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BYRD v. ABATE

May 14, 1997

WILLIAM BYRD, Plaintiff, against CATHERINE M. ABATE, Commissioner of Correction; "JOHN DOE," Correction Officer, Anna M. Kroll Correctional Facility, and DAVID N. DINKINS, Mayor of the City of New York, Individually and in their official capacities, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SWEET

 Sweet, D.J.,

 Individual defendant, Officer Wade Hults ("Hults") has moved to amend his answer to the second amended complaint in order to assert an affirmative statute of limitations defense. For the reasons set forth below, Hults' motion to amend his answer is denied.

 Parties

 At the time of the incident which gave rise to this lawsuit, plaintiff William Byrd ("Byrd") was an inmate in housing for the mentally ill at the Anna M. Kross Correctional Facility ("AMKC") on Riker's Island.

 Hults is a corrections officer employed by the New York City Department of Corrections. At the time of the incident which gave rise to this lawsuit, Hults was working as a correctional officer at AMKC.

 Defendant Catherine M. Abate became the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction on April 27, 1992. Defendant David N. Dinkins was the Mayor of New York City at the time plaintiff was injured. Abate and Dinkins are collectively referred to herein as the "Supervisory Defendants."

 Byrd filed the complaint in this Section 1983 action on March 11, 1993. The complaint was amended on December 15, 1993. The Supervisory Defendants filed their answer on October 16, 1993. On June 30, 1994, by stipulation of the parties and pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 42(b), Byrd's supervisory liability claims against Dinkins and Abate were bifurcated from Byrd's claims against Hults. Pursuant to the stipulation of bifurcation, no discovery has been taken regarding supervisory liability.

 On March 7, 1996, Byrd's motion to compel discovery pursuant to Rule 37(a) Fed. R. Civ. P. was granted to the extent that defendants were ordered to produce (1) training materials offered to defendant Hults, and (2) materials regarding whether Hults was authorized to leave his post. Defendants were to produce copies of the documents on or before April 6, 1996.

 By letter dated April 8, 1996, Assistant Corporation Counsel, ("Corporation Counsel"), attorney for both Hults and the Supervisory Defendants, informed the Court that many of the materials had been located, but that the Department needed additional time to assemble the remaining documents, "if they can be located." On April 9, 1996, plaintiff's counsel wrote to this Court indicating that she had no objection to an extension of the defendants' time to produce said documents, but requesting immediate production of those portions of the documents already located. On April 23, 1996, defendants produced a portion of the material requested, and stated that the materials regarding whether Hults was authorized to leave his post could not be located.

 Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on May 15, 1996. Byrd cross-moved to compel discovery and for sanctions for non-compliance with previous discovery orders of this Court. Byrd's discovery motion was resolved at oral argument on September 11, 1996.

 While the motion for summary judgment was pending, Corporation Counsel sent the Court a letter dated September 24, 1996, requesting that Hults be permitted to amend his answer to assert a statute of limitations defense, and that discovery be stayed until the request was decided. The Court denied the stay of discovery.

 On October 31, 1996 the defendants' summary judgment motion was denied. Byrd v. Abate, 945 F. Supp. 581 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).

 On November 8, 1996, Corporation Counsel submitted a letter motion renewing the request for permission to amend Hults' answer. Oral argument was heard on January 22, 1996. Further papers were submitted by the parties on March 25, 1996, at which time the motion was considered fully submitted.

 Facts

 The facts of this case are laid out in this Court's opinion, dated October 31, 1996, denying defendants' motion for summary judgment, familiarity with which is assumed. See Byrd, 945 F. Supp. at 583-84. The relevant facts for purposes of ruling on the present motion are as follows.

 In October 1991, Byrd was in the custody of the New York City Department of Corrections for parole violation and was confined on Riker's Island. Late in the evening of October 3, 1991, or early in the morning of October 4, 1991, Byrd was transferred to a cell located in the Lower 3 housing area, pursuant to a social worker's recommendation that he should be observed for signs of mental illness. All the inmates in this ...


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