United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, Jr., Chief District Judge.
Pro se Plaintiff Tyrone Hall filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the Defendants, several employees of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), violated his constitutional rights. The Complaint stems from an incident on or about April 6, 2011, where Hall alleges that while he was an inmate at the Five Points Correctional Facility, certain Defendants utilized excessive force against him, and then retaliated against him after the alleged incident. The Defendants have moved for summary judgment, arguing that Hall's action cannot proceed because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before commencing this action. For the following reasons, the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 7) is granted, and this case is dismissed with prejudice.
I. Summary Judgment Standard
The standard for ruling on a summary judgment motion is well known. Summary judgment shall be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[T]he mere existence of some allegedly factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original). While the court must view the inferences to be drawn from the facts in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), a party may not "rely on mere speculation or conjecture as to the true nature of the facts to overcome a motion for summary judgment." Knight v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 12 (2d Cir. 1986). The non-moving party may defeat the summary judgment motion by producing sufficient specific facts to establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). However, "mere conclusory allegations or denials" are not evidence and cannot by themselves create a genuine issue of material fact where none would otherwise exist. Quinn v. Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corp., 613 F.2d 438, 445 (2d Cir. 1980).
Because Hall is proceeding pro se, his submissions are read liberally and interpreted "to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Fulton v. Goord, 591 F.3d 37, 43 (2d Cir. 2009). Nevertheless, proceeding pro se does not relieve a litigant from the usual requirements of summary judgment. See Wolfson v. Bruno, 844 F.Supp.2d 348, 354 (S.D.N.Y. 2011). When a pro se plaintiff fails to properly oppose a motion for summary judgment after having been warned of the consequences of such a failure, "summary judgment may be granted as long as the Court is satisfied that the undisputed facts show that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Almonte v. Pub. Storage Inc., No. 11 CIV. 1404 DLC, 2011 WL 3902997, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 2, 2011) (quoting Champion v. Artuz, 76 F.3d 483, 486 (2d Cir. 1996)).
Because pro se litigants are generally unfamiliar with the procedural requirements of summary judgment motions, they must be provided with a specific notification at the time the motion is filed. See Irby v. New York City Transit Auth., 262 F.3d 412, 414 (2d Cir. 2001); see also Local Civ. R. 56(b). Here, the record reflects that Hall was served with the required notice that informed him of his obligation to respond by sworn affidavits, his burden of producing evidence in admissible form to oppose the motion, and that his opponent's factual statements may be accepted as true if he failed to respond individually to his opponent's statement of material facts not in dispute.
Despite that clear warning, Hall failed to appropriately respond to the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. He produced no affidavits, no evidence in admissible form, and did not respond to the Defendants' Statement of Material Facts. Instead, his one page opposition to the Defendants' motion seeks court ordered discovery of his grievance file, and an extension of time "due to not having discovery." ECF No. 13.
II. The Material Facts Are Undisputed
As previously alluded to, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) provides that if a party "fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact... the court may... consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion." That same rule is contained in Local Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a)(2), which provides that:
The papers opposing a motion for summary judgment shall include a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, in correspondingly numbered paragraphs and, if necessary, additional paragraphs containing a short and concise statement of additional material facts as to which it is contended there exists a genuine issue to be tried. Each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement of material facts will be deemed admitted for purposes of the motion unless it is specifically controverted by a correspondingly numbered paragraph in the opposing statement.
Because Hall has failed to file a statement of material facts addressing Defendant's statement of material facts, the Court considers the facts alleged by Defendants - which are supported by citations to evidence in admissible form - to be undisputed, in accordance with these rules. See Gubitosi v. Kapica, 154 F.3d 30, 31 n.1 (2d Cir. 1998). Accordingly, I adopt the Defendants' Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute (ECF No. 7-2), and those facts establish the following:
1. Neither Five Points CF nor Upstate CF have any record of Plaintiff filing a grievance related to the ...