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McClinton v. Connolly

United States District Court, S.D. New York

October 8, 2014



KIMBA M. WOOD, District Judge.

On March 31, 2013, Plaintiff Charles McClinton, proceeding pro se , brought the above captioned suit against defendants Superintendent William Connolly, Sergeant Joseph Wassweiler, Officer A. Smith, and Officer J. Lynch (collectively, the "Defendants"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by acting with deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Superintendent Connolly, Sergeant Wassweiler, and Officer Smith (the "Moving Defendants") have moved to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies before bringing suit, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and failure to allege any personal involvement by Superintendent Connolly.

For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS the motion to dismiss.[1]


Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint ("Complaint") alleges that on March 28, 2013, Plaintiff reported to his work detail where Officer Smith told him to sweep and mop a set of stairs in a nearby housing unit. (Compl. [Dkt. No. 28] ¶ 19). Plaintiff explained to Smith that he could not perform the work because of his asthma condition. ( Id. ¶ 20). Plaintiff nonetheless swept and mopped the stairs. ( Id. ¶ 21).

After returning from his work detail, Plaintiff was told by Officer Lynch that he had not sufficiently cleaned his assigned area, and that he must go back and clean it properly. ( Id. ¶ 22). Plaintiff responded that he was having trouble breathing and that he needed his inhaler. ( Id. ¶ 23). Officers Lynch and Smith then placed Plaintiff against the wall, frisked him, and asserted that Plaintiff was faking an asthma attack. ( Id. ¶ 24). Thereafter, Officers Lynch and Smith called Sergeant Wassweiler, who took Plaintiff to the Special Housing Unit ("S.H.U."), despite Plaintiff informing Sergeant Wassweiler that he needed his inhaler. ( Id. ¶¶ 24-26). After being confined in the S.H.U. for an unspecified period of time, Plaintiff was provided his inhaler. ( Id. ¶¶ 26-27). Plaintiff has not stated that he suffered any temporary or permanent harm from being denied his inhaler, other than the troubled breathing he suffered prior to receiving his inhaler.

Based on these events, Plaintiff submitted two grievances to the Inmate Grievance Resolution Committee ("IGRC"). Plaintiff alleges that he submitted these grievances on March 28, 2013. ( Id. ¶ 28). One of the grievances-which is actually dated April 8, 2013-complained that Plaintiff was placed in the S.H.U. on March 28, 2013, as retaliation for having submitted a separate, unrelated grievance on March 27, 2013. See (Albanese Decl., Ex. B [Dkt. No. 34-2] at 1);[3] (Compl. ¶ 28). At no point does this grievance discuss inadequate medical treatment. The other grievance-which, according to Plaintiff, the Inmate Grievance Coordinator refused to file upon receipt-asserted Plaintiff's claim of inadequate medical treatment based on the withholding of his inhaler. See (Compl. ¶¶ 28, 30). There is no record of Plaintiff having submitted this second grievance on or after March 28, 2013. See (Bellamy Decl. [Dkt. No. 35] at 1-2); (Bellamy Decl., Ex. A [Dkt. No. 35-1] at 1).

Plaintiff seeks $500, 000 in damages based on the "irreparable injury" he suffered as a result of the delay in treating his asthma. ( Id. ¶ 42).


a. Motion to Dismiss

To survive a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must have pleaded sufficient factual allegations "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Where a plaintiff has not "nudged [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, [the] complaint must be dismissed." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 570. Although a pro se complaint is to be construed liberally-especially when it alleges civil rights violations, see Hemphill v. New York , 380 F.3d 680, 688 (2d Cir. 2004)-it too must state a plausible claim for relief, see Walker v. Schult , 717 F.3d 119, 124 (2d Cir. 2013).

In deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint, and "draw[ ] all inferences in the plaintiff's favor." Allaire Corp. v. Okumus , 433 F.3d 248, 249-50 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotations omitted). However, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint 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.

b. Exhaustion of ...

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