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Read v. Town of Suffern Police Department

United States District Court, Second Circuit

June 25, 2013

DAVID P. READ, Plaintiff,


J. PAUL OETKEN, District Judge.

Pro se Plaintiff David Paul Read, currently detained at Attica Correctional Facility, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Town of Suffern Police Department, Officer Michael Lourenso, Officer James Giannetino, Detective Raymond Sheehan, Sgt. John Glodie, and Sgt. David Tarritino, alleging false arrest, failure to provide proper medical treatment, and excessive force in violation of his Fourth and Eighth amendment rights, in connection with his arrest in violation of a restraining order.[1] Defendants have moved for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's complaint, the parties' Local Rule 56.1 statements, depositions, and other materials submitted in connection with the instant motions. These facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

The claims in this action arise out of two separate events, the first on April 27, 2009, and the second on April 28, 2009.

1. The Events of April 27, 2009

Plaintiff has been married to Michelle Surdak-Read ("Surdak") for fourteen years. (Dkt. No. 10 ("Mastellone Decl."), Ex. C ("Read Dep."), at 6:20.) During the period in question, the two shared an apartment. ( Id. at 34:3.) On August 30, 2006, an order of protection was issued on Surdak's behalf against Plaintiff. (Mastellone Decl., Ex. D.)[2] The order of protection was set to expire on August 29, 2009. ( Id. )

On April 27, 2009, Surdak called the police from her car, stating that Plaintiff had threatened her. (Pl. Ex. 14 ("Tr. Trans."), at 36-37.) Shortly after 10 p.m., Officer Giannetino was radioed by dispatch and sent to Plaintiff and Surdak's apartment. ( Id. at 10.) When Giannetino arrived, Surdak confirmed that Plaintiff had threatened her. (Dkt. No. 132 ("Lourenso Decl.") at ¶ 3.) She also reported having an order of protection against Plaintiff.

Surdak let herself and Giannetino into her apartment building, and the two were then joined by Officer Lourenso. (Trial Tr., at 13:7.) When Surdak was unable to open the apartment door with her key, she knocked and called out for Plaintiff. ( Id. at 13:18.) Plaintiff opened the door, and the officers entered with Surdak behind them. ( Id. at 13:21-23.)

While Lourenso interviewed Plaintiff, Giannetino confirmed through radio dispatch that there was indeed an outstanding order of protection. (Lourenso Decl. at ¶ 4.) Plaintiff argued that the order was no longer valid, and attempted to gather corroborating papers from his briefcase. (Read Dep. at 39:4.) When Plaintiff was unable to collect the relevant papers, Lourenso performed a pat down search. According to the officers, at this point, Plaintiff called his wife a "pig" and threatened to kill her. (Lourenso Decl. at ¶ 5.)

Plaintiff was taken to Giannetino's squad car and transferred to the Suffern Police station. ( Id. at ¶ 6.) After arriving at the station, Plaintiff was placed into a holding cell. (Trial Tr. at 12:20.) Approximately fifteen minutes later, Surdak entered the station and was brought into the squad room. ( Id. at 18:21.) Plaintiff reportedly continued to threaten Surdak from his holding cell. ( Id. at 19:8.)

Shortly after Surdak's departure from the station, Plaintiff had an anxiety attack and repeatedly asked for his medication. (Read Dep. at 47:5.) The requested medication was in Plaintiff's black bag, which had been brought to the station by Lourenso. ( Id at 52:11-13.) When the officers responded that they could not provide Plaintiff with the medication while he was detained, Plaintiff claimed to have suicidal thoughts and asked to be taken to the hospital. ( Id at 54:16.) Sergeant Glodie and Officer Giannetino complied with Plaintiff's request, calling the paramedics and accompanying Plaintiff to Good Samaritan Hospital. ( Id. at 54:21-23.) At the hospital, Plaintiff briefly spoke to a doctor. ( Id. at 55:14.) Plaintiff claims that, during this conversation, Glodie told the doctor not to prescribe anything since Plaintiff was under arrest and could not receive medication while detained. ( Id. at 55:19.) According to Plaintiff, Glodie then told the doctor "[t]o hurry up with his paperwork." ( Id. ) Plaintiff was signed out shortly thereafter, and returned to Suffern Police Station and his holding cell. ( Id. at 56:15-18.)

2. The Events of April 28, 2009

At approximately 12 p.m. the next day, Plaintiff began yelling that he needed his medication due to another panic attack. (Read Dep. at 59:4.) Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff claims that his toilet clogged and his cell began to flood. ( Id. at 59:14-15.)[3]

After his cell flooded, Plaintiff was removed from his cell and handcuffed to a railing in a reversed-seated position. (Read Dep. at 60:22-24.) Apparently still panicking, Plaintiff attempted to retrieve his black bag from a nearby storage locker in order to obtain his medication. Plaintiff claims that he was tased by Lourenso before he could reach his bag. ( Id. at 61:20-22.) Defendants claim that the tasing was done entirely by Officer Tarritino; indeed, they assert that Lourenso was not even present when the tasing occurred. Moreover, according to Tarritino, Plaintiff was tased not when he reached for his bag, but after he had successfully pulled out his medication and had ingested some of his pills. (Tarritino Decl. at ¶ 9.) In any event, after the first tasing, Plaintiff claims he collapsed "with his body uncontrollable." (Pl. Rep. at 3.)

According to Plaintiff, Officer Tarritino then grabbed Lourenso's taser and continued to shock him, exclaiming, "How do you like this, motherfucker? How does this feel? I'm going to roast your ass." (Read Dep. at 62:7.) Tarritino denies gratuitously tasing Plaintiff. (Tarritino Decl. at ¶ 13.) He claims that Plaintiff was tased to protect both himself and those officers present. ( Id. ) Plaintiff was not taken to the hospital after ...

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