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Carl v. Dirie

August 24, 2010

KIM CARL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ARTHUR DIRIE, DEPUTY SECURITY SUPERINTENDENT, GREENE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; PETER D. BEHRIC, SUPERINTENDENT, GREENE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; AND TRUDELL, SERGEANT, GREENE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, 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 Kim Carl ("Plaintiff") are (1) Defendants' motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 14), (2) United States Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece's Report-Recommendation, recommending that Defendants' motion be granted in part and denied in part (Dkt. No. 17), and (3) Plaintiff's objection to the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 18). For the reasons that follow, the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety, and Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff filed his Complaint on June 22, 2009. (Dkt. No. 1.) Construed with the utmost of liberality, Plaintiff's Complaint and exhibits thereto allege that, between April 4, 2009, and May 14, 2009, while he was incarcerated at Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie, New York, the above-captioned Defendants violated his following constitutional rights in the following manner: (1) Defendant Dirie retaliated against him, in violation of his First Amendment rights, by ordering Defendant Trudell to issue a false misbehavior report in response to Plaintiff's written letter to Diane VanBurden, an Assistant Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"), complaining that Defendant Dirie's change in prison food policy was retaliatory in nature; (2) Defendant Gutwein denied him adequate due process, in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights, by holding only a partial disciplinary hearing, prejudging him as guilty, and convicting him without sufficient evidence; and (3) Defendants subjected him to inadequate prison conditions, harassed him, and/or issued him a false misbehavior report, in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. (See generally Dkt. No. 1 [Plf.'s Compl.].) Plaintiff also asserts a supervisory liability claim against Defendant Behric for failing to address issues of alleged staff misconduct. (Id.)

For a more complete recitation of Plaintiff's claims, and the factual allegations supporting them, the reader is referred to Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety, and to Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 17.)

B. Defendants' Motion

On September 24, 2009, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, seeking dismissal of all of Plaintiff's claims. (Dkt. No. 14.) In support of their motion, Defendants argue as follows: (1) Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed because it fails to allege facts plausibly suggesting a claim upon which relief can be granted; (2) Plaintiff's due process claim premised on an alleged false misbehavior report should be dismissed because Plaintiff was afforded all the process he was due, and was subsequently cleared of all charges; (3) Plaintiff's retaliation claim should be dismissed because Plaintiff was found guilty of possessing an internal memorandum and served an appropriate sentence; (4) Plaintiff has failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting a claim upon which relief can be granted under the Eighth Amendment; and (5) Plaintiff's supervisory liability claim should be dismissed based on lack of personal involvement. (See generally Dkt. No. 14.)

On October 22, 2009, Plaintiff filed his response in opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 15.) In his response, Plaintiff argues as follows: (1) prison officials brought a false disciplinary charge against him because the memorandum he was alleged to be in unauthorized possession of was addressed to inmates and their families; (2) these false charges were brought in retaliation for having complained about Superintendent Dirie's directive authorizing a change in food packages for inmates brought by visitors to the facility; (3) during his transfer to another correctional facility, prison officials lost his legal documents and he did not have an opportunity to prepare for his hearing deposition; and (4) Plaintiff was convicted of the charges despite a lack of evidence or investigation. (Dkt. No. 15 at 11-14)

C. Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation

On March 29, 2010, Magistrate Judge Treece issued a Report-Recommendation recommending that (1) Plaintiff's due process and Eighth Amendment claims be dismissed, and (2) Plaintiff's retaliation and supervisory liability claims survive Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 17.) Familiarity with the grounds of Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation is assumed in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for review by the parties. (Id.)

D. Plaintiff's Objections

On April 16, 2010, Plaintiff filed his Objections to the Report-Recommendation. (Dkt. No. 18.) In his Objections, Plaintiff argues, inter alia, as follows: (1) his due process claim should not be dismissed because his allegation that he was disciplined on the basis of false charges of unauthorized possession of a prison memorandum plausibly suggests a substantive due process claim; (2) Defendants actions violated Rule 8.1 of the DOCS Employee Manual, which states that disciplinary action "must never be arbitrary or capricious or administered for purposes of retaliation"; and (3) while he only received a 30 day confinement in ...


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