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RAMSEY v. COUGHLIN

March 31, 1998

MICHAEL F. RAMSEY, Plaintiff,
v.
THOMAS A. COUGHLIN, III, Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services, R.J. McCLELLAN, Superintendent, Southport Correctional Facility, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FOSCHIO

DECISION AND ORDER

 JURISDICTION

 The parties filed a consent to proceed before the undersigned on July 21, 1994. The matter is presently before the court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment, filed June 23, 1997.

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff, Michael Ramsey, filed this pro se action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on January 5, 1994. Plaintiff alleges that, on September 10, 1993, when he was transferred to the Southport Correctional Facility from the Clinton Correctional Facility, corrections officers at Southport confiscated his writing paper and carbon paper which he needed to reply to legal appeals. Plaintiff also claims that, once at Southport, he was hindered from using the law library and from receiving notary services. In addition, Plaintiff asserts that he has been prohibited from practicing his religious beliefs in that he is not able to follow his religion's dietary laws. Finally, Plaintiff claims that, on March 29, 1991, he was prescribed a medical diet, but that Defendants cancelled the diet. Defendants answered the complaint on March 14, 1994.

 On December 12, 1994, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment, along with a memorandum of law and a statement of material undisputed facts. Defendants did not respond to the motion. On September 6, 1995, this court denied Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, and, concluding that Plaintiff's complaint did not establish that Defendants had personal knowledge of the alleged violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights, or that Defendants promulgated any policies designed to violate an inmate's constitutional rights, the court sua sponte granted summary judgment to Defendants and dismissed the complaint.

 Plaintiff appealed the adverse decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on September 28, 1995. On August 27, 1996, the Second Circuit reversed the judgment of this court, and remanded the action for further proceedings in accordance with its opinion. Specifically, the Second Circuit stated that Plaintiff should be permitted to amend his complaint *fn1" and that the record should reflect the fact that all pertinent materials obtained in discovery were before the court prior to the granting of summary judgment in favor of Defendants. Ramsey v. Coughlin, 94 F.3d 71 (2d Cir. 1996).

 On May 13, 1997, this court entered a scheduling order directing that any motions to amend the pleadings should be filed no later than June 9, 1997, and that any dispositive motions should be filed no later than June 20, 1997. Plaintiff did not file an amended complaint, and, in fact, as of the date of this Decision and Order, Plaintiff has filed no further documents in this action.

 On June 20, 1997, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, along with a statement of material facts, a supporting memorandum of law, and a supporting affirmation containing relevant exhibits. Plaintiff has not responded to this motion.

 For the reasons as set forth below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

 FACTS

 On September 10, 1993, Plaintiff was transferred to the Southport Correctional Facility from the Clinton Correctional Facility. Plaintiff signed a form indicating which items he was allowed to obtain from his property bags by the Southport correctional officers. Exhibit B, Affirmation in Support of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, dated June 27, 1997. However, upon Plaintiff's arrival at Southport, correctional officers confiscated Plaintiff's writing paper and carbon paper which Plaintiff used for legal purposes. In response to grievances filed by Plaintiff, correctional officers were directed, on November 3, 1993, to search Plaintiff's property bags for any writing and carbon paper taken on his arrival and to return them to Plaintiff. Exhibit K, Defendants' Affirmation. Plaintiff was not permitted, however, to search his property himself, despite Plaintiff's appeal of this directive. According to Plaintiff, the writing materials were never returned, although Defendants, while acknowledging that the materials were taken from Plaintiff, claim that the materials were later returned. Nonetheless, in response to Plaintiff's complaint, a memorandum was issued on November 1, 1993 stating that all inmates arriving at Southport would be permitted to receive writing tablets and legal tablets from their personal property. Exhibit C, Defendants' Affirmation.

 Once incarcerated at Southport, according to Plaintiff, between September 10 and September 17, 1993, he received no response to his requests for law books and other legal materials. The records show that Plaintiff requested books, writing paper, and carbon paper on September 26, 1993, October 3, 1993, October 17, 1993, October 25, 1993, November 3, 1993, and November 7, 1993, and corresponding supply lists indicate that Plaintiff received such items weekly. Exhibit F, Defendants' Affirmation. In his grievance appeal regarding the confiscation of his writing paper and carbon paper upon his arrival at Southport, Plaintiff represented that he was supplied thirty sheets of paper once a week, but that this supply was insufficient. Exhibit K, Defendants' Affirmation. Plaintiff's name also appears on law library distribution sheets signing out books from the law library in response to Plaintiff's requests. Exhibit E, Defendants' Affirmation.

 According to Plaintiff, between September 10 and October 20, 1993, Plaintiff was required to wait for up to a two week period for notary services. Plaintiff's name appears on lists dated September 25, 1993, September 26, 1993, September 27, 1993, and November 2, 1993 of inmates requesting notary services with instructions to have one of the notaries assigned for service see the inmates on the list. Nonetheless, Plaintiff complained that it took up to a month for him to have his legal papers notarized, and, on October 12, 1993, filed a grievance complaining of the same. Exhibit L, Defendants' Affirmation. The grievance was granted on October 15, 1993, and on October 25, 1993, the grievance committee noted that Plaintiff had received his notary service and was satisfied. Exhibit L. Nonetheless, Plaintiff appealed the grievance determination, stating that notary services should ...


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