The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPRIZZO
Incarcerated plaintiff pro se Donald Reid ("Reid") brings the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment rights, specifically that while he was incarcerated and on keeplock status at Green Haven Correctional Facility ("Green Haven"), he was denied running water and asthma medication for eight days. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, defendant Christopher Artuz
("Artuz") moves for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Artuz's motion for summary judgment is granted.
On November 6, 1994, Reid's sixth day in keeplock, Reid wrote a letter to Superintendent Artuz in which he complained, "tonight one of your officer [sic] C.O. Lewis refuse [sic] me my breathing treatment,"
and that an unidentified corrections officer failed to escort him to Green Haven's medical clinic for a breathing treatment after Reid had requested this during the "4 pm go around." Def.'s Not. Mot. "Artuz Affidavit" (Affidavit of Christopher Artuz dated February 5, 1997) Exh. C (Letter from Donald Reid to Superintendent C. Artuz dated November 6, 1994). While Reid has acknowledged that he sent Superintendent Artuz only one letter while he was in keeplock, see Reid Dep. at 33, this letter contains no statements that Reid was without running water nor that he was deprived his asthma treatment at any other time. See Def.'s Not. Mot. "Artuz Affidavit" Exh. C.
On November 8, 1994, in response to this letter, Artuz assigned Deputy Superintendent of Security Cyril Coefield to investigate and respond to Reid's complaint and to report his findings back to Artuz. See Def.'s Not. Mot. "Artuz Affidavit" P 15; id. Exh. D. In accordance with Green Haven's internal procedures, the matter was then referred for investigation to Lieutenant T. Quackenbush, the shift watch commander on whose shift the alleged failure occurred, see Def.'s Not. Mot. "Artuz Affidavit" Exh. F (Letter from T. Quackenbush to D. Reid dated November 28, 1994), who then referred the matter to Sergeant Hobbs to investigate and to interview the parties. See id. Following his investigation, Hobbs found that although C.O. Lewis did not remember anyone bringing Reid's request to go to the clinic to his attention, a prison disturbance in one of Green Haven's recreation yards and a power outage in the B-Block building where Reid was being housed may have contributed to the confusion which may have caused the failure to provide Reid his breathing treatment at the clinic the evening of November 6, 1994. See id.
Superintendent Artuz moves for summary judgment, claiming, inter alia : that Reid's claims do not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation; that Reid has failed to show that Superintendent Artuz was personally involved in the constitutional violations alleged; that Artuz is entitled to qualified immunity; and that the Eleventh Amendment bars this action against Artuz in his official capacity.
See Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Def.'s Mem.") dated February 7, 1997, at 6, 10, 13, 15.
Accepting all facts alleged in the complaint as true, Reid's allegation that he was denied running water and asthma medication for eight days does not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation.
In order to make out a section 1983 claim for a violation of a prisoner's Eighth Amendment rights, the action must constitute "an unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain," or be "repugnant to the conscience of mankind." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105-06, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251, 97 S. Ct. 285 (1976). At a minimum, there must be "'at least some allegation of a conscious or callous indifference to a prisoner's rights.'" Williams v. Bennett, 689 F.2d 1370, 1380 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 932, 78 L. Ed. 2d 305, 104 S. Ct. 335 (1983) (quoting Wright v. El Paso County Jail, 642 F.2d 134, 136 (5th Cir. 1981).
In a nearly identical case, this Court found that no Eighth Amendment violation had occurred where an inmate, who had not been deliberately denied necessary liquids, was without running water in his cell for nine days. See Johnson v. Commissioner of Correctional Services, 699 F. Supp. 1071 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). Here, Reid admitted during his deposition that he received water "when I needed it," see Reid Dep. at 48, "several times" a day, see id., "every day" during his eight days in keeplock, id., and he was able to take showers in accordance with keeplock rules. Id. at 30. Furthermore, Reid testified that on the first day his water was turned off, he refused an offer made by a nurse "Sally" at Green Haven's medical clinic to have him admitted to the facility's hospital after Reid told her that he had no running water in his cell. See id. at 22-24. In light of the foregoing, Reid has ...