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Aragon v. State

United States District Court, S.D. New York

June 22, 2017

RODOLFO ARAGON, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF NEW YORK, CITY OF NEW YORK, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Edgardo Ramos, U.S.D.J.

         Rodolfo Aragon (“Plaintiff”), acting pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action against the State of New York (“New York”), the City of New York (“City”), and the Department of Corrections and Correctional Supervision (“DOCCS”, and collectively, “Defendants”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”). Plaintiff alleges that the conditions of his confinement at the Otis Bantum Correctional Center (“Bantum”) amount to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff further claims false imprisonment as a result of an unlawful conviction in state court. The City brings the instant motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (“Am. Compl.”) and Second Amended Complaint (“Sec. Am. Compl.”) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the City's motion to dismiss is hereby GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

         Liberally construed, Plaintiff alleges that he was subject to unconstitutional conditions of confinement at Bantum on Rikers Island starting on October 22, 2014. Compl., at 2. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that he was “forced to live in inhumane conditions” due to “insects, ants, roaches, lead poisoning, asbestos, etc.” and a “lack of vitamins and food, [and] non-privacy.” Am. Compl., at 1. As a result, Plaintiff states he suffers from “external and internal f[u]ngus and [rashes] to body, ” infections to his lungs and throat as well as mental anguish. Am. Compl., at 1-2.

         On October 22, 2014, Plaintiff requested to be moved from Bantum due to these conditions, but was ignored by two prison officials. Compl., Doc. 1-1, at 2. Plaintiff alleges to have requested medical attention on October 22, 2014 due to his exposure to the “inhumane conditions, ” and claims to have submitted medical grievances on October 23, 2014. Compl., Doc. 1-2, at 1.

         In addition, Plaintiff seeks damages based on a false imprisonment claim resulting from an unlawful conviction in state court. Sec. Am. Compl., at 2. Plaintiff claims that he was falsely imprisoned based on “Defendant's guidelines, practices, patterns and procedures, ” without any further explanation. Id.

         II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed the instant action on December 8, 2014 against Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, Bantum, and Rikers Island. Compl. On March 20, 2015, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims against Bantum because it is not an entity that can be sued. Doc. 13. The Court instructed the Clerk of the Court to replace Bantum with the City of New York pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21. Id.

         On August 17, 2015, the Court granted the City's request for an order to show cause on why this action should not be dismissed for want of prosecution pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) based on Plaintiff's failure to keep the Court apprised of his current residence. Doc. 22. After Plaintiff failed to respond to this and two subsequent orders to show cause dated September 4 and October 20, 2015, respectively, Docs. 22-24, the action was dismissed by the Court without prejudice on December 2, 2015. Doc. 25.

         Having received a letter from Plaintiff on December 4, 2015 explaining that he had not responded because he had been incarcerated, Doc. 27, the Court vacated the dismissal, requested the Clerk of the Court to reopen the case, and directed Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint. Doc. 28. On February 22, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint. Doc. 34. On that same day, the Court terminated Plaintiff's claims against Rikers Island, Jane Doe 1, and Jane Doe 2 pursuant to Rule 21.

         On March 10, 2016, the Court held an initial conference, during which Plaintiff was granted leave to file a second amended complaint to cure the factual deficiencies in his prior complaints. Doc. 37. The Court provided specific instructions to Plaintiff on the details to be included in the amended pleading.[2] After receiving several extensions of time, see Docs. 41-42, Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint on November 15, 2016. On that same day, the Court terminated Plaintiff's claims against the Department of Correctional Services.

         On December 1, 2016, the City filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and Second Amended Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Docs. 44-45. On January 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed an opposition to Defendant's motion. Opp. Mem. To date, the City has not replied to Plaintiff's opposition memorandum.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Rule 12(b)(6) Motion ...


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