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.

Patrick v. Amicucci

March 19, 2007

IRVIN LEE PATRICK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WARDEN ANTHONY AMICUCCI, WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER BENDER, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER "JOHN DOE,"AND SERGEANT MCGUIRE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gerard E. Lynch, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Irvin Lee Patrick brings this civil rights action against the Westchester County Department of Corrections, and against Warden Anthony Amicucci, Correctional Officer Bender, and Sergeant McGuire in their individual capacities, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Patrick alleges that the defendants violated his constitutional rights by their deliberate indifference to his physical security and medical needs. Defendants now move for summary judgment, which will be granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

On November 22, 2004, while a pretrial detainee being held in the housing unit known as 3 Northeast in the Westchester County Jail, Irvin Lee Patrick was the victim of an unprovoked assault by Kenneth Hill, who was also housed in the facility. The injuries that Patrick sustained from the attack were serious: he suffered a fractured jaw and a broken cheekbone, and ultimately needed surgery in which a metal plate and six or more screws were inserted into his face to repair the damage.

At his deposition, Patrick firmly asserted that he had no difficulties "whatsoever" with Hill before the assault. (Dep. Tr., Hogan Felix Ex. A, at 45.) He had never indicated to defendants before the attack that he feared any particular inmate, since he "never had any problems with anybody on [his] unit, not even [Hill]." (Id. 41-42.) Since "nobody had threatened [him] or anything like that," he had not requested a transfer from his housing unit or asked to be placed in protective custody. (Id. 44-45.)

Patrick had, however, allegedly complained to each of the three individual defendants (Warden Anthony Amicucci, Correctional Officer Bender, and Sergeant McGuire*fn1 ) about being housed with federal detainees, who were held in the jail pursuant to a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Sergeant McGuire eventually told him the matter was not under his control. (Dep. Tr. 34-35.) Plaintiff claims that he sent a letter to Warden Amicucci, dated November 5, 2004, which advised the warden that Patrick was afraid of being assaulted by "federal inmates," and that he had "witnessed local county inmates being assaulted by federal inmates." (See Hogan Felix Decl. Ex. C.*fn2 ) In the letter, Patrick did not state that he feared or anticipated an attack by Hill, who was a federal detainee, or any other particular federal detainee, nor did Patrick file a formal grievance about being housed with federal inmates. (Id.) Warden Amicucci did not respond to this letter.

Following the assault, Patrick was taken first to the jail clinic and then to the Westchester Medical Center Emergency Room for further treatment. After a CAT scan and other tests, Patrick was advised that surgery was required. He asked for time to think and consult with his family before deciding whether to have surgery; the doctor advised him not to take too much time because the injuries needed to be dealt with. (Dep. Tr. 73-74.) The next day, November 23, 2004, Patrick advised corrections personnel that he consented to surgery. The surgery was scheduled shortly thereafter and was performed ten days later, on December 3, 2004.

Since the time of the surgery, Patrick has received pain medication regularly, yet he claims that he continues to suffer severe pain and other symptoms related to his injuries, including headaches, blurred vision, twitching, and reduced sensation on the left side of his face. (Dep. Tr. 22.) He has been told by his treating physician that he will always experience some discomfort as a result of his injuries, and will require medication for it. (Dep. Tr. 114.) The screws and plate remain in his face. (Dep. Tr. 85.)

Patrick filed this complaint on June 1, 2005, making two claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The first claim was based on the defendants' alleged failure to protect him from the assault he had suffered; the second arose from the medical treatment (or lack thereof) he subsequently received. Defendants moved for summary judgment. Patrick moved for the appointment of counsel; this motion was denied by order dated August 9, 2006, renewed, and denied again in a second order dated September 29, 2006.*fn3 Accordingly, Patrick filed a response to the motion, and the matter is now fully briefed and ready for the Court's consideration.

DISCUSSION

I. Summary Judgment Standard

In considering a motion for summary judgment, all ambiguities must be resolved in favor of the nonmoving party, although "the non-moving party may not rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation." Scotto v. Almenas, 143 F.3d 105, 114 (2d Cir. 1998). The court "is not to weigh the evidence but is instead required to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment, to draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party, and to eschew credibility assessments." Weyant v. Okst, 101 F.3d 845, 854 (2d Cir. 1996). Summary judgment is appropriate if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits . . . show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The court must view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party when making this determination. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). The opposing party must then show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "If the evidence [produced by the nonmoving party] is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Liberty Lobby,477 U.S. at 249-50 (internal citations omitted). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position will be insufficient: there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant." Pocchia v. NYNEX Corp., 81 F.3d 275, 277 (2d Cir. 1996) (internal citations, alterations and quotation marks omitted). Similarly, "mere allegations or denials" of the movant's factual assertions, the non-movant's pleadings, or conclusory allegations are insufficient to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e).

When a party is proceeding pro se, as in the present case, a court is obligated to "read [] supporting papers liberally, and . . . interpret them to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." ...


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.