United States District Court, N.D. New York
Plaintiff: Mario B. Williams Dallas S. LePierre NDH LLC.
Defendants Donna Lewin and Anthony J. Annucci: Letitia A.
James Attorney General of the State of New York Helena O.
Pederson Shannan C. Krasnokutski Assistant Attorneys General.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Brenda K. Sannes, United States District Judge.
Edward Lev, who is in the custody of the New York Department
of Corrections and Community Supervision
(“DOCCS”) and allegedly suffers from severe
mental illness, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (See generally Dkt. No. 1). The Complaint
alleges that Plaintiff's confinement in a segregated unit
at Hudson Correctional Facility (“Hudson”)
constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the
Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Id. at
1-2, 6-7, 15). Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive
relief, as well as punitive damages, against four DOCCS
officers: Defendant Donna Lewin, Hudson's Superintendent;
Defendant Anthony J. Annucci, Acting Commissioner of DOCCS;
an unnamed officer whose title is Deputy Commissioner of
DOCCS; and another unnamed officer whose title is Unit
Supervisor for Hudson's Adolescent Offender Separation
Unit (“AOSU”). (Dkt. No. 1, at 17). In a
Memorandum-Decision and Order entered on May 31, 2019, the
Court granted Plaintiff's motion for preliminary
injunctive relief and directed Plaintiff's release, who
was then a minor, from disciplinary segregation. Paykina
ex rel. E.L. v. Lewin, 387 F.Supp.3d 225 (N.D.N.Y.
before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary
judgment on the ground that, inter alia, Plaintiff
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(a). (Dkt. No. 77). Plaintiff opposes
Defendants' motion. (Dkt. No. 83). The Court held oral
argument on the motion on December 19, 2019. For the reasons
that follow, Defendants' motion is granted.
factual background is set forth in Paykina, 387
F.Supp.3d at 230-39. The Court only recites those facts
material to the present motion.
Grievance Procedure at Hudson
was incarcerated at Hudson from August 2, 2018 through June
3, 2019. (Dkt. No. 77-12, ¶ 1; Dkt. No. 83-4, ¶ 1).
“Upon [his] placement in Hudson, ” Plaintiff
received and reviewed “a copy of the grievance
procedures available.” (Dkt. No. 83-2, ¶¶
the time period relevant to this action, Hudson had a
“fully functioning inmate grievance process
available.” (Dkt. No. 77-12, ¶ 5; Dkt. No. 83-4,
¶ 5). The inmate grievance process established by 7
N.Y.C.R.R. § 701 et seq., DOCCS Directive 4040,
involves three steps: (i) a complaint to the Inmate Grievance
Resolution Committee (“IGRC”) at the individual
facility; (ii) an appeal to the Superintendent of the
facility; and (iii) an appeal to the Central Office Review
Committee (“CORC”). (Dkt. No. 77-12, ¶ 6;
Dkt. No. 83-4, ¶ 6). Hudson, however, is subject to
“DOCCS Directive 4041, titled ‘Inmate Grievance
Program- Modification Plan'”; the primary
modifications contained in Directive 4041 “address the
fact that the unique populations in certain facilities limit
the availability of inmates to function as inmate
representatives or to serve on inmate grievance review
committees.” (Dkt. No. 77-12, ¶ 7; Dkt. No. 83-4,
¶ 7). While “the purpose of Directive 4041 . . .
is to modify the procedures contained in Directive 4040 for
facilities subject to Directive 4041, ” such facilities
“must [still] comply with the provisions of Directive
4040 to the extent that Directive is not otherwise modified
by Directive 4041.” (Dkt. No. 77-12, ¶ 8; Dkt. No.
83-4, ¶ 8 (citing 7 N.Y.C.R.R. § 702.2(b)). The
inmate grievance process under Directive 4041, like Directive
4040, involves three steps: (i) a complaint to the
“designated staff person”; (ii) an appeal to the
Superintendent; and (iii) an appeal to CORC. (Dkt. No. 100-3,
at 1-2). Thus, only the first step of Directive 4041, which
requires submission of a grievance to a designated staff
person, rather than the IGRC, is significantly different than
Plaintiff's Placement in the AOSU at Hudson
November 2018, Plaintiff “was placed in the AOSU as a
result of a disciplinary hearing related to his cheeking
medication.” (Dkt. No. 83-4, ¶ 28; Dkt. No. 85-1,
¶ 27; Dkt. No. 83-1, at 2). Plaintiff did not file a
grievance challenging his placement in the AOSU or the
conditions of his confinement in the AOSU. (Dkt. No. 77-12,
¶ 22; Dkt. No. 83-4, ¶ 22). Plaintiff states that
after reviewing Hudson's grievance procedures, it was his
“understanding” that his “placement”
in the AOSU “was not grievable.” (Dkt. No. 83-2,