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Ramirez v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

July 28, 2014

RAMON RAMIREZ, BX NY 10460, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, WARDEN, JOHN DOE, OF VERNON C. BAIN CENTER, IN INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER PARKER, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

KEVIN NATHANIEL FOX, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Ramon Ramirez ("Ramirez"), proceeding pro se, commenced this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking redress for violations of rights guaranteed to him via the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Before the Court is the defendants' motion to dismiss Ramirez's amended complaint, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion is unopposed.

BACKGROUND

Ramirez contends that while he was an inmate at the Vernon C. Bain Correctional Facility of the defendant City of New York ("City"), he slipped and fell in a bathroom, due to "poor lighting" and a "leak in the bathroom, " which caused the floor to be wet. Ramirez maintains that defendant "Warden John Doe, failed to maintain a safe environment for [him, ]" which "created the hazardous condition." According to Ramirez, as a result of falling to the bathroom's wet floor, he injured "his head, back, neck, shoulder and right hand." Ramirez maintains that the warden "and Correctional Officer Parker ["Parker"], should have known about the unforeseeable [sic] risk to his safety when they failed to maintain dorm 2B-A an [sic] as such the defendant [sic] are liable to the plaintiff under the Monell [sic] doctrine."[1]

Ramirez contends that, after he fell, Parker "intentionally interfered with an [sic] caused a delay in [Ramirez's] obtaining medical treatment when she attempted to get him off of the floor claiming that nothing was wrong with him." Ramirez asserts that Parker was "deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, " and that the delay he experienced in receiving treatment for the above-noted injuries, occasioned by Parker's conduct, was "an unreasonable delay." Ramirez contends that, after he was "seen by medical staff at [the correctional facility, ]... an emergency run to an outside hospital was required due to the seriousness of" his injuries. Ramirez alleges that he filed a grievance as a result of the events described above, but he never received a response to his grievance.

The defendants contend that Ramirez failed to complete the grievance process made available to him, via the City's Department of Correction ("DOC") Inmate Grievance Resolution Program ("IGRP"), outlined in revised DOC Directive No. 3375R-A dated March 13, 2008. Under the terms of the IGRP, an inmate who has filed a grievance but has not received a response thereto "should go to the Grievance Office to sign Form #7101R and indicate on that form that a hearing [respecting the subject matter of the grievance] is requested." DOC Directive No. 3375R-A, Section IV(B)(1)(d)(i). As a consequence of failing to comply with the IGRP's procedures, thereby exhausting the administrative remedies provided to him, as he was obligated to do "by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) ["PLRA"], " the defendants contend that Ramirez is unable to obtain relief through this action.

In addition, the defendants assert that "the Amended Complaint should be dismissed in its entirety" because Ramirez "has failed to state a cognizable claim under the Constitution, " since he failed to plead facts tending to show either that the conditions of his confinement were unconstitutional or that the defendants were deliberately "indifferent to his medical needs." According to the defendants, under either theory: unconstitutional conditions of confinement or deliberate indifference to an inmate's medical needs, Ramirez needed to plead facts in his amended complaint tending to show that the deprivation he suffered was "objectively sufficiently serious" and that a corrections official acted with a "sufficiently culpable state of mind, " that is, the official knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to Ramirez's health or safety.

DISCUSSION

"It is well established that the submissions of a pro se litigant must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'" Triestman v. Federal Bureau of Prisons , 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)(citation omitted). The Court has applied that standard in this case.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

"[A] party may assert the following [defense] by motion... failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). "A motion asserting [this defense] must be made before pleading if a responsive pleading is allowed." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). To survive a motion to dismiss, made pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. "Conclusory allegations that the defendant violated the standards of law do not satisfy the need for plausible factual allegations." Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Corp. , 621 F.3d 111, 191 (2d Cir. 2010) (citing Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1965). When a motion is made, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), all facts alleged in the complaint are assumed to be true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in the plaintiff's favor. See Interpharm, Inc. v. Wells Fargo Bank, Nat'l Assoc. , 655 F.3d 136, 141 (2d Cir. 2011). When assessing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court's "consideration is limited to facts stated on the face of the complaint or incorporated... by reference, and to matters [about] which judicial notice may be taken, " Allen v. WestPoint-Pepperell, Inc. , 945 F.2d 40, 44 (2d Cir. 1991), as well as "documents that the [plaintiff] either possessed or knew about and upon which [he] relied in bringing the suit." Rothman v. Gregor , 220 F.3d 81, 88-89 (2d Cir. 2000)(internal citation omitted).[2]

Section 1983

As noted above, the instant action was brought, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, to redress alleged constitutional violations. To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege facts tending to show: "(1) the defendant acted under color of state law; and (2) as a result of defendant's actions, the plaintiff suffered a denial of her federal statutory rights, or her constitutional rights or privileges." Annis v. County of Westchester , 136 F.3d 239, 245 (2d Cir. 1998). ...


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