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Arkim v. Bellnier

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 5, 2014

BARRY ARKIM, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH F. BELLNIER, et al., Defendants.

BARRY ARKIM, Plaintiff, pro se.

COLLEEN D. GALLIGAN, Asst. Attorney General for Defendants.

REPORT-RECOMMENDATION

ANDREW T. BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.

Presently before the court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. This matter was referred to me for Report and Recommendation by the Honorable Gary L. Sharpe, Chief United States District Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b) and Local Rules N.D.N.Y. 72.3(c).

DISCUSSION

I. Procedural Background[1]

In this civil rights complaint, plaintiff[2] alleged that defendants violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc-2000cc-5 ("RLUIPA").[3] ( See generally Dkt. No. 1 ("Compl.")). Plaintiff sought significant monetary damages, as well as injunctive relief. After answering the complaint ( see Dkt. Nos. 67, 84, 93), defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rules") 12(c). (Dkt. No. 107).

On December 9, 2010, I recommended granting defendants' motion in part. (Dkt. No. 133). The recommendation was adopted in its entirety by Chief Judge Sharpe in a Decision and Order dated August 2, 2011. (Dkt. No. 139). Chief Judge Sharpe dismissed plaintiff's First Amendment and RLUIPA claims and several defendants. Chief Judge Sharpe also dismissed plaintiff's claim that the Department of Corrections ("DOCS")[4] policy regarding double occupancy housing was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause as applied to plaintiff. Plaintiff's claim that the policy was unconstitutional on its face, however, survived defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings, primarily because defendants failed to address this claim in their motion. ( See Dkt. No. 133 at 27-28).

On April 30, 2013, the remaining defendants filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56. (Dkt. No. 158). Although plaintiff was granted an extension to respond to the motion (Dkt. No. 163), he did not file an opposition. The only remaining claim is that defendants' double occupancy housing assignment policies violate the Equal Protection Clause on their face. For the following reasons, this court finds that the policies do not violate the Equal Protection Clause and will recommend dismissal of the entire complaint against all remaining defendants.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate where there exists no genuine issue of material fact and, based on the undisputed facts, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 272-73 (2d Cir. 2006). "Only disputes over ["material"] 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, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). It must be apparent that no rational finder of fact could find in favor of the non-moving party for a court to grant a motion for summary judgment. Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., 22 F.3d 1219, 1224 (2d Cir. 1994).

The moving party has the burden to show the absence of disputed material facts by informing the court of portions of pleadings, depositions, and affidavits which support the motion. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the moving party satisfies its burden, the nonmoving party must move forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d at 273. In that context, the nonmoving party must do more than "simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). However, in determining whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, a court must resolve all ambiguities, and draw all inferences, against the movant. See United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962); Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d at 272.

III. Equal ...


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