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Joaquin R. Winfield v. Walter Bishop; Darwin

May 10, 2012

JOAQUIN R. WINFIELD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WALTER BISHOP; DARWIN LACLAIR; AND NANCY MAROCCO, DEFENDANTS.



DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court following a Report-Recommendation filed on March 29, 2012 by the Honorable Therese W. Dancks, United States Magistrate Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and L.R. 72.3 of the Northern District of New York. Dkt. No. 65 ("Report Recommendation"). After fourteen days from the service thereof, the Clerk has sent the entire file to the undersigned, including the Objections by pro se Plaintiff Joaquin Winfield ("Plaintiff"), which were filed April 17, 2012. Dkt. No. 67 ("Objections").

II. BACKGROUND

On September 16, 2009, Plaintiff brought this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated during his incarceration at the Great Meadow State Correctional Facility ("Great Meadow") by Defendant Walter Bishop ("Defendant Bishop"), a corrections officer; Defendant Nancy Marocco ("Defendant Marocco"), a disciplinary hearings officer; and Defendant Darwin LaClair (Defendant LaClair), the Superintendent of Great Meadow. Dkt. No. 1 ("Complaint"). In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges: (1) that Defendant Bishop subjected him to excessive force; (2) that Defendant Marocco conducted an unjust disciplinary hearing; and (3) that Defendant LaClair wrongfully imposed a restricted diet on him. Id.

In February 2010, Defendant LaClair moved to dismiss the original Complaint as it pertained to him. Dkt. No. 14 ("First Motion to Dismiss"). Plaintiff opposed the Motion. Dkt. No. 19. On June 21, 2010, Magistrate Judge George H. Lowe recommended that the Complaint be dismissed as to Defendant LaClair with leave to amend two claims. Dkt. No. 22 ("First Report-Recommendation"). On July 12, 2010 the Court approved and adopted the First Report-Recommendation in its entirety. Dkt. No. 28.

Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint on December 29, 2010. Dkt. No. 38 ("Amended Complaint"). Upon initial review of the Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), Judge Lowe recommended that: (1) two of Plaintiff's claims against Defendant LaClair be dismissed with prejudice; (2) Defendant LaClair be directed to respond to Plaintiff's retaliation claim; and (5) Defendants Bishop and Marocco be directed to respond to the Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 46 ("Second Report-Recommendation"). On October 28, 2011 the Court approved and adopted the Second Report-Recommendation in its entirety. Dkt. No. 52.

Currently before the Court is Defendant LaClair's Motion to dismiss the remaining claim against him pursuant to Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and a request by Defendants Bishop and Marocco to reinstate the original Complaint. Dkt. No. 57-1 ("Motion").

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Court is to "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Where, however, an objecting "party makes only conclusory or general objections, or simply reiterates his original arguments, the Court reviews the report and recommendation only for clear error." Farid v. Bouey, 554 F. Supp. 2d 301, 307 (N.D.N.Y. 2008) (quoting McAllan v. Von Essen, 517 F. Supp. 2d 672, 679 (S.D.N.Y. 2007)) (citations and quotations omitted); see alsoBrown v. Peters, No. 95-CV-1641, 1997 WL 599355, at *2-3 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 22, 1997). "A [district] judge . . . may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Court has considered the Objections and reviewed the record and has determined that the Report-Recommendation should be approved and adopted in its entirety for the reasons stated herein.

III. DISCUSSION

A. General Objections

In his Objections, Plaintiff appears to offer a general critique of the characterizations of his claims and the underlying facts found in Report-Recommendation. See generally Obj.*fn1 To this end, Plaintiff devotes much of his Objections to pointing out perceived inconsistencies between his Amended Complaint and the Report-Recommendation, citing extensively to his earlier submissions. See, e.g., Id. at 5 n.8, 7-9. Such "general objections" appear to add nothing of substance to the arguments initially raised in the Complaint and reiterated in the Amended Complaint. As such, the Court reviews the bulk of the Report-Recommendation only for clear error. See Farid, 554 F. Supp. 2d at 307. Upon thorough review of the record and of the Report Recommendation, the Court finds no such error.

B. Retaliation Claim

Beyond his general disagreement with the Court's descriptions of his claims and his general reaffirmation of his earlier argument, however, Plaintiff appears to object specifically to Judge Dancks's conclusion that Plaintiff had failed to allege sufficient causation to make out a retaliation claim against Defendant LaClair. See Obj. ...


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