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Hayes v. Dahkle

United States District Court, N.D. New York

January 26, 2017

TAHEEN HAYES, Plaintiff,
v.
T. DAHKLE, et al., Defendants.

          TAHEEN HAYES Plaintiff Pro se, THOMAS J. McAVOY Senior United States District Judge

          DECISION AND ORDER

          Thomas J. McAvoy Senior, U.S. District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pro se plaintiff Taheen Hayes ("plaintiff") commenced this civil rights action asserting claims arising out of his confinement in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"). Dkt. No. 1 ("Compl."). By Decision and Order filed on December 15, 2016 (Dkt. No. 5) (the "December Order"), this Court granted Plaintiff's IFP application and reviewed the sufficiency of the complaint in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. On the basis of that review, the Court dismissed the following, without prejudice: (1) Eighth Amendment claims against defendants Superintendent Daniel F. Martuscello ("Martuscello"), Deputy of Security, Raymond Shanley ("Shanley"), Inmate Counselor J. Iarrusso ("Iarrusso"), Correction Officer T. Dahkle ("Dahkle"), Correction Officer Jason A. Meier ("Meier"), Correction Officer Gregory E. Langtry ("Langtry"), Correction Officer Stephen A. Bence ("Bence") and Correction Officer E. Coon ("Coon"); (2) supervisory claims against Martuscello and Shanley; (3) retaliation claim against Dahkle; and (4) constitutional claims against Iarrusso for failing to process grievances. Dkt. No. 5 at 20. Plaintiff was given the opportunity to file an amended complaint to assert any claim that was dismissed without prejudice. See Id. at 20, n. 12. The Court ordered defendant Correction Officer K. Hoffman ("Hoffman"), Meier, Langtry, Bence, and Coon to respond to plaintiff's retaliation claims.[1] See Id. at 20.

         Presently before the Court is plaintiff's amended complaint. Dkt. No. 8 ("Am. Compl.").

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The legal standard governing the dismissal of a pleading for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b) was discussed at length in the December Order and it will not be restated in this Decision and Order. See Dkt. No. 5 at 2-4. The Court will construe the allegations in plaintiff's amended complaint with the utmost leniency. See, e.g., Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (holding that a pro se litigant's complaint is to be held "to a less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.").

         III. SUMMARY OF AMENDED COMPLAINT[2]

         Plaintiff, an inmate currently confined at Clinton Correctional Facility ("Clinton C.F."), asserts claims related to his confinement at Coxsackie Correctional Facility ("Coxsackie C.F."). See Am. Compl, generally. On March 2, 2016, plaintiff filed a grievance (CX-18859-016), related to his dreadlocks.[3] See Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2. On April 15, 2016, at 10:30 a.m., Dahkle ordered plaintiff to step out of his cell, in the D-1 Gallery, for a search. See Am. Compl. at 4. Plaintiff complied with Dahkle's order to turn and face the wall for a pat frisk. See Id. During the pat frisk, Dahkle pressed his genitals against plaintiff's buttocks and ran his hands into the interior portion of plaintiff's buttocks. See Id. During the cell search, Dahkle asked plaintiff sexually explicit questions related to plaintiff's gender identification including, "do you consider yourself a male or a female?" See Id. at 4-5. Later that day, plaintiff reported the incident on the PREA hotline. See Am. Compl. at 5.

         On April 17, 2016, plaintiff filed a grievance (CX-18908-016) charging Dahkle with sexual assault.[4] See Am. Compl. at 5; Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2. On April 18, 2016, plaintiff reported the incident to Martuscello while the Superintendent was making rounds in the cafeteria. See Am. Compl. at 5. Martuscello took plaintiff's identification card and advised, "someone will be coming to see you soon." See id.

         On May 9, 2016, plaintiff was transferred to C-1 Housing unit. See Am. Compl. at 5. Dahkle was working in that unit and immediately began verbally harassing plaintiff. See Id. at 5-6. Dahkle made sexually explicit statements, called plaintiff derogatory names, and told plaintiff "do not unpack your [expletive] . . if I have to [expletive] you up myself, you're leaving this block." See Id. at 6. At approximately 3:15 p.m., plaintiff was summoned to the Captain's office for an interview with Martuscello and Shanley. See Id. at 6. Plaintiff told defendants about his most recent encounter with Dahkle and expressed his fear of retaliation. See Am. Compl. at 6. Martuscello and Shanley "laugh[ed] at [plaintiff]." See Id. at 6-7.

         On May 14, 2016, plaintiff was housed in the A-3 housing unit. See Am. Compl. at 7. When plaintiff left his cell for callouts, recreation, or meals, he came into contact with Dahkle, who worked the "3 to 7 pm" shift in A-2. See Id. Dahkle continued to verbally sexually harass plaintiff in the presence of other inmates and officers. See Id. Plaintiff wrote to Martuscello, Shanley, and Phyllis Harrison-Ross, M.D. ("Harrison-Ross"), the Commissioner of the New York State Commission of Correction[5]. See id.

         On May 15, 2016, Hoffman issued a misbehavior report charging plaintiff with creating a disturbance, failing to follow a direct order, harassment, lying, and threats. See Am. Compl. at 7; Dkt. No. 8-1 at 4. Hoffman reported that on May 15, 2016, at approximately 6:31 p.m., he:

. . . heard yelling on the tier. I started to make a round and could overhear inmate Hayes in A-31 cell. Yelling [sic] out his cell window to another inmate saying, "yo all you gotta do is call that PREA Hotline and say the C.O. touched your [expletive] doing a frisk or something, doesn't matter what you say. Just make something up, trust me, it works all the time." I then approached his cell door and gave him a direct order to stop yelling out of his window to which he replied "I wasn't." I then told him that I'd been listening to his conversation and gave him a second direct order to stop yelling, to which he replied "man, [expletive], I will put you [expletive] on paper too." Inmate Hayes then sat on his bed with no further incident. Area supervisor notified.

Dkt. No. 8-1 at 4.

         On May 16, 2016, plaintiff was transferred to F-3-36 cell and placed in keeplock confinement pending a disciplinary hearing related to the misbehavior report. See Am. Compl. at 8. At approximately 4:30 p.m., Meier came to plaintiff's cell and asked plaintiff why he was in keeplock. See Id. Plaintiff explained that Hoffman issued a retaliatory misbehavior report. See Id. Meier called plaintiff a "[expletive] liar" and told him to "lock in." See Id. At approximately 5:30 p.m., plaintiff was directed to the front of the company for a keeplock admission interview. See Am. Compl. at 8. A registered nurse asked plaintiff, in Meier's presence, whether plaintiff was sexually abused at Coxsackie C.F. and plaintiff responded "yes." See Id. at 9. Meier became agitated and threatened plaintiff while yelling expletives and slurs at plaintiff. See Id. The nurse asked if any sexual incident occurred within the last forty-eight hours and plaintiff responded, "no." See Id. The nurse "cleared" plaintiff and left. See Am. Compl. at 9.

         After the nurse left, Meier opened "the cage" and "stormed in, jumping in [plaintiff's] face." See Am. Compl. 9. Meier threatened plaintiff with bodily harm and was so agitated that he spit on plaintiff's face. See Id. Meier accused plaintiff of "get[ting] C.O.'s fired." See Am. Compl. at 9. Plaintiff complied with Meier's order to "lock in." See Id. at 10. Approximately thirty minutes later, plaintiff kicked his cell door to get the attention of the supervising officer. See Id. Plaintiff asked to speak to a sergeant but his request was denied. See Id. As a result of the incident, Meier issued a misbehavior report. See Am. Compl. at 10. On May 17, 2016, plaintiff was escorted to the Special Housing Unit ("SHU"). See id.

         On May 19, 2016, plaintiff received a memorandum from R. Paquette-Monthie ("Paquette-Monthie"), LMSW-Counselor regarding his "concerns."[6] See Dkt. No. 8-1 at 13. Paquette-Monthie informed plaintiff that she communicated plaintiff's concerns to the Superintendent and the "SORC."[7] See Id. Paquette-Monthie told plaintiff that Martuscello was "looking into" the complaints and advised that "it is being handled." See Id. The counselor urged plaintiff to stop filing tickets and to use his SHU time, away from the offending individual, to "relax" or he will "end up with a lot of SHU time." See id.

         On May 23, 2016, while Martuscello and Shanley were making rounds in the SHU, plaintiff expressed his concerns regarding his safety and Meier's threats. See Am. Compl. at 10. Defendants "laughed and joked" and told plaintiff to address the issue during his disciplinary hearing. See Id. at 10-11.

         On May 24, 2016, plaintiff attended his Tier III disciplinary hearing related to Meier's misbehavior report. See Am. Compl. at 11. Plaintiff was found "not guilty" of threats and violent conduct but guilty of disobeying a direct order and creating a disturbance. See id.

         On May 24, 2016, plaintiff received a letter from Harrison-Ross, dated May 17, 2016, that advised plaintiff that his complaints regarding retaliation at Coxsackie C.F. and accusations that Martuscello and Shanley failed to protect plaintiff, were referred to the Office of Special Investigations for review. See Am. Compl. at 11; Dkt. No. 8-1 at 2.

         On June 10, 2016, plaintiff was released from the SHU. See Am. Compl. at 12. Plaintiff was advised that he would no longer be employed as a messhall worker. See Id. Plaintiff subsequently filed a grievance (CX-19054-016) for having his program revoked.[8]See id.

         On June 11, 2016, plaintiff was summoned to the Captain's office for an interview with Martuscello and Shanley. See Am. Compl. at 13. When plaintiff arrived, Martuscello yelled at plaintiff about his complaints and stated that "anything can happen" to plaintiff. See Id. Martuscello threatened to return plaintiff to the SHU if he continued to complain. See id.

         On June 15, 2016, plaintiff filed a formal complaint regarding his meeting with Martuscello and Shanley. See Am. Compl. at 13; Dkt. No. 8-1 at 17. On June 20, 2016, plaintiff was transferred to B-2, Division 6 cell. See Am. Compl. at 14. Hoffman was waiting for plaintiff in the gallery and threatened plaintiff. See Id. Hoffman told plaintiff not to get "comfortable" because "you mess with one of us (C.O.'s) you got to deal with all of us." See Id. On June 17, 2016, plaintiff filed a grievance (CX 18983-016) related to the retaliatory conduct and harassment by Hoffman and Meier. See Am. Compl. at 12; Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2.

         On June 24, 2016, plaintiff filed a petition pursuant to New York Civil Service Law § 75 charging Dahkle and Hoffman with, inter alia, threats of physical abuse and harassment. See Am. Compl. at 14; Dkt. No. 8-1 at 20. Plaintiff served a copy upon the Acting DOCCS Commissioner, the Office of Special Investigation, and Martuscello. See Am. Compl. at 14.

         On June 29, 2016, plaintiff received a letter from Karen Bellamy ("Bellamy")[9] in response to plaintiff's June 15, 2016 correspondence to Acting DOCCS Commissioner Anthony Annucci. See Dkt. No. 8-1 at 16. Plaintiff was advised that his grievance, CX-18983-16, alleging retaliation, was pending with the Superintendent.[10] See Id. A copy of the letter was sent to Martuscello. See id.

         On July 5, 2016, plaintiff received a letter from Deputy Counsel Nancy Heywood regarding his Civil Service petition. See Dkt. No. 8-1 at 30. Plaintiff was advised that the New York Civil Service Law did not authorize an inmate to initiate disciplinary proceedings against a DOCCS employee. See Id. Plaintiff was advised to direct his complaints to the Inmate Grievance Office at his facility. See id.

         On July 7, 2016, plaintiff was summoned to the Inmate Grievance Office. See Am. Compl. at 14. Iarrusso advised that "some higher-up official in Albany" was investigating plaintiff's grievances and complaints against Dahkle. See Id. Plaintiff discussed the events that had transpired between February 26, 2016 until July 7, 2016. See Id. Iarrusso advised plaintiff that if he ceased filing complaints, "all of this would go away." See Am. Compl. at 15. Thirty minutes later, Hoffman banged on plaintiff's cell door and continued to harass plaintiff for filing grievances. See Id. He also told plaintiff that "Dahkle said hi." See id.

         On July 12, 2016, plaintiff was summoned to the Inmate Grievance Office for a hearing regarding his complaints about SHU mail. See Am. Compl. at 15. The hearing was conducted by Iarrusso and Meier. See Am. Compl. at 15. Plaintiff claimed that his grievances about Martuscello and Shanley had not been filed despite the fact that he wrote the grievances one month prior. See Id. at 15-16. Iarrusso angrily ...


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