a. Did Defendants' Actions Violate A Clearly Established Right
It is plaintiff's position that: (1) prison officials failed to provide Miller with proper medical treatment; and (2) "allowing 219 inmates, who have violent proclivities, to move about between two separate, but connected, housing units, freely and unguarded or inadequately guarded posed a substantial risk to [Miller]". (Pl. Mem. of Law at 8.)
(1) Inadequate Medical Treatment Claim
"In order to establish an Eighth Amendment claim arising out of inadequate medical care, a prisoner must prove `deliberate indifference to [his] serious medical needs.'" Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 702 (2d Cir. 1998) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). This standard incorporates both objective and subjective elements. The objective "medical need" element measures the severity of the alleged deprivation, while the subjective "deliberate indifference" element ensures that the defendant prison official acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind. See id.; Hathaway v. Coughlin, 99 F.3d 550, 553 (2d Cir. 1996). Smith v. Carpenter, ___ F.3d ___, ___, 2003 WL 115223, at *3 (2d Cir. Jan. 14, 2003). "[N]ot every lapse in prison medical care will rise to the level of a constitutional violation." Id. "[A] prisoner must demonstrate more than `an inadvertent failure to provide adequate medical care' by prison officials to successfully establish Eighth Amendment liability." Id. "An official acts with the requisite deliberate indifference when that official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety, a state of mind equivalent to the familiar standard of recklessness as used in criminal law." Id. (internal quotations and citations omitted).
Defendants concede that Miller suffered from a serious medical condition. They contend, however, that they were not deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. The undisputed evidence in the record reveals that upon learning of Miller's injury, Mercado immediately radioed for assistance. Mercado attempted to assist Miller, but Miller pulled away and headed toward the HSU. At that time, another corrections officer, Senior Officer Davis, arrived to assist Miller to the HSU. Mercado left to assist in securing the other inmates. The other corrections officer attempted to assist Miller to the HSU when Miller collapsed to the floor. An Emergency Medical Technician ("EMT") arrived and began to perform first aid. An ambulance also was summoned to take Miller to the emergency room.
The EMT, together with the assistance of other corrections officers, continued to provide medical assistance to Miller until the ambulance arrived. Plaintiff offers no evidence that Mercado delayed treatment, delayed the departure of the ambulance for the hospital, or otherwise disregarded Miller's serious medical condition. Because Mercado immediately summoned help for Miller, and such help, including an EMT and other corrections officers, arrived quickly and began performing first aid on Miller, it cannot be said that Mercado acted with deliberate indifference to Miller's serious medical condition. See Mays v. Rhodes, 255 F.3d 644, 649 (8th Cir. 2001). Even assuming that Mercado's actions did amount to a constitutional violation, they were objectively reasonable under the circumstances presented. Accordingly, plaintiff has failed to establish a constitutional violation, and in any event, Mercado is entitled to qualified immunity.
The same reasoning applies with respect to defendant John Nash. First, there was no Eighth Amendment violation. Second, prison officials acted reasonably under the circumstances. Third, Nash was neither the warden of FCI Ray Brook nor present at the facility on May 30, 1999, and therefore, had no personal involvement in the incident.*fn4 See, e.g., Provost v. City of Newburgh, 262 F.3d 146, 154 (2d Cir. 2001) (personal involvement is a prerequisite for an award of damages for an alleged constitutional deprivation).
(2) Inadequate Supervision of Inmates Claim
The Eighth Amendment imposes a duty upon prison officials "to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 833 (1994) (internal quotation marks omitted). To succeed on the inadequate supervision of inmates claim, plaintiff must demonstrate that defendants acted with deliberate indifference towards Miller's safety. See Rangolan v. County of Nassau, 217 F.3d 77, 79 (2d Cir. 2000). Thus, plaintiff has the burden of demonstrating that defendants knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to Miller's safety. Id.
There is no evidence — expert or otherwise — in the record suggesting that defendants should have been aware of an excessive risk to Miller's safety or that the staffing at FCI Ray Brook rises to the level of a constitutional violation. See Tucker v. Evans, 276 F.3d 999, 1002-03 (8th Cir. 2002). The mere allegation that having one corrections officer supervise 219 inmates with violent proclivities, without more, is an insufficient basis upon which a fair minded trier of fact could reasonably conclude that defendants were aware of an excessive risk to Miller's safety or the FCI Ray Brook prison population in general. See id; compare Smith v. Ark. Dep't of Correction, 103 F.3d 637, 644 (8th Cir. 1996). It, therefore, cannot be said that defendants were aware of and disregarded any such risks. Further, there is no evidence — expert or otherwise — that any alleged failure to supervise was a proximate cause of the attack and the resulting injuries and death. Accordingly, this claim must be dismissed.
B. Federal Tort Claims Act
Plaintiff also seeks to hold defendants liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2671, et. seq. The FTCA waives the United States' sovereign immunity for
claims against the United States, for money
damages . . . for injury or loss of property,
or personal injury or death caused by the
negligent or wrongful act or omission of any
employee of the Government while acting within
the scope of his office or employment, under
circumstances where the United States, if a
private person, would be liable to the claimant in
accordance with the law of the place where the act or