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Murray v. Pataki

April 9, 2009

JOEL MURRAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GEORGE E. PATAKI, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK STATE; GLENN S. GOORD, COMMISSIONER, N.Y.S. D.O.C.S.; DANIEL SENKOWSKI, SUPERINTENDENT, CLINTON C.F.; DR. KANG LEE, M.D., PHYSICIAN, CLINTON C.F.; DR. M. MELENDZ, M.D., PHYSICIAN, CLINTON C.F.; R. LEDUC, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, CLINTON C.F.; R. GIRDICH, SUPERINTENDENT, FRANKLIN C.F.; J. TRAVERS, CORRECTIONAL LIEUTENANT, FRANKLIN C.F.; N. IRWIN, CORRECTIONAL SERGEANT, FRANKLIN, C.F.; J. FORTH, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, FRANKLIN, C.F.; S. JONES, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, FRANKLIN C.F.; AND T. REIF, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, BARE HILL C.F., DEFENDANTS.



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

DECISION and ORDER

Currently before the Court in this pro se prisoner civil rights action are Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 135), United States Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece's Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 149), and Plaintiff's Objections thereto (Dkt. No. 150). For the reasons set forth below, the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety, Defendants' motion is granted, and Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 10) is dismissed.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

On October 17, 2003, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this action. (Dkt. No. 1.) On October 30, 2003, the Court issued an Order, inter alia, directing Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint. (Dkt. No. 5.) On November 20, 2003, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. (Dkt. No. 7.) On December 8, 2003, the Court struck Plaintiff's Amended Complaint from the docket due to Plaintiff's failure to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 and 10. (Dkt. No. 8.) On December 22, 2003, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint. (Dkt. No. 10.) On January 9, 2004, the Court accepted that Second Amended Complaint for filing. (Dkt. No. 11.)

Generally, Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint alleges that twelve employees of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS") stationed at Clinton and Franklin Correctional Facilities ("Defendants") violated his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985. (Dkt. No. 10.) More specifically, Plaintiff alleges, inter alia, as follows: (1) Defendants Irwin, Travers, Forth, Jones and Girdich took adverse action against him on or about March 14, 2001, in retaliation for his having filed grievances against Defendants Irwin and Travers in December of 2000, in violation of the First Amendment, (2) Defendants Irwin, Travers, Forth, Jones and Girdich conspired to plant, and did plant, a weapon on Plaintiff, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985; (3) Defendant Leduc issued a false misbehavior report against Plaintiff on August 5, 2001, in retaliation for Plaintiff's having filed a grievance against Leduc in July of 2001; (4) Defendant T. Reif issued a false misbehavior report against Plaintiff on February 13, 2003, in retaliation for Plaintiff's having filed a grievance against the Law Library; (5) Defendant Lee was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment; (6) Defendant Senkowski ordered the removal of asbestos from the correctional facility without the "required permit or approval from the appropriate [o]fficials"; (7) Defendant T. Reif temporarily repossessed, without adequate justification, $125.00 worth of copy cards purchased by Plaintiff; and (8) Defendant Goord is liable due to his role as a supervisor of the other Defendants. (Id.)*fn1

On June 14, 2004, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and failure to serve. (Dkt. No. 30.) On February 28, 2005, Magistrate Judge Treece issued a Report-Recommendation recommending the dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Pataki for failure to state a claim, and the dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Lee, Senkowski, Melendez, Leduc, Irwin, Travers, Forth, Jones, Girdich, Goord, Roy, Reif, and CNY Psychiatric Center for failure to serve. (Dkt. No. 56.) On March 22, 2005, the Report-Recommendation was adopted in its entirety by District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn. (Dkt. No. 60.) On October 17, 2005, the Second Circuit issued a mandate (filed on August 26, 2005) that effectively reinstated Plaintiff's claims against all Defendants except Defendant Pataki.*fn2 (Dkt. No. 65.)

On April 3, 2006, various Defendants filed a second motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (Dkt. No. 81.) On March 5, 2007, Magistrate Judge Treece issued a Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendants' motion be granted in part and denied in part. (Dkt. No. 97.) On March 29, 2007, the Report-Recommendation was adopted in its entirety by District Judge Kahn. (Dkt. No. 100.)

On March 20, 2008, the remaining Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment seeking the dismissal of all claims against them. (Dkt. No. 135.) Generally, Defendants argue that (1) Plaintiff has failed to adduce sufficient record evidence from which a rational trier of fact could find them liable for the claims alleged, and (2) they are entitled to qualified immunity from liability as a matter of law. (Id.) On June 3, 2008, Plaintiff filed his opposition to Defendants' motion after being granted an extension of the time by which to do so. (Dkt. No. 140.) On June 12, 2008, Defendants filed a reply in further support of their motion. (Dkt. No. 141.)

On March 3, 2009, Magistrate Judge Treece issued a Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendants' motion be granted. (Dkt. No. 149.) Familiarity with the grounds of Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation is assumed in this Decision and Order. On March 9, 2009, Plaintiff submitted his Objections to the Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. No. 150.)

II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Standard of Review on Objection from Report-Recommendation

When specific objections are made to a magistrate judge's report-recommendation, 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 to a magistrate judge's report-recommendation, the Court reviews the report-recommendation 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 the appropriate review, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the ...


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