KENNETH CLARK, Plaintiff, -v- WESTCHESTER COUNTY, WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION MEDICAL DEPARTMENT, OFFICER WILLIS, SERGEANT SIMMONS, # 107, T.A.C. TEAM, aka “Ninja Turtles”, and JOHN DOES # 1 THROUGH # 4, Defendants.
96 CIV. 8381 (DLC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6086
Decided – April 30, 1998
Opinion written by District Judge Denise Cote:
On November 7, 1996, Kenneth Clark (“Clark”) commenced this action as a consequence of the brutal mistreatment that he alleges he received while a pretrial detainee at the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla, New York, during two incidents on November 12, 1995 and February 3, 1996. Clark’s original complaint named two individual defendants, Officer Peter Willis (“Willis”) and Sergeant Ronnie Simmons (“Simmons”), as well as Westchester County, the Westchester County Department of Corrections, and the Westchester County Department of Corrections Medical Department. The initial pleading also listed four John Doe defendants who were part of a prison response team Clark identified as the “Ninja Turtles.” Two matters are before the Court at this time: first, in a motion to amend dated January 6, 1998, Clark seeks to add as individual defendants those John Does he has now identified by name; second, the defendants have moved for summary judgment and have opposed the motion to dismiss. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment is granted in part and in part denied, and the motion to amend is denied.
At a March 7, 1997 conference, the parties agreed to, and the Court set, a discovery cut-off of October 17, 1997. Through his First Request for Production of Documents, Clark asked for documents that would identify the so-called “Ninja Turtles” by March 28, 1997. Pursuant to this Court’s direction, the defendants supplied — in a May 31 Response that plaintiff’s counsel says he received at latest in mid June — the names of those officers working on the “S.S.T.” team during the relevant shifts.
Of course, this is not the first Federal Court case to mention the Ninja Turtles but I think it is the first time we see “ninja turtles” as a reference to excessive force by a prison response teams. This is similar to previous cases about DEA agents in ninja outfits and masked police accused of excessive force. But here the “ninja turtle” reference applies not only to black attire but also to the riot gear padding and hard helmets of Correctional Emergency Response Teams.
Previous NinjaLaw cases about Ninja Turtles:
– First mention of TMNT in Federal Courts
Sun Dun v Coca Cola – August 15, 1991
– Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles again – Retromutagen Ooze
Monarch v. Ritam – June 12, 1992
– Ninja Turtles and Hollywood’s Horizontal Conspiracy
El Cajon v. AMC – October 23, 1992
– First mention of Ninja Turtles in F.Ct. where it’s actually about them
Mirage Studios v. Weng et.al. – April 29, 1994
– Burger King Kids Club with Mutant Ninja Turtles – multi-ethnic path to Glee and Celebrity Apprentice
CK Company v. Burger King – September 29, 1994
– Ninja Turtles again, this time with FASA’s BattleTech, ExoSquad, RoboTech and Playmates
Fasa v. Playmates – June 19, 1995
(WITH POWER RANGERS)
– Spam vs Spa’am with Splinter from TMNT and Pumbaa from Lion King
Hormel Foods v. Jim Henson Productions – September 22, 1995
– Ring Pops not utilitarian so trademark protects after patent expired
Topps Company v Verburg – December 12, 1996