and Officer Nolan, who allegedly was stationed at one of the guard posts in the prison yard during the incident. Captain Trudo informed Samuels that Officer Nolan was on vacation and unavailable to attend the hearing but that he, Trudo, would interview Nolan on tape outside of Samuels' presence and asked Samuels what questions he wanted Officer Nolan to answer. Samuels posed, inter alia, the following questions for Nolan: whether he saw Abdullah bleeding; whether the wound appeared to be self-inflicted; what information he relayed, and to whom, concerning the incident; and whether he saw officers restrain Abdullah. Affirmation of Darren O'Connor in support of defendants' motion for summary judgment, April 30, 1993, Ex. B at 53-54 ("O'Connor Aff.").
A few days later, Captain Trudo conducted a taped interview with Abdullah and played the tape for Samuels. Abdullah stated that he was cut by other inmates; that officers did not attack him but instead tried to convince him to drop the rocks; that six or seven officers tried to subdue Abdullah; and that Samuels and another inmate told Abdullah to calm down. O'Connor Aff., Ex. B at 57-58. Captain Trudo then told Samuels that because the information Samuels sought to elicit from Nolan was similar to the information provided by Abdullah, Trudo would not allow Samuels to call Nolan as a witness. O'Connor Aff., Ex. B at 58.
On September 13, 1985, Captain Trudo found Samuels guilty of two counts of assault, three counts of refusing a direct order, and one count of verbal harassment. He imposed upon Samuels a penalty of one year cell confinement, loss of privileges and recommended loss of good time. O'Connor Aff., Ex. B at 65-66. Donald Selsky, the Director of Special Housing and Inmate Discipline, administratively affirmed the disposition on November 25, 1985. O'Connor Aff., Ex. A.
Approximately three years later, Samuels commenced this civil rights action alleging that certain defendants used excessive force while restraining him, and that Commissioner Coughlin and Superintendent LeFevre were liable for the use of excessive force due to their supervisory capacity. Plaintiff also raised several due process claims, including Captain Trudo's failure to allow him to call Officer Nolan as a witness at the September 1985 disciplinary hearing.
Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a valid claim. By incorporating a June 28, 1990 Report-Recommendation, Judge McCurn (1) allowed the excessive force claim against Superintendent LeFevre and the officers personally involved in the alleged use of force; (2) dismissed the excessive force claim against Coughlin; and (3) dismissed all due process claims except the claim regarding the ...