ANTOINETTE L. WILLIAMS, ESQ. ANTOINETTE L. WILLIAMS, P.C. Pelham, NY, Counsel for Plaintiff.
SHANNON T. O'CONNER, ESQ. HON. MARY ANNE DOHERTY Corporation Counsel for City of Syracuse Syracuse NY, Counsel for Defendants.
DECISION and ORDER
GLENN T. SUDDABY, District Judge.
Currently pending before the Court, in this civil rights action filed by Lekia Coleman ("Plaintiff") against City of Syracuse Police Officers Shaun Hauck and Brian Novitsky ("Defendants") asserting a claim of excessive force, is Plaintiff's post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b). (Dkt. No. 119.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is denied.
I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND
A. Relevant Procedural History
Because the parties have, in their memoranda of law, demonstrated an accurate understanding of this action's relevant procedural history, including the trial that occurred in this action between January 28, 2013, and January 30, 2013, the Court will not recite that history in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for the review of the parties. Rather, the Court will proceed directly to a description of the parties' briefing on Plaintiff's post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law.
B. Parties' Briefing on Plaintiff's Motion
Generally, in his post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b), Plaintiff argues that the evidence presented at trial was "legally sufficient" for a jury to find in his favor with regard to his claim of excessive force against Defendants. (Dkt. No. 118, at 4, 11 [Plf.'s Memo. of Law]; Dkt. No. 119, at ¶ 4 [Plf.'s Atty. Affid.].) In support of this argument, Plaintiff points to trial evidence regarding each factor relevant to determining a claim of excessive force, including the following: (1) evidence that Plaintiff suffered a right orbital floor fracture and a comminuted left zygomatic fracture, resulting in significant pain, headaches and impaired vision; (2) evidence that the officers inconsistently asserted that Plaintiff resisted arrest; (3) evidence that there was no relationship between the need and the amount of force because Plaintiff was unarmed, was cooperative once he stropped running, and was handcuffed on the ground when the force was used; (4) evidence that at least four officer responded to the scene of arrest, eliminating any perceived threat to officer safety; and (5) evidence that Defendant Hauck made no attempt to temper the severity of the force by using pain compliance techniques such as pressure points. ( See generally Dkt. No. 118 [Plf.'s Memo. of Law].)
Generally, in response to Plaintiff's motion, Defendants asserts two alternative arguments. (Dkt. No. 122, Attach. 1 [Defs.' Memo. of Law].) First, Defendants argue, Plaintiff is procedurally barred from making a post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b), because (1) such a motion is merely a "renewal" of a trial motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a), and (2) he failed to make a trial motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a), thus requiring his motion show "manifest injustice" (which is not the case here). ( Id. ) Second, Defendants argue, in the alternative, Plaintiff's motion is unsupported by a showing of cause, because (1) it applies the incorrect legal standard (arguing that there was sufficient evidence to support a rational verdict in Plaintiff's favor, rather than that there was insufficient evidence to support a rational verdict in Defendants' favor), and (2) any event, the motion improperly asks the Court to weigh the credibility of the witnesses. ( Id. )
Plaintiff has failed to file a reply to Defendants' response, and the deadline for that reply has expired. (Text Notice filed Feb. 28, 2013 [setting deadline for reply as March 25, 2013].)
II. GOVERNING LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Legal Standard Governing Motions for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict ...