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Hubbs v. County of Suffolk

United States District Court, E.D. New York

June 9, 2014

GREGORY HUBBS, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF SUFFOLK, SUFFOLK COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, SERGEANT ANDREW WALTHER #S-63, DEPUTY SHERIFF KEITH MORAN #480, DEPUTY SHERIFF THOMAS GUYDISH #490, DEPUTY SHERIFF ALLISON ZACCINO #418, and JOHN DOE DEPUTY SHERIFF OFFICERS 1-2, Defendants.

Leo Glickman, Esq., Stoll, Glickman & Bellina, LLP, Brooklyn, NY, for Plaintiff.

No appearances, for Defendants Suffolk County Sheriff's Dep't & John Does.

Brian C. Mitchell, Esq., Suffolk County Dep't of Law-County Attorney, Hauppauge, NY, Remaining Defendants.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

JOANNA SEYBERT, District Judge.

Currently pending before the Court is defendants County of Suffolk (the "County"), Deputy Sheriff Sergeant Andrew Walther, Deputy Sheriff Keith Moran, Deputy Sheriff Thomas Guydish, and Deputy Sheriff Allison Zaccino's (collectively, "Defendants") motion for summary judgment dismissing the Amended Complaint by plaintiff Gregory Hubbs ("Plaintiff"). For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND[1]

The case involves events that occurred on November 10, 2009. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt., Docket Entry 32-2, ¶ 1.) Plaintiff alleges that he began a conversation with an individual named Anthony Oddone while housed in a holding cell in the custody of the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department. (Am. Compl., Docket Entry 14, ¶¶ 17-18.) Plaintiff apparently had a friendly conversation with Mr. Oddone, who Plaintiff later learned was accused of murdering an off-duty Suffolk County Sheriff's Department Correction Officer. (Am. Compl. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff asserts that, after that conversation, Defendants subjected him to excessive force. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 1.)

Although Plaintiff filed a grievance seeking reimbursement for property that was lost on November 10, 2009 after he was taken to the hospital, Plaintiff did not file a grievance relating to the use of force. (Defs.' 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 2-3.) However, a witness to the alleged assault, Natalie Desir, informed Plaintiff's mother, Lillian Hubbs, of the incident. (Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt., Docket Entry 33, ¶ 11.) Ms. Hubbs then called Plaintiff's criminal attorney, Christopher Cassar. (Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt. ¶ 12.) Ms. Hubbs also called the Suffolk County Correction Department at Yaphank Correctional Facility. (Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt. ¶ 13.) According to Ms. Hubbs, she was told to lodge her complaint with the internal affairs office at the Sheriff's Department. (Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt. ¶ 13.) She followed up with a subsequent phone call on November 17, 2009. (Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt. ¶ 17.) On November 11 or 12, 2009, Mr. Cassar also faxed and sent a letter to the Suffolk County Sherriff's Office requesting an investigation. (Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt. ¶¶ 14, 16.)

Plaintiff was seen for a medical evaluation on November 11, 2009. (Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt. ¶ 16.) An Internal Affairs investigation was conducted; investigators interviewed Plaintiff, Ms. Desir, and others; and personnel reviewed Plaintiff's medical records and other documents. (Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt. ¶¶ 20-22.) The investigation resulted in a five-page report and the investigation was closed. (Pl.'s 56.1 Counterstmt. ¶ 22.)

Plaintiff now raises claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") for, inter alia, violation of his due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

DISCUSSION

Defendants seek summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff's claims are barred because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required and that he cannot recover against the County because he lacks evidence of a municipal policy or custom. The Court will first address the applicable legal standard before turning to Defendants' motion and the parties' arguments more specifically.

I. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is only appropriate where the moving party can demonstrate that there is "no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). In considering this question, the Court considers "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with any other firsthand information including but not limited to affidavits." Nnebe v. Daus, 644 F.3d 147, 156 (2d Cir. 2011) (citation omitted); see also FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). "In assessing the record to determine whether there is a genuine issue to be tried... the court is required to resolve all ambiguities and draw all permissible factual inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought." McLee v. Chrysler Corp., 109 F.3d 130, 134 (2d Cir. 1997). The burden of proving that there is no genuine issue of material fact rests with the moving party. Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., L.P., 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir. 1994) (citing Heyman v. Com. & Indus. Ins. Co., 524 F.2d 1317, 1320 (2d Cir. 1975)). Once that burden is met, the non-moving party must "come forward with specific facts, " LaBounty v. Coughlin, 137 F.3d 68, 73 (2d Cir. 1998), to demonstrate that "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, " Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202, 218 (1986). ...


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