United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
WILLIAM M. SKRETNY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action, pro se Plaintiff Eugene Wright alleges, pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, that Defendant Sheryl Stewart, a nurse
at Attica Correctional Facility, was deliberately indifferent
to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth
Amendment when she knowingly administered him the wrong
medicine, which allegedly caused him to suffer a stroke.
Presently before this Court is Stewart's Motion to
Dismiss, or alternatively, for Summary Judgment. (Docket No.
22.) For the following reasons, Stewart's motion is
times relevant, Wright was an inmate at Attica Correctional
Facility under the care and custody of the New York State
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
(“DOCCS”). (Defendant's Statement of
Undisputed Facts (“Defendant's Statement”),
Docket No. 22-2, ¶ 2.) Stewart was employed by DOCCS as
a nurse at Attica. (Defendant's Statement, ¶ 3.)
maintains that Stewart administered him the wrong allergy
medicine in August 2006, despite Wright informing her that
she was not administering the correct medication. (Third
Amended Complaint, Docket No. 7, p. 5.) Stewart allegedly
refused to confirm that she was giving Wright the correct
medication and instead allegedly told Wright that she would
prepare a Misbehavior Report against him if he did not take
the medication. (Id., p. 6.) Wright took the
medicine as ordered and within 45 minutes suffered a stroke
that hospitalized him for almost one month. (Id.)
one year later, on August 8, 2007, Wright filed an Inmate
Grievance form relating to this incident. (Third Amended
Complaint, pp. 16-17.) That same day, inmate grievance
officials at Attica sent Wright a memorandum indicating that
his grievance was rejected as untimely. (Id., p.
18.) Wright then wrote simultaneously to the Superintendent
of Attica and the Commissioner of DOCCS on August 20, 2007,
to seek further review of his grievance. (Id., pp.
21, 22.) Notably, however, the Central Office Review
Committee, which maintains all files of grievances and
appeals received from Inmate Grievance Program Offices,
contains no record of any grievance or appeals filed by
Wright stemming from this incident. (Declaration of Jeffrey
Hale, Docket No. 22-4, ¶¶ 4, 11.)
of the distinct disadvantage that pro se litigants face,
federal courts routinely read their submissions liberally,
and interpret them to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92
S.Ct. 594, 596, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972); Burgos v.
Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994). This is
especially important when reviewing pro se complaints
alleging civil rights violations. See Weinstein v.
Albright, 261 F.3d 127, 132 (2d Cir. 2001). Since Wright
is proceeding pro se, this Court has considered his
submissions and arguments accordingly.
moves to dismiss or for summary judgment on the grounds that
(1) Wright failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, (2)
Wright's claim is barred by the doctrines of collateral
estoppel and res judicata,  and (3) Stewart is entitled to
qualified immunity. Because the undisputed evidence
establishes that Wright failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies, dismissal of the complaint is required, and this
Court need not reach Stewart's remaining grounds for
judgment is appropriate if “the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (a). A fact is “material” if it
“might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202
(1986). An issue of material fact is “genuine” if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
deciding a motion for summary judgment, the evidence and the
inferences drawn from the evidence must be "viewed in
the light most favorable to the party opposing the
motion." Addickes v. S.H. Kress and Co., 398
U.S. 144, 158-59, 90 S.Ct.1598, 1609, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970).
"Only when reasonable minds could not differ as to the
import of evidence is summary judgment proper."
Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.
1991). Indeed, “[i]f, as to the issue on which summary
judgment is sought, there is any evidence in the record from
which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the
opposing party, summary judgment is improper.” Sec.
Ins. Co. of Hartford v. Old Dominion Freight Line,
Inc., 391 F.3d 77, 82-83 (2d Cir. 2004) (citations
“mere scintilla of evidence” in favor of the
nonmoving party will not defeat summary judgment. Anderson,
477 U.S. at 252. A nonmoving party must do more than cast a
“metaphysical doubt” as to the material facts; it
must “offer some hard evidence showing that its version
of the events is not wholly fanciful.” Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,475 U.S. 574,
586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); D'Amico
v. City of N.Y.,132 F.3d 145, 149 (2d Cir. ...