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Murray v. Weissman

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


November 12, 2009

JAMES MURRAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EVELYN WEISSMAN, DOCTOR; C. MANVILLE, CORRECTIONS OFFICER; T. BROUSSEAU, INMATE GRIEVANCE PROGRAM SUPERVISOR; ROY A. GIRDICH, SUPERINTENDENT; C. RICHARDS, PHYSICIAN; AND JOHN/JANE DOES ## 1-18, DEFENDANTS.

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

MEMORANDUM DECISION and ORDER

Currently before the Court in this pro se prisoner civil rights action filed by James Murray ("Plaintiff") are Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 57), and United States Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece's Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendants' motion be granted in its entirety and that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint be dismissed. (Dkt. No. 68.) Plaintiff has not submitted an Objection to the Report- Recommendation. For the reasons set forth below, the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety; Defendants' motion is granted in its entirety; and Plaintiff's Amended Complaint is dismissed in its entirety.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his original Complaint in this action on September 19, 2005. (Dkt. No. 1.) After an Order of Compliance was issued by the Court on September 28, 2005, Plaintiff timely filed an Amended Complaint in this action on November 18, 2005. In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts Eighth Amendment claims for inadequate medical care and insufficient prison conditions. (Dkt. No. 6.) More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that (1) he was denied adequate medical care when Defendants Weissman and Richards failed to properly diagnose and treat his spine/hip condition, (2) Defendants Weissman and Girdich allowed an improper sick call policy wherein prisoners were passed over by the Nurses during sick call, (3) Defendant Manville denied him adequate bedding, recreation, food, supplies and showers, (4) Defendant Brousseau failed to process his grievance claims, and (5) Defendant Girdich was aware of the actions of Defendants Manville and Brousseau. (Id.)

On January 20, 2009, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of all of Plaintiff's claims. (Dkt. No. 57.) In their motion, Defendants make the following arguments in support of their request: (1) Plaintiff has failed to establish an Eighth Amendment claim for medical indifference; (2) Plaintiff has failed to show the personal involvement of Defendants Weissman and Girdich with respect to the sick call policy; (3) Plaintiff has failed to establish his conditions of confinement claim; and (4) Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. (Id.) Defendants additionally sought to have the John and Jane Doe Defendants dismissed from the action pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m) and N.D.N.Y.L.R. 4.1(b). (Id.)

After being granted several extensions of time by the Court, Plaintiff failed to submit a response to Defendants' motion. (See, e.g., Dkt. Nos. 58, 61, and 63.) On September 17, 2009, Magistrate Judge Treece issued a Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendants' motion be granted in its entirety. (Dkt. No. 68.) Familiarity with the grounds of Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation is assumed in this Decision and Order. Plaintiff has not submitted an objection to the Report-Recommendation and the time in which to do so has effectively expired.*fn1

II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Standard of Review

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).*fn2

When only general objections are made to a magistrate judge's report-recommendation (or the objecting party merely repeats the allegations of his pleading), 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).*fn3 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 conducting the appropriate review, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).

B. Standard Governing a Motion for Summary Judgment

Magistrate Judge Treece correctly recited the legal standard governing a motion for summary judgment, including the standard governing such motions that are not properly opposed by pro se litigants. (See Dkt. No, 68, pages 2 - 4 and 7 - 8.) As a result, that standard is incorporated by reference herein.

The Court would only add that, where a non-moving party willfully fails to adequately respond to a motion for summary judgment, a district court has no duty to perform an independent review of the record to find proof of a factual dispute-even if that nonmoving party is proceeding pro se.*fn4 This is because the Court extends special solicitude to the pro se litigant, in part by ensuring that he or she has received notice of the consequences of willfully failing to properly respond to the motion for summary judgment.*fn5 (In this case, the Court finds that Plaintiff received such notice on April 22, 2009 [See Dkt. No. 58, at 2-3].)*fn6 As has often been recognized by both the Supreme Court and Second Circuit, even pro se litigants must obey a district court's procedural rules.*fn7 For this reason, this Court has often enforced Local Rule 7.1(a)(3) by deeming facts set forth in a moving party's statement to have been admitted where the nonmoving party has failed to properly respond to that statement*fn8 --even where the nonmoving party was proceeding pro se in a civil rights case.*fn9

After carefully reviewing all of the papers herein, including Magistrate Judge Treece's thorough Report-Recommendation, the Court can find no clear error in the Report-Recommendation.*fn10 As a result, the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety, for the reasons stated therein.

ACCORDINGLY, it is

ORDERED that Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 68) is ACCEPTED and ADOPTED in its entirety; and it is further

ORDERED that Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 57) is GRANTED in its entirety; and it is further

ORDERED that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 6) is DISMISSED in its entirety.


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