United States District Court, E.D. New York
DWAYNE M. REID, et al., Plaintiffs,
NASSAU COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
SANDRA FEUERSTEIN, District Judge.
Pursuant to a February 13, 2012 order entered in Anderson, et al. v. Sposato, et al., 11-CV-5663 (SJF)(WDW) ("the Anderson case"), over one hundred (100) separate pro se complaints brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") challenging the prison conditions allegedly existing at the Nassau County Correctional Center ("NCCC") were consolidated. By Order dated February 11, 2013, the Court entered a scheduling order ("the Scheduling Order") governing discovery, motion practice and the trial in the Anderson case. This consolidated action consists of eighteen (18) pro se plaintiffs who filed complaints in this Court against the Nassau County Sheriff's Department ("NCSD"); Michael Sposato ("Sheriff Sposato"), individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Nassau County; "John Doe, " Superintendent of the NCCC ("the Superintendent"); and/or the County of Nassau ("the County"), near or after the expiration of several discovery deadlines set forth in the Scheduling Order. On or about June 11, 2013, three (3) of the consolidated plaintiffs, Henrius Jovany ("Jovany"), Abigail Torres ("A. Torres") and Guillermo Tones ("G. Tones"), jointly filed an amended complaint ("the amended complaint"), inter alia, naming "John Doe # 1" and "John Doe #2, " individually and in their official capacity as "County Cooks" for the NCCC (collectively, "the County Cooks"), and Armor Correctional Health Service of New York, Inc. ("Armor"), as additional defendants. Like the complaints in the Anderson case, the fifteen (15) remaining complaints and the amended complaint in this consolidated action are brought pursuant to, inter cilia, Section 1983 and challenge similar prison conditions allegedly existing at the NCCC.
Pending before the Court are: (1) separate motions by defendants NCSD, Sheriff Sposato, the Superintendent, the County and the "County Cooks" (collectively, "the County defendants") to dismiss (a) the complaints of, inter alio, Reid, Christian Delosrios ("Delosrios"), Fernando Cazares ("Cazares") and Montavious Jackson ("Jackson") and (b) the amended complaint of Jovany, A. Torres and G. Torres pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim for relief; and (2) Armor's motion to dismiss the amended complaint as against it pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. None of the consolidated plaintiffs has filed any opposition to Armor's motion and only A. Torres and G. Tones have opposed the County defendants' motion. For the reasons set forth below, the County defendants' and Armor's motions are granted in part.
I. The Complaints
A. Reid's Complaint
The statement of claim in Reid's complaint reads as follows:
"Unsanitary conditions, abestos [sic], black mole [sic] all over the jail, toilets flush bodily waste into one toilet from another, the guard [sic] fail to give us proper cleaning supplies for the cell, infested with bed bugs, rodent and lack of medical attention. Cells are very cold. I have a rash on the bottom of my left foot that I have caught in here in Sept. I've been going to medical but it's still on my foot (rash)."
(Complaint ["Compl."], IV). For injuries, Reid claims that he has "a rash on the bottom of [his] left foot" and that he received medical attention, "but not the proper attention because the rash is still there and it's getting worser [sic]." (Compl., ¶ IV(A)). For relief, Reid seeks "heat, cleaning supplies to clean unsanitary cells, medial [sic] treatment for all injuries herein, injunction [sic] relief and monetary damages" in an unspecified amount. (Compl., ¶ V).
B. Delosrios's Complaint
Delosrios contends that he has been incarcerated in the E2B housing unit of the NCCC since "[o]n or about March 9, 2013" and has been subjected "to an extremely filthy cell and housing unit that consisted of chipped peeling paint on walls, flooring, that included human feces encrusted on walls and toilet bowl, " which caused him "to become very sick and infected on his buttocks from toilet not being clean." (Compl., ¶ IV). Delosrios also contends: (1) that the "housing unit correction officer John Doe" refused his request for cleaning supplies "to sanitize the cell and walls[;]" (2) that he "he has been bitten by numerous bed-bugs' and roaches that have caused * * * red marks on [his] neck, back and legs[;]" (3) that there "are [sic] active infestation of mice along with their mice feces' all around in [his] cell and running around on unit[;]" (4) that he and the other inmates "are being served * * * unhealthy and unsanitary foods that is [sic] clearly infested with insects and mice droppings;" (5) that he "made a formal complaint to Defendants, and Defendants choose [sic] not to investigate these complaints and ignore [sic] to correct these problems of conditions[;]" (6) that when he showed "the housing correction officer the dropping of mice feces, " the officer "stated its [sic] more protein to eat[;]'" and (7) that "after complaints were made no correction [sic] action or remedy" was given. (Compl., ¶ IV).
Delosrios claims that due to the unsanitary and inadequate food, he suffers from "severe migraine headaches, * * * dizzy spells, * * * [and] stomach ache and pains" throughout the day. (Compl., ¶ IV). For injuries, Delosrios claims that he sustained an infection on his body, a fever, a severe migraine headache and stomachache and pains, for which he received medical treatment "consist[ing] of blue pills." (Compl., ¶ IV(A)). Delosrios seeks "injunctive relief and monetary [d]amages in the amount of $20 million dollar [sic] in compensatory [d]amages, and $20 million dollars in punitive damages * * * (Compl., ¶ V).
C. Cazares's Complaint
Like Delosrios, Cazares contends: (1) that he has been "subjected to an unsanitary housing unit on E2-B for over 6 ½ months * * *[, ]" insofar as "the cell are [sic] extremely [sic] with chipped peeling paint, [and] encrusted dried fecal matters [sic] on the walls, ceiling and flooring[, ]" (Compl., ¶ IV); (2) that the "housing unit correction officer John Doe" refused his request for cleaning supplies "to sanitize the walls and flooring and toilet bowl as well as the cell sink[, ]" (id.); (3) that his cell and the housing unit are infested with bed bugs, roaches and mice, but defendants "refuse to set traps" and denied his request to be moved to another housing unit, (id.); (4) that he has "been bitten by bed-bugs and cockroaches that have cause [sic] him to become infected and marks on [his] body[, ]" (id.); (5) that the food at the NCCC is "unappetizing, " "unwholesome, " "poorly prepared, " "often infested with insects that you can see' upon eaten [sic], " "unsanitary to consume [and] being served under conditions that present immediate danger to [his] health as well as other inmates [sic] health[;]" and (6) that he "made complaints' too [sic] Defendants, however, Defendants choose [sic] to ignore, correct these problems * * *." (Compl., ¶ IV). (Id.) Cazares claims that due to the unsanitary food, he has "become very sick and weak throughout the day that consisted of severe migraine headaches and dizzy spells and stomach ache and pain from being underfed of proper food." (Compl., ¶ ¶ IV). In addition, Cazares alleges: (1) that "during the winter months, [he] is suffering from chills at night, because the cell are [sic] extremly [sic] cold" and his request to "correction office[r] John Doe" for an extra blanket was denied, as a result of which he "became very sick with fever for weeks that require[d] medical attention[, ]" (id.); and (2) that "Correction Officer John Doe, " bang the cell door on [his] foot intentionally, that caused [him] to fracture his foot, ' do [sic] to the Correction Officer banging the cell door's [sic] daily as a means of waking inmates up and are banged throughout the day to count inmates, instead of using their P.A. system, which the banging is loud and violent." (Id.)
For injuries, Cazares claims that he sustained an "[i]nfection on his [a]rms, and [b]ack, [s]evere headaches, dizzy spells and stomach ache and pains" and that medical treatment "was delayed for two-weeks, and thereafter received." (Compl., ¶ IV(A)). Cazares seeks "[i]njunctive relief and [m]onetary [d]amages in the amount of $20 million dollars jointly and severally for [c]ompensatory damages, and $20 million dollars in punitive [d]amages * * *." (Compl., ¶ V).
D. Jackson's Complaint
Like Delosrios and Cazares, Jackson contends: (1) that since on or about August 3, 2012, he has been "subjected to unsanitary conditions at [NCCC] that have caused [him] to become infected from the unsanitary cell[, ]" (Compl., ¶ IV); (2) that he "is housed on E2 B housing unit that is extremely dirty with chipped peeling paint on walls, and walls is [sic] clearly encrusted with urine and human feces and toilet not working properly[, ]" (Id.); (3) that defendants "refuse to supply any cleaning supplies to sanitize [his] cell[, ]" (id.); (4) that his cell is infested with insects and roaches and "active mice * * * running around during the night, " which leave "numerous mice feces inside [his] drinking cup[, ]" (id.); (5) that the insects and roaches have bitten him on his neck and legs, causing "an infection on [his] neck and red marks on [his] legs[, ]" but defendants failed to remedy or correct the problem after he "filed a complaint, " (id.); and (6) that he suffers from "severe migraine headaches from being underfed of proper food that is unsanitary to eat because the Defendants [sic] is subjected to unsanitary and unwholesome foods that is infested with insects and roaches along with mice dropping [sic], that have caused [him] to become very weak throughout the day from not eating * * *." (Id.) In addition, Jackson alleges that "[d]uring the night time [he] was bitten by a mice [sic], when [he] reached' into his [c]ommissary bag, to grab some cookies[, ]" as a result of which he "received medical treatment that consist [sic] of a shot with a needle." (Id.) According to Jackson, he "made a formal complaint to Defendants about this matter, and Defendants refuse [sic] to investigate * * *." (Id.)
For injuries, Jackson claims that he sustained an "[i]nfection on his Megs and [a]rms, [b]itten by mice on fingers, treatment received was a shot with a needle, and treatment of pills." (Compl., ¶ IV(A)). Jackson seeks "injunctive relief and [m]oney [d]amages in the amount of $20 million dollars, in [c]ompensatory [d]amages, and $20 million dollars in punitive [d]amages * * *." (Compl., ¶ V).
E. Amended Complaint
Jovany "has been detained [in the NCCC] since May of 2011." (Amended Complaint ["Amend. Compl."], ¶ 9). G. Torres "has been detained in the NCCC since November of 2012" and was "awaiting sentence" at the time that the amended complaint was filed. (Amend. Compl., ¶ 11), A. Tones "has been detained in the NCCC since March, 2013." (Amend. Compl., ¶ 12).
In their amended complaint, Jovany, A. Tones and G. Tones allege, inter alia, that inmates at the NCCC, including themselves: (1) "are subjected to inhumane conditions that have pose [sic] unreasonable and substantial risk to * * * [their] health[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 1); (2) "are force [sic] to live in the amidst [sic] of filth, overflowing backups of sewage of stilled water in showers, cells with chipped peeling paint, dried human fecal matters and foods encrusted on walls, ceiling, poor ventilation, inadequate cleaning supplies, insect and rodent populations, sinks and toilets in cells don't work properly, cells that are too cold, poorly prepared, unsanitary and unwholesome meals, water leaking ceilings, [i]nadequate medical treatment, * * * [and] [c]ooks not following illness inmates [sic] and plaintiffs [sic] diet meals or State provided nutritionally [sic] guidelines[, ]" (id.); (3) "lack access to Safe Foods, proper medical diets, as well as basic necessities such are [s]anitary and properly [f]unctioning sinks, toilets, and showers, rodents, and insects invade * * * [their] living areas and [c]ontaminate [their] foods[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 2); (4) "sleep in freezing cells" in the winter and "attempt to fight off the cold cells with a single worn blanket[, ]" (id.); (5) are housed in "unsanitary" cells with toilets and "poor ventilation, " (Amend. Compl., ¶ 21); (6) "are force [sic] to live in [s]qualid unhygienic and hazardous living conditions that pose a substantial and ongoing risk to [their] physical and mental health[, ]" (id.); (7) "are subjected to cells with [a] chipped peeling paint on walls believed to obtain [sic] led [sic], * * * [b] walls * * * encrusted with human feces stains, [c] toilet and sinks * * *[that] are very out-dated and don't work properly, * * * [d] toilet seats [that] have accrued filth over time, as a result of the frequent waste, [which] has caused [them] to suffer from rashes on their buttocks, and infections[, ] * * * [e] no ventilation[, ] * * * [f] air-ducts [that] are clogged with rust and mold, and * * * [g] windows [that] are sealed shut[, ]' (id.); (8) "are subjected to numerous [c]ockroaches [c]rawling everywhere, including biting [them] on their arms and faces' at night, causing [them] infections on their bodies[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 22); (9) "have to deal with active infestation of mice's [sic], that run around during the night * * * [and] eat [their] foods [sic] purchase[d] from [the] [c]ommissary[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 23); (10) "have numerous mice feces inside the only drinking cup that are giving to them[, ] * * * [which] obsord' [sic] the mices [sic] feces that carry disease and harmful parasites or even hepatitis to add more serious conditions to [their] health[, ]" (id.); (11) are "being served unhealthy, unsanitary foods * * * infested with insects and mice droppings[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 24; see also id., 35); (12) "are being underfed, and the food quanitity [sic] and quality * * * has [sic] been 400 [c]alories each day, below the nationally recommended based 2000 [c]alories diet allowance for [them] * * *, [which] has subjected [them] to contract severe migraines [sic] headaches, dizzy spells, and during the night time, stomach ache and pains[, ]" (id.); (13) "are subjected to showers, that are [clover [sic] in black mole [sic], mildew, stilled water of sewage backups on the flooring shower drains, that are frequently clogged and subjected [them] to contract severe fungal infection [sic] on their feets [sic][, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 25); and (14) "live in very cold temperature in cells, during the winter months * * * [, ]" as a result of which they must' wear all of their County issuing [sic] clothing, a pair of socks on their hands and a towel wrap [sic] around [their] faces, to protect from the cold[, ]" which "disrupts * * * [their] sleeping patterns" and causes them "stress[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 27). In addition, A. Tones alleges that due to her age, she "is housed in NCCC, similar to an SHU unit, ' that include [sic] being subjected in the woman unit, ' to human waste in the showers, constant intense noise, resulting from deranged screaming inmates and noxious odors throughout the day." (Amend. Compl., ¶ 33).
Jovany, A. Torres and G. Torres allege that the County defendants: (1) "have known about the appalling un-[s]anitary [sic] [c]onditions and [p]oor medical treatment in the NCCC after numerous [c]omplaints from plaintiffs as well as other-inmates [sic] including State Official's [sic], but * * * have failed to make reasonable efforts to remedy these * * * conditions[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 5; see id., ¶ 51 ["These complaints were brought to the attention of Sposato from Plaintiff's as well as other inmates, who [sic] Sposato refused to take any action to correct the situation."]; id., ¶ 52 ["The County of Nassau and Sposato knew of the unsanitary conditions, showed disregard for the health, welfare or human rights of plaintiffs as well as other inmates, and was aware of the type of treatment the plaintiff's [sic] and other inmates were receiving at the NCCC."]); (2) have ignored their "numerous complaints about the conditions of the showers * * * and have not fixed the showers * * *[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 25); (3) have refused or ignored their requests for adequate cleaning supplies "to remove the mold" on the showers, (Amend. Compl., ¶ 26), and "to try to remove the human encrusted [f]eces on walls in cells and clean the toilets in cells, including mold * * * [, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 28), and "instead, hand [them] a bar of soap called Corcraft, an ineffective cleaning solutions [sic][, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 26), "without any gloves * * * and an old rag[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 28); (4) have not provided Jovany with "his proper vegetarian diet meals, prescribe [sic] by Doctor's [sic][, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 35), "intentionally serve [him] meats' inside of his meals throughout the day[, ]" id.), and have provided "no remedy" to him despite his "numerous grievances, " (id.); (5) have "a history of sanitation problems in the NCCC[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 37); and (6) "either ratified these acts or condoned them to such a degree, that they became part of the policy, custom, practice, and procedures of the County and Sposato, * * * [which] violated the plaintiffs [sic] herein mentioned rights of the Constitutional [sic][, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 53).
Jovany, A. Torres and G. Torres allege that Armor, inter alia: (1) "is failing to follow its own policies, * * * ignores signs of mental illness * * *[, ] and fail[s] to treat [their] illness related issues[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 29); (2) has engaged in a "repeated and systemic failure in the provision of health care service to [them] and other inmates in NCCC, with very serious mental disorders, including such basic inadequacies as failure to take a complete medical history, failure to keep adequate records, failure to see [them] * * * suffering from seeming mental crises, failure to diagnose medical conditions of inmates, failure to prescribe proper medication, and significant delay in providing any medical treatment service to [them] * * * [, ]" (id.); (3) "for over a year and present' * * * has failed to take any measurement [sic] to investigate or treat [Jovany's] medical problem [i.e., an "infection on his head"], that have [sic] caused [him] a serious head infection, that requires surgery[, ]" (Amend. Compl., 31) (emphasis omitted); (4) has taken "no action" on Jovany's "numerous sick call request[s]" or the grievance he filed "toward this matter[, ]" (id.); (5) has ignored A. Torres's "signs of mental illness, " "sick call request slips" and complaints "about serious medical problems in the form of mental disorders and not receiving her prescribed medication for months" and "fail[ed] to treat [her] properly[, ]" as a result of which she "is suffering from significant mental problems without proper medical care[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 33); and (6) has refused to "look into" G. Torres's complaints of "serious knee pains, that consisted of a swollen knee, and shoulder pain, " or examine his knee or shoulder, as a result of which he has been subjected "to severe swollen knee' and shoulder pains * * *[, ]" (Amend. Compl., ¶ 34).
Jovany, A. Tones and G. Torres allege that they and other inmates at the NCCC "suffer from [c]hronic ailments, including persistent and recurring digestive issues, mental issues, stomach pains, skin and head infections, rashes, severe migrain [sic] headaches and dizzy spells and * * * are at current and ongoing risk of suffering from more serious ailments in the future[, ]" as a result of the "poor conditions and health care at the NCCC." (Amend. Compl., ¶ 3; see also id, ¶ 13 ["Plaintiffs * * * as well as other inmates * * * suffered intestinal illness, skin rashes, infection on their heads, infections on their buttocks, fungal infections, headaches, poor medical care, unsanitary foods, improper health food diets for medically ill plaintiffs and mental disordered [sic]."]; id., ¶ 35 ["Defendants * * * have subjected [Jovany] to be underfed, that have caused [him], severe migraine headaches, and dizzy spells, including stomach ache and pains during the night throughout each day and present * * *."]). The amended complaint asserts two (2) causes of action pursuant to Section 1983 for violations of Jovany's, A. Torres's and G. Torres's due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution (first and second causes of action, respectively), as well as state law claims for violations of their due process rights under the New York State Constitution (third cause of action) and for "negligence and ministerial negligence" (fourth cause of action). (Amend. Compl., ¶¶ 54-61). Jovany, A. Torres and G. Torres seek, inter alia: (1) injunctive relief "in the form of an appropriate remedial order to improve the [c]onditions in the NCCC, to meet minium [sic] Constitutionally acceptable [s]tandards, " (Amend. Compl., ¶ 5), and "enjoin[ing] [d]efendants, and their successors, from subjecting [them] and other inmates in the NCCC to unsanitary, unhealthy, and unsafe conditions, and requir[ing] that a remedy be formulated, subject to Court's approval and modification, if necessary, to end the inhumane conditions described herein at the NCCC[, ]" (Amend. Compl. at 22-23); (2) judgment declaring that "subjecting [them] to the conditions described [in the amended complaint] violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Due Process Clause of the New York State Constitution, [and constitutes] negligence and ministerial negligence, which directly and proximately caused the violating [sic] under New York State laws[, ]" (Amend. Compl. at 22); and (3) "money damages to redress Defendants [sic] violations of [their] rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Due Process Clause of the New York State Constitution." (Amend. Compl., ¶ 5; see also id., ¶ 14 ["Plaintiffs * * * sues [sic] for injunctive relief, declaratory relief, [c]ompensatory damages and punitive damages."]; at 23 [seeking an award of compensatory damages, punitive damages and "damages for the denials of [their] right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and right to due process."]).
A. Standard of Review
The standard of review on a motion made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is that a plaintiff plead sufficient facts "to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). The plausibility standard requires "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937.
The pleading of specific facts is not required; rather a complaint need only give the defendant "fair notice of what the * * * claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955). "Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual enhancement.' Id . (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. at 1959.
In deciding a motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must liberally construe the claims, accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Aegis Ins. Services, Inc. v. 7 World Trade Co., L.P., 737 F.3d 166, 176 (2d Cir. 2013); Grullon v. City of New Haven, 720 F.3d 133, 139 (2d Cir. 2013). However, this tenet "is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937. "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Id. at 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937. "In keeping with these principles a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Id .; see also Ruston v. Town Board for Town of Skaneateles, 610 F.3d 55, 59 (2d Cir. 2010).
Nonetheless, a plaintiff is not required to plead "specific evidence or extra facts beyond what is needed to make the claim plausible." Arista Records, LLC v. Doe 3, 604 F.3d 110, 120-1 (2d Cir. 2010); see also Matson v. Board of Education of City School District of New York, 631 F.3d 57, 63 (2d Cir. 2011) ("While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, it requires more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." (internal quotations and citation omitted)). "When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Igbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937.
The Court must limit itself to the facts alleged in the complaint, which are accepted as true; to any documents attached to the complaint as exhibits or incorporated by reference therein; to matters of which judicial notice may be taken; or to documents upon the terms and effect of which the complaint "relies heavily" and which are, thus, rendered "integral" to the complaint. Chambers v. Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 152-53 (2d Cir. 2002); see also ASARCO LLC v. Goodwin, ___ F.3d ___. 2014 WL 2870117, at * 5 (2d Cir. June 25, 2014).
B. Section 1983 Claims
The County defendants contend that the consolidated plaintiffs "must identify the specific constitutional rights allegedly infringed upon * * * [and, ] "[a]ccordingly, [they] have not pleaded allegations sufficient to constitute claims under Section 1983." (County Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion pursuant to Fed. Civ. P. Rule 12(b) regarding, inter alia, Reid, Delosrios, Camres and Jackson ["County Mem. I"], at 9; County Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion pursuant to Fed. Civ. P. Rule 12(b) regarding, inter alia, Jovany, A. Torres and G. Torres ["County Mem. II], at 8-9).
Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code provides, in relevant part:
[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege (1) that the challenged conduct was "committed by a person acting under color of state law, " and (2) that such conduct "deprived [the plaintiff] of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Cornejo v. Bell, 592 F.3d 121, 127 (2d Cir. 2010) (citing Pitchell v. Callan, 13 F.3d 545, 547 (2d Cir. 1994)); see also Rehberg v. Paulk ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1497, 1501-02, 182 L.Ed.2d 593 (2012).
Prison officials have a duty, imposed under either the Eighth Amendment with respect to convicted prisoners or the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments with respect to pretrial detainees in federal custody and state custody, respectively,  to "ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care, and [to] take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832-33, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994) (quotations and citations omitted). Contrary to the County defendants' contention, the consolidated plaintiffs' allegations that the acts and/or omissions of the County defendants, acting under color of state law, deprived them of their rights, inter alia, to receive adequate food, shelter and medical care under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution are, thus, sufficient to state a plausible claim under Section 1983. Accordingly, the branches of the County defendants' motions seeking dismissal of the consolidated plaintiffs' Section 1983 claims for failure to "identify the specific constitutional rights allegedly infringed upon, " (County Mem. I at 9; County Mem. II at 8), are denied.
1. Reid's Claims Against the NCSD
"Under New York law, departments which are merely administrative arms of a municipality, do not have a legal identity separate and apart from the municipality and cannot sue or be sued.'" Dudek v. Nassau County Sheriffs Department, 991 F.Supp.2d 402, 410 (E.D.N.Y. 2013) (quoting Davis v. Lynbrook Police Department, 224 F.Supp.2d 463, 477 (E.D.N.Y. 2002)); see also Burbar v. Incorporated Village of Garden City, 961 F.Supp.2d 462, 471 (E.D.N.Y. 2013); Robischung-Walsh v. Nassau County Police Dep't, 699 F.Supp.2d 563, 565 (E.D.N.Y. 2010), aff'd, 421 F.Appx. 38 (2d Cir. 2011). Since the NCSD is an administrative arm of the County, see, e.g. Dudek, 991 F.Supp.2d at 410 (dismissing claims against the NCSD); Varricchio v. County of Nassau, 702 F.Supp.2d 40, 50 (E.D.N.Y. 2010) (accord), it lacks the capacity to be sued. Accordingly, the branch of the County defendants' motion seeking dismissal of Reid's claims against the NCSD is granted and Reid's claims against the NCSD are dismissed in their entirety with prejudice pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim for relief. However, since Reid is proceeding pro se, and all of the other consolidated plaintiffs herein have named the County as a defendant, Reid's Section 1983 claims against the NCSD will be construed as being brought against the County.
2. Municipal Liability
The County defendants contend, inter alia: (1) that "[a]bsent allegations that a Nassau County policy led to the Consolidated Plaintiffs' alleged injuries, the Consolidated Plaintiffs' suit against the County must be dismissed for want of a substantial § 1983 claim, " (County Mem. I at 11); (2) that none of the allegations of deliberate indifference in the amended complaint "rise to the level required to withstand a motion to dismiss; they are mere naked assertions' devoid of further factual enhancement[, ]'" (County Mem. II at 23 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955)); (3) that Jovany's, A. Torres's and G. Torres's allegations of deliberate indifference are "specious" and "fall flat because they attempt to establish [it] solely from evidence of the occurrence of the incident in question * * * [but] [a] plaintiff cannot prevail on a § 1983 claim against a municipality without introducing other evidence[, ]'" (id. at 23-24 (quoting Fiacco v. City of Rensselaer, N.Y., 783 F.2d 319, 328 (2d Cir. 1986)); (4) that Jovany, A. Torres and G. Torres "fail to allege that Nassau County's incarceration system is contrary to the practice of most' other municipalities or that it is particularly dangerous because it presented an unusually high risk that constitutional rights would be violated[, ]' * * * [which] is a key part of demonstrating deliberate indifference[, ]" (id. at 24); and (5) that Jovany, A. Tones and G. Tones "do not show that better supervision or more supervision at NCCC would have prevented or would prevent further violations[, ]" (id..).
"[A] municipality can be held liable under Section 1983 if the deprivation of the plaintiff's rights under federal law is caused by a governmental custom, policy, or usage of the municipality." Jones v. Town of East Haven, 691 F.3d 72, 80 (2d Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 134 S.Ct. 125, 187 L.Ed.2d 255 (2013); see also Matusick v. Erie Co. Water Authority, ___ F.3d ___, 2014 WL 700718 (2d Cir. Feb. 25, 2014) (accord). "Absent such a custom, policy, or usage, a municipality cannot be held liable on a respondeat superior basis for the tort of its employee." Jones, 691 F.3d at 80; see also Corinick v. Thompson, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 1350, 1359, 179 L.Ed.2d 417 (2011) (holding that under Section 1983, governmental bodies are not vicariously liable for their employees' actions); Los Angeles County, California v. Humphries, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 447, 452, 178 L.Ed.2d 460 (2010) (IA] municipality cannot be held liable solely for the acts of others, e.g., solely because it employs a tortfeasor." (emphasis in original) (quotations and citation omitted)); Monell v. Department of Social Services of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978). To prevail on a Section 1983 claim against a municipal entity, a plaintiff must show: "(1) actions taken under color of law; (2) deprivation of a constitutional or statutory right; (3) causation; (4) damages; and (5) that an official policy of the municipality caused the constitutional injury." Roe v. City of Waterbury, 542 F.3d 31, 36 (2d Cir. 2008); see also Connick, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. at 1359 ("Plaintiffs who seek to impose liability on local governments under Section 1983 must prove that action pursuant to official municipal policy' caused their injury." (quoting Monell, 436 U.S. at 691, 98 S.Ct. 2018)); Humphries, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. at 452 ("[A] municipality may be held liable when execution of a government's policy or custom ... inflicts the injury." (emphasis in original) (quotations and citation omitted)). "A municipal policy may be pronounced or tacit and reflected in either action or inaction." Cash v. County of Erie, 654 F.3d 324, 333 (2d Cir. 2011). "Official municipal policy includes the decisions of a government's lawmakers, the acts of its policymaking officials, and practices so persistent and widespread as to practically have the force of law." Connick, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. at 1359.
In addition, municipal liability can be established "by showing that a policymaking official ordered or ratified the employee's actions - either expressly or tacitly." Jones, 691 F.3d at 81. "Thus, a plaintiff can prevail against a municipality by showing that the policymaking official was aware of the employee's unconstitutional actions and consciously chose to ignore them." Id .; see also Amnesty America v. Town of W. Hartford, 361 F.3d 113, 126 (2d Cir. 2004) (accord). To establish such deliberate indifference, "a plaintiff must show that a policymaking official was aware of constitutional injury, or the risk of constitutional injury, but failed to take appropriate action to prevent or sanction violations of constitutional rights." Jones, 691 F.3d at 81. "Deliberate indifference is a stringent standard of fault, requiring proof that a municipal actor disregarded a known or obvious consequence of his action." Connick, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. at 1360 (quotations and citation omitted). "[D]eliberate indifference requires a showing that the official made a conscious choice, and was not merely negligent." Jones, 691 F.3d at 81; see also Cash, 654 F.3d at 334.
To state a claim for municipal liability under Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege more than that a municipal policy or custom exists. Zahra v. Town of Southold, 48 F.3d 674, 685 (2d Cir. 1995) ("[T]he mere assertion that a municipality has * * * a custom or policy is insufficient [to withstand dismissal] in the absence of allegations of fact tending to support, at least circumstantially, such an inference * * *." (quotations, alterations and citation omitted)); see also Zherka v. City of New York 459 F.Appx. 10, 12 (2d Cir. Jan. 19, 2012) (summary order) (accord). "Rather, a plaintiff must allege facts tending to support, at least circumstantially, an inference that such a municipal policy or custom exists." Santos v. New York City, 847 F.Supp.2d 573, 576 (S.D.N.Y. 2012); see also Triano v. Town of Harrison N.Y. 895 F.Supp.2d 526, 535 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (accord).
Contrary to the County defendants' contention, the complaints at issue on this motion, and particularly the amended complaint, allege sufficient facts from which it may reasonably be inferred that a municipal policy or custom existed. Specifically, the consolidated plaintiffs' allegations that Sheriff Sposato, a policymaking official, was aware of the challenged conditions at the NCCC but failed to remedy them and/or chose to ignore them, plausibly states a claim of deliberate indifference to the consolidated plaintiffs' constitutional rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Contrary to the County defendants' contentions, the consolidated plaintiffs were not required to "introduc[e] other evidence" or "show" anything additional in their pleadings in order to withstand a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Accordingly, the branches of the County defendants' motions seeking dismissal of the consolidated plaintiffs' Section 1983 claims against the County, and as construed to be against the County with respect to Reid, are denied.
3. Claims against Sheriff Sposato and the Superintendent
The County defendants contend, inter alia, that the consolidated plaintiffs' claims against Sheriff Sposato and the Superintendent must be dismissed because, (1) insofar as they are sued in their official capacity, they do not have a legal identity separate and apart from the County; and, (2) insofar as they are sued in their individual capacity, the consolidated plaintiffs do not allege their personal involvement in the constitutional violations of which they complain.
a. Official Capacity Claims
"[A]n official-capacity suit is, in all respects other than name, to be treated as a suit against the entity [of which an officer is an agent]." Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166, 105 S.Ct. 3099, 87 L.Ed.2d 114 (1985). "It is not a suit against the official personally, for the real party in interest is the entity." Id . (emphasis in original). "Within the Second Circuit, where a plaintiff names both the municipal entity and an official in his or her official capacity, district courts have consistently dismissed the official capacity claims as redundant." Phillips v. County of Orange, 894 F.Supp.2d 345, 384 n. 35 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (citing cases); see, e.g. Canzoneri v. Incorporated Village of Rockville Centre, 986 F.Supp.2d 194, 205 (E.D.N.Y. 2013) (dismissing official capacity claims against individual officers "because they are duplicative of the Monell claims against the [municipality]."); Field Day, LLC v. County of Suffolk, 799 F.Supp.2d 205, 214 (E.D.N.Y. 2011) (dismissing official capacity claim because, inter alia, the real party in interest was the County and it was a named party to the action); Schubert v. City of Rye, 775 F.Supp.2d 689, 699-700 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (dismissing official capacity claims as redundant). Accordingly, the branches of the County defendants' motions seeking dismissal of ...