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Anthony Medina v. Doreen Skowron

August 18, 2011

ANTHONY MEDINA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DOREEN SKOWRON, ASAT PROGRAM ASSISTANT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David G. Larimer United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Anthony Medina, a prisoner in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"), commenced this civil rights action pro se in August 2008. He is now represented by counsel.

Plaintiff has sued several DOCS employees, alleging various claims relating to his removal from the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment Program ("ASAT") at Wende Correctional Facility in 2008. Defendants have moved for summary judgment.

BACKGROUND

In or around February 2008, plaintiff enrolled in the ASAT program at Wende.*fn1 He was also working during that time as a hall porter. Plaintiff also alleges that he had (and continues to have) various physical ailments, that he is nearly blind, and that he has been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

The ASAT classes at Wende were taught by defendants Doreen Skowron and Leah Hosie. The class that plaintiff was in was taught by Skowron. Meetings were held five days a week, and each ASAT program lasted six months.

Plaintiff was in the program for two months, but only went to three classes. Plaintiff's Depo. Tr. (Dkt. #33 Ex. A) at 32. He testified that the reason for this was that he had medical problems and was "in the hospital almost every day" for therapy, as well as to "attend[] legal matters at other facilities ... ." Tr. at 32.

On March 3, 2008, Skowron issued plaintiff a counseling notification (sometimes referred to as a "yellow slip") for violating the dress code, based on his showing up for ASAT not wearing his "state green" uniform. Def. Ex. A. Plaintiff alleges that he told Skowron that he was going to grieve the matter.

Three days later, Skowron issued a misbehavior report against plaintiff, alleging that he had created a disturbance at an ASAT class. Dkt. #1 at 38. Plaintiff attended a disciplinary hearing on March 10, and pleaded guilty to causing a disturbance. He was sentenced to seven days in keeplock, but apparently he never served that sentence because he was temporarily transferred out of Wende that same day.*fn2

On March 20, 2008, plaintiff filed a grievance against Skowron, alleging that she had issued the yellow slip "in retaliation for [his] challenging [her] authority," and that he had a valid excuse for not wearing his state greens. He also alleged that Skowron was sometimes "intoxicated and/or high," and that she had a "habit of passing gas next to inmates and ... crying when someone complains of the smell." Dkt. #1 at 40-42. The grievance was denied on March 31. Dkt. #1 at 43.

On April 1, plaintiff was notified of his termination from ASAT. Dkt. #1 at 46. Plaintiff filed a grievance over that matter the next day. Dkt. #33 at 159.

On April 7, 2008, plaintiff was notified that he was being removed from his porter job. Dkt. #33 at 183. Plaintiff grieved that as well, alleging that "Skowron had me removed solely because of my grievances ... ." Dkt. #33 at 162.

The grievances were denied, based on findings that plaintiff "was appropriately removed from ASAT due to lack of progress within the program," and that he was removed from his job "due to security concerns and for working outside his assigned area." Dkt. #33 at 152. It appears that on or about April 4, 2008, Skowron had informed an officer that plaintiff had been in an area he was not supposed to be in and was "staring" or "glar[ing]" at her. Dkt. #33 at 169, 176.

On April 22, 2008, defendant Karen Crowley, the Deputy Superintendent for Programs, sent plaintiff a memo stating that "ASAT staff will allow you back in the program after ninety days ... ." Dkt. #1 at 58. Plaintiff states that he eventually reapplied for and was accepted into ASAT in April 2009. Dkt. #51 ΒΆ 25. Plaintiff was ...


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