The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny United States District Judge
In this action, pro se Plaintiff Delroy Kemp alleges pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that Defendants violated several of his constitutional rights by, inter alia, repeatedly retaliating against him for filing grievances against prison officials. Presently before this Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.*fn1 This Court has reviewed and considered the motion papers and finds that oral argument is unnecessary. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted in its entirety.
Plaintiff's Complaint was entered on the docket on November 10, 2003. Because Plaintiff was granted in forma pauperis status, his Complaint was screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(a). As a result of this screening process, this Court dismissed several defendants, primarily because Plaintiff failed to assert adequate claims against them. (See Docket No. 5.) On May 12, 2006, the remaining defendants filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment. The parties fully briefed the motion, and as of November 28, 2006, this Court took the matter under advisement without oral argument. The facts underlying Plaintiff's claims are discussed below.
Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"). (Defendants' Rule 56 Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Defendants' Statement"), ¶ 1.) At one time, Plaintiff resided in the Great Meadow Correctional Facility. (Defendants' Statement, ¶¶ 3, 4.) DOCS transferred Plaintiff from Great Meadow to the Attica Correctional Facility on February 20, 2003. (Defendants' Statement, ¶ 3.) This transfer was effectuated because mental health professionals determined that Plaintiff would benefit from treatment through the Specialized Treatment Program ("STP") available at Attica. (James Decl., ¶ 13.) However, Plaintiff stopped attending STP shortly after arriving at Attica, despite being encouraged to continue. (James Decl., ¶ 14.) Plaintiff alleges that he stopped attending because officers and inmates were verbally harassing him. (Complaint, p. 9.)
The staff at Attica placed Plaintiff in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU") upon his arrival, which is a unit designated for inmates with disciplinary violations. (Defendants' Statement, ¶ 3; James Decl., ¶ 6.) Plaintiff's history includes 44 Misbehavior Reports related to threats and violence against staff. (James Decl., ¶ 9.)
Plaintiff maintains that from the outset, Defendants undertook a campaign of retaliation against him because he filed numerous grievances. This retaliation included verbal and physical threats, punitive restraint and cell shield orders, an assaultive pat frisk, the denial of medical care and the opening of his legal mail. These incidents are set forth below.
1. Verbal and Physical Threats
Plaintiff alleges that he was verbally abused and physically threatened by Defendants Arnone, Borawski, Bea, Brigzna and James for filing grievances. He alleges that he was told at various times that he would be hanged in his cell, that all of the bones in his body would be broken, that he would be sent to his mother in a black box, and that he would have his "black ass kicked," all because he repeatedly filed grievances against prison staff. Plaintiff further maintains that he was called a "black nigger bitch," a rat, and a "pain in the ass." He also maintains that Defendants Morris and Mezydlo told other inmates that they would not receive any favors because of Plaintiff's complaints about prison staff.
On February 16, 2003, while Plaintiff was at Great Meadow, he was under a restraining order because of his continued threats and assaults against staff members. (James Decl., ¶ 7.) Defendant James, Deputy Superintendent of Security at Attica, continued this order when Plaintiff was transferred to Attica. (Defendants' Statement, ¶¶ 4, 5.) Defendant James is authorized to impose such an order under 7 NYCRR § 305.4, which provides as follows:
Section 305.4 Restraint orders.
(a) Any inmate assigned to an SHU who has history of assaultive behavior and/or who presents a threat to the safety or security of himself/herself, other persons, or State property may be placed under a restraint order by the deputy superintendent for security or, in his/her absence, the O.D. or higher ranking authority.
(b) A restraint order will be valid for no more than seven days and may be renewed by the deputy superintendent for security or, in his/her absence, the O.D. or higher ranking authority.
(c) A copy of the restraint order and any renewal thereafter must be forwarded to the superintendent and the inmate within 24 hours. The order and any renewal thereafter must briefly state the reason(s) for the order or renewal and contain the following notice to the inmate: "You may write to the deputy superintendent for security or his/her designee to make a statement as to the need for continuing the restraint order."
(d) A restraint order will describe the types of restraints to be used and the manner in which they are to be applied (e.g.,handcuffed in front or in back, with or without waist chain, with or without leg irons).
(e) If an inmate is under a restraint order directing that he/she be mechanically restrained whenever he/she leaves the SHU cell for any reason, the inmate will remain mechanically restrained during the entire period of time he/she is out of the SHU cell, except:
(1) upon request of a physician, nurse practitioner, or a physician's assistant (P.A.) when removal is necessary to permit medical treatment;
(2) upon request of the Parole Board at a parole hearing;
(3) upon the request of a judge or magistrate;
(4) when the inmate can be secured in a shower room during the scheduled shower period;
(5) when the inmate has been secured in the exercise area, unless the restraint order (or renewal) includes a written determination stating the reason(s) why the removal of restraints in the exercise area would, in the light of the particular circumstances relative to the affected inmate, present a treat to the safety or security of the inmate, other persons or State property. Such a determination, in any restraint order or renewal, shall only remain in effect for three days unless approved in writing by the superintendent or acting superintendent, based upon his or her review of the relevant facts. Note: This paragraph does not apply to Southport Correctional Facility;
(6) upon order of the deputy superintendent for security services or higher ranking authority; or
(7) when in a general population visiting room and not in a non-contact area.
(f) When mechanical restraints are removed pursuant to subdivision (e) of this section, they will be reapplied as specified in the restraint order prior to return to the SHU cell.
Defendant James reviewed this order each week, and continued to renew the order through September 12, 2003, at which time the DOCS stopped using this type of restraining order. (Defendants' Statement, ¶¶ 6, 7, 9.) Defendant James continuously renewed his restraining order because he believed it was necessary to prevent Plaintiff from committing further acts of violence against staff and other inmates. (Defendants' Statement, ¶ 8.)
Plaintiff maintains that there was no cause for the restraining order and that Defendant James kept it in place as a punitive measure for Plaintiff's filing of grievances. (Complaint, p. 10.) He further alleges that Defendant James repeatedly renewed the restraint order because Plaintiff refused to participate in the STP, despite Defendant James' encouragement of him to do so. (Complaint, pp. 10-11, 12.)
Along with the restraining order, Defendant James found cause to issue a cell shield order against Plaintiff based on his continued threats against staff and his unhygienic acts. (Defendants' Statement, ¶¶ 11, 13.) Defendant James is authorized to impose such an order under 7 NYCRR § 305.6, which provides as follows:
Section 305.6 Use of cell shields.
(a) A cell shield is a transparent cell front covering, equipped to provide adequate ventilation.
(b) Cell shields may be ordered for good cause, including but not limited to the reasons listed below:
(1) Spitting through the cell door, or the throwing of feces, urine, food, or other objects through the cell door.
(2) The inmate refuses to keep his/her hands within the cell and/or otherwise attempts to assault or harass staff.
(3) The inmate is so disruptive as to adversely affect the proper operation of the unit.
(c) Use of the cell shield shall be ordered by the deputy superintendent for security or, in his/ her absence, the O.D. or higher ranking authority. The cell shield order shall be valid for no more than seven days and may be renewed by the deputy superintendent for ...