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HOUZE v. SEGARRA

July 16, 2002

ANDREW HOUZE, PLAINTIFF,
V.
LUIS SEGARRA, C.O., VINCENT R. LEMPKA, C.O., JEFFREY J. JOHNSON, CO., DOMINICK ZACCAGNINO, C.O., JOHN DOE # 1, C.O., JOHN DOE #2, C.O., AND JOHN DOE #3, C.O., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

I. Introduction

On June 28, 2001, Defendants Corrections Officers Luis Segarra ("Segarra"), Dominick Zaccagnino, Vincent R. Lempka, and Jeffrey J. Johnson (collectively, "Defendants") moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Fed.R. Civ.P.") 56 in this matter involving allegations by Plaintiff Andrew Houze ("Plaintiff" or "Houze") of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 violations. On June 3, 2002, Plaintiff opposed Defendant's motion. Plaintiffs Motion Opposing Defendant's Summary Judgment Request ("Pl.'s Motion").

On June 10, 2002, Magistrate Judge Douglas F. Eaton, to whom the matter had been referred, issued a report and recommendation ("Report") recommending that the motion be granted insofar as Plaintiff has failed to exhaust administrative remedies and that the case be dismissed without prejudice. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted and the case is dismissed without prejudice.

II. Background

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, commenced the instant action on or about December 27, 1999, and filed an amended complaint ("Amended Complaint") on or about March 7, 2000. Plaintiff alleges that in August of 1999, while he was incarcerated at Mid-Orange Correctional Facility ("Mid-Orange"), serving a 10 to 20 year sentence for a conviction of robbery in the first degree (N.Y. Penal § 160.15) imposed in 1992, he was assaulted by several corrections officers and, thereafter, denied treatment by two members of the medical staff in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Amended Complaint ¶¶ 12, 17 and 25.

Plaintiff "wrote to Superintendent H. Garvin and informed him of the [a]ssault and injuries and asked him to investigate the matter." Amended Complaint ¶ 20. Plaintiff also reported the incident to his parents and "told them to contact the Inspector General's office." Id. ¶ 18. On August 30, 1999, Plaintiff's mother called the Inspector General's office and, on November 29, 1999, following interviews with both Plaintiff and Segarra, Investigator F. Bigit of the Inspector General's office issued a report recommending that the matter be closed because he found "no merit to [Houze's] allegations." Pl.'s Motion, Ex. I. Plaintiff further states that during a disciplinary hearing brought by Segarra against Plaintiff on September 2, 1999, Plaintiff "made known to the [h]earing [o]fficer . . . that he had been assaulted by a group of 5-7 officers . . . and had not received any medical attention for injuries." Amended Complaint ¶ 22.

Magistrate Eaton's Report recommends that the Amended Complaint be dismissed without prejudice because "Plaintiff filed this lawsuit before he exhausted his administrative remedies." Report at 1. The Report also advises that "[p]ursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b)(1) and Rule 72(b) of the [Fed.R.Civ.P.], any party may object to this recommendation within 10 business days after being served with a copy, by filing written objections Failure to file objections within 10 business days will preclude appellate review." Report at 6 (citations omitted). As of this date, no party has filed objections to the Report.

III. Standard of Review

A district court evaluating a magistrate's report may adopt those portions of the report to which no "specific, written objection" is made, as long as those portions are not clearly erroneous. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149, 106 S.Ct. 466, 88 L.Ed.2d 435 (1985). A district judge may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings and recommendations of the magistrate. See DeLuca v. Lord, 858 F. Supp. 1330, 1345 (S.D.N.Y. 1994); Walker v. Hood, 679 F. Supp. 372, 374 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). Where, as here, a party is proceeding pro se, "leniency is generally accorded." Bey v. Human Resources Admin., 1999 WL 31122, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 12, 1999).

Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e ("PLRA"), "[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).

IV. Analysis

The facts set forth in the Report are incorporated herein by reference. The Report is not clearly erroneous and is, therefore, accepted.

Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, in that he neither filed a formal grievancc nor properly initiated the harassment grievance procedure.*fn* See Beatty v. Goord, 210 F. Supp.2d 250, 255-56 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) ("[W]riting letters to . . . the [s]uperintendent . . . [is] not sufficient to comply with the Inmate Grievance Program") (citation omitted); Grey v. Sparhawk, 2000 WL 815916, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. June 23, 2000) (a complaint "made directly to the Inspector General's office does not serve to excuse [a] plaintiff from adhering to the available administrative procedures"). Dismissal of an action for failure to comply with the PLRA's exhaustion requirement is without prejudice. Morales v. Mackalm, 278 F.3d 126, 128 (2d Cir. 2002) (per curiam).

V. Order

The Court adopts Magistrate Eaton's Report and, for the reasons states therein and herein, grants Defendant's motion insofar as Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and dismisses the Amended Complaint [5] without prejudice. The ...


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