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Melendez v. Foley

United States District Court, Second Circuit

November 1, 2013

MICHAEL MELENDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
COSTELLO; P. FOLEY; KARLSTROM; RANKIN; KENNEALLY; P. GREIS; JOSEPH TAN; SAMUELSON, Defendants.

DECISION AND ORDER

MICHAEL A. TELESCA, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Pro se plaintiff Michael Melendez ("Plaintiff"), an inmate in custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community ("DOCCS") at Collins Correctional Facility ("Collins"), instituted this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 against Correction Sergeant Costello ("Sgt. Costello"); Correction Sergeant P. Foley ("Sgt. Foley"); Correction Officer Karlstrom ("C.O. Karlstrom"); Correction Officer Rankin ("C.O. Rankin"); Lieutenant Kenneally ("Lt. Kenneally"); Deputy Superintendent P. Greis ("D.S. Greis"); Dr. Tan; and Nurse Administrator Samuelson ("N.A. Samuelson").

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

Plaintiff's allegations cover disparate incidents and will be discussed in more detail in the "Discussion" section of this Decision and Order. Plaintiff generally alleges that Sgt. Costello, Sgt. Foley, C.O. Karlstrom, C.O. Rankin, Lt. Kenneally, and D.S. Greis filed false misbehavior reports against him in retaliation for his filing of grievances and a civil rights complaint against individuals employed at Attica Correctional Facility. He also asserts that Dr. Tan was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs (eczema), and N.A. Samuelson is liable in a supervisory capacity for Dr. Tan's deliberate indifference.

Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss (Dkt #9) asserting that Plaintiff's allegations fail to state any claims upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff, in response to the motion to dismiss, filed a motion to amend (Dkt #15) attaching a proposed amended complaint, purporting to cure the pleading deficiencies identified by Defendants in the original complaint. Defendants filed a brief (Dkt #17) opposing Plaintiff's motion to amend.

This matter was transferred to the undersigned on October 15, 2013 (Dkt #18). In evaluating Defendants' motion to dismiss, the Court has considered the allegations in Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint (Dkt #15). For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that Plaintiff's amended pleading does not cure the deficiencies identified in Defendants' motion to dismiss. Accordingly, although Plaintiff's motion to amend is granted, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted, and the amended complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

III. General Legal Principles

A. Motions to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

Rule 12(b)(6) allows dismissal of complaints based upon the plaintiff's failure "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). In order "[t]o survive a motion to dismiss under [Rule 12(b)(6)], a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___, ___ , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). In assessing a claim's plausibility, the district court must "assume [the] veracity" of all well-pleaded factual allegations contained in the complaint, Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1950, and draw every reasonable inference in favor of the plaintiff, Zinermon v. Burch , 494 U.S. 113, 118 (1990). However, the plaintiff's allegations must consist of more than mere labels or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, " and bare legal conclusions are "not entitled to the assumption of truth." Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50.

B. Construction of Pro Se Pleadings

The Supreme Court has noted that "[a] document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, ' and must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Erickson v.Pardus , 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); see also Bertin v. United States , 478 F.3d 489, 491 (2d Cir. 2007). Because Plaintiff is acting pro se, the Court will construe his submissions liberally, "to raise the strongest arguments they suggest." Bertin , 478 F.3d at 489.

III. Discussion

A. Retaliatory Filing of False ...


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