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Case Name Ramsay-Nobles v. Keyser PC-NY-0080
Docket / Court 16-cv-5778 ( S.D.N.Y. )
Additional Docket(s) 2017-044-501  [ 17-44501 ]  Trial Court (NY)
184-187/2015  [ 15-184187 ]  Trial Court (NY)
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On July 20, 2016, the executrix of the estate of an African-American man who died in the Sullivan Correctional Facility (NY) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against various prison officials, both guards and guard supervisors, in their individual ... read more >
On July 20, 2016, the executrix of the estate of an African-American man who died in the Sullivan Correctional Facility (NY) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against various prison officials, both guards and guard supervisors, in their individual capacities and a doctor in his individual capacity that did not effectively diagnose and treat the decedent's mental illness. The plaintiff sought relief under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for violations of the Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, 42 U.S.C. 1985(2, 3), and New York State medical malpractice law in the case of the doctor. The plaintiff, represented by pro bono private counsel, sought a jury trial, damages, and costs.

Specifically, the complaint detailed the decedent's medical history, including a diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder, Delusional Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Polysubstance Dependence. It alleged that his condition was stable under treatment at the Central New York Psychiatric Center (CNYPC), but upon transfer to Sullivan, he was routinely placed in isolation, where his condition deteriorated further. The complaint noted that the defendant doctor said the decedent should have been transferred back to CNYPC after a long stay in isolation, but he did not order the transfer. The complaint outlined a pattern of abuse and racial insensitivity by the guards. The complaint described an incident where guards "trashed" the decedent's cell and the decedent refused to clean it, asking the guards to do it. The guards forcibly removed the decedent from his cell and severely beat him. The complaint alleged that the decedent died of his injuries, and the prison administration withheld information surrounding the death from the decedent's family.

Besides this lawsuit, the plaintiff filed two complaints in state court. The parties agreed to dismiss the state actions pending full relief on the federal claim, which they eventually got.

Judge Colleen McMahon referred the case to trial after receiving the initial complaint. The plaintiff amended the complaint on April 25, 2017 to add the doctor as a defendant and outline allegations against him. The plaintiff amended the complaint again on February 18, 2018 to name previously unknown correctional officers involved in the beating.

After discovery, the defendants filed three summary judgment motions (one motion each against the officers, supervisors, and doctor) in May and June of 2019. On August 21, 2019 (2019 WL 4383187), Judge McMahon issued one opinion on all three summary judgment motions. She denied the motions related to the officers and the supervisors, saying that genuine issues of material fact remain as to their conduct surrounding the beating. However, she partially granted the motion related to the doctor, dismissing claims related to deliberate indifference in failure to provide adequate medical care. She stated that genuine issues of material fact arose on the medical malpractice claim, but determined that those claims were separate to the beating issue at the center of this case. She asked the plaintiff to show cause that the medical malpractice issues should not be separated from the initial one, and the claims against the doctor were severed on September 12, 2019 through an order signed by Judge McMahon (2019 WL 4382206).

The parties were unable to settle the case in pre-trial negotiations, and the case went to trial on February 24, 2020. Shortly before closing arguments on February 25, the parties jointly filed a proposed settlement agreement, terminating the case before the jury reached a verdict. Judge McMahon ordered the case to be dismissed on May 5, 2020.

The terms of the settlement agreement showed that the State of New York agreed to pay the plaintiff $5 million, which covers compensatory damages and the plaintiff's attorney fees. The settlement added that the Sullivan Correctional Facility should install cameras to prevent future beatings, but left the details on camera installation vague. The plaintiff sought action from the Judge to clarify this point, but she denied the order, leaving it to the parties to settle. The case is closed.

Ellen Aldin - 05/27/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Corrections
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Conditions of confinement
Disciplinary procedures
Personal injury
Sanitation / living conditions
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Sullivan Correctional Facility
Plaintiff Description Executrix of the estate of an African-American man that died in the Sullivan Maximum Security Prison
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 07/20/2016
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Karl Taylor Died in a New York Prison. Now the State Has Agreed to Pay Millions.
The Marshall Project
Date: Feb. 28, 2020
By: Tom Robbins
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Why is Karl Taylor Dead?
The Marshall Project
Date: Nov. 27, 2018
By: Tom Robbins
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
S.D.N.Y.
05/05/2020
1:16-cv-05778-CM-BCM
PC-NY-0080-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D.N.Y.
07/20/2016
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-NY-0080-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
03/22/2018
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 106]
PC-NY-0080-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
08/21/2019
Memorandum Decision and Order Denying the Officer Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment; Granting in Part and Denying in Part the Other Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment [ECF# 338] (2019 WL 4383187)
PC-NY-0080-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
09/12/2019
Order Severing Claim Against Dr. Lee [ECF# 341] (2019 WL 4382206)
PC-NY-0080-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
05/05/2020
Stipulation of Settlement; General Release, and Order of Dismissal [ECF# 429]
PC-NY-0080-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges McMahon, Colleen (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0003 | PC-NY-0080-0004 | PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Moses, Barbara Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, David Robert (Connecticut) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0002 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Eisenberg, Daniel (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0001 | PC-NY-0080-0002 | PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Finerty, Courtney Elizabeth (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-9000
Gelernter, Eugene M. (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0001 | PC-NY-0080-0002 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Gray, Timothy H (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0002 | PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
James, Letitia (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0005
Mangi, Adeel Abdullah (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0001 | PC-NY-0080-0002 | PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Messing, Maren Jessica (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Reich, Elena Steiger (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Richie, Joseph Robert (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0002 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Durden, Rebecca Ann (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-9000
Faherty, Colleen Kelly (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-9000
Hathaway, Barbara (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-9000
Hechtkopf, Helene Rachel (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Orseck, Gerald (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Orseck, Kirk O (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Silverberg, Steven Mark (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-0005 | PC-NY-0080-9000
Vogel, Kristen Rose (New York) show/hide docs
PC-NY-0080-9000

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