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Thomas J. Chambliss, Jr v. Correction Officer Rosini

September 2, 2011

THOMAS J. CHAMBLISS, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
CORRECTION OFFICER ROSINI, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gabriel W. Gorenstein, United States Magistrate Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Thomas J. Chambliss, Jr., proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Correction Officer Anthony Rosini used excessive force while Chambliss was a pre-trial detainee at the Westchester County Department of Correction ("WCDOC"). The parties have consented to this matter being decided by a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Defendant has moved for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the reasons stated below, defendant's motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

On August 17, 2009, Chambliss filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming Rosini, Correction Officers Zayas and Spinna, and Sergeant Paradiso as defendants. See Complaint, filed Aug. 17, 2009 (Docket # 2) ("Compl."). On January 13, 2010, defendants moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). See Notice of Motion, filed Jan. 13, 2010 (Docket # 11). On May 4, 2010, the Honorable P. Kevin Castel, to whom the case was then assigned, granted dismissal as to Zayas, Spinna, and Paradiso but denied the motion as to Rosini. See Chambliss v. Rosini, et al., 2010 WL 1838868, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. May 4, 2010).

Following discovery, Rosini filed his motion for summary judgment on November 30, 2010. See Notice of Motion, filed Nov. 30, 2010 (Docket # 29) ("Notice"); "Memorandum of Law in Support of County Defendants' [sic] Motion for Summary Judgment," filed Nov. 30, 2010 (Docket # 30); County of Westchester's Rule 56.1 Statement, filed Nov. 30, 2010 (Docket # 31) ("Def. 56.1 Stat."); Notice to Pro Se Litigant Who Opposes a Motion for Summary Judgment, filed Nov. 30, 2010 (Docket # 32). Plaintiff's opposition papers were received by defendant's counsel on or about March 18, 2011, who forwarded them to the Court for docketing. See Response to Declaration in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment, dated Feb. 21, 2011 (Docket # 33) ("Chambliss Decl."). Defendant's reply papers were filed on May 31, 2011. See "County Defendants'[sic] Reply Memorandum of Law," filed May 31, 2011 (Docket # 27); Reply Declaration of Christie D'Alessio in Support of County Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, filed May 31, 2011 (Docket # 28).

B. Evidence Presented on the Summary Judgment Motion

1. Compliance with Local Rule 56.1

The documents filed by Chambliss in opposition to Rosini's summary judgment motion do not conform to Rule 56.1 of the Local Civil Rules of the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York ("Local Rule 56.1"). Local Rule 56.1 provides that, "[t]he papers opposing a motion for summary judgment shall include a correspondingly numbered paragraph responding to each numbered paragraph in the statement of the moving party," Local Rule 56.1(b), and each statement must be followed by a citation to admissible evidence, Local Rule 56.1(d). "If the opposing party . . . fails to controvert a fact so set forth in the moving party's Rule 56.1 statement, that fact will be deemed admitted." Giannullo v. City of New York, 322 F.3d 139, 140 (2d Cir. 2003) (citation omitted); accord Five Star Hotels, LLC v. Ins. Co. of Greater N.Y., 2011 WL 1216022, at *1 n.1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 24, 2011); Carpiniello v. Hall, 2010 WL 987022, at *1 n.1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 17, 2010); Local Rule 56.1(c).

Here, Chambliss failed to submit such a statement. Nonetheless, he has submitted a sworn declaration that contains factual assertions bearing on this matter, see Chambliss Decl., and the defendants have placed Chambliss's deposition in the record, see Deposition of Thomas James Chambliss (annexed as Ex. E to Declaration in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (attached to Notice) ("D'Alessio Decl.")) ("Chambliss Depo."). In light of plaintiff's pro se status, the Court will exercise its discretion to consider these materials. See Wali v. One Source Co., 678 F. Supp. 2d 170, 178 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) ("where a pro se plaintiff fails to submit a proper [opposing statement] . . . , the Court retains some discretion to consider the substance of the plaintiff's arguments, where actually supported by evidentiary submissions") (citations omitted); accord Diagne v. N.Y. Life Ins. Co., 2010 WL 5625829, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 8, 2010), adopted by 2011 WL 204905 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 21, 2011). However, the Court will deem admitted the portions of defendant's 56.1 statement that are not controverted by any other evidence in the record.

2. Facts

Except as otherwise noted, the following facts are based on Chambliss's version of the events, except where otherwise noted, as well as evidence submitted by defendant that has not been controverted by admissible evidence.

Rosini has been a correction officer at WCDOC since April 26, 2004. See Affidavit of Anthony Rosini (annexed as Ex. H to D'Alessio Decl.) ("Rosini Aff.") ¶ 1. In July 2009, Rosini "worked as a transport officer . . . during the 7:00am to 3:00pm shift." Rosini Aff. ¶ 3. For this position, Rosini was required to complete a course of training, including training on "inmate restraint techniques" and "use of force." Id. ¶ 2; see Westchester County Department of Correction Post Order (annexed as Ex. Z to D'Alessio Decl.) at 1. "As a part of [Rosini's] duties as a transport officer, [Rosini was] responsible for the transport of inmates to and from the SHU . . . . " Rosini Aff. ¶ 7. The "SHU . . . is a segregated unit which provides a safe environment for those inmates that are violent toward staff and other inmates [that] pose a threat to others." Id. ¶ 4; see Westchester County Department of Correction Policy and Procedure (annexed as Ex. B to D'Alessio Decl.) at 1 ("It is the policy of [WCDOC] to provide a safe, secure and humane environment for those inmates that are violent towards staff or other inmates and pose a serious threat to others . . . .").

On July 10, 2009, Rosini "was notified [by] his supervisor that [Chambliss] was ready for transport from the visiting room to the SHU." Rosini Aff. ¶ 8. At the time, Chambliss had a reputation as being non-compliant and uncooperative during transport and lock-in. Id. ¶ 9; Affidavit of Jose Zayas (annexed as Ex. I to D'Alessio Decl.) ("Zayas Aff.") ¶ 8. Rosini, along with Zayas, "went to the visiting room where [they] met [Chambliss] . . . in order to transport him back to his cell in the SHU." Rosini Aff. ¶ 8; see Zayas Aff. ¶ 2. The officers placed Chambliss in "full restraints according to the WCDOC G-Block (SHU Inmate Movement Policy)," and proceeded to transport him back to his holding cell in the SHU. Rosini Aff. ¶¶ 9-10; see Zayas Aff. ¶¶ 5, 6. "During the transport, plaintiff carried one ...


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