Gonzalez v. Hasty, Docket No. 07–1787–pr.

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
Writing for the CourtBefore: DENNIS JACOBS, Chief Judge, ROSEMARY S. POOLER and PETER W. HALL, Circuit Judges.
Citation651 F.3d 318
Docket NumberDocket No. 07–1787–pr.
Decision Date22 June 2011
PartiesEsteban GONZALEZ, Plaintiff–Appellant,v.Warden Dennis W. HASTY, Warden Gregory Parks, Associate Warden Perkins, Associate Warden James Sherman, Associate Warden Powers, Agent John Feeney, Special Investigative, Captain Nelson Aponte, Captain Salvatore Lopresti, Lieutenant Barry, Lieutenant Gurino, Deputy Captain Veneroni, Steven Barrere, Lieutenant Rodriguez, Psychologist Dr. Kawerski, Psychologist Dr. Hess, Lieutenant White, Linton Thomas Kucharski, Defendants–Appellees.

651 F.3d 318

Esteban GONZALEZ, Plaintiff–Appellant,
v.
Warden Dennis W. HASTY, Warden Gregory Parks, Associate Warden Perkins, Associate Warden James Sherman, Associate Warden Powers, Agent John Feeney, Special Investigative, Captain Nelson Aponte, Captain Salvatore Lopresti, Lieutenant Barry, Lieutenant Gurino, Deputy Captain Veneroni, Steven Barrere, Lieutenant Rodriguez, Psychologist Dr. Kawerski, Psychologist Dr. Hess, Lieutenant White, Linton Thomas Kucharski, Defendants–Appellees.

Docket No. 07–1787–pr.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

Argued: April 24, 2009.Decided: June 22, 2011.


[651 F.3d 318]

Michael A. Young, New York, NY, appearing for Plaintiff–Appellant.Brian M. Feldman (David S. Jones, on the brief), for Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, New York, NY, appearing for Defendants–Appellees.Before: DENNIS JACOBS, Chief Judge, ROSEMARY S. POOLER and PETER W. HALL, Circuit Judges.Chief Judge JACOBS concurs in a separate opinion.

[651 F.3d 319]

HALL, Circuit Judge:

Esteban Gonzalez appeals from the judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Berman, J.) granting defendants-appellees' motion to dismiss Gonzalez's claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971). Gonzalez claims that the district court erred in finding that the statute of limitations had run on the first of his two causes of action and in dismissing his second cause of action for improper venue. We VACATE and REMAND on the grounds that claims brought by an inmate under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), are entitled to equitable tolling during the time period the inmate is exhausting his administrative remedies, as required by the PLRA. We also VACATE the judgment insofar as it dismissed some of Gonzalez's claims for improper venue and REMAND with instructions that the court transfer those claims to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York if the court deems it proper to do so upon reexamination of all of Gonzalez's claims.

BACKGROUND

Beginning on February 28, 1999, Esteban Gonzalez, an inmate in the Metropolitan Correction Center (“MCC”) in lower Manhattan, was confined to the MCC's special housing unit (“SHU”). Gonzalez maintains that he was confined in the SHU for two and a half years, after which he was transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center (“MDC”), in Brooklyn, New York, on July 24, 2001. Upon arriving at the MDC, Gonzalez alleges that he was immediately confined in that facility's SHU, and remained there until his transfer out of the MDC nearly ten months later. Gonzalez claims that he was unlawfully confined in SHU for almost eleven hundred consecutive days.

A “special housing unit” separates inmates from the general population either via “administrative detention” or “disciplinary segregation.” 28 C.F.R. §§ 541.20, 541.22. Gonzalez was placed in administrative detention, a “non-punitive” form of separation, 28 C.F.R. § 541.21, whereby, Gonzalez claims, inmates are confined to their cells for 23 hours per day, privileges are limited, and handcuffs are mandatory whenever the SHU inmate is outside of his cell. Administrative detention is used when “the inmate's continued presence within the general population would pose a serious threat to life, property, self, staff or other inmates, or to the security or orderly running of the institution.” 28 C.F.R. § 541.22(a).

In order to ensure inmates are placed in a SHU for cause, and once there, only for a limited period of time, federal regulations governing the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) designate that a Segregation Review Officer (“SRO”) be responsible for conducting a review of the administrative detention within three work days of its commencement, hold a hearing for each inmate confined for over seven continuous days, and “thereafter review these cases on the record (in the inmate's absence) each week, and hold a hearing and review these cases formally at least every 30 days.” 28 C.F.R. § 541.22(c)(1). Whenever administrative detention extends beyond 30 days a psychiatric or psychological assessment is required in order to assess whether the inmate poses a threat to himself or others. Id. Administrative detention should only be imposed for short periods of time except when it is for the inmate's protection or there are exceptional circumstances concerning

[651 F.3d 320]

security or complex investigations, in which case a monthly report is required. Id. “The SRO shall release an inmate from administrative detention when reasons for placement cease to exist.” Id.

Gonzalez, pro se, filed a Bivens complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on May 31, 2005 against Dennis Hasty, warden of the MCC during Gonzalez's confinement, who then became the warden of MDC shortly before Gonzalez was transferred to that institution. Gonzalez also named as defendants correctional and mental health staff in both facilities. The verified complaint alleged, inter alia, that the defendants failed to conduct segregation review hearings during Gonzalez's SHU confinement in the MCC and the MDC, falsely completed and furnished Gonzalez records of hearings that never occurred, and at no point conducted meaningful psychological assessments. The complaint raised two separate claims, the first addressing his treatment at the MCC (in Manhattan), and the second focusing on the MDC (in Brooklyn). Gonzalez alleged that the reason for this mistreatment by two separate penal facilities was a conspiracy engineered by Hasty as retribution for Gonzalez's allegations that Hasty was a racist. The consequence of the defendants' conspiratorial activities, Gonzalez pleaded, were numerous violations of his First, Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights. Gonzalez alleged that he exhausted his administrative remedies on August 8, 2002.

Following a substantial delay arising from Gonzalez's failure to effect proper service, Defendants moved to dismiss Gonzalez's MCC claims as time-barred by a three-year statute of limitations, and the MDC claims on the grounds of improper venue. They asserted that the last date upon which Gonzalez could base any of his claims against the MCC defendants was July 2001 when he was transferred to the MDC, and that the statute of limitations, therefore, expired in July of 2004. Gonzalez, through counsel, argued in response that his claims were timely under the continuing violation doctrine, adding that he “was compelled to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing his lawsuit.” 1 Gonzalez pointed to the PLRA, which mandates that “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner ... until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). And relying on the Fifth Circuit's decision in Harris v. Hegmann, 198 F.3d 153, 157–59 (5th Cir.1999) (reversing the dismissal of a prisoner's civil rights suit on grounds that his exhaustion of administrative remedies tolled the applicable statute of limitations), he argued that he

[651 F.3d 321]

had complied with the PLRA and that this “had the effect of tolling the limitations period.” As for the defendants' allegations of improper venue, Gonzalez argued that his injuries suffered in the MDC were a continuation of those begun in the MCC, and that dismissal would result in a miscarriage of justice.

In February 2007, Magistrate Judge Ellis issued a report and recommendation stating that Gonzalez's “allegations of a conspiracy at the MCC ... would be barred by the three year statute of limitations,” and “any conspiracy to deprive [Gonzalez] of his constitutional rights at the MDC would constitute a new conspiracy, and the Southern District would not be the proper venue.” The magistrate judge also found that Gonzalez “fail[ed] to establish a provable claim.” Gonzalez filed an objection to the report, arguing that: (1) under the continuing violation doctrine his claims were still timely, (2) venue was proper because of a “sufficient connection between the offending conduct and the district in which the action [had] been filed,” and (3) he had made sufficient factual allegations to support his causes of action.

The district court found that, even assuming Gonzalez had shown the “compelling circumstances” necessary to prevail on a continuing violation theory, his MCC claim nonetheless ripened when he was transferred out of the MCC on July 24, 2001, and any constitutional violations that allegedly occurred at...

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  • Williams, Scott & Assocs., LLC v. United States, 19-CV-837 (CM)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 3 Julio 2019
    ...of New York, 752 F.3d 234, 237 (2d Cir. 2014).Page 11 Venue for Bivens claims is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). See Gonzalez v. Hasty, 651 F.3d 318, 324 (2d Cir. 2011). Under that statute, a civil action may be brought in(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defen......
  • Mikhaylov v. United States, No. 13–CV–2606 (PKC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 7 Julio 2014
    ...... any defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) (emphasis added); see also Gonzalez v. Hasty, 651 F.3d 318, 324 (2d Cir.2011) (“In a Bivens action, venue is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)[.]”). Because none of the individual agents allegedly live in ......
  • Mikhaylov v. United States, No. 13–CV–2606 (PKC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 7 Julio 2014
    ...... any defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) (emphasis added); see also Gonzalez v. Hasty, 651 F.3d 318, 324 (2d Cir.2011) (“In a Bivens action, venue is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)[.]”). Because none of the individual agents allegedly live in ......
  • Keitt v. City of N.Y., No. 09 Civ. 8508(GBD)(DF).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 29 Septiembre 2011
    ...administrative remedies by pursuing grievance procedures, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). See Gonzalez v. Hasty, 651 F.3d 318, 321 (2d Cir.2011). PLRA exhaustion cannot assist Keitt in tolling the statute of limitations, however, because the exhaustion process coul......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
231 cases
  • Williams, Scott & Assocs., LLC v. United States, 19-CV-837 (CM)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 3 Julio 2019
    ...of New York, 752 F.3d 234, 237 (2d Cir. 2014).Page 11 Venue for Bivens claims is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). See Gonzalez v. Hasty, 651 F.3d 318, 324 (2d Cir. 2011). Under that statute, a civil action may be brought in(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defen......
  • Mikhaylov v. United States, No. 13–CV–2606 (PKC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 7 Julio 2014
    ...... any defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) (emphasis added); see also Gonzalez v. Hasty, 651 F.3d 318, 324 (2d Cir.2011) (“In a Bivens action, venue is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)[.]”). Because none of the individual agents allegedly live in ......
  • Mikhaylov v. United States, No. 13–CV–2606 (PKC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • 7 Julio 2014
    ...... any defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) (emphasis added); see also Gonzalez v. Hasty, 651 F.3d 318, 324 (2d Cir.2011) (“In a Bivens action, venue is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)[.]”). Because none of the individual agents allegedly live in ......
  • Keitt v. City of N.Y., No. 09 Civ. 8508(GBD)(DF).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 29 Septiembre 2011
    ...administrative remedies by pursuing grievance procedures, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). See Gonzalez v. Hasty, 651 F.3d 318, 321 (2d Cir.2011). PLRA exhaustion cannot assist Keitt in tolling the statute of limitations, however, because the exhaustion process coul......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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