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D'ANDREA v. HULTON

November 8, 1999

DANA D'ANDREA, PLAINTIFF
v.
SGT. EDWARD G. HULTON, CORRECTIONS MARK P. DREWS, CORRECTIONS OFFICER RICHARD LATA, CORRECTIONS OFFICER JEFFREY SEKUTERSKI, G. PATTERSON, L.P.N., DEFOREST TENICO, L.P.N., R. MULLER, L.P.N., AND RONALD MOSCICKI IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS CORRECTIONS OFFICERS, AND/OR AS PERSONNEL EMPLOYED BY THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arcara, District Judge

ORDER

This case was referred to Magistrate Judge Carol E. Heckman pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). On August 12, 1999, defendants filed a motion for motion for summary judgment. On November 8, 1999, Magistrate Judge Heckman filed a Report and Recommendation, recommending that defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted and the case dismissed.

Plaintiff filed objections to the Report and Recommendation on November 29, 1999.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), this Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections have been made. Upon a de novo review of the Report and Recommendation, and after reviewing the submissions and hearing argument from the parties, the Court adopts the proposed findings of the Report and Recommendation.

Accordingly, for the reasons set forth in Magistrate Judge Heckman's Report and Recommendation, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted and the case dismissed.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

                         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
                                 AND ORDER

This case has been referred to the undersigned by Hon. Richard J. Arcara for all pretrial matters and to hear and report on dispositive motions, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff is barred from relitigating his claims under the doctrine of collateral estoppel. For the following reasons, defendants' motion should be granted. Plaintiff's counsel's motion for admission pro hac vice is granted.

BACKGROUND

On August 5, 1997, plaintiff brought this action in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeking $10,000,000.00 in damages against employees of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("D.O.C.S.") for civil rights violations based on an incident alleged to have taken place at the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Facility in Brocton, New York (see Item 1). The case was transferred to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) by order of Hon. Kimba Wood dated August 4, 1998 (Item 14).

Plaintiff claims that on August 6, 1994 he was assaulted at the Lakeview facility by Sergeant Hulton and Officers Drews and Lata, while Officer Sekuterski watched. Plaintiff claims to have sustained severe personal injuries as a result of the assault, "necessitating a laminectomy in March 1995" (Item 1, ¶ 14). He also claims that Nurses Patterson, Tenico and Muller altered his medical records to cover up the incident, and that Superintendent Moscicki permitted a pattern and policy of unreasonable use of force by corrections officers at Lakeview.

On April 24, 1995, plaintiff filed a claim for damages in the New York State Court of Claims based on the August 6, 1994 incident. On May 2, after a trial on liability, Court of Claims Judge John P. Lane granted defendants' motion to dismiss the claim for failure to establish a cause of action in negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (see Appendix to Item 8). Judge Lane specifically rejected plaintiff's claims that the corrections officers "testified falsely in order to cover up their use of unlawful force . . .," and "that the medical records indicating that his back problems preceded his entry into State custody had been altered as a part of the cover-up" (id., p. 9). According to Judge Lane, the preponderance of the credible evidence presented at trial showed that the officers carefully followed D.O.C.S. routine, and that the medical records were not altered in any way. Judge Lane also rejected plaintiff's testimony based on his "demeanor as a witness, contradictions in his testimony and his criminal record . . ." (id., p. 10). Judge Lane's decision was unanimously affirmed by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, without opinion. D'Andrea v. State, 690 N.Y.S.2d 464, 261 A.D.2d 896 (1999).

Defendants now move for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff's federal civil rights action is barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. For the following reasons, ...


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