United States District Court, S.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
J. NATHAN, District Judge
42 U.S.C. § 1983 action, Plaintiff Mario Valdiviezo
alleges that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated by a
one hour delay in medical care after he slipped and fell in
the shower and because he was exposed to various unsanitary
conditions in prison. Valdiviezo has sued the City of New
York on a municipal liability theory, and he has sued several
individual officers involved in the shower incident. Before
the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss
Valdiviezo's complaint in the entirety. For the following
reasons, the Court grants that motion.
following facts are derived from Plaintiffs third amended
complaint and are assumed to be true for purposes of this
motion. See DP WN Holdings (USA), Inc. v. United Air
Lines, Inc., 747 F.3d 145, 147 (2d Cir. 2014).
times of the incidents alleged in Valdiviezo's third
amended complaint, Valdiviezo was a New York state inmate.
Third Amended Complaint ("TAC") at 2 (Dkt No. 32);
Mot. at 2 (Dkt No. 36). He was originally housed at the
George R. Vierno Center ("GRVC") on Rikers Island,
and he was relocated to the George Motchan Detention Center
("GMDC") in September 2014. TAC at 2-3; Mot. at
first incident described in Valdiviezo's complaint
involves a fall in a prison shower. Valdiviezo alleges that
on August 12, 2014, he slipped on a piece of soap in the
shower. TAC at 2. He "immediately fell to the
floor." Id., His back, head, and left shoulder
hit the floor. Id. According to Valdiviezo, this
fall left him in "excruciating pain, " and he was
unable to get up. Id. Other inmates who witnessed
the fall reported it to Corrections Officer Velez.
Id. Officer Velez arrived at the shower and asked
Valdiviezo if he was in pain, to which Valdiviezo responded
"Yes!" Id. Officer Velez then reported a
medical emergency to fellow Corrections Officer Ayou, who was
in the control booth. Id. Instead of calling
emergency personnel, Officer Ayou called Captain Boyer.
Id. Valdiviezo alleges that it took twenty minutes
for Captain Boyer to arrive. Id. at 2, 5. Once he
finally arrived, instead of attending to Valdiviezo (who was
still on the floor in pain), Officer Boyer decided to review
the security footage of the fall in order to make sure that
no one had pushed Valdiviezo. Id. at 2. Overall,
Valdiviezo alleges that he was left on the floor "for no
less than [an] hour in pain while people stepped over [him]
going back and forth taking showers." Id.
Eventually, a medical response team arrived. Id. The
medical responders instructed several other inmates to pick
Valdiviezo up and carry him to the medical clinic.
Id. The inmates ended up dropping Valdiviezo twice.
Id. at 2, 5-6. Valdiviezo alleges that the second
drop caused him to lose consciousness, and he later woke up
in the prison's medical clinic. Id. at 2, 4.
According to Valdiviezo, he suffered "injury to [his]
back, left shoulder, [and] neck" and he also suffered
from "impaired vision and a searing headache."
Id. at 4. He was eventually transported from the
prison to a hospital. Id.
other incidents described in Valdiviezo's complaint
relate to certain conditions of confinement. According to
Valdiviezo, the conditions of the prison showers were
"unsanitary" and "deplorable."
Id. at 2. Specifically, Valdiviezo alleges that the
"showers were used as urinals and smelled of urine"
because the prison refused to add a restroom to the housing
unit. Id. at 2, 4. He also alleges that shower tiles
were cracked and missing (therefore increasing the risk that
an inmate would cut himself and get an infection), that the
walls, ceiling, pipes, and paint in the showers were
corroded, that "water worms were found in the showers on
multiple occasions, " and that there were no shower pads
or mats. Id. at 2-3. Valdiviezo alleges that several
complaints and grievances were filed regarding these
conditions and that "on [a] few occasions" state
officials inspected the showers, but that nothing happened as
a result. Id. at 3. According to Valdiviezo, these
unsanitary conditions persisted for at least eighteen months.
Id. at 2, 4.
also alleges that he was exposed to human waste. According to
Valdiviezo, on both December 31, 2014 and January 19, 2015,
his cell block flooded with "sewage, " "human
waste, " "feces, " and "polluted
water." Id. at 3, 6. He further alleges that
prison officials refused to move him or allow him to clean
his cell. Id. at 3. As a result, Valdiviezo was
forced to "live in [these] squalor and unsanitary
conditions" for an unspecified period of time.
Id. at 6. As with the shower conditions, Valdiviezo
alleges that several grievances were filed to no avail.
Id. at 3.
Valdiviezo alleges that his sleep was disturbed on one night
by another prisoner. According to Valdiviezo, on the night of
December 31, 2014 (the same night as one of the floods), he
was "expos[ed] to [the] extreme behavior, " namely
the "constant screaming, " of another prisoner.
Id. at 3. This deprived Valdiviezo of sleep that
12, 2015, Valdiviezo filed apro se complaint against
the City of New York and Captain Boyer. Dkt No. 2. On July
27, 2015, then Chief Judge Preska sua sponte ordered
Valdiviezo to file an amended complaint. Dkt No. 5. That
order laid out the standards relevant to Eighth Amendment
claims and directed Valdiviezo to provide more factual detail
to support his claims. Id. Accordingly, on October
2, 2015, Valdiviezo filed an amended complaint naming Captain
Boyer, the GRVC, and the GMDC as defendants. Dkt No. 6. On
November 19, 2015, the Court dismissed Valdiviezo's
allegations against the GRVC and GMDC because, as agencies of
the City of New York, these entities could not be sued. Dkt
No. 8 at 2. The Court, however, construed the complaint as
asserting claims against the City of New York and accordingly
ordered service on the City and Boyer. Id. at 2-3.
On February 26, 2016, the City of New York and Captain Boyer
filed a motion to dismiss Valdiviezo's initial and
amended complaints. Dkt No. 14. The Court sua sponte
granted Valdiviezo leave to amend his complaint in response
to this motion to dismiss. Dkt No. 17. Valdiviezo did so on
April 26, 2016. Dkt No. 22. The City of New York and Boyer
once again moved to dismiss, see Dkt No. 26, and the
Court again provided Valdiviezo leave to amend, see
Dkt No. 28. On August 1, 2016, Valdiviezo filed his third
amended complaint, the operative pleading for purposes of
this motion. Dkt No. 32. Defendants renewed their motion to
dismiss. Dkt No. 35.
Standard of Review
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff
must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is facially
plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "Threadbare recitals
of the elements of a cause of action" and "mere
conclusory statements" in a complaint are insufficient
to survive a motion to dismiss. Id. Courts "are
not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a
factual allegation." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
as here, the complaint was filed pro se, it must be
construed liberally to raise the strongest arguments it
suggests." Walker v. Schult, 717 F.3d 119, 124
(2d Cir. 2013) (citations, quotation marks, and brackets
omitted). "Nonetheless, a pro se complaint must
state a plausible claim for relief." Id. A
court may dismiss a pro se complaint if it is clear
that the plaintiff cannot demonstrate a set of facts that
would entitle him to relief. Weixel v. Bd, of Educ,
287 F.3d 138, 145 (2d Cir. 2002); see also Twombly,
550 U.S. at 558 (noting that dismissal is appropriate if
"the allegations in a complaint, however true, could not
raise a claim of entitlement to relief).