Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

WILLIAMS v. NEW YORK CITY

May 2, 2005.

DAVID WILLIAMS Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK CITY (THE CITY DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS); BRIAN RIORDAN (DEPUTY WARDEN OF SECURITY/B.B.K.C FACILITY); CARLIS E. THOMPSON (DEPUTY WARDEN SECURITY/G.R.V.C. FACILITY); ROGER SLATTERY (WARDEN OF G.R.V.C. FACILITY), Defendants.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

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.

BACKGROUND

  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." Id.

  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 shifting.*fn1

  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 at 8-9.

  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 punitive damages.

  Plaintiff has moved for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; defendant opposes plaintiff's motion and has filed ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.