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William Crenshaw v. Sgt. G. Korbar

April 17, 2013

WILLIAM CRENSHAW, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SGT. G. KORBAR, DSP J. THOMPSON, SUPT. J. BERGERY, JAMES HOOGE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David G. Larimer United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, William Crenshaw, appearing pro se, commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), alleges that the defendants, who at all relevant times were employed by DOCCS, have violated his rights under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Defendants Korbar, Berbary and Thompson have moved pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for summary judgment dismissing all of plaintiff's claims, and defendant Hooge (who was added as a defendant in September 2010, see Dkt. #72) has moved to dismiss plaintiff's claims against him pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, the motions are granted, and the complaint is dismissed.*fn1

BACKGROUND

The record shows that in September 2007, plaintiff and another inmate, Kareem Lundy, were transferred to Collins Correctional Facility, from Great Meadow and Wende Correctional Facilities, respectively. At that time, both plaintiff and Lundy were serving administrative sentences of confinement in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU"), based on misbehavior charges of which they had been found guilty, in separate and unrelated proceedings at their previous facilities. Upon arrival at Collins, plaintiff and Lundy were assigned to the Collins SHU, and were double bunked, i.e., placed in the same cell.

On September 29, defendant Sgt. Korbar, as the supervisor on duty, was summoned to plaintiff's cell by another officer. When she arrived, Korbar saw through the cell door window that plaintiff was lying on the cell floor, tied up with a bedsheet. Lundy was standing nearby.

Korbar asked plaintiff, through the cell door, if he was all right, but he did not respond. Lundy, however, stated that he had choked plaintiff and tied him up. At Korbar's direction, staff then entered the cell and removed Lundy and plaintiff. Plaintiff remained uncooperative and uncommunicative, refusing initially to stand, and then refusing to answer questions about what had happened.

Plaintiff was taken to a local hospital, and then to the Erie County Medical Center for a mental examination. He was found to be unharmed, and there was no evidence of a sexual assault, nor was there any physical evidence that plaintiff had been choked.

During Korbar's investigation of the incident, Lundy admitted to her that he had tied plaintiff up so that he, Lundy, would be given a single cell. Plaintiff continued to refuse to answer questions about what had happened.

Korbar concluded that plaintiff and Lundy had staged this incident, in the hope that they would be separated and each given an individual cell. She then wrote a misbehavior report charging plaintiff with refusing a direct order, interference, and creating a disturbance.

After a Tier III hearing conducted by defendant Thompson, plaintiff was found guilty of the charges against him in October 2007, and sentenced to ninety days' SHU confinement, sixty days of which were suspended. The entire sentence was deferred until March 17, 2008, and on December 14, 2007, Thompson's determinations were reversed on administrative appeal, on the ground that the "circumstances depicted in [the] misbehavior report do not support [the] charges and [the] hearing officer failed to indicate how [the] mental health testimony was considered ... ." Bove Decl. (Dkt. #81) Ex. E. Because plaintiff was still serving his SHU sentence on other charges, which are not at issue in this action, he never served any SHU time as a result of Korbar's charges against him stemming from the September 29 incident.

Based on these facts, plaintiff has sued Korbar, Thompson, Collins Superintendent James Berbary, and Lt. Hooge, who apparently reviewed Korbar's misbehavior report before passing it on for further action. As stated, plaintiff asserts claims under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, as described in more detail below.

DISCUSSION

I. First Amendment ...


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