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Case Name John v. City of New York JC-NY-0071
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-05610 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP
Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On August 12, 2011, a teenage inmate at the Robert N. Davoren Complex (“RNDC”) on Riker’s island, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff’s claims stemmed from an incident in June 2010 where the plaintiff was beaten by ... read more >
On August 12, 2011, a teenage inmate at the Robert N. Davoren Complex (“RNDC”) on Riker’s island, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff’s claims stemmed from an incident in June 2010 where the plaintiff was beaten by other inmates at the facility.

The plaintiff, represented by private counsel and The Legal Aid Society, sued the following: the City of New York, the Supervising Warden of the New York Department of Correction (“DOC”), the Chief of Department of the DOC, the Warden of RNDC, the Deputy Warden for Security of RNDC, and a number of unnamed corrections officers who were working at RNDC at the time of the incident. The plaintiff brought claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. He sought compensatory and punitive damages as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleged the existence of an ongoing practice (“The Program”) at the RNDC in which guards allowed inmates to assault other inmates as a way to control and discipline those in custody. The plaintiff claimed that existence of The Program had been substantiated by an investigation conducted by New York City’s Department of Investigation and the DOC’s Inspector General. In 2008, a RNDC correction officer was indicted and convicted for using inmates as enforcers and encouraging inmate-on-inmate violence.

The plaintiff claimed he fell victim to this practice in June 2010, when an inmate at RNDC assaulted him in the presence of corrections officers who did nothing to stop the attack. Four other inmates joined the initial assault, and the plaintiff was beaten until he lost consciousness.

After months of discovery disputes, the plaintiff asked the court to impose sanctions on the defendants in February of 2012. Specifically, he alleged that the defendants had failed to comply with discovery requests.

Although the case was initially assigned to District Judge Robert Patterson, in April 2012, the case was referred to Magistrate Judge Frank Maas for settlement. On June 15, the parties submitted a stipulated settlement agreement regarding the attorney’s fees for work tied to the motion for sanctions, and the City of New York paid $13,000 to the plaintiff’s attorneys.

In July of 2012, the Court granted the plaintiff’s motion for sanctions, noting that the defendants had failed to produce information including: the investigation done following inmate-on-inmate assaults at RNDC, personnel records for the officers working at the site during the relevant time period, and a significant set of documents generated by the “Gang Intelligence Unit” at Riker’s Island. The Court imposed sanctions of $10,000 on the New York Law Department.

Shortly after that order, the parties agreed to a settlement of the entire case in which the City of New York paid the plaintiff $850,000 in damages and attorneys fees. The Court ended the case with a stipulation and order of dismissal on August 31, 2012.

Chris Pollack - 01/30/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of New York
Plaintiff Description Inmate in New York jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP
Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2011
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Officials Agree To Cap Population at D.C. Jail
https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2009/feb/15/officials-agree-to-cap-population-at-dc-jail/
Date: February 2009
By: Michael Rigby (Prison Legal News)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
11-cv-05610 (S.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0071-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/06/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
JC-NY-0071-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/12/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Settlement of Attorney's Fees [ECF# 34]
JC-NY-0071-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 43] (2012 WL 2719154) (S.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0071-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/09/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Maas, Frank S. (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
JC-NY-0071-0001 | JC-NY-0071-9000
Patterson, Robert Porter Jr. (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0071-0001 | JC-NY-0071-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abady, Jonathan S. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0071-0002 | JC-NY-0071-0003 | JC-NY-0071-9000
Chasan, Jonathan S. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0071-0002 | JC-NY-0071-0003 | JC-NY-0071-9000
Pulver, Adam R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0071-0001 | JC-NY-0071-0002 | JC-NY-0071-0003 | JC-NY-0071-9000
Rosenfeld, Katherine (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0071-0002 | JC-NY-0071-0003 | JC-NY-0071-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Nguyen, Diep (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0071-0001 | JC-NY-0071-0003 | JC-NY-0071-9000
Weiss, Dara Lynn (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0071-0001 | JC-NY-0071-0003

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