The opinion of the court was delivered by: GABRIEL GORENSTEIN, Magistrate Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Willie Baines has brought this pro se action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of New York and Corrections Officers
Edward Benoit, Gary Lewis and Michael Connors. Baines is currently
incarcerated at the Southport Correctional Facility in Pine City, New
York. Defendants have now moved for summary judgment pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons stated below, their motion should be granted.
In considering the defendants' motion for summary judgment, the Court
accepts as true Baines's version of the facts where supported by
admissible evidence and draws all factual inferences in Baines's favor.
See, e.g., McPherson v. Coombe. 174 F.3d 276, 280 (2d Cir.
On March 5, 1998, Baines was assigned to the Central Punitive
Segregation Unit ("CPSU") of the Otis Bantum Correctional Center at
Rikers Island Correctional Facility ("Rikers Island"). See
Deposition of Willie Baines, May 8, 2003 ("Baines Dep.") (annexed as Ex.
Declaration of Vikrant Pawar in Support of Motion for Summary
Judgment, filed July 30, 2003 (Docket #43) ("Pawar Decl.")), at 26, 53.
The CPSU is a disciplinary unit for inmates who have been found guilty of
various infractions. See Declaration of Edward Benoit in
Support of Motion for Summary Judgment, dated July 23, 2003 ("Benoit
Decl.") (annexed as Ex. F to Pawar Decl.), ¶ 4. Baines was classified
as an inmate who had exhibited violent behavior and posed a safety risk
to others. Baines Dep. at 49; Benoit Decl. ¶ 5; see Ex. K
to Pawar Decl. Such inmates carry a red identification card and are thus
termed "Red-ID" inmates. Benoit Decl. ¶ 5; The City of New York
Department of Correction Operations Order #15/94, Identification.
Tracking and Monitoring of Weapon Carriers, dated September 23, 1994
("Operations Order #15/94") (reproduced in Plaintiffs' [sic] Motion in
Opposition to Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Their Motion
for Summary Judgment, dated December 5, 2003 ("Pl. Mem.")), at 1-3.
Red-ID inmates are considered a threat to the safety of prison officials
and other inmates. Benoit Decl. ¶¶ 6, 8.
Each day, inmates at CPSU are escorted to a recreation yard for
exercise and recreation time. Baines Dep. at 55, 63-65. All CPSU inmates
go to the recreation yard at the same time, chained together in groups.
Id. at 63-64. They stay there for approximately one hour.
Id. at 64. Before entering the yard, all inmates are subjected
to a three-point search that is designed to prevent unauthorized items
from being transported from their cells to the yard. Id. at
80-82. Under this procedure, an officer comes to an inmate's cell door,
cuffs him behind his back, and takes him to the search area.
Id. at 80. In the search area, the inmate must remove his
clothes and any jewelry and then proceed through a magnetometer.
Id. at 80-81. The officers search the inmate's clothing and
shoes to ensure that he does not possess any weapons or contraband.
81. The inmate is then permitted to get dressed. Id.
After the search, the inmates are brought cuffed to the recreation yard
where they are then uncuffed and placed into "cages." Id. at 81, 116. The
recreation yard has several single-inmate cages for Red-ID inmates and
four "big" cages for other inmates. Id. at 57-58. These other
inmates, referred to as "non-Red-ID" inmates, are not considered a threat
to Red-ID inmates. Benoit Decl. ¶ 8. While the inmates are in the
cages, officers walk around the cages and monitor them. Baines Dep. at
On March 5, 1998, Baines was subjected to this three-point search and
taken outside to the recreation yard. Id. at 65-66, 80-82. Once outside,
he noticed that an "old rival" named "Bambi" was in one of the non-Red-ID
cages along with other inmates. Id. at 84-85, 87. Bambi had
threatened and been violent to Baines outside of prison in the past but
Baines had never seen him at Rikers Island prior to March 5. Id. at
89-90. Baines noticed that Bambi was standing inside the cage staring at
him. Id. at 91. Upon seeing Bambi, Baines stated to defendant Corrections
Officers ("CO") Gary Lewis and Michael Connors that he did not belong in
a non-Red-ID cage because he was a Red-ID prisoner. Id. at 73,
82-83, 86-87. Baines "plead[ed]" with them not to be put in the cage,
telling them "I cannot go in the cage." Id. at 91. However, there is no
evidence that Baines ever told the officers that there was an individual
in the cage whom he believed to be a threat to him. See id. at
91-95; see also id at 91 ("Q. Did you point to [Bambi] and
point out to the officer the individual known as Bambi? A. No.").
Notwithstanding Baines's plea, CO Lewis and CO Connors put Baines in the
non-Red-ID cage. Id. at 87-88.
Once Baines was in the cage, he was attacked by two inmates. Voluntary
Inmate Statement, dated March 5, 1998 ("Baines Statement") (annexed as
Ex. I to Pawar Decl.), at 1. Baines fought back but does not know which
inmates assaulted him. Baines Dep. at 107-08,
114-15; Baines Statement at 1. Officers demanded that the inmates
cease fighting and sprayed them with a chemical agent when they refused
to comply. 24 Hour Report Communication Control Center
From 0600 Hrs. March 5, 1998 to 0559 Hrs. March 6, 1998 ("24 Hour
Report") (annexed as Ex. G to Pawar Decl.), at 1: see also
Benoit Decl. ¶ 10(c) ("At times, chemical agent is needed to help
quell the violence and to ensure the safety of prison officials and
others when inmates refuse to cease fighting and pose a potentially
greater risk."). When the violence subsided, Baines was taken out of the
cage. Baines Dep. at 116. He had been cut on his face by a sharp object
and had suffered scrapes and bruises to his neck, face and knees. Id. at
111-12; Baines Statement at 1; Injury to Inmate Report, Form #167R, dated
March 5, 1998 ("Injury Report") (annexed as Ex. J to Pawar Decl.), at 1.
Before receiving any medical treatment at the clinic, Baines was taken
to an inmate-intake area. Baines Dep. at 116-17. This procedure is
followed to ensure that no inmate takes a weapon to the clinic and to
flush out an inmate's eyes when a chemical agent has been used. Benoit
Decl. ¶ 11. Baines was then taken to the clinic where he received
medical treatment, including approximately nine stitches for his cut.
Baines Dep. at 116; 24 Hour Report at 2. Baines arrived at the clinic for
treatment approximately 90 minutes after the incident in the cage was
reported. See Injury Report at 1.
On June 2, 1999, Baines filed with the New York Court of Claims a
document captioned "Claim" in which he alleged that the City was
negligent. See Claim, dated April 12, 1999 ("Claim") (annexed
as Ex. D to Pawar Decl.), at 1. According to Baines, that case was
dismissed on statute-of-limitations grounds. See Complaint,
filed March 28, 2001 (Docket #2) ("Compl")
(annexed as Ex. A to Pawar Decl.), ¶ I(B)(5).
The complaint in the instant action was received by the Southern
District of New York Pro Se Office on January 30, 2001 and was filed on
March 28, 2001. Id. at 1. That complaint named as defendants "Captain
Gram" and "C.O. John Doe." Id. After failed attempts at serving
these defendants, the Court ordered the Corporation Counsel of the City
of New York to identify the defendants referred to in the complaint.
Order, filed July 24, 2001 (Docket #7), at 1-2.
On October 10, 2001, Baines filed an amended complaint naming as
defendants the instant defendants. See Amended Complaint, filed
October 10, 2001 (Docket #8), at 1. Defendants moved to dismiss the
amended complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See
Notice of Motion, filed February 14, 2002 (Docket #14). Baines then
submitted a second amended complaint, which the Court ordered docketed
without prejudice to defendants' arguments that it did not cure the
alleged defects in the first amended complaint. Order, filed April 11,
2002 (Docket #21); see Second Amended Complaint, filed April
11, 2002 (Docket #24). Defendants moved to dismiss the second amended
complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Notice of
Motion, filed May 2, 2002 (Docket #25). Baines then moved for leave to
amend the second amended complaint, which was granted. See
Memorandum Endorsement, filed ...