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Thaxton v. Simmons

United States District Court, Second Circuit

September 9, 2013

RONNIE THAXTON, Plaintiff,
v.
A. SIMMONS, Corrections Officer, Upstate Correctional Facility, BUSH, Corrections Officer, Upstate Correctional Facility, K. GARNEAU, Nurse, Upstate Correctional Facility, JOHN DOE, Corrections Officer, Upstate Correctional Facility, Defendants.

RONNIE THAXTON 99-B-0711 Ossining, New York Plaintiff pro se

CHRISTOPHER W. HALL, AAG OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Albany, New York, Attorneys for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Pro se plaintiff, Ronnie Thaxton, brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging (1) Defendant Simmons retaliated against Plaintiff because of past grievances he filed, (2) Defendants Bush and Doe deprived Plaintiff of nutritional meals, and (3) Defendant Garneau violated Plaintiff's First and Eighth Amendment rights by his deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. See Dkt. No. 60 at 1. Defendants have moved for summary judgment on the grounds that (1) Plaintiff failed to exhaust the available administrative remedies regarding his claims against Defendants Bush and Garneau, (2) Defendants Bush and Simmons were not personally involved in the claimed constitutional violations, and (3) Plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury to support his medical deliberate indifference claim against Defendant Garneau. See Dkt. No. 50-5. In a May 23, 2013 Report-Recommendation and Order, Magistrate Judge Treece recommended that Defendants' motion for summary judgement be granted.

Currently before the Court are Plaintiff's objections to Magistrate Judge Treece's Report-Recommendation and Order.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's claims arose from events between January 12, 2009, and April 28, 2009, while he was in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS") as an inmate in the Upstate Correctional Facility ("Upstate C.F."). See Dkt. No. 50-1 at ¶ 1.

On January 12, 2009, Plaintiff filed a grievance, which the parties have agreed implicated Defendant Simmons, complaining about receiving his meals later than other prisoners. See id. at ¶¶ 2-3. On April 6, Defendant Simmons delivered Plaintiff's evening meal which contained several strands of hair. See id. Plaintiff complained to Defendant Simmons about the hair and he promptly gave Plaintiff another tray of food. See Dkt. No. 50-3 at 25.[1] Plaintiff did not see anyone place the hair in his meal, did not see Defendant Simmons remove the plastic wrap from the meal, and Defendant Simmons stated that he had not "played" with Plaintiff's food. See id. at 26, 28. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Simmons placed the hair in the food as a means of retaliating against him for the January 12 grievance. See id. at 31.

On April 28, 2009, Defendants Bush and Doe served Plaintiff his evening meal containing a piece of metal in his sardines. See Dkt. No. 50-1 at ¶¶ 16-17, 25. Defendant Doe did not touch the food and only delivered Plaintiff his Kool-Aid and hot water. See Dkt. No. 50-3 at 39. Plaintiff did not see Defendant Bush tamper with the food and discovered the piece of metal when he bit into his sardine sandwich. See id. at 38. Plaintiff "noticed drops of blood in the food" after the piece of metal cut his mouth, at which point he called for medical attention. See id. at 45.

Defendant Nurse Garneau and Sergeant Lombard came to Plaintiff's cell within twenty minutes of his request for medical attention. See id. at 34. Defendant Garneau did not inspect Plaintiff's mouth, but stated that there was not much damage and that Plaintiff should not "be a cry baby." See id. at 34. Plaintiff's bleeding completely stopped within an hour and was not "actually a cut anymore" within three or four days. See id. at 50. Plaintiff experienced slight difficulty eating and sleeping directly after the incident, but was able to get the "right amount" of food and sleep. See id. at 54, 56. Plaintiff requested sick call at the Attica Correctional Facility ("Attica C.F.") about a week after the incident. See id. at 54. There, he saw another nurse and a dentist and neither reported any lasting injuries or effects from the incident. See id.

In a May 23, 2013 Report-Recommendation and Order, Magistrate Judge Treece recommended that the Court grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment and close this case. See Dkt. No. 60. In his objections to the Report-Recommendation and Order, Plaintiff generally just reiterates arguments he made in opposing the motion for summary judgment. See Dkt. No. 61. Specifically, Plaintiff presents the following arguments: (1) the metal placed in his sardine sandwich deprived him of the "minimal civilized measures of life's necessities which was nutritionally adequate food that is prepared' and served' under conditions which do not present imminent danger to health and well being of inmates who consume it;" (2) Defendant Garneau violated his Eighth Amendment rights when she refused to examine or treat his injuries; and (3) that the injury to his mouth lasted approximately thirty days and he was prescribed Tylenol for the injury, which shows that it was more than a de minimis injury. See Dkt. No. 61 at 2-4.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of review

When a party files specific objections to a magistrate judge's report-recommendation, the district court makes 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)(1). However, when a party files "[g]eneral or conclusory objections or objections which merely recite the same arguments [that he presented] to the magistrate judge, " the court reviews those recommendations for clear error. O'Diah v. Mawhir, No. 9:08-CV-322, 2011 WL 933846, *1 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 16, 2011) (citations and footnote omitted). After the ...


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