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BROWN v. MORTON

January 27, 1997

ORSON BROWN, Plaintiff, against CALVIN D. MORTON, Warden, SANTIAGO ORELLANA, Health Services Administrator, CLEMMIE COOPER, Captain, DAVID WILLIAMS, Inmate Systems Manager, and CORNELIUS CONNOR, Senior Officer, Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHNSON

 JOHNSON, District Judge:

 Before this Court is defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint against them for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), or in the alternative, for partial summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. For the reasons stated below, defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

 BACKGROUND

 Orson Brown ("Brown" or "plaintiff"), appearing pro se, brings this action based on events which occurred while he was a pretrial detainee at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York ("MDC").

 Plaintiff alleges in his complaint that on the morning of May 19, 1995, a fellow inmate named Raymond Glass ("Glass"), without provocation, began throwing plaintiff's laundry on the floor and then attempted to force plaintiff into a secluded storage room. Complaint P IV at 1. At that point, MDC guard Cornelius Connor ("Connor") intervened and sent Glass to the bed area. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he then recounted to Connor what had just occurred, and expressed his fears that the incident with Glass was not over and that Glass would attempt to assault him again "in the immediate future." Id.

 According to the complaint, just twenty minutes later, upon plaintiff's return to the bed area, Glass again approached him and began to punch him and smash his head against the floor. Id. Brown alleges that at one point during this assault, Connor was "not more than ten feet" away, but did not intervene to stop the assault, and ignored his cries for help. Id.

 Plaintiff alleges that after this brutal beating, he further suffered because of inadequate medical attention. Complaint P IV at 2. Specifically, he claims that despite swelling and redness in his eyes, he was not given eye drops for three days; lights were not dimmed in his housing unit; he was not allowed to see an optician for a full week; and his requests for follow-up treatment by an ophthalmologist were ignored. Id.

 Additionally, plaintiff claims that Morton, Cooper, and Inmate Systems Manager Williams are liable for damages he sustained from the assault because all three were responsible for inmate Glass' presence in MDC's general population, despite his history of violent conduct.

 Finally, plaintiff alleges that Orellana, the MDC health administrator, and Morton, as Orellana's supervisor, failed to provide him with prompt, adequate medical attention and are therefore liable for the further damage that this inadequate attention caused.

 For all of these claims, plaintiff requests relief in the form of compensatory and punitive damages, ranging in amounts from one to 49 million dollars. Complaint P V.

 Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) or in the alternative, for partial summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.

 DISCUSSION

 Plaintiff's complaint is interpreted by this Court as an action brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388, 29 L. Ed. 2d 619, 91 S. Ct. 1999 (1971). A claim made pursuant to Bivens must allege facts showing that the defendants acted under color of federal law to deprive plaintiff of a constitutional right. Id. at 397; Barbera v. Smith, 654 F. Supp. 386, 390 (S.D.N.Y. 1987). Federal courts have analogized Bivens claims to causes of action brought against state officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which similarly requires a showing that defendants acted under color of state law to deprive plaintiff of a constitutional right. Courts therefore apply § 1983 cases as precedent for Bivens cases. Butz v. Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 498-99, 57 L. Ed. 2d 895, 98 S. Ct. 2894 (1977); Barbera v. Smith, 654 F. Supp. at 390 n.2 (citing Black v. United States, 534 F.2d 524, 528 (2d Cir. 1976)).

 I. Summary Judgment Standard.

 After conducting discovery, defendants now move in part for summary judgment. Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The court's function is not to resolve disputed issues of fact, but only to determine whether there is a genuine issue to be tried. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 91 ...


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