United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ESTATE OF ANTHONY DASARO, DECEASED by and through Rosetta Dasaro, Administratrix, et al. Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF MONMOUTH, et al. Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. SHERIDAN, U.S.D.J.
before the Court are four motions: Defendant Correct Care
Solution, LLC's (hereinafter, "CCS") motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 59); Plaintiff Rosetta Dasaro's
motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 60); Defendants Monmouth
County Correctional Institution's (hereinafter,
"MCCI") and County of Monmouth's motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 61); and Defendants MCCI and County
of Monmouth's motion to alter judgment, motion to strike,
and motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 69). For the reasons
discussed herein, Defendants CCS's, and MCCI and County
of Monmouth's motions for summary judgment are granted.
matter arises out of the death of Decedent Anthony Dasaro
(hereinafter, "Decedent") on May 3, 2014 at MCCI.
His wife, Rosetta Dasaro, on her own behalf and as the
administrator of Decedent's estate, is the named
plaintiff in this action.
April 28, 2014, Manalapan Township Police arrested Decedent
for simple assault, which stemmed from an altercation with
his wife. (MCCI Statement of Material Facts [SOMF] at ¶
6). A New Jersey Superior Court judge set Decedent's bail
at $2, 500 and ordered he be held in custody at MCCI until
his next scheduled court date. (Id. at ¶ 7).
MCCI contracts with CCS to provide medical and mental health
care services for inmates at MCCI. (Id. at ¶
3). Prior to this incident, Decedent had never been held in
custody at MCCI. (Id. at ¶ 9). As such, upon
arriving at MCCI, Decedent was medically screened by a CCS
booking nurse, Defendant Ashley LaBarbera. (Id. at
¶ 24). During this screening, Decedent conceded that he
had taken non-prescribed Valium; as such, LaBarbera
recommended that Decedent be placed in "detox
housing." (Plaintiffs SOMF at ¶ 15). Unlike
protective custody, detox housing is an open dormitory
setting, where inmates are under twenty-four hour
supervision. (Id. at ¶ 19). In addition, detox
housing does not have individual cells or bunk beds, which
Plaintiff contends is significant.
after LaBarbera's initial screening, Decedent underwent
an Initial Mental Health Evaluation by Defendant Dr. Alicia
Caputo-Smith, a clinical psychologist and CCS's Director
of Mental Health. (MCCI at ¶ 24). According to a
Psychiatric Screening form prepared by Caputo-Smith and
LaBarbera, Decedent reportedly suffered from acute
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD") and took
non-prescribed Valium. (ECF No. 59-12, "Exhibit
G"). After completing these evaluations, Dr.
Caputo-Smith concluded that Decedent did not pose a risk for
suicide. (MCCI SOMF at ¶ 25). Over the next five days,
Decedent underwent twelve more psychiatric evaluations, where
he was evaluated for alcohol or sedative withdrawals and
suicidal tendencies. (ECF No. 59-14, "Exhibit I").
In none of these evaluations was it reported that Decedent
expressed thoughts of suicide, had a "suicide plan,
" or "[e]xpresse[d] feelings there is nothing to
look forward to in the future." (Id).
deposition, LaBarbera testified that Decedent initially
appeared upset and stressed; but shortly thereafter collected
himself and became cooperative. (ECF No. 60-7, "Exhibit
A" at 13- 14, 20-21). LaBarbera claimed, "[h]e had
a total[ly] different tune to his attitude, and he was able
to do the intake. He was actually very talkative with me. ...
at that point he was not crying anymore. He was not
upset." (Id. at 21). However, because of his
claimed use of valium, LaBarbera recommended that Decedent be
placed in "detox housing." (Id. at 25;
Plaintiffs SOMF at ¶ 15). Dr. Caputo-Smith provided
essentially the same testimony, explaining that Decedent was
initially upset, which is common during intake, and that he
regained control of his emotions. (ECF No. 60-10,
"Exhibit D" at 27-30). Dr. Caputo-Smith also
acknowledged that Decedent exhibited several risk factors for
committing suicide, such as his being reincarcerated and
estranged from his family, but that he also demonstrated
"protective factors, " such as his Catholic belief
against committing suicide and his desire to re-connect with
his family. (Id. at 26-27). Although Decedent was
going to be placed in detox housing, Dr. Caputo-Smith
explained that Decedent signed himself into protective
custody, given his background in law enforcement.
(Id. at 27).
of MCCI's booking process, Sergeant Rick Lombardo also
conducted a classification interview with Decedent, to
identify any special medical needs and to determine
Decedent's custody status. (Id. at ¶ 26).
According to Lombardo, Decedent denied having any mental or
medical health needs, drug or alcohol problems, or thoughts
of suicide; nor did he show any signs of the same.
(Id. at ¶¶ 26-32). At Decedent's own
request, MCCI placed him in protective custody, since he was
a retired police officer and was concerned with his own
safety. (Id. at ¶¶ 34-35). Although he was
placed in protective custody, neither party disputes that
Decedent was placed in a cell without a bunkbed.
p.m. on May 3, 2014, Decedent was found unresponsive in his
jail cell, with a bed sheet tied around his neck.
(Id. at ¶ 12). In the hours prior, video
surveillance depicts MCCI Corrections Officers making visual
observations of Decedent in his cell at least every thirty
minutes. (Id. at ¶¶ 10-11). An autopsy
report the next day identifies hanging as the cause of
Decedents death, which was ruled a suicide. (Id. at
Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"), Plaintiff alleges
claims of medical negligence and deliberate indifference
pursuant 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff names CCS and its
employees, Martin Marino, Pauline Tyas, Kabeeruddin Hashini,
Ashley LaBarbera, and Alicia Caputo-Smith as Defendants
(hereinafter, "CCS Employees"). According to the
SAC, CCS Employees:
Failed to take a proper history from the decedent, Anthony
Dasaro; failed to perform a proper evaluation of the
decedent, Anthony Dasaro; failed to properly assess the risk
of suicide; failed to properly recommend proper housing for
preventing suicide; failed to administer the decedent,
Anthony Dasaro's, antidepressant medication, resulting in
Mr. Dasaro's death.
(SAC at ¶ 29). Plaintiff makes similar allegations
against MCCI and County of Monmouth (hereinafter,
"County Defendants"). Specifically, Plaintiff
asserts that County Defendants were negligent in their hiring
of employees, failed to adequately train and supervise its
employees, and were deliberately indifferent to
Decedent's medical needs.
judgment is appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56(c) when the moving party demonstrates that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and the evidence establishes
the moving party's entitlement to judgment as a matter of
law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). A factual dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the non-movant, and it is material
if, under the substantive law, it would affect the outcome of
the suit. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248 (1986). In considering a motion for summary
judgment, a district court may not make credibility
determinations or engage in any weighing of the evidence;
instead, the non-moving party's evidence "is to be
believed and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in
his favor." Marino v. Indus. Crating Co., 358
F.3d 241, 247 (3d Cir. 2004) (quoting Anderson, 477
U.S. at 255).
the moving party has satisfied its initial burden, the party
opposing the motion must establish that a genuine issue as to
a material fact exists. Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v.
Lacey Twp., 772 F.2d 1103, 1109 (3d Cir. 1985). The
party opposing the motion for summary judgment cannot rest on
mere allegations and instead must present actual evidence
that creates a genuine issue as to a material fact for trial.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Siegel Transfer, Inc.
v. Carrier Express, Inc., 54 F.3d 1125, 1130-31 (3d Cir.
1995). "[Unsupported allegations... and pleadings are
insufficient to repel summary judgment." Schoch v.
First Fid. Bancorp., 912 F.2d 654, 657 (3d Cir. 1990);
see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) (requiring nonmoving
party to "set forth specific facts showing that there is
a genuine issue for trial").
only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the
lawsuit under governing law will preclude the entry of
summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48. If a
court determines, "after drawing all inferences in favor
of [the non-moving party], and making all credibility
determinations in his favor...that no reasonable jury could
find for him, summary judgment is appropriate."
Alevras v. Tacopina, 226 Fed.Appx. 222, 227 (3d Cir.