Case: Blissett v. Coughlin

1:84-cv-01049 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York

Filed Date: Sept. 14, 1984

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Donovan Blissett, a prisoner at Attica Correctional Facility in New York, filed a pro-se civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on September 14, 1984 against Attica prison guards and officials. The original complaint was amended and narrowed during the eight years leading to trial. The only remaining allegations at trial were that guards had used unnecessary force upon Blissett, had subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement in a …

Donovan Blissett, a prisoner at Attica Correctional Facility in New York, filed a pro-se civil rights lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on September 14, 1984 against Attica prison guards and officials. The original complaint was amended and narrowed during the eight years leading to trial. The only remaining allegations at trial were that guards had used unnecessary force upon Blissett, had subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement in a Special Housing Unit ("SHU"), and that medical personnel within the prison had showed deliberate indifference to Blissett's serious medical needs resulting from the alleged assault. Blissett was ultimately represented by several counsel, including, at one point, Prisoners' Legal Services in Plattsburg, NY.Blissett testified that on June 28, 1983, following a routine random search, he was repeatedly assaulted by guards and was forced, naked, into an SHU cell that was covered in feces. In addition, he was denied medical attention for the first day of this ordeal. When medical personnel did see him, he alleged that they were entirely unresponsive to his concerns. Following a jury trial, judgment was entered on a jury verdict for Blissett on the assault and unconstitutional conditions of confinement claims, but for defendants on the deliberate indifference to serious medical needs claim. (Judge Alfredo C. Marquez). These findings were affirmed on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Blisset v. Coughlin, 66 F.3d 531 (2d Cir. 1995) (Judge Fred I. Parker). Subsequently, the court granted plaintiff's motions for attorney's fees.

Summary Authors

Megan Raynor (1/23/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Arcara, Richard Joseph (New York)

Baer, Arthur A. (New York)

Maxwell, Edmund F. (New York)

Miner, Roger Jeffrey (New York)

Parker, James Aubrey (New Mexico)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bensing, Robert F. (Georgia)

Bozer, Alan J. (New York)

Cohen, Stanley L. (New York)

Smith, Jane Simkin (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Anderson, Leigh E. (New York)

Judge(s)

Arcara, Richard Joseph (New York)

Baer, Arthur A. (New York)

Maxwell, Edmund F. (New York)

Miner, Roger Jeffrey (New York)

Parker, James Aubrey (New Mexico)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bensing, Robert F. (Georgia)

Bozer, Alan J. (New York)

Cohen, Stanley L. (New York)

Smith, Jane Simkin (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Anderson, Leigh E. (New York)

Cream, Douglas S. (New York)

Koppell, G. Oliver (New York)

McConnell, John (New York)

Schiff, Peter H. (New York)

Schwartz, Steven H. (Maryland)

Spiegel, Nancy A. (New York)

Vacco, Dennis C. (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

Blissett v. Hernandez

April 17, 1996 Docket

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

66 F.3d 531

Sept. 25, 1995 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link

ORDER REFERRING CASE to Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Maxwell ( signed by Judge John T. Elfvin ) (former empl) (Entered: 02/18/1992)

Nov. 4, 1988
87

ORDER, granting Atty. Cohen's request to w/draw as counsel for pltf. and for Appointment of Counsel for pltf, Leigh E. Anderson, Esq. ( signed by Judge Richard J. Arcara ) Notice and copy of order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Robert F. Bensing, Stanley L. Cohen, Leigh E. Anderson, Esq. (former empl) (Entered: 02/18/1992)

Feb. 18, 1992
88

ORDER, granting Dft. Comm'r Coughlin's mtn. for sum. jmt. & to Dismiss the case as to dft. Coughlin ( signed by Judge Richard J. Arcara ) Notice and copy of order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Leigh E. Anderson (former empl) (Entered: 02/18/1992)

Feb. 18, 1992

Minute entry: status conf. held; reset Jury Selection for 10:00 7/14/92 , and reset final Pretrial Conference for 4:00 7/8/92 (former empl) (Entered: 02/25/1992)

Feb. 19, 1992

Minute entry: reset Pretrial Conference for 7/8/92 (former empl) (Entered: 03/16/1992)

March 9, 1992

Minute entry: reset Jury Selection for 10:00 7/14/92 (former empl) (Entered: 03/16/1992)

March 10, 1992

WRIT of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum issued for Donovan Blissett on 7/7/92. (Orig'l & 1 Cert cpy to Marshal, 6 Cert cpies to AAG Douglas Cream, 1 cert cpy to Supt. Dean Riley of Fishkill Corr. Fac., & 1 cpy to pltf's atty.) (former empl) Modified on 06/24/1992 (Entered: 06/24/1992)

June 24, 1992
89

PRETRIAL STATEMENT/MEMORANDUM by dfts' atty (former empl) (Entered: 06/24/1992)

June 24, 1992
91

Dfts' Proposed Voire dire questions (former empl) (Entered: 06/24/1992)

June 24, 1992
92

Dfts' Requested Jury instructions/Charges (former empl) (Entered: 06/24/1992)

June 24, 1992
93

Dfts' Witness list (former empl) (Entered: 06/24/1992)

June 24, 1992
94

Dfts' Exhibit list (former empl) (Entered: 06/24/1992)

June 24, 1992
95

PRETRIAL STATEMENT/MEMORANDUM by atty for pltf Donavan Jack Richard Blissett (former empl) (Entered: 07/01/1992)

July 1, 1992
96

Pltf's EXHIBIT LIST (former empl) (Entered: 07/01/1992)

July 1, 1992
97

Pltf's atty's stipulation re: verdict shee submitted by dfts to be used at trial, and exceptions thereto. (former empl) (Entered: 07/01/1992)

July 1, 1992
98

Witness list by Donavan Jack Richard Blissett (former empl) (Entered: 07/01/1992)

July 1, 1992
99

Pltf's Requested Jury instructions/Charges (former empl) (Entered: 07/01/1992)

July 1, 1992
100

Proposed Voir dire questions by pltf Donavan Jack Richard Blissett (former empl) (Entered: 07/01/1992)

July 1, 1992

Minute entry: Final pretrial cnf. (former empl) (Entered: 07/13/1992)

July 1, 1992

Minute entry: Jury selection. Trial to commence 7/20/92. (former empl) (Entered: 07/14/1992)

July 7, 1992

Minute entry: Trial - adjourned generally. No appearance. (former empl) Modified on 09/24/1992 (Entered: 07/30/1992)

July 20, 1992

WRIT of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum issued for Donovan Blissett on 10/5/92 @ 9:30 a.m. (orig'l & 1 cert cpy to marshal, 2 cert cpy to atty gen'l, cert cpy to supt of Fishkill C. F., & 1 cpy to pltf's atty.) (former empl) Modified on 09/23/1992 (Entered: 09/23/1992)

Sept. 23, 1992

AMENDED WRIT of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum issued for Donovan Blissett to be delivered to Erie Cnty Hold'g Ctr asap for trial 10/5/92, etc. (orig'l & 2 cert. cpy to Marshal, 4 cert. cpy to AG, 1 cert cpy to Wayne Strack, Supt. of Fishkill C.F., & 1 cpy to pltf's atty.) (former empl) Modified on 09/24/1992 (Entered: 09/24/1992)

Sept. 24, 1992

WRIT of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum re-issued for Donovan Blissett on 10/5/92. (orig'l & 1 cert cpy to Marshal, 2 cert cpy to atty gen'l, 1 cert cpy to Dean Riley, Supt of Fishkill C.F., & 1 cpy to pltf's atty.) (former empl) (Entered: 09/30/1992)

Sept. 30, 1992
101

LETTER dtd 9/24/92 from Leigh E. Anderson to Judge Marquez re: excusal of juror Russell Parry. (former empl) (Entered: 09/30/1992)

Sept. 30, 1992

Minute entry: Trial resumes from 7/7/92; Doug Cream replaces Andrew Lipkind as counsel for dfts; l juror excused and replaced; testimony of witnesses held; trial adj to l0/6/92.-Marquez (mj) (Entered: 10/09/1992)

Oct. 5, 1992

Minute entry: Meeting w/juror re: failure to appear for trial on l0/5/92; juror Heller excused from service. (mj) (Entered: 10/08/1992)

Oct. 6, 1992

Minute entry: Trial continues; pltf rests; dfts move to dismiss complaint and mtn denied; trial adj to l0/7/92.-Marquez (mj) (Entered: 10/09/1992)

Oct. 6, 1992

Minute entry: Trial resumes; witnesses for dfts; trial adj to l0/8/92.- Marquez (mj) (Entered: 10/09/1992)

Oct. 7, 1992
102

JURY VERDICT for Donavan Jack Richard Blissett (attorneys to prepare final judgment for filing pursuant to chambers) (mj) (Entered: 10/09/1992)

Oct. 8, 1992

Minute entry: Trial resumes; dfts rest; dfts renew mtn to dismiss; motion denied; court charges jury; summations held; jury retires to deliberate; jury renders verdict in favor of pltf (judgment to be prepared by attorney).-Marquez (mj) (Entered: 10/09/1992)

Oct. 8, 1992
105

STIPULATION and ORDER, re: naming remaining dfts, issues of fact remaining to be tried & exhibits, etc. signed by Judge Richard J. Arcara . Notice and copy of order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Leigh E. Anderson . (former empl) (Entered: 02/05/1993)

Oct. 8, 1992

Received Court exhibits 1 & 2 (mj) (Entered: 10/09/1992)

Oct. 9, 1992
103

Return of service unexecuted as to J. R. Rafferty (mj) (Entered: 10/19/1992)

Oct. 16, 1992
104

WRIT of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum returned executed (mj) (Entered: 12/10/1992)

Dec. 9, 1992
106

STIPULATION and ORDER, to Dismiss complt as amended, w/ prejudice, as to dfts Coughlin, Hernandez, Harold Smith, Cochrane, McCellane, Rafferty, Bates, Watson, Doe, Downs, Magee, Wolcott & Mills a/k/a Miles, et al. & directing the clerk to enter jmt agnst Wm Bowen, Robt Clark, & David Smith jointly for $75,000 compensatory damages; Wm. Bowen for $5,000 punitive damages; Robt Clark for $10,000 punitive damages; David Smith for $10,000 punitive damages; & Wm. Bowen ($10,000), Edwin Helak ($5,000), & Howard Offhaus ($5,000) for punitive damages only on pltf's claim of confinement under conditions in violation of 8th amdmt rts. (signed by USDJ Alfredo C. Marquez) Notice and copy of stipulation/order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Leigh E. Anderson. (former empl) (Entered: 02/22/1993)

Feb. 22, 1993
107

JUDGMENT on jury verdict (& with certain stipulations by the parties) (signed by USDJ Alfredo C. Marquez). Notice and copy of judgment sent to Douglas S. Cream, Leigh E. Anderson (former empl) (Entered: 02/22/1993)

Feb. 22, 1993

Case closed (former empl) (Entered: 02/22/1993)

Feb. 22, 1993
108

MOTION by Bowen, H Offhaus, Smith, E. F. Helak, R. J. Clark for New Trial (former empl) (Entered: 03/04/1993)

March 4, 1993
109

ORDER, pltf's Response to Motion set to 4/30/93 for dfts' [108-1] motion for New Trial , & Motion Hearing/oral argumt set for 9:00 5/13/93 for [108-1] motion for New Trial ( signed by Judge Richard J. Arcara ). Notice and copy of order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Leigh E. Anderson (former empl) (Entered: 03/26/1993)

March 26, 1993
111

NOTICE of affidavit in opposition to motion for trial de novo by pltf's atty (mj) (Entered: 05/04/1993)

April 30, 1993
110

ORDER directing that post trial motions are made returnable before District Judge Marquez, etc. ( signed by Judge Richard J. Arcara ) Notice and copy of order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Leigh E. Anderson (mj) (Entered: 05/04/1993)

May 3, 1993
112

TRANSCRIPT of trial held on l0/5/92 (mj) (Entered: 09/09/1993)

Sept. 9, 1993
113

TRANSCRIPT of trial held on l0/6/93 (mj) (Entered: 09/09/1993)

Sept. 9, 1993
114

TRANSCRIPT of trial held on l0/7/93 (mj) (Entered: 09/09/1993)

Sept. 9, 1993
115

TRANSCRIPT of trial held on l0/8/92 (mj) (Entered: 09/09/1993)

Sept. 9, 1993
116

ORDER, denying Plaintiff's request for Court to recind its Order of May 3, 1993. ( signed by USDJ Richard J. Arcara ) Notice and copy of order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Leigh E. Anderson, Robert F. Bensing, Stanley L. Cohen (SMO) (Entered: 12/03/1993)

Nov. 30, 1993
117

NOTICE of attorney appearance for Donavan Jack Richard Blissett by Alan J. Bozer (JL) (Entered: 07/07/1994)

July 6, 1994

Mailed on 7/18/94 to Judge Alfredo Marquez (Tuscon, AZ), Clerk's file and certified copy of docket entries. Pursuant to Order of Judge Arcara, dated 4/30/93 (filed 5/3/93) the defendants' post-trial motion was to be returnable before visiting judge. (LK) (Entered: 07/18/1994)

July 18, 1994

Tele-conference held (Judge Marquez - Arizona). Court orders that the motion for new trial is denied. Court further grants a stay of execution of the judgment in this case. Counsel to prepare a formal order for approval by the Court. (LK) (Entered: 08/18/1994)

July 28, 1994
118

ORDER denying [108-1] motion for New Trial and defendants' motion to stay the execution of the judgment pending appeal is granted. (Judge Marquez (Arizona) Notice and copy of order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Alan J. Bozer, E. Anderson (LK) (Entered: 08/22/1994)

Aug. 16, 1994
119

STIPULATION and ORDER, that the Clerk of the Wyoming County Court shall vacate the filing of the transcripts of judgment of the United States District Court, nunc pro tunc as of 7/11/94 and strike them from the judgment rolls . Notice and copy of order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Alan J. Bozer, Leigh E. Anderson and Wyoming County Court. (LK) (Entered: 08/22/1994)

Aug. 16, 1994
120

NOTICE OF APPEAL by Bowen, H Offhaus, Smith, E. F. Helak, R. J. Clark . Fee Status: Paid $105.00 Receipt #50770 (copy mailed to E. Anderson, and to Clerk, USCA, with copy of docket entries) (USCA Forms C, C-A, and D given to D. Cream)(DR) Modified on 09/15/1994 (Entered: 09/14/1994)

Sept. 14, 1994
121

AMENDED NOTICE OF APPEAL by Bowen, H Offhaus, Smith, E. F. Helak, R. J. Clark . Fee Status: Fee Not Paid (copy mailed to L. Anderson, and to Clerk, USCA, with copy of docket entries) (DR) (Entered: 09/16/1994)

Sept. 15, 1994

Received USCA Scheduling Order Re: [121-1] appeal by R. J. Clark, E. F. Helak, Smith, H Offhaus, Bowen USCA NUMBER: 94-2527 Appeal record due on 10/19/94 (JBG) (Entered: 09/28/1994)

Sept. 28, 1994

Received Exhibits from D. Cream (DR) (Entered: 09/29/1994)

Sept. 28, 1994
122

TRANSCRIPT of proceedings held before Judge Arcara on 7/7/92 (24 pages) (DR) (Entered: 10/19/1994)

Oct. 19, 1994

Certified and transmitted record on appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals: [121-1] appeal by R. J. Clark, E. F. Helak, Smith, H Offhaus, Bowen (DR) (Entered: 10/28/1994)

Oct. 28, 1994
123

OPINION and JUDGMENT OF USCA (certified copy) Re: [121-1] appeal by R. J. Clark, E. F. Helak, Smith, H Offhaus, Bowen, [120-1] appeal by R. J. Clark, E. F. Helak, Smith, H Offhaus, Bowen affirming the Judgment of District Court (DR) (Entered: 10/20/1995)

Oct. 20, 1995
124

Statement of costs of the USCA taxed in the amount of $226.30 in favor of appellee Donovan J. R. Blisset (DR) (Entered: 10/20/1995)

Oct. 20, 1995
125

MOTION by attorney for Donavan Jack Richard Blissett for Attorney Fees with attached attorney affidavit and declaration. (DLC) (Entered: 10/31/1995)

Oct. 25, 1995
126

AFFIDAVIT by Assistant Attorney General in opposition to [125-1] motion for Attorney Fees by Donavan Jack Richard Blissett. (DLC) (Entered: 11/02/1995)

Nov. 1, 1995
127

ORDER, making the Mandate of the USCA the Judgment of this Court ( signed by USDJ Richard J. Arcara ) Notice and copy of order sent to Douglas S. Cream, Alan J. Bozer, Leigh E. Anderson, Robert F. Bensing, Stanley L. Cohen (DR) (Entered: 11/06/1995)

Nov. 3, 1995
128

REPLY MEMORANDUM by attorney's for Donavan Jack Richard Blissett in support of [125-1] motion for Attorney Fees. (DLC) (Entered: 11/15/1995)

Nov. 14, 1995
130

AFFIDAVIT by Thomas Moll, Esq., in support of [125-1] motion for Attorney Fees for Leigh Anderson, Esq. (DLC) (Entered: 11/15/1995)

Nov. 14, 1995
131

REPLY AFFIDAVIT Leigh Anderson attorney for plaintiff Re: [126-1] opposition affidavit by defendant's. (DLC) (Entered: 11/15/1995)

Nov. 14, 1995
132

REPLY AFFIDAVIT by Alan Bozer attorney for plaintiff Re: [126-1] affidavit in opposition by defendant's. (DLC) (Entered: 11/15/1995)

Nov. 14, 1995
133

ORDER OF USCA (certified copy) granting plaintiff-appellee's motion for fees in the amount of $17,207.50 and costs in the amount of $744.44 for a total of $17,951.94 (DR) (Entered: 12/13/1995)

Dec. 12, 1995
134

AFFIDAVIT by Alan Bozer, Esq. for plaintiff regarding attorney fees. (JMD) (Entered: 12/20/1995)

Dec. 18, 1995

Status conference/Oral argument on plaintiff's motion for award of attorney's fees before Judge Arcara is set at 9:00 on 2/6/96. (DLC) (Entered: 02/01/1996)

Jan. 26, 1996
135

ORDER granting plaintiff's counsel [125-1] motion for Attorney Fees and costs and awards attorney Leigh Anderson attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $23,700.00 and the law firm of Albrecht, Maguire, Heffern & Gregg, P.C., attorneys' fees and costs of $482.10. The Clerk of the Court is hereby ordered to enter a judgment. (Signed by USDJ Richard J. Arcara). Notice and copy of order sent Douglas S. Cream, Leigh E. Anderson. (DLC) (Entered: 02/21/1996)

Feb. 16, 1996

Record on appeal returned from U.S. Court of Appeals: [121-1] appeal by R. J. Clark, E. F. Helak, Smith, H Offhaus, Bowen, [120-1] appeal by R. J. Clark, E. F. Helak, Smith, H Offhaus, Bowen (DR) (Entered: 04/17/1996)

April 17, 1996

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 14, 1984

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Inmate alleging a variety of constitutional claims arising from an alleged assault perpetuated on him by prison guards and his subsequent confinement to a Special Housing Unit cell

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Prisoners' Legal Services of New York (PLSNY)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Attica Prison, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1994 - None

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by staff

Disciplinary segregation

Personal injury

Sanitation / living conditions

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run