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Thomas W. Boyde, Iv v. Lieutenant Mignano

May 8, 2013

THOMAS W. BOYDE, IV, PLAINTIFF
v.
LIEUTENANT MIGNANO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles J. Siragusa United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

Thomas Boyde (" Plaintiff" ), formerly a pre-trial detainee at the Orleans County Jail, alleges that Defendants violated his federal constitutional rights, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Now before the Court is a summary judgment motion (Docket No. [#156]) by defendant Deputy French (" French" ). The application is granted.

BACKGROUND

Unless otherw ise noted the follow ing are the facts of the case view ed in the light most-favorable to Plaintiff, the non-moving party. At all relevant times, Plaintiff w as a pre-trial detainee facing prosecution in Monroe County, New York, for insurance fraud. Plaintiff, though, had previously assisted in an internal affairs investigation against a Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy. Consequently, pursuant to an agreement betw een Plaintiff and Monroe County, Plaintiff w as housed outside of Monroe County, in the Orleans County Jail.*fn1

At Orleans County Jail, Plaintiff w as housed in a cell block w ith other inmates including Carl Turner (" Turner" ). Some time prior to July 31, 2007, Turner w as transported to Monroe County for a court appearance. On July 31, 2007, tw o Monroe County Sheriff's Deputies transported Turner back to the Orleans County Jail.*fn2 Upon his arrival at Orleans County Jail, Turner accused Plaintiff of being an informant in a federal drug investigation. Plaintiff denied the accusation and asked Turner how he came to believe that Plaintiff w as an informant, and Turner responded that he had been told so by one of the Monroe County Deputies w ho had transported him. Turner described the deputy as a " stocky, bald w hite guy." Another inmate at the Orleans County Jail, named James Sanderson (" Sanderson" ), overheard this conversation betw een Plaintiff and Turner. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff w rote a letter to the Corrections Staff at Orleans County Jail, telling them that he w as in danger because Turner w as telling other inmates that he w as a snitch. How ever, the jail staff did not move Plaintiff or otherw ise take steps to protect him.

On or about August 30, 2007, Turner and Plaintiff fought, and Plaintiff sustained various physical injuries requiring stitches. According to Turner, the fight began w hen Plaintiff attacked him, after another inmate, Hector Lopez (" Lopez" ), threw w et paper on Plaintiff w hile he w as napping in his cell. According to Turner, Plaintiff came out of his cell and attacked him, either because he did not know w ho threw the w et paper or because he figured that Turner w as the w eakest man on the cell block. Turner's testimony on this point is supported by contemporaneous records from the Orleans County Jail. Specifically, an incident report dated August 30, 2007, concerning the fight states, in pertinent part:

I also asked Boyde w hat his involvement w as w ith inmate Turner and he stated he struck Turner in the head then stated that he did [so] in self defense. Boyde w ent on to say that he felt that if he didn't strike out against Turner he w ould not live to see the morning. Boyde also stated 'The inmates in the block threw piss soaked toilet paper on me w hen I w as sleeping.' I asked Boyde if he struck any inmates in the block and he now stated 'No but I w as struck by several inmates in the block.' Boyde again stated 'I struck out in fear for my life.'

Docket No. [#28-2] at p. 10.

Immediately after the fight Plaintiff w as removed from Orleans County Jail and taken to a medical facility. A short time later, Plaintiff w as transferred to another jail by defendant French, a Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy. Because French apparently is a " stocky, bald w hite guy," Plaintiff assumed that he w as the deputy w ho allegedly told Turner that he w as a snitch. Plaintiff confronted French w ith the accusation, but French denied it and reported Plaintiff's accusation to his superior officer, Sergeant Mancini (" Mancini" ). Mancini maintains that he investigated Plaintiff's accusation, and concluded that French w as not one of the officers w ho transported Turner to the Orleans County Jail on July 31, 2007. Instead, Mancini concluded that the tw o transport deputies on July 31, 2007 w ere Corporal Daniel Mooney and Deputy Benjamin Breedlove.

On June 4, 2008, Plaintiff commenced this action, proceeding pro se. Plaintiff sued Monroe County, the Monroe County Sheriff and various Orleans County defendants. In pertinent part, the Complaint [#1] alleged that Monroe County and the Monroe County Sheriff violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights by housing him in Orleans County w hen he did not have any charges pending against him in that county.*fn3

The Complaint [#1] did not allege any w rongdoing by any Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy.

On September 10, 2008, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint [#7], w hich similarly sued Monroe County and the Monroe County Sheriff, for housing him at the Orleans County Jail. See, Amended Complaint ¶ ¶ 33-35. The Amended Complaint [#7] likew ise did not allege any w rongdoing by any Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy. Moreover, neither the Complaint [#1] nor the Amended Complaint [#7] alleged any facts to explain w hy Turner had attacked Plaintiff. Specifically, neither pleading alleged that Turner attacked Plaintiff because he had been told by someone that Plaintiff w as an informant.

On October 7, 2008, the undersigned referred this action to the Honorable Jonathan W. Feldman, United States Magistrate Judge, for all non-dispositive pretrial matters.

During pretrial discovery, Plaintiff filed several motions [#29, 37, 40, 58] to compel discovery, in w hich he sought, inter alia, information concerning the identities of Monroe County Sheriff's Deputies.*fn4 On March 29, 2010, Magistrate Judge Feldman issued a Decision and Order [#77], granting, in pertinent part, Plaintiff's fourth motion to compel [#58] and directing the Monroe County Defendants to respond to Plaintiff's request for production of documents [#43] and interrogatories [#51]. Plaintiff's interrogatories included a request to identify, by name, badge number and photograph, the Monroe County Deputies w ho had transported Turner betw een July 1, 2007 and August 31, 2007. See, [#51] at no. 1. On May 6, 2010, Monroe County responded to Plaintiff's interrogatories, and in response to Plaintiff's aforementioned interrogatory no. 1, stated that Turner had been transported by six different deputies, w hose names and badge numbers w ere listed. See, [#82] at p. 2. French w as not one of the listed deputies. Monroe County also provided Plaintiff w ith Turner's " Inmate Move History." Plaintiff subsequently filed motions for sanctions, arguing that Monroe County had failed to make complete disclosures. See, [#79] & [#84].

On July 19, 2010, Magistrate Judge Feldman issued an Order [#90] granting Plaintiff's application for appointment of counsel. On July 23, 2010, Magistrate Judge Feldman denied Plaintiff's pro se motions for discovery sanctions w ithout prejudice, w ith the understanding that Plaintiff's new ly-appointed counsel could renew the motions if he felt that it w as appropriate to do so.

Plaintiff maintains that French committed a constitutional violation against him on July 31, 2007,*fn5 w hich is the date that French allegedly told Turner that Plaintiff w as an informant. Consequently, on July 31, 2010, the three-year statute of limitations governing Section 1983 claims against French expired. At that time, Plaintiff had not asserted any claim against French, either by name or as a John Doe defendant, though he clearly could have done so. Moreover, at the time the limitations period expired, neither of Plaintiff's complaints contained any allegation of w rongdoing by a Monroe County Sheriff's deputy, nor any allegation that Turner attacked Plaintiff because he believed ...


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