Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

BEATTY v. GOORD

March 16, 2000

THOMAS A. BEATTY, PLAINTIFF,
V.
GLENN GOORD; LESTER WRIGHT; SATISH KAPOOR; ERNEST LOFTON; TINT MAW; DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Berman, District Judge.

DECISION AND ORDER

Background

Thomas A. Beatty ("Beatty" or "Plaintiff"), an inmate at Sing Sing Correctional Facility ("Sing Sing"), filed this action on or about March 24, 1998, against Glenn Goord, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"); Dr. Lester Wright, Associate Commissioner/Chief Medical Officer of DOCS; Dr. Satish Kapoor, former Medical Director at Sing Sing, Dr. Ernest Lofton, current Medical Director at Sing Sing, and Dr. Tint Maw, who was employed on the medical staff at Sing Sing (collectively, "Defendants"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn1 Plaintiff contends that Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his need for urological treatment and, therefore, have violated the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.*fn2 Plaintiff seeks, inter alia, "actual and punitive damages against defendants Kapoor, Maw and Wright" and an "Order from the Court requiring defendants Goord and Lofton to ensure that plaintiff continues to receive all urological treatment as ordered by his physicians . . ." (Complaint at 11).

Defendants now move for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Fed.R. Civ.P."), asserting, among other things, that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust available administrative remedies as required under the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e et seq. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.

Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment may be granted only when there are no genuine issues of material fact in dispute and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fran Corp. v. United States, 164 F.3d 814, 816 (2d Cir. 1999). See also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In assessing whether summary judgment is appropriate, the Court must "`resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the moving party.'" See Fran Corp., 164 F.3d at 816 (citation omitted). However, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 jurisprudence is clear "that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505. The non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986).

Analysis

Defendants argue here that Plaintiff's (acknowledged) failure to exhaust available administrative remedies, as required under the PLRA, mandates dismissal of this action.*fn3 (Defendants' ("Def.") Moving Br. at 4-6). Plaintiff counters that the PLRA exhaustion requirement is not applicable because: (i) Plaintiff had sought to incorporate the substance of the instant action in his prior action (Beatty I) which was filed prior to enactment of the PLRA and was told by the Court (Cote, J.) that he could commence this action separately without any reference to (exhaustion) preconditions; (ii) there are no administrative remedies available to Plaintiff; and (iii) Plaintiff made every reasonable effort to resolve his complaints internally at Sing Sing. (Pl. Opp; Br. at 13-15). Plaintiff also argues that dismissing the instant complaint for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies would serve no useful purpose.*fn4

PLRA

The PLRA requires, in relevant part, that "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).*fn5 "Congress enacted this mandatory exhaustion requirement in section 1997e(a) as part of the PLRA's effort to curtail frivolous and abusive prisoner litigation." Alexander v. Hawk, 159 F.3d 1321, 1324 (11th Cir. 1998), rehearing en banc denied by, 172 F.3d 884 (11th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted).*fn6 See also Beeson v. Fishkill Correctional Facility, 28 F. Supp.2d 884, 891 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) ("[t]he co-sponsors of the PLRA . . . offered both the reduction of frivolous lawsuits and the end of judicial micromanagement as dual purposes of the Act") (citation omitted).

PLRA Exhaustion Applies to Cases Filed On or After April 26, 1996

The exhaustion requirement applies to cases, such as this one, "filed on or after the April 26, 1996 effective date of the PLRA." White v. McGinnis, 131 F.3d 593, 595 (6th Cir. 1997). The instant action, as noted, was filed on March 24, 1998, almost two years after the PLRA effective date. Plaintiffs argument that he should be exempt from the PLRA exhaustion requirement because Beatty I was filed before April 26, 1996 is unavailing. (Pl. Opp. Br. at 13). First, Beatty I was a separate action brought against different defendants and involving conduct at a different correctional facility over a different period of time. Second, Judge Cote expressly denied Plaintiffs motion to amend his complaint in Beatty I to incorporate his present claims. See Beatty, 1997 WL 605112 at *7 ("the Court denies leave to amend to add claims for the care received at Sing Sing").*fn7 And, even if Judge Cote had granted Plaintiff leave to amend his complaint in Beatty I, it is not certain that Plaintiff would have been "exempt" from the exhaustion requirement of the PLRA. See Braun v. Stotts, 1997 WL 383034 at *2 (Kan. June 19, 1997), aff'd, 134 F.3d 382 (10th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1025, 119 S.Ct. 558, 142 L.Ed.2d 465 (1998) ("[t]he court finds that section 1997e(a), as amended, applies to Braun's post-PLRA amended complaint and, therefore, requires him to exhaust all available administrative remedies").

"Availability" of Administrative Remedies

Plaintiff also asserts that the PLRA's exhaustion requirement does not apply because there are no administrative remedies available to him. At the time the instant action was commenced, Plaintiff was "only seeking redress in the form of monetary damages . . ." (Pl. Opp. Br. at 14).*fn8 As to the monetary damages portion of Plaintiffs claim, "the clear trend among district courts in the Southern District of New York is to find exhaustion applicable even where the requested relief, money damages, cannot be awarded by the administrative body hearing the complaint." Santiago v. Meinsen, 2000 WL 223830 at *5 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 25, 2000). See also Perez, 182 F.3d at 537 ("ยง 1997e(a) does not require the prison to use the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.