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Brooks v. Rock

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 28, 2014

P. ROCK et al., Defendants.

Emanuel M. Brooks Jr. Pro Se Marcy, NY, FOR THE PLAINTIFF.

HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, New York Attorney General, STEPHEN M. KERWIN, Assistant Attorney General, State of New York, Albany, NY, FOR THE DEFENDANTS.


GARY L. SHARPE, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff pro se Emanuel M. Brooks Jr. commenced this action against defendants P. Rock, P. Chase, [1] T. LaValley, R. Paquette-Monthie, [2] and Eric Gutwein[3] alleging a host of civil rights violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ( See generally Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) Following the dismissal of some claims, (Dkt. No. 17), defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint in its entirety. (Dkt. No. 42). Brooks also moved for preliminary injunctions and the appointment of counsel. (Dkt. Nos. 54, 58.) In a Report-Recommendation (R&R) dated January 17, 2014, Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter recommended that defendants' motion be granted, and that Brooks' motions be denied. (Dkt. No. 60.) Pending is Brooks' "Motion of Appeal and Objection to [Decision], " which, as explained below, is liberally construed as both an objection to the R&R and request for leave to amend. (Dkt. No. 62.) For the reasons that follow, the R&R is adopted in its entirety, and leave to amend is denied.

II. Background

Brooks, an inmate in the custody of the New York Department of

Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), was housed at Clinton Correctional Facility for the first time period relevant to his complaint. (Dkt. No. 42, Attach. 5 at 4; Compl. at 5.) While at Clinton, Brooks contends that Rock opened a door, which hit him extremely hard in the forehead, refused him speedy medical attention for his head injury, and falsely charged him with misbehavior. (Compl. at 5.) Chase, who found Brooks not guilty of the charges lodged by Rock, (Defs.' Statement of Material Facts (SMF) ¶ 39, Dkt. No. 42, Attach. 16), allegedly threatened Brooks that he was "going to get [him] at the next [correctional facility], " (Compl. at 5).

Thereafter, Brooks was transferred to Coxsackie Correctional Facility. (Dkt. No. 42, Attach. 5 at 4.) Brooks claims that LaValley arranged for his transfer to Coxsackie, despite his request to be transferred to Sing Sing Correctional Facility, in retaliation for filing a grievance regarding Rock. (Compl. at 6.) While at Coxsackie, Brooks was cited for misbehavior by Paquette-Monthie, (Dkt. No. 42, Attach. 13 at 8); Brooks claims that the misbehavior report was filed in retaliation for his complaint about Rock while at Clinton, (Compl. at 7). According to Brooks, Gutwein, who presided at Brooks' disciplinary hearing on the Coxsackie misbehavior report, (Dkt. No. 42, Attach. 14 ¶ 5), improperly denied Brooks' requests to produce certain witnesses and evidence, found him guilty of the charged conduct, and sentenced him to six months in the special housing unit along with six months loss of good time, (Compl. at 7-8).

This action was filed on September 30, 2011. ( See generally Compl.) In October 2012, following several delays attributable to Brooks before service of process occurred, (Dkt No. 7 at 7-10; Dkt. Nos. 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17), defendants moved to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), (Dkt. No. 31). In response, Brooks sought leave to amend. (Dkt. No. 36.) The court converted defendants' motion to dismiss to a motion seeking summary judgment and denied Brooks' motion for leave to amend for failure to comply with the Local Rules of Practice, but explained that "[i]f, after resolution of the summary judgment motion, [he] still wish[ed] to amend his complaint, he [could do so] in the proper form." (Dkt. No. 38 at 9-10.) In May 2013, defendants filed their motion for summary judgment consistent with the court's conversion of their earlier-filed motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 42.) Before that motion for summary judgment was considered by the court, Brooks filed the aforementioned motions for appointment of counsel and preliminary injunctions. (Dkt. Nos. 54, 58.)

In a January 17, 2014 R&R, Judge Baxter recommended that defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted.[4] (Dkt. No. 60 at 60.) As pertinent here, Judge Baxter determined that: (1) issues of fact precluded summary judgment regarding Brooks' exhaustion of administrative remedies with respect to his claims against Rock; (2) Brooks failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to his claims against Chase and LaValley; and (3) despite his failure to exhaust with respect to Chase and LaValley, all claims, against all defendants, were subject to dismissal on the merits. ( Id. at 7.)

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. 04-cv-484, 2006 WL 149049, at *6-7 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2006). In those cases where no party has filed an objection, or only a vague or general ...

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