The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arcara, District Judge
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
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
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.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
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.
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, ...