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Thousand v. Corrigan

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 23, 2017

S. CORRIGAN, et. al., Defendants.

          ROBERT THOUSAND Clinton Correctional Facility Plaintiff, pro se.

          HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN MARIA E. LISI-MURRAY, AAG New York Attorney General The Capitol Attorney for Defendants


          Mae A. D'Agostio U.S. District Judge.


         On August 24, 2015, Robert Thousand ("Plaintiff") commenced the present civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") arising out of his confinement in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"). See Dkt. No. 1.

         In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendants Corrigan, Jones, and Segovis assaulted him on January 27, 2014 while he was confined by DOCCS at Great Meadow Correctional Facility ("Great Meadow"). See id. at ¶¶ 43-48. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants Carpenter, O'Brien, and Scarlotta knew or should have known about the assault and failed to intervene. See id. at ¶¶ 31-39. Plaintiff also alleged that Defendants Liberty and Prack violated Plaintiff's due process rights during the administrative process that arose out of the incident. See id. at ¶¶ 62-85. As a result, Plaintiff seeks substantial monetary relief. See id. at 22-23.

         On August 15, 2016, Defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment seeking dismissal of Plaintiff's failure to intervene and due process claims. See Dkt. No. 30. On December 5, 2016, Magistrate Judge Baxter issued a Report-Recommendation recommending that the Court grant Defendants' motion. See Dkt. No. 40. On December 16, 2016, Plaintiff filed his objections to Magistrate Judge Baxter's Report-Recommendation. See Dkt. No. 41.

         Currently before the Court is Magistrate Judge Baxter's Report-Recommendation and Plaintiff's objections thereto.


         The relevant facts in this case were outlined in this Court's October 5, 2015 Decision and Order. See Dkt. No. 5 at 4-8. Additionally, Magistrate Judge Baxter outlined the facts in his Report-Recommendation on December 5, 2016. See Dkt. No. 40 at 2-8. Since neither party objects to Magistrate Judge Baxter's factual recitation, and because it is consistent with the record before the Court, it is adopted for purposes of this Memorandum-Decision and Order.


         A. Standard

         "[I]n a pro se case, the court must view the submissions by a more lenient standard than that accorded to 'formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Govan v. Campbell, 289 F.Supp.2d 289, 295 (N.D.N.Y. 2007) (quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)) (other citations omitted). The Second Circuit has opined that the court is obligated to "'make reasonable allowances to protect pro se litigants'" from inadvertently forfeiting legal rights merely because they lack a legal education. Govan, 289 F.Supp.2d at 295 (quoting Traguth v. Zuck, 710 F.2d 90, 95 (2d Cir. 1983)).

         When a party files specific objections to a magistrate judge's report-recommendation, the district court makes a "de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). However when a party files "[g]eneral or conclusory objections or objections which merely recite the same arguments [that he presented] to the magistrate judge, " the court reviews those recommendations for clear error. O'Diah v. Mawhir, No. 9:08-CV-322, 2011 WL 933846, *1 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 16, 2011) (citations and footnote omitted). After the appropriate review, "the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendation made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).

         "'[S]ummary judgment is appropriate where there exists no genuine issue of material fact and, based on the undisputed facts, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 272 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting D'Amico v. City of New York, 132 F.3d 145, 149 (2d Cir. 1998)) (other citations omitted). When analyzing a summary judgment motion, the court "'cannot try issues of fact; it can only determine whether there are issues to be tried.'" Chambers v. TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 36-37 (2d Cir. 1994) (quotation and other citations omitted). Moreover, it is well-settled that a party opposing a motion for summary judgment may not simply rely on the assertions in its pleading. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), (e)).

         In assessing the record to determine whether any such issues of material fact exist, the court is required to resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. See Chambers, 43 F.3d at 36 (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2513-14, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)) (other citations omitted). Where the non-movant either does not respond to the motion or fails to dispute the movant's statement of material facts, the court may not rely solely on the moving party's Rule 56.1 statement; rather, the court must be satisfied that the citations to evidence in the record support the movant's assertions. See Giannullo v. City of N.Y., 322 F.3d 139, 143 n.5 (2d Cir. 2003) (holding that not verifying in the record the assertions in the motion for summary judgment "would derogate the truth-finding functions of the judicial process by substituting convenience for facts").

         B. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") states that "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1979 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. § 1983), or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). This exhaustion requirement applies to all suits brought by inmates regarding aspects of prison life. See Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). Inmates must exhaust all available administrative remedies even if they are seeking only money damages that are not available in prison administrative proceedings. Giano v. Goord, 380 F.3d 670, 675 (2d Cir. 2004), abrogated on other grounds by Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850 (2016). The failure to exhaust is an affirmative defense that must be raised by the defendants and, as such, it is the defendants' burden to establish ...

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