United States District Court, N.D. New York
DIMAS CUADRADO, Plaintiff Pro se, Great Meadow Correctional Facility, Comstock, New York,
HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, Attorney General for the, State of New York, RACHEL MAMAN KISH, ESQ., Assistant Attorney General, Albany, New York, Attorney for Defendant.
REPORT-RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER
CHRISTIAN F. HUMMEL, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff pro se Dimas Cuadrado, an inmate who was, at all relevant times, in the custody of the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendant Brueault violated his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment. Compl. (Dkt. No. 1). At all relevant times, plaintiff was an inmate incarcerated at Coxsackie Correctional Facility ("Coxsackie"). Additional defendants were named, but the claims against them have since been dismissed. Dkt. No. 10. Plaintiff demands monetary damages in the amount of $2, 000, 000 from New York State, "paid dental expenses, the removement [sic] from [Coxsackie] correctional facility, " and the suspension of the "officer." Compl. at 5. For the following reasons, it is recommended that Brueault's motion for dismissal be granted.
The allegations of plaintiff's complaint are viewed as true. See subsection III (A) infra. Plaintiff alleges that on October 13, 2014 he was on his way to Jewish services when he was approached by Officer Brueault and asked to "get on the wall for a pat frisk.'" Compl. at 5. While plaintiff obeyed Brueault's order, other officers notified Brueault that "the area was clear'". Id . Brueault then swung and hit plaintiff in his face, breaking his jaw and rendering him unconscious. Id . Plaintiff regained consciousness while the other officers "beat on [him] until a sergeant came." Id.
Plaintiff contends that defendant Brueault violated the Eighth Amendment by using excessive force during the October 13 incident. Compl. at 5. Brueault argues that plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") and that the Eleventh Amendment bars the claims against Brueault in his official capacity. Dkt. No. 13-1.
A. Legal Standard
Rule 12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of a complaint that states no actionable claim. When considering a motion to dismiss, "a court must accept the allegations contained in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant." Sheppard v. Beerman, 18 F.3d 147, 150 (2d Cir. 1994). However, this "tenet...is inapplicable to legal conclusions[; thus, t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. lqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007) (holding that "entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action...[as] courts are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.")).
Accordingly, to defeat a motion to dismiss, a claim must include "facial plausibility...that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556 (explaining that the plausibility test "does not impose a probability requirement...it simply calls for enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of illegal [conduct].")); see also Arar v. Ashcroft, 585 F.3d 559, 569 (2d Cir. 2009) (holding that, "[o]n a motion to dismiss, courts require enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible....") (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Determining whether plausibility exists is a "context-specific [task] that requir[es] the reviewing court to draw on its [judicial] experience and common sense." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663-64 (citation omitted).
When, as here, a party seeks judgment against a pro se litigant, a court must afford the non-movant special solicitude. See Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 477 (2d Cir. 2006). As the Second Circuit has stated,
[t]here are many cases in which we have said that a pro se litigant is entitled to "special solicitude, "...that a pro se litigant's submissions must be construed "liberally, "... and that such submissions must be read to raise the strongest arguments that they "suggest".... At the same time, our cases have also indicated that we cannot read into pro se submissions claims that are not "consistent" with the pro se litigant's allegations, ... or arguments that the submissions themselves do not "suggest"... that we should not "excuse frivolous or vexatious filings by pro se litigants"... and that pro se status "does not exempt a party from compliance with relevant rules of procedural and substantive law[.]"
Id. (citations and footnote omitted); see also Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed Defendant #1, 537 F.3d 185, 191-92 (2d Cir. 2008) ("On occasions too numerous to count, we have reminded district courts that when [a] plaintiff proceeds pro se, ... a court is obliged to construe his pleadings liberally.'" (citations omitted)).
Brueault contends that his motion to dismiss must be granted because plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Specifically, Brueault argues that plaintiff failed to wait until he received a decision on his final appeal before commencing this action. Under the PLRA, an inmate must exhaust all administrative remedies before bringing an action for claims arising out of his or her incarceration. Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524 (2002); see also Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 82 (2006). To exhaust administrative remedies, the inmate must complete the full administrative review process set forth in the rules applicable to the correctional facility in which he or she is incarcerated. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218 (2007) (internal citation omitted). The exhaustion requirement applies even if the administrative grievance process does not provide for all the relief requested by the inmate. Nussle, 534 U.S. at 524.
Although the Supreme Court has deemed exhaustion mandatory, the Second Circuit has recognized that "certain caveats apply." Ruggiero v. County of Orange, 467 F.3d 170, 175 (2d Cir. 2006) (citing Giano v. Goord, 380 F.3d 670, 677 (2d Cir. 2004)). Thus, a court must conduct a three-part inquiry to determine whether an inmate's failure to follow the applicable grievance procedures is fatal to his or her claims. A court must consider whether:
(1) administrative remedies are not available to the prisoner; (2) defendants have either waived the defense of failure to exhaust or acted in such a way as to estop them from raising the defense; or (3) special circumstances, such as a reasonable misunderstanding of the grievance procedures, justify the prisoner's failure to comply with the exhaustion requirement.
Ruggiero, 467 F.3d at 175 (citing Hemphill v. New York, 380 F.3d 680, 686 (2d Cir. 2004)).
Administrative remedies are unavailable when there is no "possibility of... relief for the action complained of." Abney v. McGinnis, 380 F.3d 663, 667 (2d Cir. 2004) (citing Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 738 (2001)). The test to determine the availability of an administrative remedy is an objective one: whether "a similarly situated individual of ordinary firmness" would have deemed it available. Hemphill, 380 F.3d at 688 (citation omitted). Unavailability may be found in circumstances "where plaintiff is unaware of the grievance procedures or did not understand it... or where defendants' behavior prevents plaintiff from seeking administrative remedies." Hargrove v. Riley, No.04-CV-4587 (DST), 2007 WL 389003, at *8 (E.D.N.Y. Jan 31, 2007) (internal citations omitted). Further, "where a prisoner has made a reasonable attempt' to file a grievance, and prison officials have prevented the prisoner from filing that grievance, the grievance procedures are not available' to the defendant, and thus, the [PLRA] does not preclude the prisoner from suing in federal court." Thomas v. New York State Dep't of Corr. Servs., 00-CV-7163 (NRB), 2002 WL 31164546, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2002) (citations omitted).
Here, there is no dispute that at all relevant times, DOCCS had in place a three-step inmate grievance program. N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 7, § 701.5 (2014). First, the inmate is required to file a complaint with an inmate grievance program clerk ("IGP") within twenty-one days of the alleged action. Id. at § 701.5(a)(1). An IGP representative has sixteen calendar days to informally resolve the issue. Id. at § 701.5(b)(1). If no informal resolution occurs, the full IGP committee must hold a hearing within sixteen days of receipt of the grievance and must issue a written decision within two working days after conclusion of the hearing. Id . §§ 701.5(b)(2)(i), (ii). If unfavorable, a grievant may appeal the IGP committee's determination to the facility superintendent within seven calendar days of receipt of the determination. Id . § 701.5(c)(1). If the superintendent's determination is unfavorable, the grievant may take the third step of the grievance procedure by appealing to the central office review committee ("CORC") within seven days after receipt of the unfavorable superintendent's determination. Id . §§ 701.5 (d)(i), (ii). CORC must issue a written decision within thirty days of receipt of the grievant's appeal. Id . § 701.5(d)(2)(ii).
Here, plaintiff presumably completed the first two steps of the administrative grievance process. His complaint states that his "grievance is still pending." Compl. at 5. Despite his claim otherwise, he has not completed the final step of the administrative grievance process as CORC has not yet addressed plaintiff's appeal. Dkt. No. 18. Plaintiff does not allege in his response that he failed to meet the exhaustion requirement due to administrative remedies being unavailable to him, nor does he allege that the defendant has waived the defense of failure to exhaust or acted in such a way as to estop him from raising such a defense. Ruggiero, 467 F.3d at 175. Plaintiff also does not allege any special circumstances that would justify his failure to comply with the exhaustion requirement. Id.
As discussed, the exhaustion of administrative remedies must be fully completed prior to the filing of an action in federal court. Neal v. Goord, 267 F.3d 116, 123 (2d Cir. 2001), overruled on other grounds, Porter, 534 U.S. at 532. Thus, "where it appears that plaintiff has begun, but not completed, the grievance procedure, the appropriate course would be to dismiss the action without prejudice to allow plaintiff to meet the exhaustion requirement." Leal v. Johnson, 315 F.Supp.2d 345, 347 (W.D.N.Y. 2004). Dismissal is required even in cases where the exhaustion requirement is met subsequent to the filing of the complaint. Rossi v. Fishcer, 13-CV-3167 (PKC)(DF), 2015 WL 769551, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2015). Because plaintiff has not received a written decision from CORC yet, and has demonstrated no exception, he has not met the exhaustion requirement under the PLRA.
Accordingly, it is recommended that Brueault's motion for dismissal be granted on this ground, but that such dismissal be without prejudice.
B. Eleventh Amendment
Brueault argues that he is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity relating to plaintiff's claims against him in his official capacity. The Eleventh Amendment provides that "[t]he Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State." U.S. CONST. AMEND. XI. "[D]espite the limited terms of the Eleventh Amendment, a federal court [cannot] entertain a suit brought by a citizen against his [or her] own State. Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 98 (1984) (citing Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1, 21 (1890)). Regardless of the nature of the relief sought, in the absence of the State's consent or waiver of immunity, a suit against the State or one of its agencies or departments is proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment. Halderman, 465 U.S. at 100. Section 1983 claims do not abrogate the Eleventh Amendment immunity of the states. See Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 340-41 (1979).
Moreover, suit against a state official in his or her official capacity is a suit against the entity that employs the official. Faird v. Smith, 850 F.2d 917, 921 (2d Cir. 1988) (citing Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 663 (1974)). "Thus, while an award of damages against an official in his personal capacity can be executed only against the official's personal assets, a plaintiff seeking to recover on a damages judgment in an official-capacity suit must look to the government entity itself, " rendering the latter suit for money damages barred even though asserted against the individual officer in his official capacity. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985).
Here, because plaintiff seeks monetary damages against Brueault for acts occurring within the scope of his duties, the Eleventh Amendment bar applies.
Accordingly, it is recommended that Brueault's motion on this ground be granted.
For the reasons stated above, it is hereby RECOMMENDED that defendant Brueault's motion for dismissal (Dkt. No. 13) of plaintiff's complaint (Dkt. No. 1) be GRANTED; and it is further
1. all claims against defendant Brueault in his official capacity be dismissed with prejudice, and;
2. all other claims remaining in plaintiff's complaint be dismissed without prejudice, for plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).
ORDERED, that the Clerk of the Court serve a copy of this Report-Recommendation and Order upon the parties to this action, pursuant to local rules.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the parties may lodge written objections to the foregoing report. Such objections shall be filed with the Clerk of the Court. FAILURE TO OBJECT TO THIS REPORT WITHIN FOURTEEN (14) DAYS WILL PRECLUDE APPELLATE REVIEW. Roldan v. Racette, 984 F.2d 85, 89 (2d Cir. 1993); Small v. Sec'y of HHS, 892 F.2d 15 (2d Cir. 1989); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); FED. R. Civ. P. 72, 6(a), 6(e).
Attorneys and Law Firms
Wayne Hargrove, Ossining, NY, pro se.
Alexander V. Sansone, Troy & Troy, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, Joseph Carney, Mineola, NY, for Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
*1 Inmate Wayne Hargrove ("Hargrove" or "plaintiff') brings this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Nassau County Sheriff, Nassau County Correctional Facility ("NCCF") and NCCF's medical staff, (collectively, "defendants"), seeking damages for injuries allegedly caused by defendants while he was incarcerated at NCCF. Defendants now move for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 arguing, inter alia, that Hargrove's claims should be dismissed because he failed to exhaust administrative remedies, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. For the following reasons, defendants' motions for summary judgment are granted.
On August 27, 2004,  Hargrove filed a complaint, alleging that defendants violated his civil rights when they forcibly administered purified protein derivative skin tests ("PPD test") to test for latent tuberculosis ("TB") in April 2002, 2003 and 2004 while he was incarcerated at NCCF. Complaint, Ex. C; Aff. in Opp. at 1-4, Ex. A. Hargrove named Nassau County Sheriff Edward Reilly ("Reilly"), NCCF and Nassau County University Medical Staff as defendants. On November 22, 2004, after discovery, County Defendants and NHCC Defendants filed separate motions for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Both defendants properly filed a Local Rule 56.1 Statement and served Hargrove a Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment, pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.2.
Tuberculosis Testing at NCCF
Upon entering NCCF, new prisoners must first go through medical intake. Aff. of Kim Edwards, ("Edwards Aff.") ¶ 3. This standard process usually takes seventy-two hours. Edwards Aff. ¶ 4. During medical intake, NCCF tests inmates for TB. Aff. of Getachew Feleke ("Feleke Aff.") ¶ 3. NCCF generally uses a PPD test to detect latent TB. Feleke Aff. ¶ 3. However, if an inmate has previously tested positive for TB, it is NCCF's policy to test for TB using an x-ray instead. Feleke Aff. ¶ 3. As part of its Infectious Disease Program, NCCF re-tests inmates for TB each year, beginning after they have been housed in that facility for one year. Edwards Aff. ¶ 5.
Hargrove's Tuberculosis Testing at NCCF
On March 15, 2002, Hargrove was incarcerated at NCCF. NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 1. Before entering the general population, Hargrove was processed through medical intake. NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 2. The NCCF Medical Intake Chart for Hargrove, dated March 15, 2002 ("3/15/02 Chart"), shows that Hargrove informed medical staff that he had previously been exposed to tuberculosis. NHCC Defs.' Notice of Mot., Ex. C, at 1; NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 2. The 3/15/02 Chart also shows that Hargrove reported testing positive to a prior PPD test and that he had been treated for TB in 2000. NHCC Defs.' Notice of Mot., Ex. C, at 1. Hargrove alleges that he was exposed to and treated for TB in 1997. Hargrove's Aff. in Opp. to Mot. for Summary Judgment, ("Aff. in Opp."), Ex. A at 1-2. Defendants contend that Hargrove was given an x-ray during the medical intake process because of his reported positive PPD test, and that the x-ray was negative, showing no active TB infection. NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 2; Edwards Aff. ¶ 3. Without specifying a date, Hargrove generally states that his "request to be x-rayed was denied."Aff. in Opp. at 3.
*2 Pursuant to NCCF's Infectious Disease Program, after being incarcerated in NCCF for a year, Hargrove was scheduled to be re-tested for TB. Edwards Aff. ¶ 5; NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 4. On May 24, 2003, Hargrove was given a PPD skin test. Edwards Aff. ¶ 5; NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 4. This test was negative. Edwards Aff. ¶ 5; NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 4. According to Hargrove, he requested an x-ray instead of a PPD test because of his previous exposure to TB, but was forced to submit to the PPD test. He also alleges that defendants threatened to put him in "keep lock" or "lock up" unless he submitted to the PPD test. Complaint, Ex. C; Aff. in Opp. at 1-4, Ex. A.
The following year, in June of 2004, Hargrove was scheduled to be retested. Edwards Aff. ¶ 6; NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 5. Because of the contradiction between the negative May 2003 PPD test and his reported positive history, NCCF contacted the Infectious Disease Department of the Nassau County Medical Center. Edwards Aff. ¶ 6. It was suggested that Hargrove be given a two-step PPD test, administered fifteen days apart. Feleke Aff. ¶ 4; Edwards Aff. ¶ 6. Hargrove was given these two PPD skin tests in June 2004. Edwards Aff. ¶ 6; NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 5. Again, Hargrove alleges that these tests were administered against his will and under threat of being placed in quarantine. Complaint, Exs. A, B; Aff. in Opp., Ex. A.
On December 3, 2004, Hargrove was seen by a physician's assistant. NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 6. During this meeting, Hargrove complained of a dry cough and that the site on his forearm where the June 2004 PPD tests had been administered was red and swollen. NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 6; 11/28/04 Sick Call Request.
Hargrove's December 18, 2004 chart notes a positive PPD test and an order was placed in the chart that Hargrove not be submitted for future PPD tests. Edwards Aff. ¶ 7; NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 8. See also 11/19/2004 Grievance.
Hargrove alleges that the following physical ailments were caused by the PPD tests: chronic coughing, high blood pressure, chronic back pain, lung infection, dizzy spells, blurred vision and a permanent scar on both his forearms. Complaint, Ex. C; Aff. in Opp. at 3-4.
NCCF's Inmate Grievance Procedure
NCCF has had an inmate grievance program ("IGP") in place since 2001. Aff. of Kenneth Williams, ("Williams Aff."), at 2. NCCF's IGP is carried out in conformance with the New York State Commission of Corrections Minimum Standards and Regulations for Management of County Jails and Penitentiaries ("Minimum Standards"). Id.
The IGP is designed to resolve complaints and grievances that an inmate may have regarding the inmate's care and treatment while incarcerated at NCCF. Williams Aff. at 2. Upon entering NCCF, all inmates receive a copy of the NCCF inmate handbook, which outlines the IGP. Id.
*3 The record does not include an actual copy of NCCF's IGP, but the NCCF's IGP is detailed in the affidavit of NCCF Investigator Kenneth Williams. The IGP encourages inmates to resolve their grievances informally with the staff member assigned to the inmate housing unit first. Id. If an acceptable resolution cannot be reached, inmates must then proceed through the formal three-step process set out in the IGP. Id. at 3.
The first step requires an inmate to submit his grievance form to the Inmate Grievance Unit by placing it in a locked box located in each housing area, "within five days of the date of the act or occurrence giving rise to the grievance." Id. at 2-3.NCCF indexes all grievance forms filed by inmates in a log book and in a computer system. Id. at 1, 3. Once a grievance form is received by the Inmate Grievance Unit, the grievance is investigated and the inmate will receive a written determination of the outcome from the Inmate Grievance Coordinator in Section II of the grievance form. Id. at 3. The inmate is then given a choice to accept or appeal the decision by checking the desired selection and signing his name in Section III of the grievance form. See, e.g., 11/19/2004 Grievance form. If the inmate is not satisfied with the decision of the Inmate Grievance Coordinator, the inmate may appeal the determination to the Chief Administrative Officer. Williams Aff. at 3. Finally, if the inmate is not satisfied with the Chief Administrative Officer's determination, the inmate may appeal to the New York State Commission of Correction Citizen's Policy and Complaint Review Council ("Council"). Id. at 3. The Council will then render a final determination. Id. at 3.
Authenticity of the Grievance Forms and Other Documents Submitted by Hargrove
In support of his allegations that he continuously informed defendants that he had been exposed to TB and, therefore, should not have been given PPD tests, Hargrove submitted three letters with his complaint, two of which were addressed to the Inmate Grievance Committee and one of which was addressed to "To whom this may concern." Complaint, Exs. A-C. He also submitted five complaint letters written to Sheriff Reilly, seventeen sick call requests and nine grievance forms during discovery and with his Affidavit in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, explaining that some of the medical records and notarized letters were "missing." Aff. in Opp, Ex. A at 2. Defendants call the authenticity of most of these documents into question, contending that Hargrove never submitted any grievance form or complaint letter before he filed his complaint. County Defs.' Mem. of Law at 16-21; County Defs.' 56.1 Statement at ¶¶ B2, C3, D3.
Kenneth Williams, an investigator at NCCF in the Inmate Grievance Unit, testified that he reviewed all of the grievance forms, complaint letters and sick call requests annexed to Hargrove's Complaint and to Hargrove's Affidavit in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Williams Aff. at 2. Williams testified that he examined the grievance records at NCCF and searched "for any grievances by plaintiff/inmate Hargrove" and found "only two." Williams Aff. at 1. The first grievance, dated November 19, 2004, complained that the medical staff continued "forcing [Hargrove] to take a T.B. shot while [he] keep[s] telling them that [he] has been exposed to T.B." 11/19/2004 Grievance; Williams Aff. at 1. In response to this grievance, Hargrove's "positive" TB status was noted in his medical records and an order was placed in Hargrove's medical chart, stating that Hargrove not be subjected to future PPD tests. 11/19/2004 Grievance, Section II; Williams Aff. at 1; NHCC Defs.' 56.1 Statement ¶ 8; Edwards Aff. ¶ 7. In Section III of the 11/19/2004 Grievance, Hargrove acknowledged that he had read the Grievance Coordinator's decision, and that he chose to accept the decision instead of appealing it. 11/19/2004 Grievance. The other grievance received by the Grievance Unit, dated May 11, 2005, complained of an unrelated matter. 5/11/2005 Grievance (complaining of back problems and requesting the return of his medical shoes); Williams Aff. at 1. Thus, Williams concluded that, beside the 11/19/2004 and 5/11/2005 Grievance Forms, none of the other documents were "received by the grievance unit, and, given the locked box system, the grievance-forms were never submitted by plaintiff/inmate."Williams Aff. at 2.
*4 A visual examination of the grievance forms Hargrove submitted in support of his claims suggests forgery. Five of the nine grievance forms were requests to stop PPD testing. See April 19, 2002 grievance; April 28, 2002 grievance; April 20, 2003 grievance; April 28, 2003 grievance; November 19, 2004 grievance. The remaining grievance forms concerned Hargrove's requests for medical shoes. See March 18, 2002 grievance; July 6, 2002 grievance; February 20, 2003 grievance; May 11, 2005 grievance. Of the grievance forms complaining of unwanted PPD tests, the April 28, 2002 grievance form is a patent photocopy of the April 19, 2002 grievance form, and the April 28, 2003 grievance form is a patent photocopy copy of the April 20, 2003 grievance form, with only the handwritten dates changed. The only potentially authentic grievance forms relating to Hargrove's complaint about the PPD testing are dated April 19, 2002, April 20, 2003, and November 19, 2004. Of these grievance forms, only the November 19, 2004 has been authenticated by NCCF personnel. See generally Williams Aff. at 1-4.
Turning to the complaint letters addressed to Reilly, many contain notary stamps cut from the bottom of unrelated documents and photocopied onto the bottom of the complaint letters. See County Defs.' Mem. of Law at 18-21. C.O. Thomas McDevitt and C.O. Paul Klein, both of whom perform notary services for prisoners at NCCF, have submitted sworn affidavits, stating that they kept individual Notary Log Books covering all dates relevant to this litigation. Aff. of C.O. Klein, ("Klein Aff."), at 1; Aff. of C.O. McDevitt, ("McDevitt Aff."), at 1. McDevitt's Notary Log Book shows that he notarized only one document for Hargrove. This document, dated May 13, 2002, was a motion related to Hargrove's criminal trial. McDevitt Aff. at 1-2. Hargrove signed the Notary Log Book acknowledging receipt of that notarized motion. McDevitt Aff. at 2. McDevitt states that he never notarized any other documents for Hargrove. McDevitt Aff. at 2. However, McDevitt's stamp and signature dated May 13, 2002 (the date of the legitimate notarization) appear on Hargrove's letter to Sheriff Reilly dated May 10, 2002. County Defs.' Not. of Motion, Ex. A.
These facts repeat themselves in regard to the documents bearing the notary stamp and signature of Klein. Klein had performed several legitimate notarizations for Hargrove in connection to Hargrove's criminal trial. Klein Aff. at 1-2. Hargrove signed Klein's Notary Log Book acknowledging receipt of those notarized documents. Klein Aff. at 2. However, Klein states that he never notarized any of Hargrove's letters addressed to Sheriff Reilly that bear Klein's stamp and signature. Klein Aff. at 2. On all of the documents that Hargrove submitted bearing Klein's stamp and signature, the dates and signatures of Klein match identically to the dates on which he had performed legitimate notarizations for Hargrove in connection with his criminal trial. Defendants argue it is clear that the documents bearing the stamps and signatures of McDevitt and Klein were not actually notarized by these notaries. County Defs.' Mem. of Law at 17-22.
*5 Hargrove does not deny these allegations. Instead, he resubmits the documents that McDevitt and Klein testify they did not notarize with his Affidavit in Opposition and insists that the documents "refute[ ] the ...