Bryant v. Maffucci, No. 1435

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore FEINBERG, NEWMAN and CARDAMONE; CARDAMONE; JON O. NEWMAN
Citation923 F.2d 979
Docket NumberNo. 1435,D
Decision Date17 January 1991
PartiesGrishelda BRYANT, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. John J. MAFFUCCI, Dawn Thackeray, Yvonne Powell, Norwood Jackson and Dr. Edward Allan, Defendants-Appellees. ocket 90-7220.

Page 979

923 F.2d 979
Grishelda BRYANT, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
John J. MAFFUCCI, Dawn Thackeray, Yvonne Powell, Norwood
Jackson and Dr. Edward Allan, Defendants-Appellees.
No. 1435, Docket 90-7220.
United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit.
Argued June 4, 1990.
Decided Jan. 17, 1991.

Jeff H. Galloway, New York City (Hughes Hubbard & Reed, New York City, of counsel), for plaintiff-appellant.

Carol L. Van Scoyoc, Asst. Westchester County Atty., White Plains, N.Y. (Marilyn J. Slaatten, Westchester County Atty., Kenneth E. Powell, Deputy County Atty., White Plains, N.Y., of counsel), for defendants-appellees.

Before FEINBERG, NEWMAN and CARDAMONE, Circuit Judges.

CARDAMONE, Circuit Judge:

We consider on this appeal whether administrative delay in scheduling a prisoner's abortion deprived the prisoner of her Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy. Grishelda Bryant sought an abortion while incarcerated in the Westchester Department of Corrections, Womens' Division (Correctional Facility). When it was not timely afforded her, she instituted this action seeking relief pursuant to the civil rights laws, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 (1988), for violation of her Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.

Page 980

She appeals a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Conner, J.) entered on January 26, 1990, reported at 729 F.Supp. 319 (S.D.N.Y.1990), granting summary judgment in favor of appellees, Westchester Department of Correction Commissioner John J. Maffucci, Senior Assistant Warden Dawn Thackeray, Assistant Warden Yvonne Powell, Warden Norwood Jackson, and Medical Director of Westchester County Medical Center's Correctional Health Services, Dr. Edward Allan, who held their positions at the times relevant to this appeal. From the grant of summary judgment dismissing her claims, appellant has brought this appeal. We affirm.

FACTS

On July 31, 1985 appellant Grishelda Bryant, also known as Margaret Hewlett, was admitted to the Westchester Correctional Facility. During the booking procedure Bryant informed prison officials she was pregnant and wanted an abortion. The Westchester County Health Facility handles the medical needs of the inmates in the Women's Division, including requests for abortions. The corrections officers in the Westchester Department of Correction are responsible for inmates' security and safety. The same evening as her admission a routine blood chemistry and liver profile was taken which confirmed Bryant's condition. The tests also showed she used drugs including tylenol, cocaine, darvon, opiates, quinine, and methadone.

The next day--August 1--a sonogram was administered to her at the Westchester County Medical Center, the medical arm of the Correctional Facility. The sonogram indicated Bryant was in the 21st week of her pregnancy. This conclusion was based on an abdominal circumference fetal age of 21.9 weeks, a head circumference of 20.4 weeks, and a bi-parietal diameter and femur length fetal age of 21 weeks. Appellant explained to an attending nurse she wished to terminate her pregnancy, and was told to put her request in writing. The attending hospital clinician marked Bryant's medical form "EMERGENCY" because New York State prohibits abortions beyond the fetal age of 24 weeks. See N.Y.Pen.Law Sec. 125.05 (McKinney 1990).

Dr. Allan did not have an office in the Women's Division where Grishelda Bryant was confined. The procedures established in 1985--the relevant time in this litigation--for a woman desiring to terminate her pregnancy was that she make a request to the warden who would transfer it to the medical director's office.

On August 2, 1985 Bryant repeated her request for an abortion to a nurse at the Correctional Facility, who advised her to write to Warden Thackeray and Dr. Allan. In letters appellant wrote that same day to Warden Thackeray and Dr. Allan she requested that her pregnancy be terminated. In both letters she noted that under the circumstances time was of extreme importance and requested the doctor and the warden to respond as soon as possible. Bryant thought she probably stuck the letter addressed to Warden Thackeray under the door to Warden Thackeray's office. The letter to Dr. Allan was given to a nurse to deliver to him.

Appellant testified she made almost daily requests of medical and correctional staff members, including Wardens Thackeray and Powell, to assist in the scheduling of her abortion and made the same requests to the triage nurse, whose August 8, 1985 notes indicate: "Pt requested T.O.P. again. Spoke to Dr. Allan's office. Evidently process is in the works."

Because she received no answer to her first letter, Bryant wrote a second letter about a week later and spoke to Warden Thackeray in a hallway regarding her abortion, but Thackeray told her to see her officer--meaning appellee Assistant Warden Yvonne Powell--about it. Warden Powell testified that she has been in the prison system 23 years and knows her inmates. She stated she has a feel for them and has daily contact, making a tour of the Women's Division at least once a day. She was contacted at least twice by appellant and, in turn, got in touch with the medical unit twice to check on the progress of Bryant's

Page 981

request. The first time Powell spoke to the medical unit, the response was that "we are checking her out," and the second time, Powell was told an appointment for her abortion had been scheduled.

Warden Thackeray also testified that she was a senior assistant warden in 1985 and was in charge of the operation of the women's facility whose inmates were under her direct care. She stated: "I am responsible for their health and well-being as well as their safety and security. So if anybody has a complaint, I will address it." She confirmed the proper procedure in 1985, but noted that if an inmate had a difficult pregnancy and was experiencing pain, it was considered a medical emergency and the shift supervisor and medical were contacted simultaneously. When medical decided what needed to be done, the shift supervisor made sure it was carried out.

Warden Thackeray remembered Bryant speaking to her on one of her tours in early August 1985. Thackeray checked with the nursing staff and found out they were aware of her request and that staff was in touch with Kings County to set up a pre-abortion physical. Knowing that Bryant was over 12 weeks, in fact 21 weeks, the warden said that this knowledge made her--out of concern for Bryant and her condition--make sure that steps were being taken to ensure that she obtained her abortion. After the warden talked to the medical staff and was assured the process was going forward, she reported this information to Bryant the same day she learned it. When Bryant's mother on August 14 called to express concern, Thackeray said she would check into it--which she did by contacting the nurse while appellant's mother was still on the telephone--and then related to the mother that an appointment was in the process of being made and that if the mother had further concerns she should please contact Dr. Allan, as head of Correctional Health Services. Appellant had daily contact with prenatal care. In fact, as the warden noted, all inmates attempt to have daily contact, if possible, with the medical office.

When Bryant was asked if she personally delivered the August 2 letter to Warden Thackeray she replied: "You know, I'm not really sure. One of the letters I stuck under Warden Thackeray's door." Bryant states that she gave the identical letter to one of the nurses to give to Dr. Allan, and was later told it was given to him. Warden Thackeray admitted that she saw the August 2 letter later, but had no idea where it came from and thinks that she may have seen the one sent over to her office from medical.

According to his testimony and a notation he made on appellant's letter, Dr. Allan received appellant's August 2 letter on August 8 and immediately arranged an appointment for her at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, where abortions on female inmates more than 12 weeks pregnant were performed. Dr. Allan stated he could not understand why there had been a six-day delay in delivery of appellant's letter to him, and though he looked into it was unable to find an explanation. Dr. Allan also testified that because he knew Bryant was near the legal limit for termination, he told his assistant to tell the Kings County Hospital Center to have Bryant seen early. An appointment was scheduled for August 19, allegedly the earliest appointment available at the hospital.

By memorandum dated August 12, 1985 Dr. Allan advised appellees Jackson and Thackeray that Bryant was in her 22nd week of pregnancy, an abortion had been scheduled at Kings County Hospital Center for August 19, and transportation had been arranged. Warden Powell informed Bryant on August 14 that an appointment for an abortion had been scheduled on August 19.

On August 19 appellant was transported to Kings County Hospital Center where a second sonogram was performed which, as interpreted by Kings County Hospital personnel, indicated that she was 24 weeks pregnant. The hospital therefore refused to terminate the pregnancy. On her return to the Correctional Facility, the Wardens placed Bryant on suicide watch "to make

Page 982

sure she wouldn't do anything to her [sic] or try to terminate her pregnancy on her own." On November 29 appellant was released to the custody of the New York City Department of Correction at Rikers Island. On December 4, 1985 she gave birth to a child at Elmhurst Hospital.
PROCEEDINGS BELOW

On October 7, 1985 Bryant commenced the instant civil rights action, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, pro se against Commissioner Maffucci, Senior Assistant Warden Thackeray, Assistant Warden Powell, Warden Jackson, and Dr. Allan. After defendants' answer was filed, the New York City law firm of...

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1505 practice notes
  • Harleysville Worcester Ins. Co. v. Paramount Concrete, Inc., No. 3:11cv578SRU.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • March 31, 2014
    ...Cir.1995).“Only when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper.” Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.1991) ; see also Suburban Propane v. Proctor Gas, Inc., 953 F.2d 780, 788 (2d Cir.1992). If the nonmoving party submits evidence......
  • Carey v. Maloney, Civil No. 3:04-CV-606(CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • March 30, 2007
    ...party must provide enough evidence to support a jury verdict in its favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505; Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.1991). A plaintiff may not rely on conclusory statements or mere contentions that the evidence in support of summary judgment i......
  • Downing v. West Haven Board of Ed., No. Civ. A. 3:00CV525 (SRU).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • August 24, 2001
    ...Summary judgment is proper "[o]nly when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence." Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 849, 112 S.Ct. 152, 116 L.Ed.2d 117 (1991); see also Suburban Propane v. Proctor Gas, Inc., 953 F.2d 780, 788 ......
  • Zandhri v. Dortenzio, No. CIV.A.3:99 CV 1776 (CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 31, 2002
    ...Thus, "[o]nly when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper." Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 849, 112 S.Ct. 152, 116 L.Ed.2d 117 (1991); see also Suburban Propane v. Proctor Gas, Inc., 953 F.2d 780......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1503 cases
  • Harleysville Worcester Ins. Co. v. Paramount Concrete, Inc., No. 3:11cv578SRU.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • March 31, 2014
    ...Cir.1995).“Only when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper.” Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.1991) ; see also Suburban Propane v. Proctor Gas, Inc., 953 F.2d 780, 788 (2d Cir.1992). If the nonmoving party submits evidence......
  • Carey v. Maloney, Civil No. 3:04-CV-606(CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • March 30, 2007
    ...party must provide enough evidence to support a jury verdict in its favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505; Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.1991). A plaintiff may not rely on conclusory statements or mere contentions that the evidence in support of summary judgment i......
  • Downing v. West Haven Board of Ed., No. Civ. A. 3:00CV525 (SRU).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • August 24, 2001
    ...Summary judgment is proper "[o]nly when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence." Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 849, 112 S.Ct. 152, 116 L.Ed.2d 117 (1991); see also Suburban Propane v. Proctor Gas, Inc., 953 F.2d 780, 788 ......
  • Zandhri v. Dortenzio, No. CIV.A.3:99 CV 1776 (CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 31, 2002
    ...Thus, "[o]nly when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper." Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 849, 112 S.Ct. 152, 116 L.Ed.2d 117 (1991); see also Suburban Propane v. Proctor Gas, Inc., 953 F.2d 780......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Legal Issues Regarding Medical Care for Pregnant Inmates
    • United States
    • Prison Journal, The Nbr. 90-4, December 2010
    • December 1, 2010
    ...441 U.S. 520 (1979).Boswell v. County of Sherburne, 849 F.2d 1117 (8th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 1010 (1989).Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979 (2nd Cir. 1991).Coleman v. Rahija, 114 F.3d 778 (8th Cir. 1997).Doe v. Arpaio, 150 P.3d 1258 (Ariz. App. Div. 1 2007), cert. denied, Arpaio ......

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