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Elleby v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

December 16, 2014

TAYE ELLEBY, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, ANTONIO CUIN, CORRECTION OFFICER GREGORY LAMB, DEPUTY HERNAN MEDINA, CAPTAIN ALLINA ISAAC, and OFFICER JOHN DOE, Defendants

Taye Elleby, Plaintiff, Pro se, Coxsackie, NY.

For City of New York, Deputy Medina, Warden Antonio Cuin, Defendants: Neil Anthony Giovanatti, New York City Law Department, New York, NY.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

P. Kevin Castel, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Taye Elleby, formerly incarcerated at the Robert N. Davoren Complex (" RNDC") on Rikers Island, brings this action pro se against the City of New York (the " City"), Warden Antonio Cuin, Assistant Deputy Warden Heman Medina, Captain Allina Isaac, Correction Officer Gregory Lamb and another unnamed Correction Officer. He brings a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment by failing to protect him from an attack by another inmate.

The defendants now move to dismiss this action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., for failure to state a claim for relief.[1] For the following reasons, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from Elleby's second amended complaint (" Compl." (Dkt. No. 11)), and are accepted as true for the purposes of this motion. On February 7, 2014, was Elleby was transferred to RNDC from the Manhattan Detention Complex and placed in a holding cell in the intake area with other inmates. (Compl. 2.) Approximately an hour later, a new inmate, whom the defendants call " Inmate A, " was also placed in the cell. Inmate A " displayed signs of mental illness, " defecating in the cell, smearing himself and the cell with his feces, and eating some of his feces. (Id.) He also held a " long sharp weapon" that he displayed in full view of the officers in the intake area. (Id.)

The other inmates " begged and pleaded" with the officers to let them out of the cell, but for almost two hours the officers did nothing to help, and instead mocked Inmate A. (Id. at 2-3.) Eventually, Medina and Isaac talked to Inmate A, who " agreed to let the inmates go." (Id. at 3.) As the other inmates were leaving, however, Inmate A noticed that Medina and Isaac were holding OC spray (a type of pepper spray) and that they were accompanied by an " exstract team" (sic) of officers. (Id.) Inmate A stopped Elleby before he could exit the cell, started to argue with Medina and Isaac, and then stabbed Elleby three times in the arm with his " feces covered weapon." (Id.) The officers then opened the cell door and subdued Inmate A, and Elleby was rushed to the urgent care unit, where his wounds were treated. (Id.)

Elleby filed this action on February 20 (Dkt. No. 2), and filed amended complaints on May 27 and June 2, adding the names of previously unidentified defendants. (Dkt. Nos. 7, 11.) The defendants moved to dismiss on October 16 (Dkt. No. 25), and the motion was fully briefed as of December 5. (Dkt. Nos. 26, 33, 35.)

LEGAL STANDARD

" To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 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." Id. " The plausibility standard . . . asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. In assessing the complaint, the district court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant. In re Elevator Antitrust Litig., 502 F.3d 47, 50 (2d Cir. 2007). Legal conclusions and " [t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, " however, are not entitled to any presumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

Courts have an obligation to construe a complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff particularly liberally, conducting their examination with " special solicitude [and] interpreting the complaint to raise the strongest claims that it suggests." Hill v. Curcione, 657 F.3d 116, 122 (2d Cir. 2011).

DISCUSSION

I. Eighth Amendment Claim


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