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Santi v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

June 22, 2018

ROLANDO SANTI, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS OF N.Y.C, DR. LANDIS BARNES, and DR. BRENDA HARRIS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          GEORGE B. DANIELS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Rolando Santi, pro se, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting claims against Defendants City of New York (the "City"), the New York City Department of Corrections, and Doctors Landis Barnes and Brenda Harris, arising out of his alleged mistreatment as a pretrial detainee at the Manhattan Detention Center ("MDC").[1] (See Am. Compl., ECF No. 8.) Plaintiff alleges that while he was detained at the MDC, Defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs by failing to transport him to the hospital for a scheduled surgery and then falsifying records to cover it up. (Id. at 4-6.) Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiffs' amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 23.)

         Before this Court is Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn's May 8, 2018 Report and Recommendation (the "Report," ECF No. 54), recommending that Defendants' motion to dismiss be granted with respect to Plaintiffs claims against the City and Dr. Harris, but denied as to the claim asserted against Dr. Barnes.[2] (Id. at 16.) In her Report, Magistrate Judge Netburn advised the parties that failure to file timely objections to the Report would constitute a waiver of those objections on appeal. (Id. at 17.) No. objections have been filed. Having reviewed the Report for clear error and finding none, this Court ADOPTS the Report in full.

         I. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Report and Recommendations

         A court "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations" set forth within a magistrate judge's report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The court must review de novo the portions of a magistrate judge's report to which a party properly objects. Id. Portions of a magistrate judge's report to which no or "merely perfunctory" objections are made are reviewed for clear error. See Edwards v. Fischer, 414 F.Supp.2d 342, 346-47 (S.D.N.Y. 2006) (citation omitted). Clear error is present only when "upon review of the entire record, [the court is] left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." United States v. Snow, 462 F.3d 55, 72 (2d Cir. 2006) (citation omitted).

         B. Rule 12(b)(6)

         To survive a motion to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs favor. See N.J. Carpenters Health Fundv. Royal Bank of Scot. Grp., PIC, 709 F.3d 109, 119-20 (2d Cir. 2013); Chambers v. Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 152 (2d Cir. 2002). The court, however, need not credit "mere conclusory statements," Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, nor must it give effect to "legal conclusions couched as factual allegations." Port Dock & Stone Corp. v. Oldcastle Ne., Inc., 507 F.3d 117, 121 (2d Cir. 2007) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         Pro se litigants are generally "entitled to some latitude in meeting these requirements, as [their complaints] are held to 'less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Martinez v. Ravikumar, 536 F.Supp.2d 369, 370 (S.D.N.Y. 2008) (quoting Boddie v. Schnieder, 105 F.3d 857, 860 (2d Cir. 1997)). Nonetheless, to withstand a motion to dismiss, "a pro se plaintiff must still plead sufficient facts to state a claim that is plausible on its face." Chukwueze v. NYCERS, 891 F.Supp.2d 443, 450 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "Even from pro se plaintiffs, bald assertions and conclusions of law are not adequate." Ruotolo v. Fannie Mae, 933 F.Supp.2d 512, 524 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         C. Deliberate Indifference Claims under Section 1983

         A pretrial detainee may bring a claim under Section 1983 challenging allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement "by showing that the officers acted with deliberate indifference to the challenged conditions." Darnell v. Pineiro, 849 F.3d 17, 29 (2d Cir. 2017). In order to prevail on such a claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that: (1) the challenged conditions were "sufficiently serious to constitute objective deprivations of the right to due process," and (2) the defendant "acted with at least deliberate indifference to the challenged conditions." Id.

         For a claim of inadequate medical care, as here, a plaintiff may satisfy the first element by alleging he was "actually deprived of adequate medical care," and that "the inadequacy in medical care [was] sufficiently serious." Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263, 279 (2d Cir. 2006). To assess whether the deprivation of adequate medical care is "sufficiently serious," courts consider a number of factors, including whether "a reasonable doctor or patient would find it important and worthy of comment, whether the condition significantly affects an individual's daily activities, and whether it causes chronic and substantial pain." Id. at 280 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). To establish deliberate indifference, the plaintiff must adequately allege "the defendant-official acted intentionally to impose the alleged condition, or recklessly failed to act with reasonable care to mitigate the risk that the condition posed to the pretrial detainee even though the defendant-official knew, or should have known, that the condition posed an excessive risk to health or safety." Darnell, 849 F.3d at 35.

         D. Municipal Liability under Section 1983

         It is well settled that a municipality may be held liable under Section 1983 "for the violation of a person's civil rights only if the moving force behind that violation was an official policy or custom of the municipality." Williams v. Town of Southington,205 F.3d 1327 (2d Cir. 2000) (citing Monell v. Dep 't of Social Servs.,436 U.S. 658, 690-94 (1978). Thus, to prevail on a Section 1983 claim against a municipality, the plaintiff must allege facts showing: (1) the existence of a municipal policy, custom, or practice, and (2) that the policy, custom, or practice caused the violation of the plaintiffs rights. See Jones v. Town of East Haven,691 F.3d 72, 80 (2d Cir. 2012). To be actionable, the policy must be both ...


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