United States District Court, W.D. New York
JOSHUA GOODWIN, Pro Se New York.
ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF NEW YORK Attorney for Defendants KIM S. MURPHY, Assistant Attorney General, of Counsel, New York.
REPORT DECISION ORDER
LESLIE G. FOSCHIO, Magistrate Judge.
This action was referred to the undersigned on May 20, 2013, by Honorable Richard J. Arcara for all pretrial matters, including report and recommendation on dispositive motions. The matter is presently before the court on Defendants' motion to dismiss (Doc. No. 9), filed March 22, 2013, and Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint (Doc. No. 15), filed July 1, 2013.
Plaintiff Joshua Goodwin ("Goodwin" or "Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, commenced this civil rights action seeking money damages for injuries sustained on November 21, 2011, while incarcerated at Southport Correctional Facility ("Southport" or "the correctional facility"). Plaintiff specifically alleges that Defendants, all employees of New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), forced Plaintiff, who suffers from degenerative disc disease and had a knee replaced, to walk down stairs, while in full mechanical restraints, causing Plaintiff to fall and sustain injuries. Plaintiff alleges as claims for relief denial of due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and failure to protect in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
On March 22, 2013, Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim (Doc. No. 9) ("Defendants' Motion"), and Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 10) ("Defendants' Memorandum"). In opposition to Defendants' motion, Plaintiff filed on July 1, 2013, a Motion for Enlargement of Time Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 6(b) (Doc. No. 15) ("Plaintiff's Motion"), requesting an extension of time in which to conduct discovery so as to obtain the names of John Doe defendants. In further support of Defendants' Motion and in opposition to Plaintiff's Motion, Defendants filed on July 12, 2013, the Declaration of Assistant Attorney General Kim S. Murphy (Doc. No. 16) ("Murphy Declaration"). On August 12, 2013, Plaintiff filed his Declaration in Further Support of Extension of Amend Complaint [ sic ] (Doc. No. 18) ("Plaintiff's Declaration"). Oral argument was deemed unnecessary.
Based on the following, Defendants' Motion should be GRANTED; Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.
Plaintiff Joshua Goodwin ("Goodwin" or "Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, commenced this civil rights action seeking money damages for injuries sustained while incarcerated at Southport Correctional Facility ("Southport" or "the correctional facility"). Plaintiff specifically alleges that on November 21, 2011, despite suffering from degenerative disc disease and having undergone knee-replacement surgery, he was forced by Defendants, all employees of New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), to walk down stairs while fully restrained with hands cuffed behind his back and tethered to a waist chain, and legs shackled. According to Plaintiff, descending stairs while so restrained caused pain in his replaced knee and his back to give out, as a result of which Plaintiff fell, hitting the left side of his head on which he sustained a cut, and exacerbating his knee and back pain. While Plaintiff was lying on the floor, correctional facility staff were called to aid Plaintiff, but when Plaintiff alleged he had a back injury, no attempt was made to move Plaintiff until medical staff arrived.
Following the fall, Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to Arnot Ogden Medical Center ("AOMC" or "the hospital") in Elmira, New York, where Plaintiff was examined at the emergency room and diagnosed with head and low back pain caused by the fall. Plaintiff was also assessed as having a contusion on the right, front side of his head, and it was noted Plaintiff ambulated with difficulty.
On November 25, 2011, Plaintiff filed an inmate grievance ("inmate grievance"), alleging a corrections officer had falsely accused Plaintiff of threatening to throw feces and when Plaintiff was escorted off the company in full mechanical restraints, Plaintiff's back gave out, but none of the escorting corrections officers rendered assistance. According to the Superintendent's Response ("Superintendent's Response"),  issued December 9, 2011, Plaintiff's grievance, after being "thoroughly investigated by an assigned security supervisor, " including interviews of the escorting officers and review of a video tape of the escort made by one of the officers based on the alleged threats to throw feces at staff, was denied because no evidence showed any attempt by Plaintiff to garner assistance, and the video did not show Plaintiff requesting assistance or advising Defendants of his prior back problems. Also, a review of Plaintiff's medical records established that although Plaintiff had requested a "lock on flats" order ("flats order"), requiring Plaintiff be housed where the need to move between floors was minimal, the correctional facility's medical providers deemed such order unnecessary. Finally, no directive or protocol mandates the correctional facility's medical staff control an inmate's waist chain or arms during movement down stairwells. In the absence of any evidence of malice on the part of the security staff involved in the incident, Plaintiff's inmate grievance was denied. In his statement indicating he was appealing the Superintendent's Response, Plaintiff stated "[t]he staff did not want to hear any thing [ sic ] that I had to say. They just kept hollering at me to turn around for cuffs." Superintendent's Response.
On appeal to the Inmate Grievance Program Central Office Review Committee ("CORC"), the Superintendent's Response was upheld ("CORC Decision"). In particular, the CORC observed that on October 8, 2011 and October 19, 2011, Plaintiff was evaluated by his primary care provider with the Facility Health Services Directors ("FHSD") in connection with Plaintiff's request for a flats lock order, and each time "no medical indication was found for housing him on the flats." CORC Decision. A copy of a Medical Restriction Permit ("Medical Restriction Permit") dated September 17, 2008, and issued at Wende ...