BARTRAM YIHNI DABNEY, 93-A-7310 Dannemora, New York, Plaintiff, Pro Se.
HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, Attorney General for the State of new York, Albany, New York, KEITH A. MUSE, ESQ., Assistant Attorney General, Counsel for Defendant.
DECISION and ORDER
GLENN T. SUDDABY, District Judge.
Currently before the Court, in this pro se prisoner civil rights action filed by Bartram Yihni Dabney ("Plaintiff") against New York State correctional employee M. Stormer ("Defendant"), are Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 46), United States Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles' Report-Recommendation recommending that Defendant's motion be granted (Dkt. No. 59), and Plaintiff's Objections to the Report-Recommendation (Dkt. No. 60). For the reasons set forth below, the Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety; Defendant's motion is granted' and Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed.
I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND
A. Sole Claim Remaining in Plaintiff's Complaint
Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this action on May 3, 2010. (Dkt. No. 1.) On January 4, 2011, and March 7, 2012, the Court issued Decisions and Orders that, inter alia, dismissed various of Plaintiff's claims. (Dkt. Nos. 14, 36.) Generally, following those two Decisions and Orders, the sole claim remaining in Plaintiff's Complaint asserts that, while he was incarcerated at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York, Defendant violated his rights under the First Amendment by retaliating against him for filing a grievance against Defendant on November 13, 2008. (Dkt. No. 1.) More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant retaliated against him in the following ways: (1) denying him access to the commissary on November 13, 2008; (2) disconnecting the electrical supply to his cell from November 26, 2008, and November 30, 2008; (3) refusing to allow him to attend a disciplinary proceeding on November 29, 2008; and (4) at some point after November 13, 2008, making a degrading remark about his religion. ( Id. at ¶¶ 6-11.) Familiarity with the particular factual allegations supporting this claims is assumed in this Decision and Order, which is intended primarily for the review of the parties. ( Id. at "Statement of Claim.")
B. Parties' Briefing on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
Generally, in his motion for summary judgment, Defendant asserts the following two arguments: (1) based on the admissible record evidence, no rational fact finder could conclude that Plaintiff has established any of the three elements of a First Amendment retaliation claim; and (2) in any event, based on the current record, Defendant is protected from liability as a matter of law by the doctrine of qualified immunity. (Dkt. No. 46, at Point I-II.) Accompanying his motion were, inter alia, both a Statement of Material Facts and the District's form Notification of the Consequences of Failing to Respond to a Summary Judgment Motion. (Dkt. No. 46, Attach. 1-2.) Another copy of that form notification was sent to Plaintiff by the Court, following the filing of Defendant's motion. (Dkt. No. 47.)
Generally, in his response, Plaintiff asserts the following two arguments: (1) by denying Plaintiff the right to attend a disciplinary proceeding, Defendant Stormer violated Plaintiff's due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment; and (2) because Plaintiff's right against cruel and unusual punishment was clearly established during the time in question, Defendant is not protected from liability as a matter of law by the doctrine of qualified immunity. (Dkt. No. 48, at Points I-II.) Plaintiff's papers were devoid of what Local Rule 7.1 of the Local Rules of Practice for this Court requires as a Response to Defendant's Statement of Material Facts. ( See generally Dkt. No. 48.)
Generally, in his reply, Defendant argues that all the facts asserted and properly supported by Defendant in his Statement of Material Facts must be deemed admitted for purposes of Defendant's motion, because Plaintiff has failed to deny those facts in matching numbered paragraphs supported by accurate record citations, as required by Local Rule 7.1(a)(3). (Dkt. No. 49.)
C. Magistrate Judge Peebles' Report-Recommendation
Generally, in his Report-Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Peebles recommends that Defendant's motion be granted, because no rational factfinder could conclude from the admissible record evidence that Plaintiff has established a First Amendment retaliation claim. (Dkt. No. 59.) More specifically, Magistrate Judge Peebles finds that, even assuming that the record supports a finding that Plaintiff has satisfied the first two elements of a retaliation claim (i.e., the existence of protected activity and adverse action), there is no record evidence to support the third element (i.e., a causal connection between the protected activity and adverse action). ( Id. at Part III.B.) Familiarity with ...