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Bell v. Smith

United States District Court, N.D. New York

June 21, 2018

ANDREW BELL, Plaintiff,
v.
BRANDON SMITH, Superintendent, Greene Correctional Facility, A. BECK, Correctional Officer, Greene Correctional Facility, JOHN/JANE DOE, Nurse Administrator C, Greene Correctional Facility, ALBANY MEDICAL CENTER, and DR. ARSHAD SAMI, Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          DAVID N. HURD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Andrew Bell ("Bell" or "plaintiff") commenced this action pro se by filing a civil rights complaint together with an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Dkt. No. 1 ("Compl."); Dkt. No. 9 ("IFP Application").

         By Decision and Order filed March 20, 2018, Bell's IFP Application was granted and his complaint was reviewed in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Dkt. No. 10 (the "March 2018 Order"). Upon that review, the complaint was determined to be subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         However, in light of his pro se status, Bell was afforded an opportunity to submit an amended complaint. See March 2018 Order. Presently under consideration is plaintiff's proposed amended complaint. Dkt. No. 13 ("Am. Compl.").

         II. DISCUSSION

         The legal standard governing the dismissal of a pleading for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) was discussed at length in the March 2018 Order and it will not be restated in this Decision and Order. See March 2018 Order at 2-4.

         In the original complaint, Bell alleged that on February 11, 2017 he "fell into a diabetic shock seizure and was unresponsive[.]" Compl. at 2. Plaintiff claimed that defendant Correctional Officer A. Beck "misinformed medical staff that the plaintiff had overdosed on a narcotic substance[, ]" which resulted in defendant Nurse Administrator "C" placing tubes in his arms, nose and penis before he was transferred to defendant Albany Medical Center. Id. at 3. Plaintiff further claimed that he was "mistreated as a[n] overdose patient on drugs" while at Albany Medical Center, and experienced harm as a result of the mistreatment. Id. at 3.

         Defendant Dr. Arshad Sami was Bell's treating physician at Albany Medical Center. Compl. at 4. Plaintiff also named as defendants the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), Greene Correctional Facility Superintendent Brandon Smith ("Superintendent Smith"), and sued defendant Beck in her individual and official capacity. Compl. at 2. Plaintiff sought only money damages as relief. Id. at 5.

         The March 2018 Order (1) construed the complaint as asserting Eighth Amendment medical indifference claims against each of the defendants; (2) dismissed with prejudice plaintiff's claims against DOCCS and defendant Beck in her official capacity; and (3) dismissed the remainder of plaintiff's claims without prejudice because the complaint failed to allege facts plausibly suggesting that any individual defendant who participated in the events that occurred on or about February 11, 2017, acted with deliberate indifference to plaintiff's serious medical needs. See March 2018 Order at 6-13. Although plaintiff referenced the Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments in his complaint, the March 2018 Order did not construe the complaint to have asserted a cognizable claim under any of these amendments. See Id. at 6 n.5.

         Bell has now submitted an amended complaint in which he re-asserts Eighth Amendment claims against all of the same defendants[1] based on allegations that are virtually identical to those made in the original complaint. Compare Compl. with Am. Compl. The amended complaint also asserts "due process, " "duty of care, " and "conspiracy" claims against the defendants, as well as a claim that defendants Smith, Beck, and Cole are liable under a theory of respondeat superior. See Am. Compl. at 5-7.

         Since the amended complaint asserts Eighth Amendment claims against the same defendants based on the same facts and circumstances alleged in the complaint, and does not include any additional non-conclusory allegations that would plausibly suggest that any defendant acted with deliberate indifference to Bell's medical needs on or about February 11, 2017, plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claims are again dismissed for the reasons set forth in the March 2018 Order.

         Moreover, the amended complaint fails to state a due process claim against any of the defendants. To successfully state a claim under Section 1983 for denial of due process, a plaintiff must establish both the existence of a protected liberty or property interest, and that he or she was deprived of that interest without being afforded sufficient process. Shakur v. Selsky, 391 F.3d 106, 118 (2d Cir. 2004) (citing Kentucky Dep't of Corrs. v. Thompson, 490 U.S. 454, 460 (1989)). Due process generally requires that the state afford individuals "some kind of hearing" prior to depriving them of a liberty or property interest. DiBlasio v. Novello, 344 F.3d 292, 302 (2d Cir. 2003).

         The amended complaint does not identify a liberty or property interest that Bell was allegedly denied by any of the defendants without being afforded sufficient process. In addition, plaintiff's "duty of care" claim, which sounds in negligence, "is insufficient as a matter of law to state a claim under section 1983." Poe v. Leonard, 282 F.3d 123, ...


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