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Cruz v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 30, 2015

JUNARO VELEZ CRUZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, PRISON HEALTH SERVICES, CAPTAIN FAULKS, Shield No. 1304, CORRECTION OFFICER DAWSON, Shield No. 2752, CORRECTION OFFICER JOSEPH, Shield No. 9559, P.A. DONALD MCGIBBON, MEDICAL DIRECTOR ARKADY CHERCHEVER, M.D., CAPTAIN TILLERY, Shield No. 1448, CORRECTION OFFICER CAMILLA, Shield No. 9553, ROMMEL MOULLOS, M.D., L. FAZA, M.D., CAPTAIN BERBRES, Shield No. 129, CORRECTION OFFICER PIERRE CHARLES, Shield No. 6987, WARDEN (UNNAMED), Shield No. 13351, CAPTAIN. COX, Shield No. 154, CORRECTION OFFICER HIN, Shield No. 13357, P.A.
v.
JONES, Defendants

Junaro Velez Cruz, Plaintiff, Pro se, Bridgeport, CT.

For Prison Health Services, City of New York, Defendants: Mark Galen Toews, LEAD ATTORNEY, NYC Law Department, New York, NY; Theresa Jeanine D'Andrea, LEAD ATTORNEY, New York City Law Department, New York, NY.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

ANALISA TORRES, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff pro se, Junaro Velez Cruz, alleges that during his incarceration at Rikers Island, Defendants, City of New York (the " City"), Prison Health Services (" PHS"), and various Department of Correction (" DOC") employees, violated his constitutional rights. Liberally construed, Plaintiff's amended complaint alleges that: (1) Correction Officer Joseph and unnamed City employees failed to protect Plaintiff from inmate assaults in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights; (2) Correction Officer Joseph and an unnamed Captain used excessive force against Plaintiff in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights; and (3) the City and PHS are liable for these violations pursuant to Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978). Defendants move to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED as to the failure to protect claim asserted against Joseph and GRANTED with prejudice in all other respects.

BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff filed an initial complaint on April 5, 2013, alleging claims for deliberate indifference to his medical needs, deliberate indifference to his safety, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the " ADA") against the City and PHS arising from incidents that took place in February 2012. On September 7, 2013, the City and PHS filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's initial complaint.

On March 4, 2014, the Court granted the motion dismissing Plaintiff's ADA claims with prejudice and dismissing the claims for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's medical needs and deliberate indifference to his safety with leave to amend. Order 11, ECF No. 39. The Court stated that Plaintiff's amended complaint should " nam[e] any individuals who deliberately delayed, interfered with, or denied treatment of a serious medical need or who deliberately failed to protect Plaintiff from a known risk." Id. The Court also stated that, " [i]n the event Plaintiff files an amended complaint, Plaintiff is directed to produce evidence demonstrating that he has exhausted all available administrative relief as to any alleged wrongdoing." Id.

On March 17, 2014, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint, which describes four incidents during which Plaintiff was injured. Am. Compl., ECF No. 42. Each of the alleged incidents took place after the filing of the initial complaint. Id. As attachments, Plaintiff submits four DOC " injury to inmate" reports. Id. at 8-11. The upper portion of each report is filled out by a DOC official and contains a description of the incident, and the bottom portion is filled out by medical staff and contains a description of Plaintiff's injuries and recommended treatment. Id.

First, Plaintiff alleges that on August 2, 2013, Joseph repeatedly slammed Plaintiffs right arm in a slot on Plaintiff's cell door, causing injuries to his arm. Id. at 3, 8. This incident " was [d]ocumented, " and Joseph received a " summons and [c]itation." Id. at 3.

Second, Plaintiff alleges that on October 15, 2013, he was injured in a " one on one" fight with another inmate. Id. at 3, 9. Plaintiff's left tibia and right knee were injured during this altercation. Id.

Third, Plaintiff alleges that, following the August 2, 2013 incident, Joseph called Plaintiff a " snitch" in front of other inmates, which caused Plaintiff to be assaulted by another inmate on October 18, 2013. Id. at 3. During the October 18, 2013 incident, Plaintiff was hit in the head with a broomstick and received a cut to the left side of his scalp. Id. at 3, 10. Plaintiff was treated at the Bellevue Hospital emergency room and received three stitches or staples in his scalp. Id.

Fourth, Plaintiff alleges that on October 22, 2013, an unidentified Captain punched Plaintiff, causing a cut to his lip. Id. at 3, 11. According to the DOC summary of the incident, the Captain's action was taken in response to an attempt by Plaintiff to assault a member of the staff. Id. at 11. The prison medical staff reported that Plaintiff refused an icepack and received no other treatment in connection with this incident. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that he filed grievances in connection with each claim but states that " the[y] refused to answer." Id. at 4. Plaintiff asserts that " most of the time they just threw the papers in the garbage." Id. at 5. Plaintiff, however, also alleges that when he received responses to his grievances that he did not like, he appealed those decisions to the ...


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