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Youmans v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 31, 2014

RICHARD YOUMANS, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK et al., Defendants

Richard Youmans, Plaintiff, Pro se, Stormville, NY.

For Defendants: Eric Brent Porter, Esq., John Michael Buhta, Esq., Lesley Berson Mbaye, Esq., Emily Sweet, Esq., New York City Law Department, New York, NY.

OPINION

Page 358

OPINION & ORDER

KENNETH M. KARAS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Plaintiff Richard Youmans, proceeding pro se, brings this Action against the City of New York (" the City" ), Commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction Dora B. Schriro (" Schriro" ), former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg (" Bloomberg" ), and Corizon Correctional Medical Director Dr. Jean Richard, (" Richard" ) (collectively, " Defendants" ), for injuries that Plaintiff allegedly received

Page 359

while incarcerated at Rikers Island. Defendants move to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the Motion is granted.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

Plaintiff's Complaint can be read to allege the following facts. Plaintiff was incarcerated at Rikers Island for six years, during which time he developed " extensive headaches, dizziness, blackouts, [and] blurred vision." (Second Amended Complaint (" SAC" ) (Dkt. No. 23) ¶ II(D).) Based on a 2012 Legal Aid Society letter to another court in this District that noted that the New York City Department of Correction (" NYC DOC" ) monitors methane levels on Rikers Island and Plaintiff's own unspecified internet research, Plaintiff believes that exposure to methane gas caused his symptoms. ( Id.) Plaintiff asserts that Defendants were aware that Rikers Island is " a toxic waste . . . landfill that . . . emitted methane and other dangerous gases," as well as the effects of such emissions on inmate health. ( Id.) However, according to Plaintiff, NYC DOC failed to notify either inmates or their visitors--including Plaintiff's family--of their exposure to these emissions ( Id.)

Plaintiff sought medical treatment for his symptoms, and is dissatisfied with the treatment he received. Specifically, Defendant claims that " [NYC DOC] Medical Staff" denied Plaintiff a CT Scan or MRI, ( id. ¶ III), and that Defendants Schriro and Richard denied Plaintiff's request for a second medical opinion, ( id. ¶ II(D)). Plaintiff also claims that his migraine headaches " continued [and were] disregarded by [the] medical manager." ( Id. ¶ III.) Plaintiff further claims that Defendants knew of Plaintiff's " methane gas exposure[,] yet instead of fixing the situation[,] they all just pushed this issue under the rug." ( Id. ¶ II(D).)

B. Procedural Background

On May 21, 2012, Plaintiff filed his Complaint. ( See Dkt. No. 2.) He subsequently amended his Complaint on July 2, 2012, ( see Dkt. No. 10), and amended it again on February 15, 2013, ( see Dkt. No. 23). The Court construes Plaintiff's SAC to allege violations of the Eighth and the Fourteenth Amendments, see United States v. Georgia, 546 U.S. 151, 157, 126 S.Ct. 877, 163 L.Ed.2d 650 (2006) (noting that " the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Eighth Amendment's guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment" (citing Louisiana ex rel. Francis v. Resweber, 329 U.S. 459, 463, 67 S.Ct. 374, 91 L.Ed. 422 (1947) (plurality opinion))), which violations would entitle Plaintiff to damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1]

Plaintiff claims to have suffered " mental strain" and " physical hardships" as a result of Defendants' actions (or lack thereof). (SAC ¶ III.) By way of remedy, Plaintiff seeks a CT Scan or MRI, the " eliminat[ion of] mental, physical, [and] emotional stress," and that Defendants pay " special attention [to] inordinate diseases linked to the landfill project" and provide " proper toxic screening." ( Id. ΒΆ V.) In ...


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