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Jose Quezada v. Poole

September 18, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny Chief Judge United States District Court



In this action, pro se Plaintiff Jose Quezada alleges, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by denying him adequate medical care while he was an inmate at Five Points Correctional Facility ("Five Points") in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services. Presently before this Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.*fn1 For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted in its entirety.


A. Facts

This Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the facts and record of proceedings in this case.*fn2 The Court is presented with Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff's remaining claim for inadequate medical care. (Docket No. 31.)Plaintiff originally filed his complaint on April 6, 2006. (Docket No. 1.) Plaintiff requested, and was granted, leave to proceed forma pauperis on August 9, 2006. In the same Order, this Court dismissed, with prejudice, Plaintiff's First, Second, Third, and Fourth Causes of Action. (Docket No. 7.)

Defendants brought the present motion for summary judgment on April 29, 2008 to dismiss Plaintiff's final claim-- that he was denied adequate medical care in violation of his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. (Docket No. 31.) After several missed deadlines, Plaintiff filed a response on December 30, 2008. (Docket No. 51.)


A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if "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 movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986). An issue of material fact is "genuine" if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the evidence and the inferences drawn from the evidence must be "viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion." Addickes v. S.H. Kress and Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59, 90 S. Ct.1598, 1609, 26 L. Ed. 2d 142 (1970). "Only when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of evidence is summary judgment proper." Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir. 1991). The function of the court is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. "Assessments of credibility and choices between conflicting versions of the events are matters for the jury, not for the court on summary judgment." Rule v. Brine, Inc., 85 F.3d 1002, 1011 (2d Cir. 1996).

But a "mere scintilla of evidence" in favor of the nonmoving party will not defeat summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. A nonmoving party must do more than cast a "metaphysical doubt" as to the material facts; it must "offer some hard evidence showing that its version of the events is not wholly fanciful." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); D'Amico v. City of N.Y., 132 F.3d 145, 149 (2d Cir. 1998). That is, there must be evidence from which the jury could reasonably find for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

By rule, judgment may also be entered against a party that fails to respond to a properly filed motion for summary judgment, if appropriate. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 (e)(2). This district's Local Rules provide for similar relief: a nonmoving party's failure to file and serve an answering memorandum or affidavit may constitute grounds for resolving the motion against it. See Local Rule 7 (a)(2)(A) and (a)(3).

But failure to oppose or respond to a motion for summary judgment standing alone does not warrant granting the motion: "the district court must still assess whether the moving party has fulfilled its burden of demonstrating that there is no genuine issue of material fact and its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law." See Vt. Teddy Bear Co., Inc. v. 1-800 Beargram Co., 373 F.3d 241, 244, 246 (2d Cir. 2004) ("failure to respond to [a Rule 56] motion does not alone discharge the burdens imposed on a moving party"); Amaker v. Foley, 274 F.3d 677, 681 (2d Cir. 2001). If the moving party fails to submit evidence sufficient to meet its burden, "summary judgment must be denied even if no opposing evidentiary matter is presented." Amaker, 274 F.3d at 681. Consequently, the Second Circuit has emphasized that district courts "'in considering a motion for summary judgment, must review the motion, even if ...

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