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Goodson v. Provosk

United States District Court, Second Circuit

April 29, 2013


THOMAS GOODSON, 90-T-1254 Attica, New York, Plaintiff pro se.

HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, CHRISTOPHER W. HALL, ESQ. Attorney General for the State of New York Albany, New York, Counsel for Defendants.



This pro se prisoner civil rights action, commenced pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, has been referred to me for Report and Recommendation by the Honorable David N. Hurd, United States District Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 72.3(c). Plaintiff Thomas Goodson claims that Defendant Correction Officers John Rio and John Provosk subjected him to excessive force when he was an inmate at Clinton Correctional Facility. (Dkt. No. 20.) Currently pending before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (Dkt. No. 30.) For the reasons discussed below, I recommend that the Court grant Defendants' motion.


Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is warranted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of showing, through the production of admissible evidence, that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 272-73 (2d Cir. 2006). Only after the moving party has met this burden is the nonmoving party required to produce evidence demonstrating that genuine issues of material fact exist. Id. at 273. The nonmoving party must do more than "rest upon the mere allegations... of the [plaintiff's] pleading" or "simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 & n.11 (1986). Rather, 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 v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In determining whether a genuine issue of material[1] fact exists, the Court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the moving party. Major League Baseball Props., Inc. v. Salvino, Inc., 542 F.3d 290, 309 (2d Cir. 2008).


Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"). (Dkt. No. 30-4.) Defendants are correct.

Under the PLRA, "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983... by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). "[T]he PLRA's exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong." Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). In order to properly exhaust administrative remedies under the PLRA, inmates are required to complete the administrative review process in accordance with the rules applicable to the particular institution to which they are confined. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218 (2007) (quoting Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88 (2006)). In New York state prisons, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS") has a well-established three-step inmate grievance program. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 7, § 701.5 (2013).

Generally, the DOCCS Inmate Grievance Program ("IGP") involves the following procedure for the filing of grievances. First, an inmate must file a complaint with the facility's IGP clerk within twenty-one calendar days of the alleged occurrence. Id. at § 701.5(a) (2010). A representative of the facility's inmate grievance resolution committee ("IGRC") has sixteen calendar days from receipt of the grievance to informally resolve the issue. Id. at 701.5(b)(1). If there is no such informal resolution, then the full IGRC conducts a hearing within sixteen calendar days of receipt of the grievance ( Id. at § 701.5(b)(2)), and issues a written decision within two working days of the conclusion of the hearing. Id. at § 701.5(b)(3).

Second, a grievant may appeal the IGRC decision to the facility's superintendent within seven calendar days of receipt of the IGRC's written decision. Id. at 701.5(c)(1). If the grievance involves an institutional issue (as opposed to a DOCCS-wide policy issue), the superintendent must issue a written decision within twenty calendar days of receipt of the grievant's appeal. Id. at § 701.5(c)(3)(ii). Grievances regarding DOCCS-wide policy issues are forwarded directly to the central office review committee ("CORC") for a decision under the process applicable to the third step. Id. at 701.5(c)(3)(i).

Third, a grievant may appeal to CORC within seven working days of receipt of the superintendent's written decision. Id. at 701.5(d)(1)(i). CORC is to render a written decision within thirty calendar days of receipt of the appeal. Id. at 701.5(d)(3)(ii).

An inmate may seek an extension of the time limits in writing at any of the steps, but such a request must be made within forty-five days of the incident being grieved or the decision being appealed. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 7, § 701.6(g) (2013). If an inmate believes that an extension was wrongly denied, he may file a separate grievance protesting the denial. Id.

If a prisoner has failed to properly follow each of the applicable steps prior to commencing litigation, he has failed to exhaust his ...

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