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Case Name Washington v. City of New York JC-NY-0073
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-12306 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Case Summary
On December 28, 2018, four pre-trial detainees filed this putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs sued the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC), the Albany County Correctional Facility, and the Albany County ... read more >
On December 28, 2018, four pre-trial detainees filed this putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs sued the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC), the Albany County Correctional Facility, and the Albany County Sheriff's Office under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, damages, and attorney's fees. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated their First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment rights and committed assault and battery. In separate instances, all four plaintiffs were detained at Rikers Island when they were transferred to the Albany County Correctional Facility. The correctional officers did not provide the plaintiffs with a reason for their transfer or notify their families and attorneys. The plaintiffs shared similar experiences upon arrival at the Albany County Correctional Facility. Plaintiffs alleged that the correctional officers at the facility severely beat and sexually assaulted them while they were being processed for intake. While shackled and handcuffed, several officers kicked and stomped on the plaintiffs until they were unconscious. After, the plaintiffs were forced to remove their clothing and follow a series of detailed instructions, if they did not properly comply, the defendants would assault them. The defendants accused all plaintiffs of carrying contraband in their rectums and an officer would then proceed to digitally assault them. In some instances, the plaintiffs were continually tasered and beaten after their strip searches. The plaintiffs claimed that Albany County Jail reported each assault as a disciplinary infraction and accused each plaintiff of attacking staff members inside the booking cell. Afraid of retaliation, the plaintiffs did not testify during their disciplinary hearings and were sentenced to nine to ten months in punitive segregation.

On January 28, 2019, plaintiff’s counsel filed a motion for preliminary injunction on behalf of one detainee that remained in custody of the Albany County Correctional Facility. They requested: (1) for the court to transfer the plaintiff to a correctional facility in New York City operated by DOC while the case was pending and until his release; (2) in the alternative, to remove him from punitive segregation at the Albany County Correctional Facility; or (3) temporarily release him from punitive segregation, provide a new disciplinary hearing that has minimum due process standards, and give him access to unmonitored legal telephone calls with counsel throughout the pendency of the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The next day, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint that provided class allegations and requested class certification.

The New York City Department of Corrections moved to dismiss and sought to join the State Commission of Corrections (SCOC) as a defendant. The City defendants argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed on grounds that: (1) the plaintiffs failed to exhaust in accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA); (2) liability for any constitutional violations regarding transfers to Albany should be directed to the SCOC, thus, the case should be dismissed for failing to join a necessary party; (3) the plaintiff’s claim for permanent injunctive relief should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; and (4) the plaintiffs failed to state a claim on all twenty-two causes of action that implicated the City defendants. Shortly thereafter, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office defendants and a defendant who worked as a nurse in the Albany County Correctional Facility both filed motions to sever and transfer the claims directed against them from the claims against the City defendants to the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.

Chief Judge Colleen McMahon severed from the City defendants' motion to dismiss the issue of failure to exhaust under the PLRA and converted the issue into a motion for summary judgment. On March 28, 2019, the plaintiffs’ filed a motion to certify a class that consisted of all pretrial detainees who were or would be detained at the Albany County Correctional Facility pursuant to substitute jail orders obtained by the City of New York. In Judge McMahon’s decision and order on April 30, 2019, she denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, the City defendant’s motion to dismiss, and the Albany County defendants’ motion to sever and order to transfer. Washington v. City of New York, 18 Civ. 12306 (CM), 2019 WL 212052, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 30, 2019).

The plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint that addressed pending custody status of several plaintiffs who no longer were in custody at the Albany County Jail. The last entry on the docket was an order by Judge McMahon that granted the Albany County defendants’ request for a stay until August 31, 2019, for one of the correctional officers on military leave. The case remains open.

Kimberly Goshey - 06/12/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Excessive force
Personal injury
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Torture
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of New York
County of Albany
Plaintiff Description Four pre-trial detainees previously or currently in custody of Albany County Jail.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:18-cv-12306-CM (S.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0073-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint with Jury Demand [ECF# 1]
JC-NY-0073-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Decision and Order on the City Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, The Albany Defendants' Motion to Sever, and Plaintiff Espinal's Motion for A Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 94] (2019 WL 2120524) (S.D.N.Y.)
JC-NY-0073-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/30/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Class Action with Jury Demand [ECF# 112]
JC-NY-0073-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/06/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges McMahon, Colleen (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-0003 | JC-NY-0073-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Goldman, Steven H. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-0001 | JC-NY-0073-0002 | JC-NY-0073-9000
Lieb, Douglas E. (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-0001 | JC-NY-0073-0002 | JC-NY-0073-9000
Rosenfeld, Katherine (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-0001 | JC-NY-0073-0002 | JC-NY-0073-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Breslow, Stephanie Marie (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-9000
Goldstein, Michael (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-9000
Liguori, John William (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-9000
Phelan, Robin Bartlett (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-9000
Tripp, Timothy Patrick (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-9000
Weall, Katherine Jane (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-9000
Zuckerman, Mark (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-9000
Other Lawyers Wien, Howard (New York) show/hide docs
JC-NY-0073-9000

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