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Camden Vicinage Randolph Bethune v. County of Cape May

May 20, 2011

CAMDEN VICINAGE RANDOLPH BETHUNE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF CAPE MAY, JOHN F. CALLINAN, RICHARD P. HARRON, SHERRY R. LACHICA, JOHN YOHN, JOSEPH TALLERICO, CHARLES MAGILL, JOHN DOE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bumb, United States District Judge:

NOT FOR PUBLICATION [Doc. No. 19]

OPINION

Defendants County of Cape May, John F. Callinan, Richard P. Harron, Sherry R. LaChica, Charles Magill, Joseph Tallerico and John Yohn (collectively "Defendants") move for summary judgment dismissing the Complaint filed by Randolph Bethune ("Plaintiff"). Plaintiff concedes his claims against the County of Cape May, Sheriff John Callinan and Warden Richard Harron. Accordingly, the motion is granted as to these Defendants, and Plaintiff's claims against these Defendants are dismissed with prejudice. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion as to the remaining Defendants is denied.

I. Statement of the Facts

A. July 28 Incident

On July 28, 2007, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Cape May County Correctional Center (hereafter "Correctional Center") as a pre-trial detainee. (Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Def. SOF") ¶ 1; Plaintiff's Response Statement of Facts ("Pl. Resp. SOF") ¶ 1.) At approximately 8:00 a.m., Defendant Corrections Officer Sherry R. LaChica (hereafter "CO LaChica") escorted Plaintiff and another inmate from the medical department. Def. SOF ¶ 2; Plaintiff's Counter Statement of Material Facts ("Pl. SOF") ¶ 22). The parties dispute what happened as the trio left the medical department. A video depicts some of the incident giving rise to Plaintiff's Complaint. See Def. Ex. C.

Defendants maintain that Plaintiff resisted CO LaChica in a threatening manner and that Plaintiff raised his arm in a provocative manner. Def. SOF ¶ 2. When CO LaChica attempted to restrain Plaintiff with a compliance hold, he resisted and caused a "Code Blue" to issue. Id. The other Defendant Corrections Officers responded to subdue Plaintiff. Id.

Plaintiff asserts that as he was leaving the medical department, he spoke to a nurse about a medical complaint. Pl. SOF ¶ 21. He maintains that he was completely compliant with CO LaChica's instructions when CO LaChica put her arm on Plaintiff's shoulder and pushed Plaintiff with her left hand, telling him "come on, let's go." Id.; Pl. Resp. SOF ¶ 2. Plaintiff turned to look at CO LaChica. Pl. Resp. SOF ¶ 2. CO LaChica then grabbed Plaintiff's arm and pushed his body and face toward a concrete wall. Id. The other Defendant Corrections Officers John Yohn, Joseph Tallerico and Charles Magill ran toward Plaintiff and threw him to the floor, where they began to beat and kick Plaintiff while he was handcuffed. Pl. SOF ¶ 22. Plaintiff maintains that he did not resist the Defendant Officers. Id. at ¶ 26. The Defendant Corrections Officers then dragged Plaintiff to solitary confinement, where he was forced to sleep on a concrete floor without bedding. Id. at ¶ 23.

The matter was referred to the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office, but no charges were brought against the Defendant Officers. Def. SOF ¶¶ 15-16.

A disciplinary hearing was held on July 30, 2007 regarding the incident. Def. SOF ¶ 5. At the hearing, Plaintiff testified:

I am guilty of telling the woman to get her hands off of me. She has no right to put her hands on me. I have P.T.S.S. (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) from the war and I could go off at any time. You're [sic] officers shouldn't touch me because I have this problem.

Id. Plaintiff pled guilty to conduct which disrupts the normal running of an institution. Id. at 6; Pl. Resp. SOF ¶ 6.

II. Standard

Summary judgment should be granted if "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "An issue is genuine only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, and a factual dispute is material only if it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law." Kaucher v. County ...


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