Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Helton v. Avrio Group Surveillance Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. New York

March 14, 2014

FELICIA HELTON, Plaintiff,
v.
AVRIO GROUP SURVEILLANCE SOLUTIONS, INC., and JOHNSON CONTROLS, INC., Defendants

Order Filed: November 6, 2013

Page 387

For Felicia Helton, Plaintiff: Michael J. Cooper, Esq., LEAD ATTORNEY, Cellino & Barnes, P.C., Buffalo, NY.

For Avrio Group Surveillance Solutions, Inc., Defendant: Edwin P. Hunter, Thomas V. Hagerty, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Hagerty & Brady, Buffalo, NY.

For Avrio Group Surveillance Solutions, Inc., Cross Defendant: Thomas V. Hagerty, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hagerty & Brady, Buffalo, NY.

OPINION

Page 388

DECISION AND ORDER

HONORABLE RICHARD J. ARCARA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

The instant matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) for supervision of all pre-trial proceedings. Defendant Johnson Controls, Inc. (" Johnson Controls" ) filed a motion for summary judgment on November 29, 2012 and a motion for partial summary judgment as to its cross-claims on November 30, 2012. (Dkt. Nos. 70 and 72) Defendant Avrio Group Surveillance Solutions, Inc. (" Avrio Group" ) also filed a motion for summary judgment on November 30, 2012. (Dkt. No. 71) On

Page 389

November 6, 2013, Magistrate Judge Foschio issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that Johnson Controls' motion for summary judgment and motion for partial summary judgment be granted, and that Avrio Group's motion for summary judgment be denied. (Dkt. No. 95)

On December 16, 2013, the plaintiff and Johnson Controls filed a Stipulation of Dismissal discontinuing, with prejudice, the action as to Johnson Controls. (Dkt. No. 103) An Order was issued discontinuing the action as to Johnson Controls on December 17, 2013. (Dkt. No. 104) Thus, this Court need not consider those portions of the Report and Recommendation which pertain to motions made by Johnson Controls, and those motions will be dismissed as moot.

On November 25, 2013, defendant Avrio Group filed objections to the Report and Recommendation. (Dkt. No. 101) Plaintiff filed a response on January 15, 2014 (Dkt. No. 106) and defendant filed a reply on January 27, 2014. Oral argument was held on February 12, 2014, and the Court considered the matter submitted.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), this Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections have been made. Upon de novo review, and after reviewing the submissions from the parties and hearing oral argument, the Court hereby adopts Magistrate Judge Foschio's findings in their entirety.

Accordingly, for the reasons set forth in Magistrate Judge Foschio's Report and Recommendation, defendant Avrio Group's motion for summary judgment is denied.

The matter is referred back to Magistrate Judge Foschio for further proceedings.

SO ORDERED.

REPORT and RECOMMENDATION

LESLIE G. FOSCHIO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

JURISDICTION

These cases were referred to the undersigned by Honorable Richard J. Arcara on June 10, 2009 (09-CV-00494) and June 22, 2011 (11-CV-00775), for all pretrial matters including report and recommendation

Page 390

on dispositive motions.[1] The matter is presently before the undersigned on motions filed by Defendant Johnson Controls, Inc., on November 29, 2012 for summary judgment (09-CV-00494, Doc. No. 70; 11-CV-00775, Doc. No. 28), and on November 30, 2012, for partial summary judgment (09-CV-00494, Doc. No. 72; 11-CV-00775, Doc. No. 29), and by Defendant Avrio Group Surveillance Solutions, Inc., on November 30, 2012, for summary judgment (09-CV-00494, Doc. No. 71).

BACKGROUND

On March 18, 2009, Plaintiff Felicia Helton (" Helton" ), filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court, Erie County, alleging she suffered personal injuries caused by the negligence of Defendants Avrio Group Surveillance Solutions, Inc. (" Avrio" ), a Maryland corporation, and Johnson Controls, Inc. (" Johnson Controls" ), a Wisconsin corporation (together, " Defendants" ). Helton specifically alleges that on August 3, 2008, while working as a police officer with the City of Buffalo Department of Police (" Buffalo Police" ) in the Buffalo Police video surveillance monitoring room (" surveillance command room" ), a video monitor mounted to a wall at the back of the cubicle workstation intended for mounting brackets (" slat wall" )[2] at which Helton was seated, slid off the brackets on which it was mounted (" monitor mount" or " mounting brackets" ) as Helton attempted to adjust it, falling on Plaintiff's left hand and pinning it to the workstation's desk, causing serious injuries. Defendant Johnson Controls filed an answer on April 26, 2009 and, on May 26, 2009, removed the action to this court (09-CV-00494A(F), " Helton Action" ), alleging diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 as the basis for subject matter jurisdiction. Avrio's answer was filed on June 9, 2009 (Helton Action, Doc. No. 3).

On March 28, 2011, Helton filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 32) (" Helton Action, Amended Complaint" ).[3] On May 11, 2010, Johnson filed an amended answer (Helton Action, Doc. No. 18), asserting against Avrio crossclaims for breach of contract and contribution and indemnification. Avrio's answer to the crossclaims was filed on November 9, 2010 (Helton Action, Doc. No. 20).

On July 29, 2011, Plaintiff City of Buffalo (" the City" ), filed an action in New York Supreme Court, Erie County, seeking to recover from Defendants Avrio and Johnson Controls[4] damages for Helton's medical care and treatment and disability payments based on Defendants' alleged negligence in installing the video monitor that fell on Helton's left hand. On September 15, 2011, Johnson Controls removed the action to this court (11-CV-00775A(F), " City Action" ), alleging diversity

Page 391

of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 as the basis for subject matter jurisdiction.[5] On September 21, 2011, Johnson Controls filed an answer (City Action, Doc. No. 5), asserting against Avrio crossclaims for breach of contract and contribution and indemnification. Avrio's answer to the Complaint and the crossclaims was filed on October 28, 2011 (City Action, Doc. No. 10).

On November 29, 2012, Johnson Controls filed the same motion and supporting papers in the Helton Action and the City Action seeking summary judgment against each action's respective Plaintiff, i.e., Helton (Helton Action, Doc. No. 70) and the City (City Action, Doc. No. Doc. No. 28) (" Johnson Controls' Summary Judgment Motion" ), supported by the attached Affidavit of Casey L. Westover, Esq. (Helton Action, Doc. No. 70-1; City Action, Doc. No. 28-1) (" Westover Affidavit -- Summary Judgment" ), Johnson Controls, Inc.'s L.R. Civ. P. 56 Statement of Material Facts in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment (Helton Action, Doc. No. 70-2; City Action Doc. No. 28-2) (" Johnson Controls' Statement of Facts" ), Defendant Johnson Controls, Inc.'s Memorandum of Law in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment Against Plaintiffs Felicia Helton and the City of Buffalo (Helton Action, Doc. No. 70-3; City Action, Doc. No. 28-3) (" Johnson Controls' Memorandum -- Summary Judgment" ), and exhibits A through Y (Helton Action, Docs. Nos. 70-5 through 70-31; City Action, Docs. Nos. 28-5 through 28-31) (" Johnson Controls' Exh(s). " ).

On November 30, 2012, Johnson Controls filed the same motion and supporting papers in both actions seeking partial summary judgment on its breach of contract cross-claim against Avrio (Helton Action, Doc. No. 72; City Action, Doc. No. 29) (" Johnson Controls' Partial Summary Judgment Motion" ), supported by the attached Affidavit of Casey L. Westover, Esq. (Helton Action, Doc. No. 72-1; City Action, Doc. No. 29-1) (Westover Affidavit -- Partial Summary Judgment" ), Johnson Controls, Inc.'s L.R. Civ. P. 56 Statement of Material Facts in Support of Its Motions for Summary Judgment (Helton Action, Doc. No. 72-2; City Action, Doc. No. 29-2) (" Johnson Controls' Statement of Facts" ),[6] and Defendant Johnson Controls,

Page 392

Inc.'s Memorandum of Law in Support of Its Partial Motion for Summary Judgment on Liability Only on Its Breach of Contract Cross-Claim Against Avrio Group Surveillance Solutions, Inc. For Failure to Procure Required Insurance (Helton Action, Doc. No. 72-3; City Action, Doc. No. 29-3) (" Johnson Controls' Memorandum -- Partial Summary Judgment" ). Johnson Controls also incorporates by reference the same exhibits Johnson Controls filed in support of its Summary Judgment Motion in support of its Partial Summary Judgment Motion. Westover Affidavit -- Partial Summary Judgment ¶ 4.

On November 30, 2012, Avrio filed a motion for summary judgment against Helton in the Helton Action (Helton Action, Doc. No. 71) (" Avrio's Motion" ), supported by the attached Statement of Material Facts (Helton Action, Doc. No. 71-1) (" Avrio's Statement of Facts" ), the Affidavit of Edwin P. Hunter, Esq. (Helton Action, Doc. No. 71-2) (" Hunter Affidavit" ), a Memorandum of Law (Helton Action, Doc. No. 71-3) (" Avrio's Memorandum" ), and exhibits A though L (Helton Action, Docs. Nos. 71-4 through 71-15) (" Avrio Exh(s). " ).

On January 30, 2013, Helton filed in opposition to Johnson Controls' Summary Judgment Motion and Avrio's Motion the Responding Affidavit of Michael J. Cooper, Esq. (Helton Action, Doc. No. 74) (" Cooper Response Affidavit" ).[7] On January 31, 2013, the City filed in opposition to Johnson Controls' Summary Judgment Motion the Attorney Affidavit of Assistant Corporation Counsel David M. Lee (City Action, Doc. No. 31) (" Lee Affidavit" ), with attached exhibits (" Lee Affidavit Exh(s). " ). In further support of its motion for summary judgment against Helton, Avrio filed on February 15, 2013, the Reply Memorandum of Law (Helton Action, Doc. No. 75) (" Avrio's Reply" ). Also on February 15, 2013, Johnson Controls filed the same documents in both actions in further support of its motions for summary judgment and partial summary judgment, namely Defendant Johnson Controls, Inc.'s Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment Against Plaintiff's Felicia Hilton and the City of Buffalo (Helton Action, Doc. No. 76; City Action, Doc. No. 32) (" Johnson Controls' Reply -- Summary Judgment" ), and Defendant Johnson Controls, Inc.'s Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Its Partial Motion for Summary Judgment on Liability Only on Its Breach of Contract Cross-Claim Against Avrio Group Surveillance Solutions, Inc. for Failure to Procure Required Insurance (Helton Action,

Page 393

Doc. No. 77; City Action, Doc. No. 33) (" Johnson Controls' Reply -- Partial Summary Judgment" ).

On March 12, 2013, Helton filed Plaintiff's Response and Counterstatement to Defendant's Rule 56 Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (Helton Action, Doc. No. 79) (" Helton's Counterstatement" ), Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Rule 56 Statement of Facts and Motion for Summary Judgment (Helton Action, Doc. No. 80) (" Helton's Response" ), and the Reply Memorandum of Law (Helton Action, Doc. No. 81) (" Helton's Memorandum" ).

On May 15, 2013, the City filed an Amended Response to Johnson Controls, Inc.'s Statement of Material Facts (City Action, Doc. No. 37) (" City's Response" ). On May 22, 2013, Avrio filed the Responding Affidavit of Edwin P. Hunter, Esq. to Plaintiff's Response and Counterstatement, Reply Memorandum of Law and Affidavit of Michael J. Cooper, Esq., Filed March 12, 2013 (Helton Action, Doc. No. 92) (" Hunter Response Affidavit" ). On June 5, 2013, Johnson Controls filed the same document in both actions, to wit, Defendant Johnson Controls, Inc.'s Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment Against Plaintiffs Felicia Helton and the City of Buffalo (Helton Action, Doc. No. 94; City Action, Doc. No. 39) (" Johnson Controls' Sur-Reply" ). Oral argument was deemed unnecessary.

Based on the following, Defendant Johnson Controls' Motions for Summary Judgment should be GRANTED; Defendant Johnson Controls' Motions for Partial Summary Judgment should be GRANTED; Defendant Avrio's Motion for Summary Judgment should be DENIED.

FACTS[8]

Plaintiff Felicia Helton (" Helton" ), commenced employment as a police officer with the City of Buffalo Police Department (" Police Department" ) in 1988. On August 3, 2008, Helton was working at a light duty assignment in the Police Department's surveillance command room, located at the Police Department's headquarters in downtown Buffalo. Helton had been assigned to work in the surveillance command room since March 2008, when the surveillance command room first became operational.

Preparations for the Police Department's video surveillance monitoring project (" video surveillance project" ), began in November 2007, when Johnson Controls and the City entered into the Citywide Surveillance Camera Project Contract 93000079 (" Contract" ),[9] requiring, inter alia, Johnson Controls to provide " a turnkey solution" for 60 " continuously" operating surveillance cameras to be located throughout the City, along with equipment to transmit video captured by the cameras, video storage devices, and related software, as well as design and construction of the surveillance command room, from which the video surveillance cameras were controlled, to be located at the Police Department's Headquarters. Contract ¶ ¶ 1-2. The surveillance command room was to include " video surveillance monitors, furniture, workstations and software . . . . " Id. ΒΆ 2. Johnson Controls also agreed to " defend, indemnify, and hold harmless" the City ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.