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Corporan v. City of Binghamton

October 16, 2006

HAROLD CORPORAN, HAMIEL PEREZ, CELIA SOSA, MIGUEL MANAYA, JOANNA BUIZA, LORELEY RODRIGUEZ, JERRY GREEN, KHALID ABDUL-WAHHAB, ADELAIDA DIAZ, ANA MARTINEZ, PEDRO MASSO-DIAZ, MIGUEL VASQUEZ, JR., AND JAMILA RIVERA, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF BINGHAMTON; RICHARD A. BUCCI, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS MAYOR; JOHN BUTLER, BINGHAMTON CHIEF OF POLICE; LISA ZIKUSKI, ASSISTANT POLICE CHIEF; CAPTAIN DUANE SHAFFER; SGT. PATRICK MCCORMICK; SGT. LARRY HENDRICKSON; SGT. DONALD BURKE; JAMES MAERKL; CHRIS BONANNO; JESSICA A. GRIFFIN; PATRICK SINE; STEVE WARD; DANIEL SEIDEL; JOHN SPANO;THOMAS SKINNER; MATTHEW LEWIS; CHRISTOPHER GOVERNANTI; NATE CARO; ROBERT KNEER; JOHN CHAPMAN; ALFANSO PERNA; DAVID BAER; JAMIE KORBA; DAMIEN MARONEY; AND JOHN AND JANE DOE, POLICE OFFICERS, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas J. McAVOY, Senior United States District Judge

DECISION & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This action was brought by thirteen plaintiffs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, and state common law, alleging that they were subjected to racially-motivated disparate treatment by various members of the Binghamton Police Department that resulted in violations of their constitutional and state common law rights. The action is brought against various Binghamton police officers and the Chief of Police, John Butler, the former Mayor of Binghamton, Richard A. Bucci, and the City of Binghamton.Plaintiffs seek monetary damages and declaratory and injunctive relief on their federal claims, as well as monetary damages on their state law claims.

Defendants have moved pursuant to Rules 20 and 21 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss or sever the plaintiffs' claims into five separate actions (based on five incidents separately identified in the Complaint) and, pursuant to Rule 42(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to bifurcate the plaintiffs' § 1983 claims against the individual defendants from the § 1983 claims against the City of Binghamton. The plaintiffs do not oppose the motion to bifurcate, but they do oppose dismissal or severance of any claims.

II. BACKGROUND

The plaintiffs in this action are thirteen black and Hispanic individuals who claim to have been treated in a racially discriminatory manner by officers of the Binghamton Police Department. The following is a brief summary of the various incidents alleged in the Complaint. The incidents are separated in a fashion coinciding with the separation provided in the Complaint. See Compl. ¶¶ 28-89.*fn1

Incident 1: "Sai Bless Inn I incident"

Plaintiffs Corporan, Sosa, and Minaya were involved in a series of incidents at the Sai Bless

Inn on February 20, 2005. Compl. ¶ 28. In this regard, these plaintiffs allege that while they were leaving the Inn (separately, not as a group), there was a series of confrontations between them and a group of police officers on the scene, including Sergeants Burke and Hendrickson, and Officers Griffin, Bonanno, and Jane Doe. Id. at ¶¶ 29-46. Captain Shaffer and Officers Ward, Donahue, and Buemi were also present, but off-duty at the time. Id. at ¶ 29. During these confrontations, the plaintiffs allege that they were subjected to verbal abuse and excessive force. Id. at ¶¶ 31-45. All three of the plaintiffs were ultimately arrested and charged with Riot in the Second Degree. Id. at ¶¶ 33, 40, 46. Plaintiffs further allege that the District Attorney later refused to prosecute any of these three charges. Id. at ¶¶ 33, 40, 46.

Incident 2: "Sai Bless Inn II incident"

Plaintiff Perez was also confronted by Sergeant Hendrickson inside the lobby of the Sai Bless Inn on February 20, 2005. Id. at ¶¶ 47-48. He, like the other plaintiffs who were at the Inn that day, alleges that he was behaving lawfully when confronted, and that he was subjected to verbal abuse and excessive force. Id. at ¶¶ 48-51. He was arrested and charged with Harassment in the Second Degree. Id. at ¶ 52.

Incident 3: "May 7, 2005 Sai Bless Inn incident"

Another incident occurred at the Sai Bless Inn on May 7, 2005. Id. at ΒΆ 54. During that incident, plaintiffs Buiza and Rodriguez allege that they were leaving the Inn when they were arrested and subjected to excessive force by a group of police officers including Captain Shaffer, and Officers McCormick, Ward, ...


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