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Robinson v. Ballard

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 9, 2015

RENDELL ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
LORENZO A. BALLARD, TIMOTHY HOLMES, MICHAEL J. WOJTANOWSKI, STEPHEN J. STRASSBERGER, JOSEPH BELLNIER, JOHN DOE HARPER, JOHN DOE CORY, BRIAN HILTON, JOHN DOE KALIES, ERIC ONYAN, ARDUINO A. CACCIOTTI, JR., JOHN DOE McARDLE, Defendants.

RENDELL ROBINSON, Plaintiff pro se, Attica, NY.

HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, HEATHER R. RUBINSTEIN, ESQ., Attorney General for the State of New York, Syracuse, NY, Counsel for Defendants.

REPORT-RECOMMENDATION

THÉRÈSE WILEY DANCKS, Magistrate Judge.

This pro se prisoner civil rights action, commenced pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, has been referred to me for Report and Recommendation by the Honorable Thomas J. McAvoy, Senior United States District Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 72.3(c). Currently pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to meet the pleading requirements of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10. (Dkt. No. 27.) For the reasons that follow, I recommend that Defendants' motion be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed the complaint in this action on September 30, 2013. (Dkt. No. 1.) Including exhibits, the complaint is 357 pages long. Because Plaintiff's handwriting is quite large, there are relatively few words on each page. As the Court has previously noted (Dkt. No. 7 at 3 n.3), parts of the complaint are extremely difficult to read. Plaintiff names seventeen individual defendants and seeks relief against them in their individual and official capacities. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 59.)

Upon initial review, the Court summarized and analyzed the complaint, listing the claims asserted against each Defendant and applying the proper legal standards to those claims. (Dkt. No. 7.) As the Court stated in that Order, Plaintiff asserts several claims arising out of his confinement in the Residential Mental Health Unit at Marcy Correctional Facility. (Dkt. No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges that he was "brutally attacked and physically assaulted" by Defendant Correction Officers Ballard, Onyan, Wojtanowski, Holmes, and Cacciotti on July 14, 2010, during escort to his housing unit. (Dkt. No. 1 at 59-87, 114-16.) Throughout this incident, Plaintiff was in handcuffs and a waist chain. Id. at 116. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Sgt. Strassberger witnessed the incident but failed to intervene to protect Plaintiff from harm. Id. The next day, Defendant McArdle issued an order requiring that Plaintiff be confined in leg irons and a retention strap whenever he was out of his cell. Id. at 102-03, 121-26. Plaintiff alleges that the restraint order remained in effect for one and a half months. Id. at 126.

The complaint alleges that Defendant Strassberger issued a misbehavior report charging Plaintiff with misconduct during the July 14, 2010, incident. (Dkt. No. 1 at 104-05.) Plaintiff was found guilty of the charges at a hearing conducted by Defendant Harper and sentenced to six months of confinement in the Special Housing Unit and loss of privileges. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 23.) Plaintiff alleges that the results of the disciplinary hearing were reversed on November 12, 2010. Id. at 24.

Plaintiff alleges that he filed grievances regarding the alleged use of excessive force and the issuance of the restraint order. He alleges that those grievances were not timely responded to or investigated properly. (Dkt. No. 1 at 138-41; Dkt. No. 1-1 at 4, 12, 114-39; Dkt. No. 1-2 at 42-43, 49-50.) Plaintiff also alleges that although he was interviewed by staff from the Prisoners Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society regarding the conditions of his confinement, nothing was done to address his complaints of staff misconduct. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 36-59, 100-02; Dkt. No. 1-2 at 11-19.)

Upon initial review of the complaint, the Court dismissed the following claims with prejudice: (1) the claims against Defendants in their official capacities; (2) the claim that Defendant Strassberger issued a false misbehavior report; and (3) the claim that Plaintiff's grievances were not properly filed or processed. (Dkt. No. 7 at 18.)

The Court dismissed the following claims without prejudice: (1) the Fourteenth Amendment due process claims; (2) the claims against the Legal Aid defendants; and (3) all claims against Defendants Bellamy, Thomas, Fischer, Fogg, and Boston. (Dkt. No. 7 at 19.)

The Court directed Defendants to respond to the "Eighth Amendment excessive force and failure to intervene claims against the remaining defendants." (Dkt. No. 7 at 19.)

Defendants now move to dismiss the complaint. (Dkt. No. 27.) Plaintiff has informed the Court that he will not respond to the motion, preferring to stand ...


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