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Wesolowski v. Kamas

December 8, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: David G. Larimer United States District Judge



Plaintiff Robert Wesolowski ("plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, brings this action against defendants Christopher Kamas ("Kamas"), Gregory Manos ("Manos"), Thomas Hannah ("Hannah"), Christopher Yehl ("Yehl"), correction officers at Southport Correctional Facility ("SCF"), and SCF superintendent Michael McGinnis ("McGinnis"). Plaintiff alleges that the defendants subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment and denied him equal protection of the law, in violation of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and 42 U.S.C. §1983.

Plaintiff commenced the instant action on August 20, 2003, claiming that defendants violated his constitutional rights during his incarceration at SCF's Special Housing Unit by confining him for a time in a filthy cell with a soiled mattress, denying him cleaning materials of his choice, permitting the cell block to flood on one occasion, and placing plaintiff in a cell with a transparent plastic shield.

On April 4, 2008, the defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's claims, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 56 (Dkt. #56). On April 11, 2008, the Court issued an Order and Notice to Pro Se Plaintiff, informing plaintiff that a motion for summary judgment had been filed and warning him that failure to respond to the motion on or before the deadline of May 14, 2008 could result in dismissal of the case (Dkt. #60). On August 18, 2008 -- three months after the original deadline for his response had expired -- plaintiff wrote to the Court and requested additional time to respond (Dkt. #63). The Court granted that request, and extended plaintiff's time to respond until November 14, 2008. To date, plaintiff has failed to respond or otherwise oppose defendants' motion for summary judgment.

For the reasons set forth below, the defendants' motion is granted, and the complaint is dismissed.


I. Summary Judgment

Summary judgment will be granted if the record demonstrates that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). See also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986).

"When the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. . . . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no 'genuine issue for trial.'" Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-587 (1986).

Where, as here, the party opposing summary judgment is proceeding pro se, the Court must "read the pleadings ... liberally and interpret them to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Corcoran v. New York Power Auth., 202 F.3d 530, 536 (2d Cir.1999). Nevertheless, "proceeding pro se does not otherwise relieve [an opposing party] from the usual requirements of summary judgment." Fitzpatrick v. N.Y. Cornell Hosp., 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25166 at *5 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). Those requirements include the obligation not to rest upon mere conclusory allegations or denials, but instead to set forth "concrete particulars" showing that a trial is needed. R.G. Group, Inc. v. Horn & Hardart Co., 751 F.2d 69, 77 (2d Cir. 1984).

However, even when a plaintiff "chooses the perilous path of failing to submit a response to a summary judgment motion, the [Court] may not grant the motion without first examining the moving party's submission to determine if it has met its burden of demonstrating that no material issue of fact remains for trial." Amaker v. Foley, 273 F.3d 677, 681 (2d Cir. 2001). If the submitted evidence fails to satisfy the movant's burden of proof, then "summary judgment must be denied even if no opposing evidentiary matter is presented." Vermont Teddy Bear Co. v. 1-800-BEARGRAM Co., 373 F.3d 241, 244 (2d Cir. 2004) (quoting Giannulo v. City of New York, 322 F.3d 139, 141 (2d Cir. 2003).

II. Plaintiff's Claims

Prison conditions are unconstitutional where they result in the "unnecessary and wanton" infliction of pain and are "totally without penological justification." Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 346 (1981). Mere unpleasantness is insufficient: the claim must be based upon "extreme deprivations," Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992), which are ...

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