The opinion of the court was delivered by: NAOMI BUCHWALD, District Judge
Plaintiff David Williams ("plaintiff") brings this § 1983
action against New York City, the City's Department of
Corrections ("DOC"), and DOC officers Brian Riordan, Carlis E.
Thompson, and Roger Slattery (collectively, "defendants") seeking
compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief
for their alleged failure to provide a hearing and a hands-on
medical review after placing plaintiff on "Red I.D." status
subsequent to his arrest. The DOC uses Red I.D. status to
identify prisoners who have been found in possession of a weapon
or using a weapon in prison. As a prisoner designated with Red
I.D. status, plaintiff was placed in uncomfortable "enhanced" restraints when he was transported outside of the
prison. Plaintiff and defendants have both moved for summary
judgment. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion is
granted in part and denied in part, and defendants' motion is
granted in part and denied in part.
In July 1997, David Williams was a pretrial detainee in the
custody of the DOC. After being in custody for approximately ten
days, corrections officers conducted a search of his cell and
found a piece of metal wedged between his locker and shelf.
Deposition Transcript of David Williams ("Pl. Dep.") at 21-22.
Corrections officials determined that the piece of metal was a
weapon and accordingly placed plaintiff on "Red I.D. status."
Inmates found to possess a weapon while in custody are
typically placed on Red I.D. status. Red I.D. status is designed
to "reduce stabbings and slashings outside of the jails in places
like courthouses." Benjamin v. Kerik, 102 F. Supp. 2d 157, 168
(S.D.N.Y. 2000), aff'd, Benjamin v. Fraser, 264 F.3d 175 (2d
Cir. 2001). When placed on Red I.D. status, an inmate wears a red
identification card that alerts corrections officers to his status. When transported outside of the jail, the inmate
is placed in enhanced restraints: a Red I.D. inmate's hands are
placed in black plastic security mitts to prevent movement; his
hands are cuffed behind him with his palms facing out, then
attached to a chain that goes around his waist; finally, a box is
often placed over the handcuffs in order to prevent moving or
On December 28, 2000, the DOC promulgated Directive #4518,
entitled "Red ID Status and Enhanced Restraint Status Due
Process" ("Directive"). Defendants' Exhibit ("Def. Ex.") E. The
Directive was adopted as a consequence of an order of Judge
Harold Baer of this Court, which required procedural requirements
for using Red I.D. Benjamin v. Fraser, No. 75 Civ. 3073 (HB),
slip op. at 2-3 (August 10, 2000). Among other provisions, the
Directive required that "[w]ithin 72 hours of service of notice
on an inmate of his or her placement into Red ID . . . Status, a
departmental Hearing Officer shall conduct a hearing for the
purpose of adjudicating all pending infractions [and] Red ID
Status." Directive at 4. The Directive also required that the
facility medical clinic be notified of all new Red I.D.
placements within twenty-four hours of initial placement. Specifically, the Directive required medical staff to
review the records of all new placements and examine them
physically, if necessary, to determine whether the enhanced
restraints were likely to have significant medical consequences.
Furthermore, the Directive required medical staff to conduct a
monthly medical review of each Red I.D. detainee to determine if
he had a serious medical problem or condition that should
preclude him from being restrained in a given manner. Directive
Between 1997 and 2002, plaintiff was in DOC custody several
times. Pl. Dep. at 34, 38-39. Each time he returned to Riker's
Island he was placed on Red I.D. status because of the 1997
infraction. Id. Plaintiff was arrested again on September 16,
2002 and sent to the Riker's Island Bernard B. Kerik Center
("BBKC") on September 17, 2002. In the late afternoon or early
evening of that day, plaintiff was informed by a captain that he
was being re-classified as a Red I.D. inmate. Id. at 43.
Subsequently, in the mid-afternoon or evening of the same day,
plaintiff claims that he was given written notice of the
reactivation of his status and that a hearing was to be provided
for him within 72 hours. Id.
Two days later, on September 19, and before Williams had
received a hearing on his Red I.D. status or a medical examination, he was transferred to the George R. Vierno Center
("GRVC"). Pl. Dep. at 44. Once at the GRVC, plaintiff was kept in
Red I.D. status without receiving a hearing, new written notice,
or a medical evaluation. Plaintiff alleges that on September 20,
he was transported to the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse and spent
between ten and fourteen hours in enhanced restraints.
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint ("Am. Compl.") Section 4A, at 1. On
September 23, a notation was made on plaintiff's medical chart
clearing him for Red I.D. status. Def. Ex. F. Plaintiff appealed
his placement in Red I.D. status on October 15, 2002 by filing a
written appeal with the Deputy Warden of Security, Carlis
Thompson. At the end of his appeal letter, plaintiff wrote, "I
would also like to add that I never received a hearing on this
matter at all." Plaintiff's Exhibit ("Pl. Ex.") 1. On October 23,
2002, Thompson replied with a written "Notice of Appeal
Determination for Red ID Status," continuing plaintiff's Red I.D.
status after a review of plaintiff's infraction history.*fn2
Pl. Ex. 2.
On November 7, 2002, plaintiff filed a grievance report through
the Inmate Grievance Resolution Committee ("IGRC"), complaining about the buses in which Red I.D. status inmates were
transported. Pl. Ex. 3. This grievance was denied by the IGRC
because it was determined to be "beyond the purview of the IGRC."
A copy of this reply was addressed to the warden of GRVC, Roger
Slattery. Pl. Ex. 3a.
Although plaintiff had been wearing a Red I.D. since he arrived
at the GRVC, on November 12, 2002, plaintiff received a "Notice
of Authorization for Initial Placement in Red ID Status"
("Placement Notice") based on "prior history contraband weapon."
Pl. Ex. 4. That same day, medical staff indicated on the medical
assessment form that, based on a review of plaintiff's medical
records, he was cleared for Red I.D. status. Pl. Ex. 6. The
following day, November 13, 2002, a hearing was held with
plaintiff present, and the hearing officer issued a written
opinion continuing plaintiff's Red I.D. status. Pl. Ex. 5. On
December 19, 2002, plaintiff was transferred out of the GRVC.
From September 17 until his transfer out of the GRVC, plaintiff
was allegedly placed in enhanced restraints five times, all for
court appearances. Only one court appearance was before plaintiff
was cleared for Red I.D. status on September 23rd. The first
four times occurred before plaintiff's November 13 hearing. Am.
Compl. Section 4A, at 1. Plaintiff was allegedly in restraints
from three to fourteen hours per day, with some breaks for lunch and time in the courtroom. Id.
Plaintiff complains that, as a result of his time in restraints,
he suffers from extensive back, neck, shoulder and arm pain,
including "numbness in wrists while in restraint gear" and
"involuntary muscle spasms in lower and upper back." Am. Compl.
Section 4A, at 2.
Plaintiff has filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a
denial of due process because of the failure to receive a timely
hearing and required medical reviews. Plaintiff seeks injunctive
relief that includes release from Red I.D. status and the
expungement of his Red I.D. status from his record; in addition,
plaintiff seeks $125,000 in compensatory damages and $125,000 in
Plaintiff has moved for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P.
56; defendant opposes plaintiff's motion and has filed ...