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Boyde v. Mignano

United States District Court, Second Circuit

May 8, 2013

THOMAS W. BOYDE, IV, Plaintiff,
LIEUTENANT MIGNANO, et al., Defendants.


CHARLES J. SIRAGUSA, District Judge.

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.


Unless otherwise noted the following are the facts of the case viewed in the light most-favorable to Plaintiff, the non-moving party. At all relevant times, Plaintiff was 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 between Plaintiff and Monroe County, Plaintiff was housed outside of Monroe County, in the Orleans County Jail.[1]

At Orleans County Jail, Plaintiff was housed in a cell block with other inmates including Carl Turner ("Turner"). Some time prior to July 31, 2007, Turner was transported to Monroe County for a court appearance. On July 31, 2007, two Monroe County Sheriff's Deputies transported Turner back to the Orleans County Jail.[2] 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 was an informant, and Turner responded that he had been told so by one of the Monroe County Deputies who had transported him. Turner described the deputy as a "stocky, bald white guy." Another inmate at the Orleans County Jail, named James Sanderson ("Sanderson"), overheard this conversation between Plaintiff and Turner. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff wrote a letter to the Corrections Staff at Orleans County Jail, telling them that he was in danger because Turner was telling other inmates that he was a snitch. However, the jail staff did not move Plaintiff or otherwise 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 when Plaintiff attacked him, after another inmate, Hector Lopez ("Lopez"), threw wet paper on Plaintiff while he was napping in his cell. According to Turner, Plaintiff came out of his cell and attacked him, either because he did not know who threw the wet paper or because he figured that Turner was the weakest 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 what his involvement was with inmate Turner and he stated he struck Turner in the head then stated that he did [so] in self defense. Boyde went on to say that he felt that if he didn't strike out against Turner he would not live to see the morning. Boyde also stated The inmates in the block threw piss soaked toilet paper on me when I was sleeping.' I asked Boyde if he struck any inmates in the block and he now stated No but I was 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 was removed from Orleans County Jail and taken to a medical facility. A short time later, Plaintiff was transferred to another jail by defendant French, a Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy. Because French apparently is a "stocky, bald white guy, " Plaintiff assumed that he was the deputy who allegedly told Turner that he was a snitch. Plaintiff confronted French with 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 was not one of the officers who transported Turner to the Orleans County Jail on July 31, 2007. Instead, Mancini concluded that the two transport deputies on July 31, 2007 were 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 when he did not have any charges pending against him in that county.[3] The Complaint [#1] did not allege any wrongdoing by any Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy.

On September 10, 2008, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint [#7], which 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] likewise did not allege any wrongdoing by any Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy. Moreover, neither the Complaint [#1] nor the Amended Complaint [#7] alleged any facts to explain why Turner had attacked Plaintiff. Specifically, neither pleading alleged that Turner attacked Plaintiff because he had been told by someone that Plaintiff was 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 which he sought, inter alia, information concerning the identities of Monroe County Sheriff's Deputies.[4] 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 who had transported Turner between 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, whose names and badge numbers were listed. See, [#82] at p. 2. French was not one of the listed deputies. Monroe County also provided Plaintiff with 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 without prejudice, with the understanding that Plaintiff's newly-appointed counsel could renew the motions if he felt that it was appropriate to do so.

Plaintiff maintains that French committed a constitutional violation against him on July 31, 2007, [5] which is the date that French allegedly told Turner that Plaintiff was 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 wrongdoing by a Monroe County Sheriff's deputy, nor any allegation that Turner attacked Plaintiff because he ...

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