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Davis v. Chapple

March 16, 2010

TOUSSAINT DAVIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM CHAPPLE, CHIEF DEPUTY; DANIEL G. MIDDAUGH, SHERIFF; ROBERT MYERS, SHIFT COMMANDER; LT. GRIFFO, SHIFT COMMANDER; KEVIN MILLER, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER; BAMBURY, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER; DONALD STOCK, NURSE ADMINISTRATOR; JANE DOE, NURSE; AND HELEN HEIM, GRIEVANCE COORDINATOR, DEFENDANTS.



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

AMENDED DECISION and ORDER

Previously, in this pro se prisoner civil rights action filed by Toussaint Davis ("Plaintiff") against the above-captioned employees of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("Defendants"), the Court issued a Decision and Order adopting in its entirety the Report-Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge David R. Homer, which recommended that Defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted in part and denied in part. (Dkt. No. 49.) However, after the filing of the Judgment in this action, Plaintiff sought, and was granted, leave to file Objections to the Report-Recommendation, which he subsequently did. As a result, currently before the Court are (1) Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 43), (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. 48), and (3) Plaintiff's Objections to the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 53). For the following reasons, the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety, and Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this action on March 27, 2007. (Dkt. No. 1.) Generally, construed with the utmost of liberality, Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that, between approximately February 28, 2006, and October 5, 2006, while Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at Oneida County Correctional Facility in Rome, New York, the above-captioned Defendants violated his constitutional rights. More specifically, Plaintiff's Complaint asserts the following claims: (1) retaliation and denial of access to the courts in violation of the First Amendment; and (2) inadequate medical care, wrongful confinement in administrative segregation, and excessive restraints during recreation, cruel-and-unusual conditions of confinement, and the use of excessive force in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.*fn1 (See generally Dkt. No. 1 [Plf.'s Compl.].) Familiarity with the factual allegations supporting these claims in Plaintiff's Complaint is assumed in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for review by the parties. (Id.)

On May 29, 2009, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of all of Plaintiff's claims. (Dkt. No. 43.) Generally, in support of their motion, Defendants argue as follows: (1) Plaintiff has failed to establish that Defendants were personally involved in the alleged violations; (2) Defendants are protected from liability as a matter of law by the doctrine of qualified immunity; and (3) Plaintiff's Complaint failed to state a claim against Defendants Bambury, Meyers, Griffo, Stock, and Miller. (Id.)

On July 22, 2009, after being granted an extension of time by the Court, Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to Defendants' motion. (Dkt. No. 45.) In his response, Plaintiff argues as follows: (1) his medical indifference claim should not be dismissed because X-rays were only taken of his lower back and should also have been taken of his upper back/neck area; (2) his excessive force claim against Defendant Miller should not be dismissed because Plaintiff has introduced evidence that Defendant Miller physically assaulted him, used pepper spray on him, and tied him up; (3) he was threatened by both Defendant Miller and Defendant Myers because of his underlying conviction for killing a police officer (and, as a result, he lives in fear for his life); and (4) Defendants are not entitled to summary judgment because unresolved issues of fact remain. (Id.)

On November 4, 2009, Magistrate Judge Homer issued a Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendants' motion be granted in part and denied in part. (Dkt. No. 48.) More specifically, Magistrate Judge Homer recommended that (1) Plaintiff's due process, excessive force and improper use of restraints claims survive Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and (2) Plaintiff's other claims be dismissed. (Id.) Familiarity with the grounds of Magistrate Judge Homer's Report-Recommendation is assumed in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for review by the parties.

Objections to the Report-Recommendation were due by November 19, 2009. Neither party timely filed any Objections. As a result, on January 8, 2010, the Court issued a Decision and Order adopting Magistrate Judge Homer's Report-Recommendation in its entirety; Defendants' motion for summary judgment was granted in part and denied in part, and judgment was subsequently entered in favor of three Defendants. (Dkt. Nos. 49 and 50.)

On January 29, 2010, Plaintiff filed a letter with the Court, stating, among other things, that he had been transferred from Clinton Correctional Facility to Onondaga County Correctional Facility, and was not made aware of the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 48) and subsequent Decision and Order adopting the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 49) until he received the Court's January 22, 2010 text notice, which indicated that a pretrial conference was scheduled before Magistrate Judge Homer. (Dkt. No. 51.) In this letter, Plaintiff also stated that he "would like to object to the [Report-Recommendation]," and requested, for the second time, that this action be stayed.*fn2

On February 1, 2010, the Court issued a Text Order that denied Plaintiff's request for a stay of the action but, out of special solicitude to Plaintiff, granted his request for an extension of time to file Objections. On February 15, 2010, Plaintiff filed his Objections to the Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. No. 53.)

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).*fn3 When only general objections are made 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 ...


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