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June 6, 2000


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


This action arises from the filing of three separate complaints by plaintiffs pro se Simon Newman and Demark Dixon. By separate but virtually identical complaints filed on April 27, 1998, Newman and Dixon complained about the conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York ("MDC-Brooklyn"), alleging a violation of the Eighth Amendment. These actions, 98-CV-3243 and 98-CV-3244, were assigned to United States District Judge Allyne R. Ross, who issued an order on May 26, 1998 consolidating the two cases under docket number 98-CV-3244. Approximately a year later, on June 30, 1999, Dixon filed another action against the same defendants, this time alleging unlawful interference with his legal mail, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. This action was assigned docket number 99-CV-3704. Judge Ross deemed the new complaint an amendment to Dixon's prior complaint, and then consolidated the 1999 case with the other two under docket number 98-CV-3244 by Order dated July 6, 1999. The cases were re-assigned to the undersigned judge on or about September 10, 1999.

Pending before the Court is the defendants' motion to dismiss the claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Defendants argue that (1) plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies; (2) the actions are moot insofar as they seek injunctive relief; (3) the complaints fail to state claims on which relief can be granted; (4) defendant Holder is entitled to qualified immunity; and (5) defendant Bureau of Prisons is not a proper party to these cases. Plaintiffs oppose the motion, each reciting a litany of allegations that are absent from their complaints. For the reasons briefly discussed below, the motion is granted.


For purposes of this motion to dismiss, the Court deems all facts alleged in the complaint as true, "and draw[s] inferences from those allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Dew v. United States, 192 F.3d 366, 371 (2d Cir. 1999); see also H.J. Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Tel. Co., 492 U.S. 229, 249-250, 109 S.Ct. 2893, 106 L.Ed.2d 195 (1989). A complaint may be dismissed only where "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957) (footnote omitted); see also Northrop v. Hoffman of Simsbury, Inc., 134 F.3d 41, 44 (2d Cir. 1997). The Court's inquiry at this stage is limited to the facts in the complaint or in documents attached to the complaint. See Newman & Schwartz v. Asplundh Tree Expert Co., 102 F.3d 660, 662 (2d Cir. 1996). In addition, the question is not whether plaintiff will prevail but rather "whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." See Arizona Premium Finance, Inc. v. Bielli, 77 F. Supp.2d 341, 345 (E.D.N.Y. 1999) (quoting Villager Pond, Inc. v. Town of Darien, 56 F.3d 375, 378 (2d Cir. 1995)).

Additionally, the "complaint is deemed to include any written instrument attached to it as an exhibit or any statements or documents incorporated in it by reference." Cortec Indus., Inc. v. Sum Holding L.P., 949 F.2d 42, 47 (2d Cir. 1991). When a plaintiff does not attach to the complaint or incorporate by reference a document "upon which it solely relies and which is integral to the complaint," the court may consider the document on a motion to dismiss without converting the motion to one for summary judgment. Id. at 47-48; see also International Audiotext Network, Inc. v. American Tel. & Tel. Co., 62 F.3d 69, 72 (2d Cir. 1995).


A. The Complaints

Newman's complaint alleges that (1) the MDC-Brooklyn is overcrowded; (2) he constantly gets sick as a result of the resulting poor health conditions; (3) the number of toilets is insufficient for the number of inmates; (4) the ventilation is poor; and (5) the food is "ludicrous" — meaning that there is not enough of it, it is often served cold, and it often is undercooked. Newman alleges that he complained to the Unit Manager about these conditions, but that he was told that the facility had to cut costs. Newman seeks no specific damages, but merely requests "relief according to suffering and injuries sustained," and alleges that he will be sent "to an early grave if something is not done to rectify the problems."

Dixon's companion complaint is virtually identical, and also alleges that when he complained about the alleged conditions, he received the same response as Newman. Dixon seeks the same relief, in the same words, as Newman.

Dixon's second complaint, deemed an amendment to his first, alleges that on June 3, 1999, the contents of his legal mail envelope were removed without authorization by someone in the mail room before it was taken to a post office. Dixon also alleges that the mail room staff at the MDC is unprofessional and that its members are unqualified to touch and handle prisoner mail. Dixon claims that his privacy rights are being violated by the unauthorized opening of his legal mail. This complaint also seeks "relief according to suffering and injuries sustained."

B. The Relevant Statute

Pursuant to Section 1997e(a) of Title 42 of the United States Code, "[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." Because it is clear from the plaintiffs' complaints that they are challenging the conditions of their confinement at MDC-Brooklyn, this section plainly applies to the claims presented. And "[w]here Congress specifically mandates, exhaustion is required." McCarthy v. Madigan, 503 U.S. 140, 144, 112 S.Ct. 1081, 117 L.Ed.2d 291 (1992).

The complaints contain no allegation that plaintiffs have exhausted the administrative remedies available to them. The only allegation coming anywhere close to an exhaustion allegation is that plaintiffs complained to the Unit Manager but was told that the MDC had to cut costs. This solitary complaint to the ...

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