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Torres v. Artus

United States District Court, W.D. New York

May 23, 2017

ARMANDO TORRES, Plaintiff,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT DALE A. ARTUS, Defendants.

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION & DECISION & ORDER

          Hon. Hugh B. Scott United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter has been referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) (Docket No. 18, May 22, 2014) for dispositive motions. The instant matters before the Court are (a) the motion of defendants (Docket No. 131) for summary judgment; (b) plaintiff's motions seeking compelled discovery (Docket Nos. 134 (Request for Admissions), 135 (Answers to Interrogatories)); (c) plaintiff's motion seeking to suspend briefing for defendants' motion for summary judgment (Docket No. 133; see Docket No. 144); and (d) plaintiff's motion to compel (Docket No. 139). Responses to defendants' motion were due by April 10, 2017, with reply by April 24, 2017 (Docket No. 132), but the reply deadline was extended to May 11, 2017 (Docket No. 140) to conclude all briefing of the motions together (id.). As for plaintiff's motion to suspend briefing of the summary judgment and his motions to compel, the defense response was due by April 6, 2017, with reply due by April 21, 2017 (Docket No. 136). This Court there recognized that, under Rule 56(d), a summary judgment opponent can respond that he cannot present facts to oppose the motion and presumed plaintiff's motions to compel raised that inability to respond (id.; see also Docket No. 144). Plaintiff also was directed to show his good faith attempts to obtain the sought discovery and was to do so by April 6, 2017 (Docket No. 136). Plaintiff then filed his motion to compel (Docket No. 139). Responses to this motion were due May 4, 2017, and replies to all motions were then due by May 11, 2017 (Docket No. 140). This Court later indicated that plaintiff's discovery motions would be resolved first and then defendants' summary judgment motion (id.).

         BACKGROUND

         This is a pro se civil rights and Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., action in which plaintiff, an inmate currently held in the Wende Regional Medical Unit (“RMU”) due to his medical condition, seeks access to the Wende Correctional Facility (“Wende”) law library (contained in a separate building) or reasonable accommodation for his disability to afford him that access. Plaintiff alleges in this action eleven causes of action. (Docket No. 1, Compl.) Plaintiff complains here about events from December 2009 and various dates in 2010, 2011, and 2012 for misdiagnoses, mistreatment of different ailments he suffered while incarcerated, and placement in the regional medical unit. For example, in the Ninth Claim, plaintiff alleges that defendants, on various dates in 2012, denied him access to the Wende main law library while he was housed at the RMU, a maximum security unit, for dialysis treatment (Docket No. 1, Compl. at 20). He claims that he grieved these denials (id.). Subsequent motions sought to supplement these claims with events from 2013 and 2014 (Docket Nos. 40, 43). Plaintiff is physically unable to walk to the Wende law library and he seeks a preliminary injunction to grant him access to the law library (Docket No. 1, Compl. at 22-23). He essentially claims that defendants deprived him of reasonable accommodations for his kidney ailment (in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act) and misdiagnosed and mistreated that (and other conditions).

         Plaintiff filed the original Complaint on January 30, 2014 (Docket No. 1). He then moved for in forma pauperis status (Docket No. 2), which was granted (Docket No. 5). Defendants responded to the preliminary injunction requests (Docket Nos. 12, 14) contained in the Complaint, as well as served their Answer to the Complaint (Docket No. 15). Plaintiff also moved for access to the Wende law library while being hospitalized at the RMU (Docket No. 16).

         Plaintiff moved for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining Order (Docket No. 16) and this Court recommended denying injunctive relief and granting plaintiff's motion to amend the Complaint (Docket No. 50); familiarity with this Report is presumed. Absent any objections, then Chief Judge William Skretny adopted this Report (Docket No. 53). Plaintiff later moved for reconsideration (Docket No. 55) but this motion was denied (Docket No. 58).

         Meanwhile, plaintiff's first motion to supplement this Complaint (Docket No. 31) was granted in part, denied in part (Docket No. 40), which was affirmed by Chief Judge Skretny (Docket No. 45). Plaintiff filed his notice of appeal from this interlocutory Order (Docket No. 47) but later wrote to the Court of Appeals to withdraw the appeal (Docket No. 52), which that court dismissed (Docket No. 63). Plaintiff also filed a second motion to supplement this Complaint, to allege incidents from 2013 (Docket No. 43); that motion was denied but plaintiff was to file and serve an Amended Complaint as with fully exhausted claims, as well as claims originally alleged by November 25, 2014 (Docket No. 49).

         The current Scheduling Order (Docket No. 107, First Amended Scheduling Order, dated Mar. 23, 2016) concluded discovery on April 22, 2016 (see Docket No. 136).

         Defendants then moved to dismiss certain claims because they were time barred (Docket No. 83). That motion was granted and those claims were dismissed (Docket No. 100, Order; see Docket No. 92, Report & Rec.).

         Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment

         Defendants now argue that they provided plaintiff with adequate medical care (Docket No. 131, Defs. Memo. at 9-13). They contend that plaintiff was afforded access to the law library through law clerks and such access was adequate and reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act (id. at 13-15). Defendants argue that plaintiff only made conclusory allegations of violations of his rights under the First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments (id. at 15-17) and that certain grievances raised by plaintiff fail to state a constitutional violation (id. at 17-25).

         Plaintiff's Motions to Compel and Response to Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion

         Instead of attempting to address defendants' contentions, plaintiff moved to compel answers to his Request for Admissions (Docket No. 134) and to his Interrogatories (Docket No. 135). He also moved to suspend defendants' motion until plaintiff's motions to compel were addressed (Docket No. 133).

         Plaintiff appears to have served his discovery demands with his motions to compel, with his Requests for Admission for individual defendants to respond to dated “March 2017” (Docket No. 134). Plaintiff's Interrogatories attached to ...


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