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Christopher Jamison v. David Metz; Brian Davis

September 15, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby, United States District Judge


Currently before the Court, in this pro se civil rights action filed by Christopher Jamison ("Plaintiff") against David Metz, Brian Davis, Tim MacDermont, and Kevin Walsh, are the following: (1) a motion for summary judgment filed by David Metz, Brian Davis, and Tim MacDermont ("City Defendants") (Dkt. No. 36); and (2) a motion for summary judgment filed by Kevin Walsh ("County Defendant") (Dkt. No. 39). For the reasons set forth below, City Defendants' motion is granted; County Defendant's motion is granted; and Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed in its entirety with prejudice.


A. Plaintiff's Claims

Generally, liberally construed, Plaintiff's Complaint alleges as follows: (1) on February 12, 2007, Plaintiff "went to Americar Rental Agency . . . in North Syracuse[, where he] completed a purchase agreement for a black Lincoln Aviator"; (2) "while [Plaintiff] was test driving the vehicle on I-81, a Syracuse police officer . . . heard a description from a 911 dispatcher . . . that Plaintiff took the vehicle at gunpoint"; (3) "[t]he officer began to chase Plaintiff south on I-81"; (4) "Plaintiff pulled of[f] the highway on the Brighton Avenue exit"; (5) "[t]wo police officers tried to use their cars to box him in"; (6) "Plaintiff swerved out of control and briefly stopped the car"; (7) "[t]he officers fired shots into the rear tires"; (8) "Plaintiff exited the vehicle and ran"; (9) "in an act of surrendering, [Plaintiff] stopped at the corner . . . and put his hands up in the air"; (10) "[w]ithout warning, [D]efendants Metz, Davis, and MacDermont shot . . . [P]laintiff, hitting him with multiple bullets from behind"; (11) Plaintiff was subsequently "taken into custody . . ., placed in an ambulance, and delivered to the care of [D]efendant Walsh at the Justice Center"; (12) "[f]or three weeks [P]laintiff sat in the custody of [D]efendant Walsh at the Justice Center with his gun shot wounds"; (13) "[o]n May 1, 2007, [P]laintiff was taken to the University Hospital"; (14) "Plaintiff was in great pain[,] . . . his fingers on his left hand was stiff and did not move properly[, and he] suffered significant bone fragmentation and scarred tissue"; and (15) Defendant Walsh, who "is responsible for the custody, supervisi[on] and training of his staff[,] . . . was directly responsible for [P]laintiff's medical needs[,]" and acted with deliberate indifference to those needs. (See generally Dkt. No. 1 [Plf.'s Compl.].)

Based on these (and other) factual allegations, Plaintiff's Complaint, when liberally construed, asserts the following claims: (1) a claim of excessive force under the Fourth Amendment against City Defendants; (2) claims of assault and battery under New York State law against City Defendants; and (3) a claim of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs under the Eighth Amendment against County Defendant. (Id.)

Familiarity with the remaining factual allegations supporting these claims in Plaintiff's Complaint is assumed in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for review by the parties. (Id.)

B. Undisputed Material Facts

The following is a general summary of material facts that are undisputed by the parties. (Compare Dkt. No. 38 [City Defs.' Rule 7.1 Statement] and Dkt. No. 39, Attach. 1 [County Def.'s Rule 7.1 Statement] with Dkt. No. 49 [Plf.'s Rule 7.1 Response].)*fn1

On February 12, 2007, Plaintiff went to the Americar Auto Sales ("Americar") at 5400 South Bay Road in North Syracuse. Plaintiff drove away from Americar in a black Lincoln Aviator. While driving the Lincoln, Plaintiff was chased by another vehicle driven by the owner of Americar, Kristopher Tucci.

Plaintiff drove the Lincoln onto Route 81, where he was subsequently chased by a Syracuse Police vehicle driven by Officer David Metz. Before seeing the Lincoln, Officer Metz had heard over his police radio that an armed robbery had occurred at Americar on South Bay Road and, specifically, that the suspect had stolen a Lincoln SUV at gunpoint.

During the pursuit, Plaintiff abruptly stopped at a stoplight. Officer Metz stopped behind Plaintiff's vehicle and Officer MacDerment pulled his vehicle to a stop in front of Plaintiff's vehicle.

At approximately 3:20 p.m., while working in Unit 651, police officer Brian Davis heard a point-of-information broadcast from the dispatcher regarding an armed robbery that happened in North Syracuse. While in pursuit of the stolen vehicle, Officer Davis heard over his police radio that Plaintiff had rammed into a police vehicle at the corner of Calthrop Avenue and South Salina Street. Upon arriving at the 100 block of Calthrop Avenue, Officer Davis attempted to stop the Lincoln by disabling the rear tires using his gun. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff exited his vehicle carrying a firearm, which he fired at Officer Davis. Plaintiff then ran away from the officers, who continued to pursue him. During the pursuit, more shots were fired, and Plaintiff was struck by several bullets fired from the weapon of one or more City Defendant.

Plaintiff was eventually taken into custody and transported by ambulance to University Hospital, where he was treated for multiple gunshot wounds. Plaintiff was admitted overnight and treated for a superficial abrasion on the posterior right scapula, a bullet entry wound in the right lateral leg, and a fifth digit pylon comminuted fracture. Plaintiff's wounds were cleaned, and his left arm and hand were splinted. Plaintiff was also evaluated by psychiatry and placed on psychiatric medications.

The next day, on February 13, 2007, Plaintiff was discharged from University Hospital with instructions to keep his left arm and hand in the splint that was provided to him for two weeks, after which point he was to follow up with the hand clinic and trauma clinic. Upon discharge from the hospital, Plaintiff was booked at the Onondaga County Justice Center. At the time of booking, Plaintiff was seen by a nurse and his medical history was obtained. The nurse took Plaintiff's vitals, with the exception of his blood pressure, which was not obtained due to a dressing on one arm and a splint on the other.

In addition to the initial nursing assessment, Plaintiff was seen by mental health staff for a mental health assessment. Due to Plaintiff's psychiatric and medical status, he was taken to "5A medical housing" at the Justice Center and placed on constant observation status. He was also given Tylenol and Motrin for pain.

On February 14, 2007, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. James Greenwald at the Justice Center. Plaintiff's vitals were taken and his shoulder and leg wounds were examined and cleaned. Dr. Greenwald noted that Plaintiff was doing well and could move all fingers on his left hand despite the splint not being removed. Dr. Greenwald wrote orders directing that Plaintiff be scheduled for a follow up appointment at the orthopedic hand clinic in two weeks. While Plaintiff was awaiting his follow up appointments at the hand clinic and trauma clinic, his wounds were cleaned and dressed, and he received pain medication.

On February 28, 2007, Plaintiff was seen at University Hospital Orthopedic Hand Clinic. Surgery on Plaintiff's left small finger was scheduled for the following day.

On March 1, 2007, Plaintiff was taken to University Hospital Orthopedic Hand Clinic where Dr. Mosher performed an open reduction, internal fixation and application of external fixator to Plaintiff's left small finger proximal phalanx. Plaintiff was placed in a splint, which he was directed to keep clean and dry until his follow up appointment one week later.

Upon his return to the Justice Center, Plaintiff requested a sling for his arm, which he was given on March 2, 2007. The physician assistant directed the nursing staff to ensure that there was no vascular compromise resulting from the use of the sling.

On March 8, 2007, before being taken to University Hospital for a follow up appointment, Plaintiff was seen briefly by Dr. Yambo at the Justice Center. At Plaintiff's follow up appointment, his wounds were examined and cleaned. Plaintiff was instructed to return to the hand clinic for his left hand injury, and to return to the trauma clinic in two weeks for further evaluation of his back and leg wounds.

On March 14, 2007, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Klena at University Hospital Orthopedic Hand Clinic. Plaintiff complained of experiencing some intermittent pain when he removed the hand splint in order to shower. He also complained of some pain when attempting to extend and flex his small finger. Dr. Klena removed the sutures in Plaintiff's hand and explained that he was not entirely optimistic about how much range of motion Plaintiff would develop, and that additional surgery may be required to maximize flexibility. Plaintiff was scheduled for a follow-up appointment. After his appointment, Plaintiff returned to the Justice Center, where he continued to receive wound care and medication to address his medical and physical needs.

On March 18, 2007, Plaintiff complained to nursing staff that he inadvertently jarred the external fixator to his hand, causing him extreme pain, swelling and some bleeding. The nurse examined his hand, noted that the bleeding had stopped, and scheduled Plaintiff for a "priority 1" sick call visit with the physician the following day.

On March 19, 2007, Dr. Greenwald examined Plaintiff, and directed that a follow up appointment at the hand clinic be scheduled for one week later.

On March 22, 2007, Plaintiff was seen and evaluated at the University Hospital Trauma Clinic. Staff noted that the wound to Plaintiff's right leg had completely healed, and the wound to his back was almost healed, with just a small open sore remaining. It was recommended that Plaintiff follow up with the orthopedic hand clinic for his finger injury, and that he be evaluated by psychiatry; however, no further follow up appointment at the trauma clinic was necessary.

On March 28, 2007, Plaintiff was seen again at the University Hospital Orthopedic Hand Clinic for a follow up appointment with Dr. Weiss. Plaintiff was fitted by Occupational Therapy with a volar forearm-based splint and his fourth and fifth digits were ...

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