United States District Court, S.D. New York
SHAWN M. BERRY, XXX-XX-XXXXX, Plaintiff,
CITY OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, CO. CASTRO #7800, and C.O. L. BECKWITH #1983, Defendants.
SHAWN M. BERRY Pro Se Great Meadow Correctional Facility Comstock, NY.
JEFFREY D. FRIEDLANDER, James Horton, Esq., Acting Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, New York, NY, Attorneys for the Defendants.
ROBERT W. SWEET, District Judge.
Defendants City of New York Department of Corrections (the "DOC") and Correction Officers Castro ("Castro") and Beckwith ("Beckwith") (collectively, "Defendants") have moved pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56 for summary judgment to dismiss the pro se Plaintiff Shawn M. Berry's ("Berry" or "Plaintiff") Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"). Based on the conclusions set forth below, Defendants' motion is granted.
This action was initiated by Plaintiff on October 18, 2012 with the filing of the initial Complaint arising out of an incident that allegedly occurred on August 30, 2012 at the Mental Heal th Assessment Unit for Infracted Inmates ("MHAUII") at the George R. Vierno Center ("GRVC") at Rikers Island. (SAC ¶ II. D). The Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on January 2, 2013, and the SAC on March 20, 2013. The SAC alleges a 42 U.S.C. §1983 claim against the Defendants for failing to protect him from another inmate. Defendants submitted their Answer on June 28, 2013. Plaintiff's deposition was taken on November 20, 2013, and fact discovery was ordered completed on November 25, 2013.
Defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment on January 9, 2014. Briefing was submitted and the matter was marked fully submitted on March 12, 2014.
The facts have been set forth in Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement and Plaintiff's Statement of Undisputed Facts contained in his Declaration In Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. The facts described below are undisputed except as noted.
Berry was a detainee at MHAUII. On August 30, 2012 at approximately 12:00 p.m., Plaintiff was assisting with the lunchtime food service in the MHAUII. According to Plaintiff, he was working as a Suicide Preventive Aide in the MHAUII, but was ordered to work out of his job description to assist with the lunch-time feeding.
While assisting non-party Correction Officer Velez ("Velez") with the lunch feeding, Plaintiff was punched in the head by another inmate, Oscar Punter ("Punter"). The attack on Plaintiff by Punter was a surprise attack. Upon being punched by Punter, Plaintiff began to "defend" himself by "swinging crazy, " and threw three or four punches in the direction of Punter. According to Plaintiff, when he began to defend himself he was scared and in shock pain.
Additional correction officers arrived on the scene and issued orders for the two inmates to stop fighting. Plaintiff was unable to hear these commands because of the commotion, and Plaintiff continued to throw punches at Punter until he was sprayed with OC spray by Beckwith. According to Plaintiff, none of the correction officers at the scene gave Plaintiff an order to stop use of force. Plaintiff's version of the events contends that Beckwith came from behind Plaintiff and deliberately sprayed Plaintiff with OC spray in both of Plaintiff's eyes. Suicide Preventive Aid and House Infracted Inmates wear different clothing in the MHAUII (gray jumpsuit and bright orange jumper, respectively), and according to Plaintiff, Beckwith witnessed Plaintiff in gray defending himself from Punter before he chose to spray Plaintiff.
Plaintiff was then taken to decontamination, where the OC spray residue was rinsed from his body. According to Plaintiff, he was then taken to see a doctor, but was issued eyeglasses weeks later.
At the time Plaintiff was sprayed with OC, Plaintiff was still fighting with Punter. Prior to the fight between Plaintiff and Punter, Plaintiff had never had any ...