United States District Court, S.D. New York
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
C. FRANCIS IV, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff, Ondre Vernon Nelson, proceeding pro se,
brings this action against the City of New York (the
"City") . Mr. Nelson sues under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, arguing that the defendant violated his constitutional
rights by (1) requiring him to sleep on the floor without a
pillow or blanket and (2) later requiring him to sleep on a
mattress mounted on a foundation, despite the mattress
label's warning that it should not be used with a
foundation. Mr. Nelson now seeks injunctive relief requiring
the City to provide him with a more suitable mattress and to
change its policy concerning detainees' mattresses. In
addition, Mr. Nelson seeks compensatory damages totaling $18,
defendant filed a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. The plaintiff has not responded. For the reasons
that follow, I recommend that the motion be granted.
Nelson's Amended Complaint states that after his arrival
at Rikers Island on September 29, 2015, he spent six days in
a holding cell, where he was forced to sleep on the
“bair [sic] cold concreat [sic] floors” without a
blanket or pillow. (Amended Complaint (“Amend.
Compl.”) at 3). Later, when the plaintiff moved into a
housing unit, he was allegedly forced to sleep on a mattress
improperly mounted on a foundation. (Amend. Compl. at 3). Mr.
Nelson considers his treatment “cruel and unusual
punishment.” (Amend. Compl. at 3). To substantiate his
claim, he attaches to his Amended Complaint a copy of a
mattress tag, which states, “This mattress is intended
to be used without a foundation.” (Mattress
Warning Label, attached as Exh. A to Amend. Compl.). Mr.
Nelson claims to have developed “[severe] back pain, .
. . which made a preexisting lower back pain worse, . . .
[scoliosis] in [his] back, numbness of arm, shoulders, hands,
sides, hips, legs, and feet, as well as pain i[n] those
areas.” (Amend. Compl. at 3). The plaintiff claims to
have suffered from sleep deprivation due to his bedding and
claims to continue to suffer from “disorientation,
mental stress, and pain.” (Amend. Compl. at 3).
Nelson filed a grievance with the New York City Department of
Correction (“DOC”) about his back pain and the
improper use of his mattress. (Amend. Compl. at 4). DOC
refused to move him, change his mattress, or allow him to
“double up” mattresses. (Amend. Compl. at
6-7). Mr. Nelson then asked doctors to write
medical notes for him and spoke with grievance supervisors.
(Amend. Compl. at 4). On November 11, 2016, the plaintiff met
with Grievance Supervisor “Mr. Guerrant” and
Grievance Officer “Mr. Jefferson, ” who informed
him that he had exhausted his administrative remedies and
that nothing more would be done about the mattress. (Amend.
Compl. at 5).
plaintiff brought this action on August 10, 2016, and he
amended his complaint on January 31, 2017, in response to an
order of the Court. The defendant has moved to dismiss the
Amended Complaint on the grounds that (1) the plaintiff has
failed to state a claim for unconstitutional conditions of
confinement or inadequate medical treatment and (2) the
plaintiff has not stated a claim for municipal liability.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter . . . to ‘state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A court's charge in ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion
“is merely to assess the legal feasibility of the
complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which
might be offered in support thereof.” GVA Market
Neutral Master Ltd. v. Veras Capital Partners Offshore Fund,
Ltd., 580 F.Supp.2d 321, 327 (S.D.N.Y. 2008) (quoting
Eternity Global Master Fund Ltd. v. Morgan Guaranty Trust
Co. of New York, 375 F.3d 168, 176 (2d Cir. 2004)). A
court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff, “taking its factual allegations to be
true and drawing all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor.” Harris v. Mills, 572
F.3d 66, 71 (2d Cir. 2009).
standard applies equally to pro se plaintiffs, but
their pleadings are read more liberally and are construed as
raising the strongest claims implied. See Teichmann v.
New York, 769 F.3d 821, 825 (2d Cir. 2014). The court
may also consider “materials outside the complaint to
the extent that they are consistent with the allegations in
the complaint.” Martinez v. Aycock-West, 164
F.Supp.3d 502, 508 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) (quoting Alsaifullah
v. Furco, No. 12 Civ. 2907, 2013 WL 3972514, at *4 n.3
(S.D.N.Y. Aug. 2, 2013)). Finally, even if a plaintiff does
not oppose a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the failure to respond
does not warrant dismissal if the complaint sufficiently
states a claim. McCall v. Pataki, 232 F.3d 321, 323
(2d Cir. 2000).
order to establish a § 1983 claim for unconstitutional
conditions of confinement,
a pretrial detainee must satisfy two prongs, . . . an
“objective prong” showing that the challenged
conditions were sufficiently serious to constitute objective
deprivations of the right to due process, and a
“subjective prong” -- perhaps better classified
as a “mens rea prong” or “mental
element prong” --showing ...