Warren v. Pataki

Decision Date17 May 2016
Docket NumberDocket No. 13–3412.
Citation823 F.3d 125
PartiesRobert WARREN, Charles Brooks, Consolidated Plaintiffs–Appellants, Robert Trocchio, Sylvia Torres, as Administratrix of the Estate of Jorge Burgos, Jr., Louis Massei, Consolidated Plaintiffs, Kenneth Bailey, Plaintiff, v. George PATAKI, Former Governor of New York State, Sharon Carpinello, Glenn S. Goord, Eileen Consilvio, Former Executive Director, Manhattan Psychiatric Center and Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, Robert Dennison, Former Chairman of the New York State Board of Parole and Chief Executive Officer of the New York State Division of Parole, Dale Artus, Former Superintendent of Clinton Correctional Facility, Defendants–Appellees, John Doe(s), # 3, Superintendent of Wyoming Correctional Facility, John Doe(s), # 4, Superintendent of Attica Correctional Facility, John Doe(s), # 5, Superintendent of the Downstate Correctional Facility, John Does, # 6 through 20, Medical Personnel Who Examined and Evaluated Plaintiff Pursuant to New York State Mental Hygiene Law Article 9, Michael Giambruno, James Conway, Paul Annetts, Emilia Rutigliano, Prabhakar Gumbula, Olusegun Bello, Allan Wells, Jonathan Kaplan, Mary Ann Ross, Ayodeji Somefun, Michal Kunz, William Powers, Leo E. Payant, Lawrence Farago, Luis Hernandez, Samuel Langer, Jeffrey Tedford, Former Deputy Superintendent of Security, Clinton Correctional Facility, William J. Sackett, Facility Senior Parole Officer, Clinton Correctional Facility, Jean Liu, Psychiatrist who Evaluated Plaintiff for Possible Civil Commitment, Abadul Qayyum, Charles Chung, Defendants.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit

Karen R. King (Jesse S. Crew, Jayme J. Herschkopf, and Ekta R. Dharia, on the brief), Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York, NY, for Consolidated PlaintiffsAppellants.

Ameer Benno, Benno & Associates P.C., New York, NY, (on the brief), for Consolidated PlaintiffsAppellants.

Claude S. Platton (Barbara D. Underwood, Cecelia C. Chang, on the brief), for Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General of the State of New York, New York, NY, for DefendantsAppellees Except George Pataki.

Abbe David Lowell (Christopher D. Man, on the brief), Chadbourne & Parke, LLP, Washington, District of Columbia, for DefendantAppellee George Pataki.

Before: SACK, HALL, and CARNEY, Circuit Judges.

SACK, Circuit Judge:

In 2005, then-New York State Governor George Pataki launched the Sexually Violent Predator Initiative (the “SVP Initiative” or the “Initiative”), which provided for the involuntary civil commitment at state psychiatric facilities of some “sexually violent predators” (“SVPs”) nearing the date of their release from incarceration or supervision. The six plaintiffs in this case were civilly committed to a psychiatric hospital in late 2005, during the first weeks the Initiative was in effect. In 2008, they filed this action against several individuals who allegedly designed or implemented the Initiative, asserting claims under the Fourth Amendment, the substantive and procedural components of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause, the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, and several provisions of New York state law.

In Bailey v. Pataki, 708 F.3d 391 (2d Cir.2013), we affirmed on interlocutory appeal the decision of the district court (Jed S. Rakoff, Judge ) in Bailey v. Pataki, 722 F.Supp.2d 443 (S.D.N.Y.2010). There, the district court had concluded that the defendants could not establish as a matter of law at the summary judgment stage that they were entitled to qualified immunity on the plaintiffs' procedural due-process claims. In affirming, we concluded that if the material facts alleged were proven, the Initiative would have violated the plaintiffs' clearly established rights to procedural due process. Bailey, 708 F.3d at 403–04.

Following our decision, the district court held a jury trial on the plaintiffs' false-imprisonment, procedural due-process, substantive due-process, and state law claims against six defendants: former Governor George Pataki; former Office of Mental Health Commissioner Sharon Carpinello; former Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Glenn S. Goord; former Executive Director of Manhattan Psychiatric Center Eileen Consilvio; former Superintendent of Clinton Correctional Facility Dale Artus; and former Division of Parole head Robert Dennison. During the trial, the district court entered judgments as a matter of law pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 in the defendants' favor on the false-imprisonment claims, among others, deeming them impermissibly duplicative of the procedural due-process claims. The court also denied the plaintiffs' motions for judgment as a matter of law on their procedural due-process claims and their entitlement to actual, compensatory damages for the alleged due-process violations. The jury ultimately rejected the plaintiffs' remaining substantive due-process claims, found defendant Carpinello liable for procedural due-process violations, and awarded each plaintiff one dollar in nominal damages against her.

Plaintiffs Robert Warren and Charles Brooks appeal, challenging the district court's (1) jury instruction on personal involvement; (2) denial of judgment as a matter of law on procedural due-process liability; (3) denial of judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiffs' entitlement to actual, compensatory damages; (4) entry of judgment for the defendants on the plaintiffs' false-imprisonment claims on the grounds that these claims were duplicative; and (5) limitations on depositions, and several other evidentiary decisions. The plaintiffs dispute neither the judgment against them on their substantive due-process claims nor the denial of their requests for punitive damages.

For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that the plaintiffs' arguments lack merit. We therefore affirm the judgment of the district court.

Factual Background

We set forth the factual background underlying this appeal in some detail in our opinion affirming on interlocutory appeal the district court's denial of summary judgment for the defendants on the grounds of qualified immunity. See Bailey, 708 F.3d at 393–99. We rehearse it here only insofar as we think it necessary to an understanding of our resolution of this appeal.

The SVP Initiative

In October 2005, then-New York State Governor George Pataki faced a challenge: He had tried and failed several times to persuade the State Assembly to establish a program that would permit the civil commitment and confinement of designated sex offenders in New York State. Political pressure on the issue was mounting in the wake of a widely publicized murder committed by a then-recently paroled sex offender. Unwilling to wait any longer, as we described in Bailey, id. at 394, the Governor directed New York's Office of Mental Health (“OMH”) and Department of Correctional Services (“DOCS”)1 to “push the envelope of the State's existing involuntary commitment law,” id. The result was the SVP Initiative. Its principal theme was that every “sexually violent predator” in state prison should and would be evaluated for involuntary civil commitment before being released from incarceration.

Sharon Carpinello, the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health, with several others, developed an implementation plan for the SVP Initiative. She presented it to Governor Pataki's representatives in mid-September 2005. The Initiative provided for a commitment process based on the procedures set forth in New York Mental Hygiene Law (“MHL”) § 9.27 et seq. (Article 9), instead of the more stringent criteria for commitment set forth in Correction Law § 402,2 which the SVP Initiative's designers had also considered. Under this process, before being released from prison, inmates who had been deemed “sexually violent predators” would be evaluated by two OMH psychiatrists, each of whom would render an opinion as to whether the inmate should be involuntarily committed to a state psychiatric facility. Before the evaluation, DOCS would provide OMH with criminal history reports for each inmate. OMH would use these reports to create editorialized descriptions of the inmate's criminal history and an assessment of their likelihood of recidivism. They would then provide these materials to the OMH psychiatrists. If the OMH psychiatrists recommended civil commitment, the inmate would be transferred to a psychiatric center and examined by a psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis. Once admitted to the facility, the inmate would begin undergoing a specialized course of treatment.

OMH officials informed Governor Pataki's office that they needed four to six months to prepare for the implementation of the SVP Initiative, including training the psychiatrists responsible for examining the inmates. Governor Pataki nonetheless ordered that the SVP Initiative begin forthwith.

Thereafter, under Goord's direction, DOCS began identifying inmates to be evaluated for civil commitment by OMH psychiatrists. The pool of inmates was drawn from those who had committed a violent offense as defined by New York Penal Law § 70.02, and those who had committed a sex offense as defined by Penal Law § 130, as well as from another list of inmates who had committed felonies that had been, to some extent, sexually motivated. Any inmate who refused to appear for an evaluation was potentially subject to disciplinary action, and refusal could have constituted a parole violation.

The SVP Initiative was in effect only briefly. In 2006, after several inmates who were confined under the SVP Initiative sought habeas corpus relief in state courts, the New York Court of Appeals held that the SVP Initiative should proceed under Correction Law § 402 instead of MHL Article 9, and ordered that each civilly committed individual remaining in OMH custody be provided an immediate retention hearing. State ex rel. Harkavy v. Consilvio, 7 N.Y.3d...

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