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Dallio v. Santamore

January 7, 2010

THOMAS DALLIO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SCOTT SANTAMORE; WILLIAM COMSTOCK; FRANK BUKSA; AMOS LECLAIRE; ALICIA MCGUOIRK; LAWRENCE HOPKINSON; CRAIG RAMSDELL; ANDREW BOUCHEY; PAUL GILMORE; DONALD QUINN; ROY GIRDICH; C.O. GETTMAN; LT. O'CONNELL; R.N. KIMBERLY PERREA; R.N. LILLIAN RILEY; AND R.N. DEBRA SMITH, 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 filed by Thomas Dallio ("Plaintiff") against sixteen employees of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("Defendants") are (1) Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 78), (2) United States Magistrate Judge David R. Homer's Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendants' motion be granted in part and denied in part (Dkt. No. 87), and (3) Plaintiff's Objections to the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 88). For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Objections are rejected; the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety; Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part; and Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed in part.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this action on September 27, 2006. (Dkt. No. 1.) Construed with the utmost of liberality, Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that, between approximately November 10, 2003, and November 20, 2003, while he was incarcerated at Upstate Correctional Facility in Malone, New York, the above-captioned Defendants violated his rights in the following manner: (1) by subjecting him to excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment; (2) by failing to intervene to prevent others from subjecting him to excessive force, in violation of the Eighth Amendment; (3) by being deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment; (4) by conspiring to violate his aforementioned constitutional rights; and (5) by committing various torts against him (including assault, battery and negligence) under New York State law. (See generally Dkt. No. 1 [Plf.'s Compl.].)

More specifically, Plaintiff alleges as follows: (1) Defendants Santamore, Comstock, LaClaire, Buksa, Ramsdell, and Hopkins assaulted him after he was fully restrained in his cell; (2) Defendants Gilmore and McGuoirk failed to intervene during this incident; (3) Defendants Riley and Perrea failed to properly treat him for his subsequent injuries; and (4) Defendants conspired against him by falsifying investigative reports and medical records. (Id.)

For a more detailed recitation of Plaintiff's factual allegations, the Court refers the reader to the Complaint in its entirety, and Magistrate Judge Homer's Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 87.)

B. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Response

On October 1, 2008, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 78.) In their motion, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed for the following reasons: (1) Plaintiff has failed to establish an excessive-force claim and/or a failure-to-intervene claim under the Eighth Amendment because insufficient record evidence exists from which a rational fact finder could conclude either that Plaintiff was subjected to force that was sufficiently serious or that Defendants used that force with a sufficiently culpable mental state; (2) Plaintiff has failed to establish a medical-indifference claim under the Eighth Amendment because insufficient record evidence exists from which a rational fact finder could conclude either that Plaintiff experienced a medical need that was sufficiently serious or that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to such a medical need; (3) Defendants are protected from liability as a matter of law by the doctrine of qualified immunity; (4) Plaintiff has failed to establish a conspiracy claim because insufficient record evidence exists from which a rational fact finder could conclude that Defendants reached an agreement to deprive Plaintiff of his constitutional rights; and (5) Plaintiff's pendant state law claims (of assault, battery and negligence) should be dismissed under the Eleventh Amendment and New York Corrections Law § 24 because (a) Plaintiff sued Defendants for damages arising out of acts that they allegedly performed or failed to perform within the scope of their employment, and (b) New York Civil Law Practice Law and Rules § 215(3) bars Plaintiff's intentional tort claims on the ground of untimeliness. (Dkt. No. 78, Attachment 20, at 7-18.)

On October 31, 2008, Plaintiff filed his response in opposition to Defendants' motion. (Dkt. No. 85.) In his response, Plaintiff argues as follows: (1) he has adduced sufficient record evidence to establish an excessive-force claim and a failure-to-intervene claim under the Eighth Amendment; (2) he has adduced sufficient record evidence to establish a medical-indifference claim under the Eighth Amendment; (3) Defendants are not protected from liability as a matter of law by the doctrine of qualified immunity, based on the current record; and (4) Plaintiff has adduced sufficient record evidence to establish a conspiracy claim. (Dkt. No. 85, Attachment 2, at 1-14.) In addition, Plaintiff concedes that his state law claims are barred by New York Corrections Law § 24. (Id. at 13.)

C. Magistrate Judge Homer's Report-Recommendation

On October 26, 2009, Magistrate Judge Homer issued a Report-Recommendation recommending as follows: (1) that all of Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Bouchey, Quinn, Girdich, Gettman, O'Connell, Perrea, and Riley be dismissed with prejudice pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56;*fn1 (2) that Plaintiff's excessive-force claims and failure-to-intervene claims against Defendants Santamore, Comstock, McGuoirk, LaClaire, Buksa, Ramsdell, Hopkinson and Gilmore not be dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 due to the existence of genuine issues of material fact regarding those claims; and (3) that Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Smith be dismissed without prejudice for failure to serve, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m) and N.D.N.Y.L.R. 4.1(b). (Dkt. No. 87.)

D. Plaintiff's Objections

On November 4, 2009, Plaintiff timely filed his Objections to the Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. No. 88.) In his Objections, Plaintiff asserts, inter alia, the following arguments: (1) he did not hit his head against the wall, but rather his injuries were caused by Defendants, a fact that Defendants are collectively trying to "cover up";*fn2 (2) because Magistrate Judge Homer failed to refer to a number of his exhibits in the Report-Recommendation, he failed to resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences in his favor; (3) Plaintiff did not receive adequate due process during his grievance investigation in that he was denied an opportunity to "present witnesses and other evidence in support of his Grievance Complaint"; and (4) Defendants Perrea, Riley, Girdich, and O'Connell should not be dismissed ...


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