Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hamilton v. Conway

January 23, 2008

DERRICK HAMILTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES CONWAY; RANDY JAMES; JEFFREY BEA; POLAK, LIEUTENANT; DEAN BAUER; BAKER, SERGEANT; MARKOW SKI, SERGEANT; R. PIERCE; STEPHEN LASKOWSKI; CATHY TURTON; BRUCE BARTEN; AND SCOTT CLAIR, DEFENDANTS



DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff is a prisoner who was incarcerated at the Attica Correctional Facility ("Attica") during the events relevant to this case. Plaintiff raises numerous claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Department of Corrections Services ("DOCS") officers and medical staff for alleged constitutional violations.

Presently before the Court are Plaintiff's Motions to Compel (Docket Nos. 41, 54),*fn1 as well as competing Motions for Partial Summary Judgment. (Docket Nos. 44, 50).*fn2 Plaintiff and Defendants move for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims for cruel and unusual punishment (Count Three)*fn3 , denial of right to practice religion and right to privacy (Count Five), and denial of recreation (Count Four). Defendants additionally move for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims for denial of medical treatment (Count One), denial of dental treatment (Count Two), and denial of mental health treatment (Count Six).*fn4

For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motions to Compel are denied. Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is denied in its entirety.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is an inmate in the New York DOCS and during the times relevant to this lawsuit was incarcerated at Attica. While Plaintiff's claims span a wide range of incidents allegedly occurring at Attica, many of his claims flow from two occurrences.

The first occurrence relates to Plaintiff's medical condition. Plaintiff has an enlarged prostrate and a urological condition known as Orchiditis that causes him to have an immediate urge to urinate and causes blood to flow from his penis if he fails to do so. (Plaintiff's Declaration, Docket No. 50, ¶¶ 11-12; Longo Declaration, Ex. A, Docket No. 45, 33:17 - 34:11). This condition started a chain of events beginning on June 14, 2003 that lead to several of Plaintiff's claims.

On June 14, 2003, Plaintiff noticed blood in his urine and notified Defendant Laskowski, a DOCS doctor. Laskowski allegedly ignored Plaintiff. Turton, a female DOCS nurse, offered to examine Plaintiff, but he declined to be examined by her purportedly because of his Muslim religious beliefs. (Amended Complaint, Docket No. 5, ¶¶ 23, 27, 33-36).

Thereafter, on June 15, 2003, Plaintiff's urological condition caused him to bleed from his penis and then be placed in a drug watch cell*fn5 for reasons that the parties dispute. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants placed him in the cell merely as punishment for his urological condition. (Id. at ¶ 26). Defendants allege that they placed Plaintiff in the cell because his visitor put her hands inside his shorts and, shortly thereafter, Defendants observed blood on Plaintiff's shorts.*fn6 (Conway Interrogatory Response, Docket No. 20, ¶ 3; Bea Interrogatory Response, Docket No. 35, ¶¶ 5, 7, Ex. A).

Plaintiff claims that Defendants denied medical treatment while he was in the drug watch cell and that the cell was covered in feces. (Amended Complaint, Docket No. 5, ¶ 26). In addition, Defendants Bauer and Pierce allegedly kicked Plaintiff and squeezed his penis and testicles, thereby further exacerbating his urological condition. (Id. at ¶¶ 28, 42-43).

The second occurrence giving rise to several of Plaintiff's claims is his placement and confinement in the SHU. After allegedly falsely testing positive for marijuana, Plaintiff was placed in the SHU for two years beginning in March 2002.*fn7 (Plaintiff's Declaration, Docket No. 50, ¶ 24). Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to the constant banging and screaming of inmates and that the inmates threw feces into his cell. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to address conditions in the SHU and denied him mental health treatment when these conditions caused him mental illness. (Amended Complaint, Docket No. 5, ¶¶ 20, 21, 56-60).

Plaintiff also raises numerous other claims that have no relation to each other or to the events described above, including claims challenging the enforcement of policies relating to recreation, bathroom use, and inmate monitoring. The facts relevant to those claims are detailed below.

Plaintiff raises § 1983 claims against Defendants for denial of medical (Count One), dental (Count Two), and mental health treatment (Count Six), as well as for various acts of cruel and unusual punishment (Count Three),*fn8 denial of recreation (Count Four), and denial of the right to practice religion and the right to privacy (Count Five).

A. Count One: Denial of Medical Treatment

To support his claims under Count One for deliberate indifference to his medical needs Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to treat two injuries. First, Plaintiff alleges that on June 14 and June 15, 2003, Defendants Laskowski and Turton denied medical treatment for Plaintiff's urological condition. (Complaint, Docket No. 5, ¶ 23, 27, 33-36). Second, Plaintiff alleges that Laskowski's refusal to refer Plaintiff to a specialist to have a lump on his chest examined constitutes deliberate indifference to his medical needs. (Id. at ¶ 35). Defendants move for summary judgment on these claims.

B. Count Two: Denial of Dental Treatment

Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against Defendants Bea, Conway, and James arise from their denial of dental treatment. Bea, Conway, and James allegedly refused to provide Plaintiff with dental floss and refused to allow Plaintiff to have his teeth cleaned while he was in the SHU. (Id. at ¶¶ 38-39). Defendants move for summary judgment on this claim.

C. Count Three: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Plaintiff raises three separate incidents under Count Three to support his claims for cruel and unusual punishment. First, he alleges that on June 15, 2003, Defendants Bauer and Pierce kicked him and squeezed his penis and testicles, thereby exacerbating his urological condition. (Id. at ¶¶ 28, 42-43). Neither party moves for summary judgment as to this claim.

Second, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Bauer, Bea, James, Markowski,*fn9 and Polak ignored Plaintiff's injuries and placed him in a drug watch cell for 48 hours because of his bleeding penis. (Id. at ¶ 43). Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants Bauer, Bea, Conway, James, and Polak left him in the drug watch cell after learning that his urological condition caused the bleeding. (Id. at ¶ 44). In addition, Plaintiff alleges that the drug watch cell was smeared in feces and that Defendants denied Plaintiff a toothbrush and water for bathing while in the cell. (Id. at ¶ 26).*fn10 Both parties move for summary judgment as to this claim.

Plaintiff's third claim under Count Three relates to Attica's bathroom policies as applied to Plaintiff. First, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Bea, Conway, James, and Markowski violated § 1983 "by the failure to have a bathroom policy that allows adequate and immediate access to the urinal when needed by Plaintiff." (Id. at ¶ 45). Second, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Bea, Conway, and James violated § 1983 by refusing to allow Plaintiff to use the bathroom in the first floor visiting area and requiring Plaintiff to wait for corrections officers from other floors to take plaintiff to use the bathroom. (Id. at ¶ 46). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' adherence to these policies injured him because his urological condition required that he have immediate access to a bathroom. (Id. at ¶¶ 45, 46). Defendants move for summary judgment on this claim.

D. Count Four: Denial of Recreation

Plaintiff alleges that "Defendants Conway [and] Bea . . . violated Plaintiff['s] Constitutional Right to Outside exercise by allowing recreation to run between 7 A.M. and 8:30 A.M.[,] the same time that hot breakfast meals and the mail program [are] run." (Id. at ¶ 48). Plaintiff alleges that he is forced to choose between attending recreation and eating a hot meal or receiving his legal mail. (Id. at ¶ 49, 50). As a result, Plaintiff has allegedly skipped recreation for over ten months and suffered a decline in his health from the lack of exercise. (Id. at ¶ 51). Both parties move for summary judgment on these claims.

E. Count Five: Denial of Right to Religion and Right to Privacy

Plaintiff raises two separate privacy claims under Count Five. First, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Bea, Conway, and James violated his right to privacy "by failing to provide shower curtains or removing the video camera from viewing the shower while plaintiff is naked." (Id. at ¶ 53). Second, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Baker, Bea, James, and Stone "violated plaintiff's Constitutional right to privacy by designating the drug watch, dry cell room to be in a high traffic area and requiring plaintiff to defecate in front of inmates, staff, female employees and all sorts of hospital and mental health employees while naked in totality." (Id. at ¶ 54). Plaintiff alleges that being forced to expose his body to females violated his religious beliefs. (Id. at ¶¶ 29, 53). Both parties move for summary judgment on these claims.

F. Count Six: Mental Health

Plaintiff raises claims against Defendant mental health workers Barten and Clair for deliberate indifference to his mental health problems, which allegedly included insomnia, paranoia, thoughts of harming himself and others, and inability to concentrate. (Id. at ¶ 21, 56). Plaintiff argues that Defendants were obligated to provide him with group counseling or treatment by a psychiatrist. (Id. at ¶ 57).

Plaintiff also raises claims against Defendants Barten, Bea, Clair, Conway, and James arising from conditions in the SHU. While in the SHU, Plaintiff allegedly suffered from a mental breakdown from having to listen to prolonged loud banging and screaming of mentally ill inmates and having feces thrown in his cell. Defendants allegedly refused to provide treatment to Plaintiff and failed to address conditions in the SHU. (Id. at ¶¶ 20. 58-60). The Defendants move for summary judgment on these claims.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Motions to Compel

This Court will first address Plaintiff's pending Motions to Compel (Docket Nos. 41, 54). On November 13, 2006, Plaintiff moved to compel, arguing that Defendant Bea failed to respond to a request for admissions and Defendants failed to produce a requested video log. (Docket No. 41). As noted by Defendants (Docket No. 45), Plaintiff made his request for the production of these documents after the close of discovery and this Court has not granted an extension on discovery. Furthermore, Defendants provided Plaintiff with answers to Bea's Interrogatories, as well as other documents describing the events allegedly contained in the video log, such that Plaintiff's additional requests are not necessary for him to prosecute his claim. Accordingly, Plaintiff's November 13, 2006 Motion to Compel (Docket No. 41) is denied.

On December 26, 2006, Plaintiff again moved to compel arguing that Defendants had not provided a requested videotape to him. (Docket No. 54). Defendants' counsel thereafter submitted an affidavit attesting that the delay was due to confusion over administrative procedures for obtaining the videotape from Attica and that he had mailed the videotape to Plaintiff on January 10, 2007. (Docket No. 57). Therefore, Plaintiff's motion will be denied as moot because Defendants have ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.