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Hydara v. Burger

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 29, 2018


          Hamuja Hydara Marcy, NY Pro Se Plaintiff

          Kellie E. Lagitch, Esq. Assistant County Attorney for Orange County Goshen, NY Counsel for Defendant Atkin

          Cathleen K. Rebar, Esq. Frank V. Kelly, Esq. Stewart Bernstiel Rebar & Smith New York, NY Counsel for Defendants Burger and Bashant



         Pro se Plaintiff Hamuja Hydara (“Plaintiff”), a former inmate at Orange County Correctional Facility, filed the instant complaint (“Amended Complaint”), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Corrections Officer Jonathan Atkin (“Atkin”), Licensed Nurse Jason Burger (“Burger”), and Registered Nurse Amanda Bashant (“Bashant”) (collectively, “Defendants”). (Am. Compl. (Dkt. No. 26).) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs because he was not treated for a hand injury resulting from an altercation with another inmate. (See generally id.)

         Before the Court is Defendants' Motion To Dismiss the Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and Defendant Atkin's Motion to Dismiss Co-Defendants' Cross-Claim against him for indemnification. (See Notice of Mot. To Dismiss (Dkt. No. 56); Mem. of Law in Support of Def. Atkin's Mot. to Dismiss (“Atkin's Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 58); Decl. of Frank V. Kelly, Esq. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss (“Kelly Decl.”) (Dkt. No. 61); Mem. of Law on Behalf of Defs. Burger and Bashant (“Nurses' Mem.”) (Dkt. No. 62).) Defendants claim that Plaintiff's Action is barred for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), that Plaintiff fails to state a claim, and that his request for declaratory and injunctive relief is moot. (Atkin's Mem; Nurses' Mem.) For the following reasons, Defendants' Motions are granted.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, (Dkt. No. 26), and are taken as true for the purpose of resolving the instant Motion. Plaintiff was a prisoner incarcerated at Orange County Correctional Facility (“Orange County”) during the time of the alleged events. (Am. Compl. II(A), IV(A).)[2]

         On January 15, 2014, between 9:00 PM and 9:30 PM, Plaintiff returned from religious services and entered “the Sally Port” in the Delta 3 (D-3) Housing Unit at Orange County. (Id. at II(C), (D).) It “took quite a bit of time” for Plaintiff and the other inmates with him to be buzzed in. (Id. at II(D).) “At this time, [Plaintiff] got into a brief altercation with another John Doe inmate. The John Doe inmate threw a punch at [Plaintiff] and [Plaintiff] was forced to defend [him]self.” (Id.) Plaintiff and the other inmate “threw wild punches at one another, ” one of which hit “[Plaintiff] on top of [his] right hand.” (Id.) This blow “caused [Plaintiff's] hand to hit a jagged edge on the corner where there was a piece of aluminum protruding.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff “was then locked in [his] cell, ” and his “hand became very difficult to use.” (Id.) He then “informed the housing officer Jonathan Atkin[] that [he] could not use [his] right hand.” (Id.) Atkin informed Plaintiff “that he would call medical for [Plaintiff], which he never did.” (Id.; see also Id. (“My medical needs were never met nor my injuries looked into.”).) Plaintiff asked for the tapes of this incident, but was told that Atkin “didn't know what [Plaintiff] was talking about.” (Id.) Contrary to what Plaintiff alleges about Atkin's alleged refusal to refer Plaintiff to medical, “[i]mmediately after the incident[, ] [Plaintiff] was taken to the infirmary, where [he] was interviewed by” Bashant and Burger, both nurses. (Id.)[3] “There was no medical treatment given for [his] injury, ” and Plaintiff's “plea for medical treatment of [his] hand was ignored.” (Id.)

         As a result of the altercation, Plaintiff suffered a “[b]roken right hand and wrist, severe swelling, and prolonged pain, ” as well as “[r]estricted movement.” (Id. at III.) He therefore requests a declaration “advising medical and correction[al] staff that intentional and . . . eliberate withholding of medical treatment will not be tolerated, ” as well as $500, 000 in compensatory damages and $1, 000, 000 in punitive damages. (Id. at V.)

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed an initial Complaint on February 19, 2014, against Orange County Correctional Facility Medical Department, Correctional Medical Care, Inc., and Nurses John Doe and Jane Doe. (Dkt. No. 2.) The Court granted Plaintiff's pro se request to proceed in forma pauperis on April 3, 2014. (Dkt. No. 3.) On April 30, 2014, the Court issued an Order dismissing Orange County Correctional Facility Medical Department and directing that the County of Orange be added as a Defendant, directing service on the named Defendants, and ordering the Orange County Attorney to identify the unidentified John and Jane Doe Defendants pursuant to Valentin v. Dinkins, 121 F.3d 72, 76 (2d Cir. 1997) (per curiam). (Order of Service (Dkt. No. 5).) The Orange County attorney complied with its Valentin obligations on May 23, 2014, identifying Burger, Bashant, and Atkin. (Letter from Kellie E. Lagitch, Esq. to Court (May 23, 2014) (Dkt. No. 6).) However, Plaintiff did not receive the Order of Service or other mailings from the Court, which were returned as undeliverable. (See Docket (entries for May 13 and 14, 2014).)

         The Court scheduled a Rule 16 Conference for May 26, 2016, (Dkt. No. 8), but this mailing to Plaintiff was also returned as undeliverable, (see Dkt. (entry for Apr. 25, 2016)). The Court therefore issued an Order to Show Cause for failure to prosecute on April 27, 2016. (Dkt. No. 9.) On May 10, 2016, Correctional Medical Care informed the Court that Plaintiff had been transferred from Orange County to Mid-State Correctional Facility. (Letter from Shelly L. Baldwin, Esq. to Court (May 5, 2016) (Dkt. No. 10).) The Court sent a copy of the Order to Show Cause to Plaintiff's new address. (Dkt. No. 11.) Plaintiff did not appear at the scheduled Rule 16 conference; however, the Court received a letter from Plaintiff the same day stating his confusion about what to do. (See Dkt. (entry for June 16, 2016); Letter from Plaintiff to Court (Jun. 16, 2016) (Dkt. No. 12).) The Court scheduled another conference for July 18, 2016 and ordered Plaintiff to advise the Court about whether he intended to prosecute this Action by July 1, 2016. (Order (Dkt. No. 13).) Plaintiff wrote to the Court that he intended to prosecute the Action, and requested counsel be appointed. (Letter from Plaintiff to Court (July 7, 2016) (Dkt. No. 14).) The Court denied Plaintiff's application without prejudice. (Order (Dkt. No. 15).)

         On July 18, 2016, the Court held another conference. (See Dkt. (entry for July 18, 2016).) The Court issued a new Order of Service the next day, directing Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint naming the unidentified Defendants and directing service on the currently identified Defendants. (Order of Service (Dkt. No. 17).) After receiving an extension, (Dkt. No. 21), Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint, naming only Defendants Burger, Bashant, and Atkin as Defendants. (Am. Compl. (Dkt. No. 26).) On November 22, 2016, the Court ordered Defendants to provide addresses for Defendants Berger and Bashant, (Dkt. No. 32), which they did, ...

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