Edward Treat, Pro Se 345241 CNY PC Marcy, NY, Larry Brown, Pro Se 246987 CNY PC Marcy, NY, Myron Wright Pro Se 16906 CNY PC Marcy, NY, Richard Zimmer Pro Se 26118 CNY PC Marcy, NY, for the Plaintiffs.
DOUGLAS J. GOGLIA, Assistant Attorney General, HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, New York State Attorney General, Albany, NY, for the Defendants.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.
Plaintiffs pro se Edward Treat, Larry Brown, Myron Wright, and Richard Zimmer commenced this action against defendants Central New York Psychiatric Center (CNYPC), the New York Office of Mental Health, Michael F. Hogan, Maureen Bosco, Barbara Miller, Marianne Madia, Anthony Gonzalez, James Morgan, Jeff Nowicki, Terri Maxymillain, Elaine Dziadyk, and Miya Burt, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging deprivation of their rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, the New York State Constitution, and the New York State Mental Hygiene Law. (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment in lieu of an answer, seeking dismissal of plaintiffs' claims as a matter of law. (Dkt. No. 27.)
In a Report-Recommendation and Order (R&R) dated August 28, 2013, Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles recommended that defendants' motion be granted, plaintiffs' federal claims be dismissed, and the court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. (Dkt. No. 51.) Plaintiffs filed timely objections to the R&R. (Dkt. No. 52.) For the reasons that follow, the R&R is adopted in its entirety.
Plaintiffs are four convicted sex offenders who have been involuntarily committed to CNYPC for treatment under the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act (SOMTA). (Compl. ¶¶ 4, 10-17.) Plaintiffs primarily allege that the recently enacted bathroom and shower usage policies at CNYPC have deprived them of life's necessities and subjected them to overcrowding and inhumane conditions, in violation of their substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. (See generally Compl.)
In May 2010, an emergency bathroom and shower policy was put in place due to several incidents occurring in the bathrooms, including voluntary and involuntary sexual activity, fights, and trafficking of contraband. (Dkt. No. 27, Attach. 4 ¶¶ 18-20.) Under the emergency policy, all of the bathrooms were monitored by Secure Treatment Care Aids (SCTAs) at all times, use of the bathrooms and shower rooms was restricted to one resident at a time, the bathroom in the treatment mall was to remain locked at all times when the SCTAs were unavailable to monitor, and residents were required to register in advance for fifteen minute shower time slots. (Id. ¶¶ 21-23.)
In July 2010, final "Resident Bathroom and Shower Policies" were implemented. (Id. ¶ 24.) These policies permitted multiple residents to use the bathrooms within the residential units between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., but retained the single use practice during all other hours in the residential units and at all times in the treatment mall. (Id. ¶ 25.) The final policy also expanded the hours during which fifteen minute shower slots were available. (Id. ¶¶ 24, 26.)
III. Standard of Review
Before entering final judgment, this court routinely reviews all report and recommendation orders in cases it has referred to a magistrate judge. If a party has objected to specific elements of the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations, this court reviews those findings and recommendations de novo. See Almonte v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, No. Civ. 904CV484GLS, 2006 WL 149049, at *3, *5 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2006). In those cases where no party has filed an objection, only vague or general objections are filed, or a party resubmits the same papers and arguments already considered by the magistrate judge, this court reviews the findings and recommendations of the magistrate judge for clear error. See id. at *4-5.
IV. Discussion Plaintiffs filed both general and specific objections to the R&R.
Plaintiffs' specific objections can succinctly be summarized as follows: (1) Judge Peebles erroneously determined that the bathroom and shower policies only minimally inconvenienced plaintiffs, (Dkt. No. 52 at 1-2); (2) Judge Peebles misapplied the standard of review by reviewing plaintiffs' complaint in the light most favorable to defendants, and erroneously concluded that the policies were implemented due to a legitimate emergency giving rise to security concerns, (id. at 2-3); and (3) Judge Peebles failed to review plaintiffs' claims regarding defendants' downgrading of their complaints of abuse, (id. at 3). Additionally, plaintiffs filed one general objection, contending that Judge Peebles failed to ...