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ROBINSON v. U.S. BUREAU OF PRISONS

February 7, 2003

JOYCE ROBINSON, AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST AND SURVIVING HEIR TO DECEDENT, VERNON MILLER, PLAINTIFF, VS. UNITED STATES BUREAU OF PRISONS; U.S. BUREAU OF PRISONS' RAYBROOK FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; JOHN NASH,WARDEN U.S. BUREAU OF PRISONS' RAYBROOK FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; DANIEL MERCADO, AS AN INDIVIDUAL AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AT THE RAYBROOK CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; AND JOHN DOE(S), UNKNOWN CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS, AT U.S.B.P. RAYBROOK CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, DEFENDANTS.


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

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

II. FACTS

At all times relevant hereto, Miller was in the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons at the FCI Ray Brook. (Pl.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 1.) In the evening of May 30, 1999, he was playing chess with another inmate, Isa Gray ("Gray"), in the Genesee Housing Unit ("GHU"). (Def.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 2.) The chess game escalated into a physical altercation between Miller and Gray. (Pl.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 8; Def.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 4.) Gray ultimately stabbed Miller in the chest with a sharpened metal shank. (Def.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 4.*fn1) Defendant Corrections Officer Daniel Mercado ("Mercado"), the only officer supervising the inmates in the unit, did not witness the fight. (Pl.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶¶ 7, 9.)

At 8:30 p.m., prison officials scheduled a facility-wide move whereby inmates were moved from one area within the prison to another. (Id. at ¶ 11.) During the move, Mercado was positioned in front of the GHU where he could observe the common area of the prison yard and open the door of the unit. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-13.) Miller ran out of the unit, stated that he had been stabbed, and that he thought he was going to die. (Id. at ¶ 14.) Mercado reached out for Miller and activated his body alarm. (Def.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 8.) Miller pulled away from Mercado and headed toward the Health Services Unit ("HSU"). (Pl.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 15.) While walking toward the HSU, Senior Officer Davis arrived and attempted to assist Miller to the HSU. (Def.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 9.; Pl's Mem. of Law, Ex. A at pp. 4-5.*fn2) On the way to the HSU, Miller collapsed. (Pl.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 15.)

Shortly after Mercado radioed for assistance, FCI Ray Brook Emergency Medical Technician Steven Orman ("Orman") responded to the scene. (Pl.'s Ex. A, p. 14.; Def.'s Ex. 2; Def.'s Ex. 5.) Orman observed that Miller had lost a significant amount of blood (at least one liter) and continued to bleed heavily. (Def.'s Exs. 2, 5.) Prison officials requested an ambulance. (Id.; Pl.'s Ex. D.) Although the records submitted are difficult to discern, it appears that prison officials called for an ambulance shortly after Mercado learned of Miller's injury. (Pl.'s Ex. D; Def.'s Ex. 2.*fn3) According to prison medical records, Miller was alert and fully oriented when Orman arrived. (Def.'s Ex. 2, 5.) Orman proceeded to render first aid to Miller which consisted of applying direct pressure to the wound and providing oxygen and intravenous fluids. (Def.'s Ex. 2, 5; Pl.'s Ex. A, p. 14-15.) Orman's records provide that Miller's heart sounded

clear and regular/rapid. Pt complained of being cold and was very restless. Pt moved to ambulance stretcher and removed from institution for hospital treatment. Pt. remained alert and lucid throughout the time and was being cared for by HSU staff.

(Def.'s Ex. 2.)

During the time Miller was receiving treatment, prison officials also were investigating the incident. Prison officials questioned Miller about who was responsible for the stabbing. (Pl.'s Stmnt. of Mat. Facts at ¶ 17; Pl.'s Ex. A, p. 9.) Miller allegedly responded that Gray did it. (Pl.'s Ex. A, p. 9.) Another officer displayed a picture of an inmate to Miller and asked whether the picture was of the perpetrator. (Id.) Miller responded that the inmate in the picture, Gray, stabbed him. (Id.)

The ambulance took Miller to the Adirondack Medical Center Emergency Room. According to hospital records, he arrived in the emergency room at 9:24 p.m. (Def.'s Ex. 2.) Miller died at 10:49 p.m. as he was being prepared for the operating room. (Id.) Miller's death certificate states that the immediate cause of death was internal and external exsanguination (i.e., he bled to death).

Joyce Robinson was appointed by the Illinois state courts as the representative of her son's estate. The instant action was commenced on February 13, 2002.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Because defendants moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, plaintiff is on notice that defendants seek summary judgment. Plaintiff and defendants submitted materials outside the pleadings. Further, plaintiff does not claim that she has not had sufficient opportunity to develop the facts necessary to oppose defendants' motion for summary judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(f); Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. v. Department of the Navy, 891 F.2d 414, 422 (2d Cir. 1989) (party seeking additional discovery prior to disposition of summary judgment motion must file affidavit with district court stating (i) what facts are sought; (ii) how they create genuine issue; (iii) ...


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