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August 26, 2003


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas Griesa, Senior District Judge


Plaintiff Sedney Delano, proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was severely beaten by corrections officers Catoggio, Possolo, Ruiz and Martinez while an inmate at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. In addition to these four officers, the complaint also names as defendants Superintendent Charles Greiner, Captain R.J. Minogue and a prison employee named Donald Selsky. The court dismissed the complaint against Selsky on September 5, 2001. One of the named correction officers, Possolo, has not been served with the summons and complaint. This means that the action now involves defendants Greiner Minogue, Catoggio, Ruiz and Martinez. Four of the defendants — Minogue, Catoggio, Ruiz and Martinez — have answered the complaint. [ Page 2]

All five remaining defendants move to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and for judgment on the pleadings under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Defendants argue that the action is barred by failure to exhaust administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).

The court concludes that the action should be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. However, the problem is not a jurisdictional one. It is a failure to show what is necessary to state a valid cause of action. Also, since materials outside the pleadings have been presented and are being considered, defendants' motion will be treated as one for summary judgment. As such, defendants' motion is granted and the action is dismissed.

The Pleadings and Factual Materials

The pro se plaintiff has submitted his complaint and a series of letters. As described above, four defendants have answered. Also a declaration has been submitted on behalf of all defendants. The declaration is by Thomas Eagen, Director of the Inmate Grievance Program at the New York State Department of Correctional Services. It presents plaintiffs complete file of grievances made at Sing Sing, alleging staff harassment. [ Page 3]

Plaintiff s lawsuit is about an alleged beating that plaintiff says occurred on the afternoon of March 23, 1999, and also about a subsequent disciplinary hearing on charges against plaintiff arising out of the March 23, 1999 incident. Plaintiff claims that he was severely beaten by officers Catoggio, Possolo, Ruiz, Martinez and another corrections officer, Booth, who is not named in the complaint. Plaintiff also claims that Superintendent Greiner knew of the violent tendencies of Catoggio and is liable for Catoggio's actions. Finally, plaintiff alleges that the disciplinary hearing was conducted by Minogue in a manner which violated plaintiffs rights.

New York State has established an administrative procedure for inmate grievances. N.Y. Correctional Law § 139 (McKinney's 2003). An inmate has fourteen calendar days after an incident to file a grievance. 7 N.Y.C.R.R. 701.7(a)(1). A grievance may be resolved informally with the inmate's consent or a hearing must be held by the Inmate Grievance Resolution Commission (IGRC) if there is no informal resolution. 7 N.Y.C.R.R. 701.7(a)(3) and (4). An inmate has a right of appeal from an IGRC decision to the superintendent of the correctional facility and, after that, a right of appeal to the Central Office Review Committee (CORC). 7 N.Y.C.R.R. 701.7(b) and (c). Appeal to the CORC exhausts the inmate's administrative remedy. Mendoza v. Goord, No. 00 Civ. 0146, 2002 WL 31654855, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 21, 2002). [ Page 4]

Plaintiff has never submitted a grievance about the March 23, 1999 incident, nor has he submitted a grievance against Catoggio, Possolo, Ruiz, Martinez or any of them, regarding that incident. He has never submitted a grievance against Superintendent Greiner alleging Greiner's responsibility for the conduct of Catoggio in that incident. Plaintiff has not submitted a grievance against Minogue, alleging a violation of plaintiff's rights in the disciplinary hearing arising out of the March 23, 1999 incident. Thus he has not sought an administrative remedy about the matters alleged in this lawsuit.

Plaintiff did submit a series of grievance letters to the prison authorities, consolidated into a single grievance, designated as SS-29187-99, which was filed with the IGRC on April 14, 1999. It was directed against Correction Officer Callazo and Sgt. Chapman. Plaintiff alleged that Callazo and Chapman harassed him, by physically and verbally abusing him following the incident with Catoggio and others. Although the latter incident, which apparently refers to the subject of the present action, was mentioned incidentally in the grievance against Callazo and Chapman, that grievance did not complain about what is involved in the present case.

One matter relating to plaintiffs grievance against Callazo and [ Page 5]

Chapman is worth noting. The final decision by CORC, which was against plaintiff, stated that the Sing Sing IGRC was not in receipt of a grievance for March 23, 1999. CORC advised plaintiff in writing to contact the Inmate Grievance Program Supervisor at Sing Sing with "any questions about it." However, there is no indication that plaintiff did so.


Subject Matter ...

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