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Pierre-Louis v. Martinez

United States District Court, E.D. New York

August 19, 2014

JEFFREY PIERRE-LOUIS, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER MARTINEZ, BADGE # 14856, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

NICHOLAS G. GARAUFIS, District Judge.

Plaintiff, a state prisoner, filed this pro se action alleging that Defendant, a corrections officer, was indifferent to his medical needs while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Brooklyn Detention Complex in Brooklyn, New York. (Compl. (Dkt. 1).) Pending before the court is Defendant Martinez's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. (Mot. to Dismiss (Dkt. 23).) For reasons stated below, Defendant Martinez's motion is GRANTED and the Complaint against him is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is in the custody of the New York City Department of Corrections ("DOC") and housed in the Brooklyn Detention Complex. (Compl. at 2-3.) In his Complaint, which he signed on April 29, 2012, Plaintiff alleges that on April 8, 2012, the toilet and sink in his cell overflowed with water. (See id. at 4.) Plaintiff "slipt [sic] and fell, injuring [his] back and [his] left hip, " which had pins left from a surgery Plaintiff underwent when he was fifteen. (Id.) Although Plaintiff told Defendant Martinez that he "was hurt and needed to go to the clinic, " Defendant Martinez "denied [Plaintiff] from the clinic." (Id.) Plaintiff requested medical treatment consisting of X-rays of his back and hip, as well as permission for his wife to bring Plaintiff his cane from home. (Id.) According to Plaintiff, it "took [him] two days to receive any medical attention" consisting of a 400 mg tablet of methocarbamol (a muscle relaxant) and a 400 mg tablet of ibuprofen. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he filed a grievance complaining of his injuries and requesting X-rays and access to his cane. (Id.) As of the date on which he signed the Complaint, he was "still waiting" for a response. (Id. at 2, 4.)

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff initiated this pro se action against Defendant Martinez, the City of New York, and the DOC, alleging a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and seeking $2.5 million in money damages. (Compl.) By Memorandum and Order on September 13, 2012, the court reviewed the Complaint sua sponte pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). (Sept. 13, 2012, Order (Dkt. 6).) The court dismissed Plaintiff's claims against the City of New York and the DOC but allowed Plaintiff to proceed against Defendant Martinez. (Id.)

On May 7, 2013, the court granted Defendant Martinez leave to bring his Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss and set a briefing schedule. (May 7, 2013, Order (Dkt. 15).) Defendant Martinez filed his motion and supporting documents on June 24, 2013.[1] (Dkts. 17-19.) Appended to the Motion to Dismiss was a declaration of an Assistant Corporation Counsel and a summary of DOC administrative remedies. (Decl. of Jeffrey S. Dantowitz ("Dantowitz Decl.") (Dkt. 24).) As required by Local Civil Rule 12.1 of the Eastern District of New York, Defendant Martinez also provided the pro se Plaintiff with notice of his obligations in opposing a motion to dismiss that refers to extrinsic materials, including the possibility that it may be converted into one for summary judgment. (Dkt. 23 at 3-4.)

Plaintiff did not file a response by his deadline; instead he filed a motion to appoint counsel on June 24, 2013. (See Dkt. 20.) On July 3, 2013, Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom denied Plaintiffs motion without prejudice and extended the time for Plaintiff to file his response until August 9, 2013. (July 3, 2013, Order (Dkt. 21).) Plaintiff again failed to file a response by his deadline. In deference to pro se Plaintiff, on October 4, 2013, the court extended the deadline for him to file his response until November 8, 2013. (Oct. 4, 2013, Order (Dkt. 22).) The court warned that "[i]f Plaintiff fails to serve a timely response, Defendant shall file his motion on November 22, 2013, and it will be deemed unopposed." (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff has not submitted a response to this day, and the court now treats Defendant's Motion to Dismiss as unopposed.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Defendant Martinez has filed his Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 (b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiffs. Bolt Electric, Inc. v. City of New York, 53 F.3d 465, 469 (2d Cir. 1995). To state a claim upon which relief may be granted, a plaintiff must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

Where plaintiff's proceed pro se, their submissions are held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). A pro se complaint and other documents are "to be liberally construed, " Ahlers v. Rabinowitz, 684 F.3d 53, 60 (2d Cir. 2012), and interpreted "to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest, " Graham v. Henderson, 89 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. 1996). However, pro se status "does not exempt a party from compliance with relevant rules of procedural and substantive law." Boddie v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, 285 F.Supp.2d 421, 426 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (quoting Traguth v. Zuch, 710 F.2d 90, 95 (2d Cir. 1983)). "Thus, the duty to liberally construe a defendant's complaint is not the equivalent of a duty to re-write it." Geldzahler v. N.Y. Med. Coll., 663 F.Supp.2d 379, 387 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (internal quotations and alterations omitted).

A court considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim generally may not consult evidence outside the pleadings. See Robinson v. Gov't of Malaysia, 269 F.3d 133, 141 n.6 (2d Cir. 2001); Burgess v. Goord, No. 98-CV-2077 (SAS), 1999 WL 33458, at *1 n.1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 26, 1999) ("In general, a court may not look outside the pleadings on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. However, the mandate to read the papers of pro se litigants generously makes it appropriate to consider plaintiff's additional materials, such as his opposition memorandum.") (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); see also Gregory v. Daly, 243 F.3d 687, 691 (2d Cir. 2001). If matters outside the pleadings are presented to the court, it may convert the motion to dismiss into a summary judgment motion. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d).

IV. DISCUSSION

Defendant Martinez argues that Plaintiff's deliberate indifference claim must be dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) because Plaintiff failed to exhaust the DOC's administrative remedies, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e et seq. (Mot. to Dismiss at 5.) Defendant Martinez also argues that the action must be dismissed ...


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