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Proctor v. Kelly

December 16, 2008

PATRICK PROCTOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHARLES F. KELLY, JR, CORRECTIONAL CAPTAIN; GEORGE SEYFERT, DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL; ROBERT T. MURPHY, ACTING DIRECTOR, INMATE DISCIPLINARY PROGRAM; LUCIEN J. LECLAIRE, JR., DEPUTY COMMISSIONER; GLENN S. GOORD, COMMISSIONER; GARY GREENE, SUPERINTENDENT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Glenn T. Suddaby, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

Plaintiff Patrick Proctor ("Plaintiff"), a New York State prison inmate, filed this pro se civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against six (6) correctional officials employed by the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"). Generally, in his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (and various state laws, rules and/or regulations). Currently before the Court are Defendants' motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment, a Report-Recommendation that Defendants' motion be granted in its entirety (and that Plaintiff's cross-motion be dismissed), and Plaintiff's Objections thereto. For the reasons set forth below, the Report-Recommendation is accepted, and Plaintiff's Amended Complaint is dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiff's Claims

Generally, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges that six employees of DOCS--(1) Charles F. Kelly, Jr., Correctional Captain, (2) George Seyfert, Deputy Inspector General, (3) Robert T. Murphy, Acting Director, Inmate Disciplinary Program, (4) Lucien J. LeClaire, Jr., Deputy Commissioner, (5) Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner, (6) Gary Greene, Superintendent ("Defendants") violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (and various state laws, rules and/or regulations) between approximately December 20, 2003, and July 7, 2004, while he was placed in administrative segregation in the Special Housing Unit ("S.H.U.") at Great Meadow Correctional Facility ("Great Meadow C.F."). (See Dkt. No. 19, Prelim. Stmt. and ¶¶ 9, 24, 41-46 [Plf.'s Am. Compl.].)

More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants (1) deprived him of his right to procedural and substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment by failing to conduct a fair and impartial hearing during the December 20, 2003, proceeding that resulted in his placement in administrative segregation, and by failing to conduct meaningful periodic reviews of his continued placement in administrative segregation,*fn1 (2) subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment by forcing him to live in the S.H.U., where the conditions were inhumane, and (3) deprived him of his liberty interests under New York State law, rules or regulations by conducting an administrative segregation hearing that was not impartial, and by failing to overturn the outcome of the hearing on appeal. (Id.)

B. Magistrate Judge's Report-Recommendation

On December 18, 2007, Defendants moved for summary judgment, requesting the dismissal of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint in its entirety. (Dkt. No. 93.) The motion was referred to Magistrate Judge DiBianco for a Report-Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 72.3(c). On February 7, 2008, Plaintiff cross-moved for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 98.) On September 30, 2008, Magistrate Judge DiBianco issued a Report-Recommendation that the Court grant Defendants' motion and deny Plaintiff's cross-motion because of Plaintiff's failure to present an issue of material fact. (Dkt. No. 104, at 27-29, 31-33, 39.)

Essentially, Magistrate Judge DiBianco's Report-Recommendation is based on two fundamental conclusions: (1) Plaintiff's due process claims should be dismissed because he has failed to adduce record evidence establishing that Defendants deprived him of any of the process he was due as an inmate facing administrative confinement for safety and security reasons (due to the fact that he had previously escaped from prison, among other reasons); and (2) Plaintiff's inadequate-prison-conditions claim should be dismissed because he has failed to adduce record evidence establishing that the conditions in S.H.U. denied him the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities, and that Defendants caused, and acted with the requisite state of mind with regard to, those conditions. (Id.)

C. Plaintiff's Objections

On October 10, 2008, Plaintiff filed Objections to the Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. No. 107.) The Objections, which are contained in twenty-five (25) single-spaced pages, present numerous arguments, some of which were never presented to Magistrate Judge DiBianco (and which are not accompanied by a showing of cause as to why the Court should excuse Plaintiff's failure to raise those arguments before Magistrate Judge DiBianco). (Compare Dkt. No. 107 [Plf.'s Obj.] with Dkt. No. 98, Part 4 [Plf.'s Memo. of Law].)*fn2

Among Plaintiff's arguments are the following. First, argues Plaintiff, Defendant Kelly conducted Plaintiff's administrative segregation hearing on December 20, 2003, in a biased and arbitrary manner because (a) at the beginning of the hearing Defendant Kelly stated, "I have career goals, I have to go along with the program," (b) in reaching his decision he wrongfully considered certain materials (such as an Unusual Incident Report regarding Plaintiff's possession of a "filed nail clipper"), and (c) after the hearing he tampered with the tape recording of the hearing. (Id.) Second, argues Plaintiff, he was wrongfully subjected to double jeopardy when, on December 20, 2003, Defendant Kelly essentially subjected Plaintiff to a second term of administrative segregation based on the same evidence on which Plaintiff's first term of administrative segregation had been based. (Id.) Third, argues Plaintiff, he enjoyed a substantive due process right in remaining free from administrative segregation. (Id.) Fourth, argues Plaintiff, he was deprived of his procedural due process right to receive periodic reviews of his placement in administrative segregation. (Id.) Fifth, argues Plaintiff, Defendant Goord was on constructive notice of the sort of problems that were occurring at the Great Meadow C.F. S.H.U. (due to various lawsuits and grievances that had been filed), and that his failure to correct those conditions constituted a violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights. (Id.) Sixth, argues Plaintiff, Defendants are liable to him under New York State law, rules and/or regulations (which entitle him to a fair and impartial hearing officer, a recording of his administrative segregation hearing, and the expungement of certain material from his inmate record).

In addition, Plaintiff requests that certain information be redacted from Magistrate Judge DiBianco's Report-Recommendation and/or the record on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Id. at 9, 16.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

When specific objections to a magistrate judge's Report-Recommendation are made, the Court makes a "de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).*fn3

When only general objections are made (or the party merely reiterates his original allegations or arguments), the Court reviews for clear error or manifest injustice. See Brown v. Peters, 95-CV-1641, 1997 WL 599355, at *2-3 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 22, 1997) (Pooler, J.) [collecting cases], aff'd without opinion, 175 F.3d 1007 (2d Cir. 1999).*fn4 Similarly, when a party makes no objection to a portion of a Report-Recommendation, the Court reviews that portion for clear error or manifest injustice. See Batista v. Walker, 94-CV-2826, 1995 WL 453299, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 31, 1995) (Sotomayor, J.) [citations omitted]; Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), Advisory Committee Notes: 1983 Addition [citations omitted]. After conducing ...


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