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Edward V. Mitchell v. Donald Carriero

June 14, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles J. Siragusa United States District Judge



Edward V. Mitchell, ("Plaintiff") a prison inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"), is suing pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendmentrights by subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment. Now before the Court is a motion for summary judgment by the Defendants, Corrections Officer Donald Carriero, Corrections Officer Richard Kingsley, Corrections Officer Rob Roy Olver, and Corrections Officer Joseph Zarbo (Docket No. [# 21]), and a cross-motion for summary judgment by Plaintiff [ # 28]. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' application is granted, and Plaintiff's is denied.


From March 14, 2008 to March 20, 2008, Plaintiff was housed in the Mental Health Satellite Unit ("MHU") at Attica Correctional Facility ("Attica") in Wyoming County, New York. Plaintiff alleges that while housed in the MHU, Defendants subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. [# 13.] As a result, Plaintiff alleges that he sustained mental anguish, which caused him to attempt suicide.

On March 27, 2008, Plaintiff filed an inmate grievance concerning the alleged events. [# 13 at 20.] Specifically, he stated that he was verbally harassed, denied medical attention, denied meals, and physically tortured, and that his property was destroyed. [# 13.]

On April 14, 2008, Plaintiff commenced this action in the Southern District of New York, and the case was subsequently transferred on June 4, 2008, to the Western District of New York, which was deemed a more appropriate venue. [# 4.]

On April 21, 2008 a Superintendent's decision was issued denying Plaintiff's inmate grievance. [# 13 at 11.] Investigating Officer Richard Lugo found no evidence to substantiate Plaintiff's claims of being tortured by having water thrown on him or being denied medical attention. [ # 13.] Furthermore, Lugo found no evidence of staff misconduct. [ # 13.] Lugo determined that, although his clothing was damaged, Plaintiff had access to it prior to his release from the MHU, and it was unclear how or when the damage occurred. [# 13.]

The following day, April 22, 2008, Plaintiff appealed the Superintendent's decision [# 13 at 11] and on June 11, 2008, the DOCS Central Office Review Committee ("CORC") issued its decision denying Plaintiff's appeal and reasserting the findings made by the Superintendent's decision [# 13 at 5]. On May 5, 2010, after discovery, Defendants filed the subject motion for summary judgment [# 21],*fn1 and on July 27, 2010 Plaintiff filed a cross motion for summary judgment [# 28].


Summary Judgment

The standard for granting summary judgment is well established. Summary judgment may not be granted unless "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of establishing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). "[T]he movant must make a prima facie showing that the standard for obtaining summary judgment has been satisfied." 11 James Wm. Moore, et al., Moore's Federal Practice § 56.11[1][a] (3d ed. 2008). That is, the burden is on the moving party to demonstrate that the evidence creates no genuine issue of material fact. See Amaker v. Foley, 274 F.3d 677, 681 (2d Cir.2001). Where the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the party moving for summary judgment may meet its burden by showing that the evidentiary materials of record, if reduced to admissible evidence, would be insufficient to carry the non-movant's burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).

Once the movant's burden has been met, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, which in its response must set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A fact is "material" only if the fact has some affect on the outcome of the suit. Catanzaro v. Weiden, 140 F.3d 91, 93 (2d Cir.1998). A dispute regarding a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In determining whether a genuine issue exists as to a material fact, the court must view underlying facts contained in affidavits, attached exhibits, and depositions in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. U.S. v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962). Moreover, the court must draw all reasonable inferences and resolve all ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party. Leon v. Murphy, 988 F.2d 303, 308 (2d Cir.1993); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49. However, a summary judgment motion will not be defeated on the basis of conjecture or surmise or merely upon a "metaphysical doubt" concerning the facts. Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d ...

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