United States District Court, Southern District of New York
August 25, 2003
JASON ALVAREZ, PLAINTIFF, AGAINST CAPTAIN ELAINE BARRETT, DEFENDANTS
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lewis Kaplan, District Judge
Plaintiff's objections to the report and recommendation of Magistrate Judge Dolinger, dated July 2, 2003, are overruled.
The only arguably close question presented here is whether the evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable trier of fact to conclude that Correction Officer Matthews used excessive force in the incident involving the food slot. As Judge Dolinger wrote, this turns on whether the officer "applied the force in question . . . `in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.'" Report, at 13-14 (quoting Sims v. Artuz, 230 F.3d 14, 21 (2d Cir. 2000)).
Plaintiff has acknowledged that he precipitated the incident by reaching through the slot and seizing Officer Matthews' walkie-talkie from her pocket. He disobeyed her orders to return it. Having been told earlier in the day to close the food slot on several occasions, plaintiff nevertheless stuck his arm through it into the corridor area. When the officer tried to close it, he physically resisted by holding it open with his hand. A physical confrontation then occurred, with Matthews repeatedly trying to force the slot closed and plaintiff attempting to keep it open with his hand. This resulted in bruising to his hand.
Given plaintiff's concessions, the Court is satisfied that no reasonable jury could find that Officer Matthews crossed the line that separates appropriate restoration of discipline from violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Accordingly, defendants' motion is granted and the case dismissed.
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