United States District Court, N.D. New York
DAVID HARRINGTON, Fort Edward, New York, Plaintiff, Pro Se.
JOSHUA E. MCMAHON, ESQ., Assistant Attorney General, HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, Attorney General of the State of New York, Albany, New York, Attorney for Defendants.
RANDOLPH F. TREECE, Magistrate Judge.
Pro se Plaintiff David Harrington brings this civil action, alleging that while he was incarcerated at Marcy Correctional Facility, the Defendants violated his rights under the First and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq., and under Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq. See generally Dkt. No. 1, Compl. Defendants move to dismiss the Complaint, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), insofar as Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable claim pursuant to the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. Plaintiff was advised of his right to respond to the Motion, Dkt. No. 18, however, the response he filed is directed at the Defendants' Answer, and not their Motion to Dismiss. Dkt. No. 21. For the reasons that follow, this Court recommends that Defendants' Motion be granted and Plaintiff's ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims be dismissed.
A. Standard of Review
On a motion to dismiss, the allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. See Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972). The trial court's function "is merely to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which might be offered in support thereof." Geisler v. Petrocelli, 616 F.2d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 1980). "The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974) ( overruled on other grounds by Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984)).
"Generally, in determining a 12(b)(6) motion, the court may only consider those matters alleged in the complaint, documents attached to the complaint, ... matters to which the court may take judicial notice[, ]" as well as documents incorporated by reference in the complaint. Spence v. Senkowski, 1997 WL 394667, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. July 3, 1997) (citing Kramer v. Time Warner Inc., 937 F.2d 767, 773 (2d Cir. 1991)); Cortec Indus., Inc. v. Sum Holding L.P., 949 F.2d 42, 47 (2d Cir. 1991) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 10(c)). Moreover, "even if not attached or incorporated by reference, a document upon which [the complaint] solely relies and which is integral to the complaint ' may be considered by the court in ruling on such a motion." Roth v. Jennings, 489 F.3d 499, 509 (2d Cir. 2007) (quoting Cortec Indus., Inc. v. Sum Holding L.P., 949 F.2d at 47). However, "even if a document is integral' to the complaint, it must be clear on the record that no dispute exists regarding the authenticity or accuracy of the document." Faulkner v. Beer, 463 F.3d 130, 134 (2d Cir. 2006). "It must also be clear that there exists no material disputed issues of fact regarding the relevance of the document." Id.
The court is bound to give the plaintiff the benefit of every reasonable inference to be drawn from the "well-pleaded" allegations of the complaint. See Retail Clerks Intern. Ass'n, Local 1625, AFL-CIO v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 754 n. 6 (1963); see also Arar v. Ashcroft, 532 F.3d 157, 168 (2d Cir. 2008). Nevertheless, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Therefore, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citation omitted).
A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) may not be granted so long as the plaintiff's complaint includes "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 697 (citing Twombly ). "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. at 678. This plausibility standard "is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. In this respect, to survive dismissal, a plaintiff "must provide the grounds upon which his claim rests through factual allegations sufficient to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" ATSI Commc'ns, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 440 U.S. at 555). Thus, in spite of the deference the court is bound to give to the plaintiff's allegations, it is not proper for the court to assume that "the [plaintiff] can prove facts [which he or she] has not alleged, or that the defendants have violated the... laws in ways that have not been alleged." Assoc. Gen. Contractors of California, Inc. v. California State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983). The process of determining whether a plaintiff has "nudged [his] claims... across the line from conceivable to plausible, " entails a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679-80.
With this standard in tow, we consider the plausibility of Plaintiff's Complaint.
B. Plaintiff's Complaint
In accordance with the applicable standard of review, the following facts set forth in Plaintiff's Complaint are taken as true. All events relevant to the Complaint took place at Marcy Correctional Facility where Plaintiff was incarcerated and Defendants were employed. Compl. at ¶¶ 2-3. Plaintiff suffers from "mild autism, aspergers syndrome, eccentric repetitive behavior" and has suffered from epilepsy for more than thirty-five years. Id. at ¶ 4(8). Between June 7, 2012, and September 23, 2012, Plaintiff experienced an increasingly frequent number of seizures. Id. at ¶ ¶ 4(9)-(10), 4(14), 4(16)-(17) & 4(20)-(21). On multiple occasions Dr. Vadlamudi denied Plaintiff's requests to see a neurologist for his condition. Id. at ¶¶ 4(12)-(19). On September 23, 2012, Plaintiff experienced a "Grand Mal Seizure" while in the toilet stall and hit his head on the toilet. Id. at ¶ 4(21). Upon being taken to an outside hospital, Plaintiff was examined by a neurologist who ordered a "Cat-Scan, " which revealed "compression fractures at the vertebrae T-12 [and] L-1 and [that] L-5-S1 had been displaced 11 millimeters." Id. at ¶¶ 4(22) & 4(25)-(26). The neurologist changed Plaintiff's medication while another doctor provided Plaintiff with a wheelchair "to travel to and from the mess hall, infirmary, and to the school ...