By: Daily Record Staff//October 15, 2010
By: Daily Record Staff//October 15, 2010//
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
Tracy v. Freshwater
Appealed from the Northern District of New York
Background: The district court awarded summary judgment to the defendants. Tracy contends on appeal that the district court erred in concluding that he had not raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendant Parker Freshwater, a deputy sheriff in the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department, used unreasonable force in the course of arresting him. He further argues that the district court acted improperly when it endorsed a general withdrawal from Tracy of the special solicitude ordinarily afforded to pro se litigants.
Ruling: In light of conflicting evidence regarding whether Officer Freshwater used pepper spray on Tracy before or after fully restraining him, the court concludes that a material issue of fact remains in dispute with respect to that claim. Moreover, it concludes that the general withdrawal of special solicitude amounted to an abuse of discretion in the circumstances of this case, even though a more limited withdrawal of solicitude may well have been warranted. The judgment of the district court is vacated and the case is remanded.
Michelle Ghali of the Center for Social Justice, Seton Hall University School of Law, for the appellant; Jonathan Wood, county attorney, for the appellees