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Shomo v. Myers

January 10, 2007

JOSE J. SHOMO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. JOY MYERS, DR. SHAHIS NAWAZ, AND DR. RAMEEH SEEGOBIN, EACH IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alvin K. Hellerstein, U.S.D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Plaintiff pro se Jose J. Shomo, an inmate in the custody of the Department of Correctional Services of the State of New York, brought this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking compensatory damages for alleged violations of his First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution by thirteen named defendants and 5 unnamed defendants. Defendants moved to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and on April 1, 2005, I dismissed Plaintiff's lawsuit with limited leave to replead against the above-captioned doctors. See Shomo v. City of New York, No. 03 Civ. 10213, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5488 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on April 30, 2005, and following discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is granted.

Background

I. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint

Plaintiff bases his repleaded claims on alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs relating to his upper body paralysis and nervous system afflictions.

Plaintiff states that he suffers from pain and paralysis in his arms, making it difficult or impossible to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, dressing, grooming, toileting, or bathing, and alleges that Defendants knowingly and deliberately ignored his condition by refusing to provide treatment or transfer him to an appropriate medical facility. Plaintiff alleges that he was improperly housed with the general population of inmates during his confinement in various detention facilities, when he should have been admitted to infirmary care because of his medical condition. As a result of these deprivations and improper treatment, Plaintiff contends that he was forced to pay other inmates for assistance with his ADLs and that he experienced muscle spasms, migraine headaches, severe back and neck pain, and emotional trauma.

II. Defendants' Affirmative Defenses

In their motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Defendants argued that Plaintiff's lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations applicable to Section 1983 claims. I agreed and held that all of the specific allegations in Plaintiff's complaint occurred outside of the statute of limitations period. See generally id. Because Plaintiff alleged generally that Defendants deprived him of adequate medical care during the statutory period, however, I granted him partial leave to amend his complaint to allege specific acts causing injuries committed by or at the instruction of Drs. Myers, Nawaz, and Seegobin occurring after September 26, 2000. I held that if Plaintiff were able to show that Defendants' deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs continued past that date, his claims would not be time-barred. See id. (holding that doctrine of continuing violation applies to deliberate medical indifference claims).

In their motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(c), Defendants renew their argument that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations and assert that they are entitled to qualified immunity as state officers. Addressing the merits of Plaintiff's suit, Defendants argue that no issue of material fact is in dispute with respect to Plaintiff's medical condition or Defendants' state of mind, such that Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. I rule on each of these arguments below.

Discussion

I. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The moving party must demonstrate the absence of any material factual issue genuinely in dispute, and the court must view the inferences to be drawn from the facts in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The non-moving party may not rely, however, "on mere speculation or conjecture as to the true nature of the facts to overcome a motion for summary judgment." Knight v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 12 (2d Cir. 1987).

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires the Court, on Defendants' motion, to engage in a two-step inquiry: First, I must determine whether Defendants have properly supported their motion for summary judgment, as the burden of production lies with the moving party. See Amaker v. Foley, 274 F.3d 677, 681 (2d Cir. 2001) ("[T]he the burden of the non-movant to respond arises only if the motion is properly 'supported'-and therefore summary judgment only is 'appropriate' when the moving party has met its burden of production."). Second, if Defendants have properly supported their motion, I must determine whether Plaintiff's ...


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