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Gssime v. Burge

United States District Court, Second Circuit

July 8, 2013

SAID GSSIME, Plaintiff,
v.
Mr. JOHN BURGE, Elmira C.F. Superintendent; CORRECTION OFFICER Bennett; Lieutenant SCHORNSTHEMER, Defendants.

DECISION AND ORDER

MICHAEL A. TELESCA, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Pro se plaintiff Said Gssime ("Gssime" or "Plaintiff") instituted this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting that Defendants, employees of New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), violated his constitutional rights while he was an inmate in their custody. Presently pending before the Court are the parties' competing motions for summary judgment (Dkt ##38, 48) pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Also pending is Plaintiff's Motion Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2403 (Dkt #46).

II. Factual Background

Plaintiff's supporting allegations cover a number of disparate topics. To avoid unnecessary repetition, the facts pertinent to the alleged constitutional violations will be set forth below in the sections addressing Plaintiff's specific claims.

III. General Legal Principles

A. 42 U.S.C. § 1983

In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the plaintiff must establish the following elements: (1) conduct attributable at least in part to a person acting under color of state law, and (2) deprivation, as the result of the challenged conduct, of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Dwares v. City of New York , 985 F.2d 94, 98 (2d Cir.1993). Section 1983 "is not itself a source of substantive rights, " but merely provides "a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred." Graham v. Connor , 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989) (quoting Baker v. McCollan , 443 U.S. 137, 144, n. 3 (1979)).

B. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate when it is demonstrated that there exists "no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see generally, e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "[W]here the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file.'" Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 324.

If the movant meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does exist. Id. at 331; see also Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986) (citing 10A C. Wright, A. Miller, & M. Kane, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE § 2725, pp. 93-95 (1983)). "[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 323. The moving party thus is "entitled to a judgment as a matter of law" because the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of its case with respect to which it has the burden of proof. Id.

The nonmoving party must produce "significant probative evidence" demonstrating that a material factual dispute does in fact exist; otherwise, summary judgment is appropriate. Anderson , 477 U.S. at 249 (citation omitted). In order to establish a material issue of fact, the nonmovant need only provide "sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual dispute" such that a "jury or judge [is required] to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial." Id. at 248-49 (quoting First Nat'l Bank of Arizona v. Cities Serv. Co. , 391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968)). Thus, the "purpose of summary judgment is to pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.'" Matsushita , 475 U.S. at 587 (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e) advisory committee's note on 1963 amendments).

IV. Discussion

A. Eighth Amendment Claim Against Correction ...


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