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Johnson v. Schiff

United States District Court, Second Circuit

December 12, 2013

ANGELO JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL A. SCHIFF, Sheriff of Sullivan County Jail, sued in his individual and official capacities; LT. WILLIAM DEVITO, Sullivan County Jail, sued in his individual and official capacity; THOMAS LOUGHERN, Sheriff of Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacities; SGT. FRIOT, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; SGT. SHOALE, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in her individual and official capacity; SGT. RYAN, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; C.O. CHESEBRO, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in her individual and official capacity; C.O. MOSCATO, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; C.O. ALEMAR, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; C.O. ROTUNDO, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; C.O. DEMUN, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; C.O. PARKER, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; C.O. LACOTTA, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; C.O. JOHN DOE, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; R.N. JOANNE LOCKE, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in her individual and official capacities; C.O. HACKETT, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity; LT. SCHULT, Chenango County Correctional Facility, sued in his individual and official capacity, Defendants.

BREEDLOVE & NOLL, LLP, BRIAN BREEDLOVE, ESQ., Clifton Park, New York, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

SULLIVAN COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, SAMUEL S. YASGUR, ESQ., Monticello, New York, Attorneys for Defendant Michael A. Schiff.

DREW, DAVIDOFF LAW FIRM, MICHAEL DAVIDOFF, ESQ., Monticello, New York, Attorneys for Defendant Lt. William DeVito

LEVENE, GOULDIN LAW FIRM, MARIA E. LISI-MURRAY, ESQ., Vestal, New York, Attorneys for Defendants Thomas Loughern, Sgt. Friot, Sgt. Shoale, Sgt. Ryan, C.O. Chessebro, C.O. Moscato, C.O. Alemar, C.O. Rotundo, C.O. DeMun, C.O. Parker, C.O. LaCotta, C.O. John Doe, R.N. Joanne, Locke, C.O. Hackett, and Lt. Schult.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff commenced this civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, claiming that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by transferring him from the Sullivan County Jail to the Chenango County Jail, where he was subjected to excessive force and inadequate medical care. On September 10 and 13, 2013, Magistrate Judge Dancks issued two Report-Recommendations and Orders, recommending that the Court (1) grant Defendant Schiff's motion for summary judgment and terminate him from this action; (2) deny Plaintiff's motion to strike; (3) deny Defendant DeVito's motion for summary judgment; (4) sua sponte dismiss the official capacity claims against Defendant DeVito; and (5) grant in part and deny in part the Chenango County Defendants' motion for summary judgment. See Dkt. Nos. 147 & 149. On September 26, 2013, Defendant DeVito objected to the portion of the Report-Recommendation and Order recommending that the Court deny his motion for summary judgment. See Dkt. No. 152.

In a Memorandum-Decision and Order dated September 30, 2013, the Court adopted Magistrate Judge Dancks' Reports in their entirety. See Dkt. No. 154. On October 7, 2013, the Court received objections from Plaintiff. See Dkt. No. 157. Although the Court has already disposed of the pending motions, the Court will address the issues raised in Plaintiff's objections.[1]

II. DISCUSSION

In his objections to Magistrate Judge Dancks' recommendations, Plaintiff first asserts that his amended complaint "sufficiently states a valid claim against defendant Schiff." See Dkt. No. 157 at 1. Plaintiff claims that, in his opposition papers, he established that Defendant Schiff exercised sole control of the Sullivan County Jail. See id. at 1-2. Therefore, Plaintiff contends that "Colonel Harold L. Smith, Jr. the Jail Administrator is subjected to defendant Schiff... making him by law, ultimately responsible of that administration. Therefore as required by law defendant Schiff was to have at least construct[ive] knowledge of the welfare of his detainees." See id. at 2. Plaintiff claims that he and other inmates made the Sullivan County Jail administration aware of the "widespread excessive force against Monticello inmates being perpetrated by Chenango County Officials, " but that they failed to act. See id.

As to Defendant Locke, Plaintiff asserts that Magistrate Judge Dancks erred in finding that Plaintiff failed to establish a serious medical condition regarding his deliberate indifference claim. See id. at 4. Plaintiff claims that his treatment by Defendant Locke, two hours after he was "brutally assaulted, " constituted a conscious disregard of the serious injuries he had sustained. See id. at 5. Further, Plaintiff alleges that, collectively, his injuries constituted a serious medical condition. See id. Moreover, Plaintiff states that Magistrate Judge Dancks erred in determining that he failed to meet the subjective component of this claim as well. See id. Plaintiff asserts that he was not provided with treatment immediately after the May 10 and May 19 incidents as Defendant Locke claims and that the treatment he was eventually provided was inadequate. See id.

Next, Plaintiff objects to Magistrate Judge Dancks recommendation that the Court sua sponte dismiss the official capacity claims against Defendant DeVito. See id. at 6-7. Finally, Plaintiff argues that Magistrate Judge Dancks erred in recommending dismissal of his conditions of confinement claim. See id. at 7. Plaintiff claims that his testimony and amended complaint detailing Defendants' failure to provide him with "basic supplies, blankets, sheets, soaps or writing materials" were sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact. See id.

A. Standard of review

A court may grant a motion for summary judgment only if it determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact to be tried and that the facts as to which there is no such issue warrant judgment for the movant as a matter of law. See Chambers v. TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 36 (2d Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). When analyzing a summary judgment motion, the court "cannot try issues of fact; it can only determine whether there are issues to be tried." Id. at 36-37 (quotation and other citation omitted). Moreover, it is well-settled that a party opposing a motion for summary ...


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