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Ceara v. Deacon

United States District Court, S.D. New York

November 25, 2014

RAFAEL CEARA, Plaintiff,
v.
DOCCS OFFICER JOSEPH DEACON, Defendant

Rafael Ceara, Plaintiff, Pro se, Ossining, NY.

For Defendant: John E. Knudsen, Esq., Frederick Hongyee Wen, Esq., New York State Department of Law Litigation, New York, NY.

Page 403

OPINION AND ORDER

KENNETH M. KARAS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Pro se Plaintiff Rafael Ceara (" Plaintiff" ) filed the instant Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (" DOCCS" ) Officer Joseph Deacon (" Defendant" or " Deacon" ), alleging that Defendant subjected Plaintiff to excessive force when he pushed Plaintiff down several stairs, and then threatened Plaintiff to deter him from filing a grievance about the incident, in violation of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. ( See Am. Compl. (" Am. Compl." ) (Dkt. No. 7).) Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). ( See Notice of Mot. to Dismiss (" Mot." ) (Dkt. No. 17).) This Motion asserts only that Plaintiff's Action is time-barred. For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion is denied.

Page 404

I. Background

A. Factual Background

The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and are taken as true for the purpose of resolving the instant Motion. On September 5, 2010 at approximately 11:21 a.m., Defendant " malicious[ly] and sadistic[ally] used excessive force to push [Plaintiff, then an inmate at Downstate Correctional Facility in New York,] down several concrete stairs." (Am. Compl. 2.) Other inmates witnessed the incident. ( Id. at 3.) As a result of Defendant's conduct, Plaintiff's knee was lacerated and he continues to suffer pain in his knee and back. ( Id.)

Defendant and " other officers and sergeants" threatened Plaintiff to deter him from writing a grievance about the incident. ( Id.) Plaintiff nonetheless filed a grievance about the incident and wrote to the superintendent and the state police, who " had the Inspector General investigate the matter . . . [and] interview several other prisoner[] witnesses and [Plaintiff]." ( Id. at 5.) After Plaintiff received an unfavorable response to his grievance, Plaintiff did not appeal the decision because he was not afforded an opportunity to do so. ( Id. at 4.)

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed the original Complaint on August 22, 2013. ( See Compl. (" Compl." ) (Dkt. No. 2).) The original Complaint named " Correctional Officer John Doe which [ sic ] worked at Downstate Corr[ectional] [F]ac[ility] on Sep[tember] 5, 2010 on [ sic ] the 7[] a[.]m[.] [to] 3[] p[.]m[.] shift in D-Block, Complex 1" as the defendant. (Compl. 1.) Directly below the information provided about the Defendant, Plaintiff stated that he " wrote to [the] Inspector General for [the] full names and have had [ sic ] no respon[s]e." ( Id.) In parenthesis, Plaintiff noted " C[.]O. Deagan, [h]e has old [ sic ] brother by same name." ( Id.) As " Defendant No. 1,"

Plaintiff listed " John Doe (C[.]O. Deagan younger brother)." ( Id.) The Court issued an Order of Service pursuant to Valentin v. Dinkins, 121 F.3d 72 (2d Cir. 1997), dated September 4, 2013, directing the New York State Attorney General (the " Attorney General" ) to ascertain the identity and address of the John Doe Defendant that Plaintiff named in the original Complaint within 60 days.[1] ( See Order of Service (" Order of Service" ) (Dkt. No. 5).) The Order of Service provided that " Plaintiff must file an amended complaint naming the John Doe Defendant" within thirty days of receiving information about the defendant from the Attorney General. ( Id. at 2.) In response, the Attorney General notified the Court and Plaintiff by letter dated October 25, 2013 that " Officer John Haag and Officer Joseph Deacon were on duty during the [relevant] shift . . . ." ( See Dkt. No. 6.) Plaintiff then filed the Amended Complaint on November 22, 2013, substituting " Joseph Deacon, D.O.C.C.S., Officer" for " Correctional Officer John Doe." (Am. Compl. 1.)

Pursuant to a scheduling order entered after a pre-motion conference on June 16, 2014, ( see Dkt. No. 15), Defendant filed the instant Motion to Dismiss, ( see Mot.), and a memorandum of law in support of the Motion, ( see Mem. of Law in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss (" Def.'s Mem." ) (Dkt. No. 18)); Plaintiff submitted a memorandum of law in opposition to the Motion, a grievance dated September 9, 2010, and a letter dated September 6, 2010, ( see Mem. of Law in Supp. of Plaintiff from Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss (" Pl.'s Mem." ) (Dkt. No. 19)); and Defendant filed a reply, ( see

Page 405

Reply Mem. of Law in Further Supp. of Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss (" Def.'s Reply" ) ...


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