Moore v. Gardner

Decision Date12 March 2002
Docket NumberNo. 00-CV-6076 CJS.,00-CV-6076 CJS.
Citation199 F.Supp.2d 17
PartiesDavid C. MOORE, 92-A-6533, Plaintiff v. Deane GARDNER, Richard Gantert, Mike Furman, Michael McGinnis, Richard Cerio, Richard Morse, Terrence Cleveland, Chris Hughson, James Ameigh, Richard Murphy, and Daryl Shaw, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of New York

David C. Moore, Malone, NY, Pro se.

Charles D. Steinman, New York State Attorney General, Darren Longo, Asst. Attorney General, NYS Attorney General's Office, Rochester, NY, for Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER

SIRAGUSA, District Judge.

This is an action in which the pro se prisoner plaintiff is suing various employees of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985. Now before the Court is plaintiff's motion for summary judgment [# 40] and defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment [# 45]. For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's motion is denied in its entirety, and defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, an inmate at Southport Correctional Facility, commenced this action on February 26, 2000. The general facts of this case were set forth in an earlier Decision and Order [# 6] of this Court. It is sufficient at this point to note that, while plaintiff's complaint contains eighteen1 causes of action, he is essentially asserting four claims: 1) that, on multiple occasions, defendants Gardner, McGinnis, Morse, Cleveland, and Murphy, conspired to violate, and did violate, his civil rights by withholding his mail, reading his mail, and disposing of his legal documents; 2) that on August 29, 1998, defendants Furman, Gantert, Hughson, and Ameigh, acting with deliberate indifference, failed to protect him from an assault by another inmate 3) that, on September 8, 1998, defendant Cerio, in his capacity as a Disciplinary Hearing Officer, convicted plaintiff of refusing to obey an order, despite a lack of evidence; and 4) that defendants McGinnis, Morse, Cleveland, and Shaw, acting with deliberate indifference, deprived him of his bed linens during cold weather.

On February 7, 2001, plaintiff filed a motion for partial summary judgment [# 40] as to defendants McGinnis, Morse, Gardner, Shaw, and Cleveland, with regard to claims 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, which pertain to some of the alleged instances of mail and legal tampering, and as to McGinnis, Morse, Cleveland, and Shaw, with regard to claim 29, which pertains to the alleged deprivation of his bed sheets.2 In support of the motion, plaintiff has submitted an affidavit, in which he essentially reiterates the allegations contained in the complaint, documentary exhibits, consisting primarily of correspondence between plaintiff and various prison officials, and inmate grievances concerning alleged violations of prison procedures. Plaintiff indicates that he is entitled to summary judgment, not because there are no triable issues of fact, but because "the preponderance of the evidence weighs in [his] favor." (Plaintiff's Declaration, ¶ 6; Plaintiff's Brief, ¶¶ 16, 23, 41, 42).

On May 25, 2001, defendants McGinnnis, Morse, Gardner, Cleveland, Murphy, Shaw, and Cerio filed an opposition to plaintiff's motion, as well as a cross-motion for partial summary judgment [# 45].

Defendants' first ground for summary judgment is that many of the claims in the instant case are barred by a settlement agreement from an earlier proceeding, 98-CV-6554 CJS. It is necessary, for purposes of analyzing defendants' motion, to summarize the facts of that earlier matter. On December 1, 1998, the plaintiff, David C. Moore, commenced case number 98-CV-6554 in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, against the following individuals: Glenn Goord, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"); Michael McGinnis, Superintendent of Southport Correctional Facility; Deputy Superintendent Richard Morse; Captain Rocky Hazelton; Lieutenant Palmer; Sergeant D. Shaw; Corrections Officer Edwin Huffner; Corrections Officer James Santos; Corrections Officer James Moss; Corrections Officer M. Furman; nurse Kathy Felker; and nurse Paul Daugherty. In that action, plaintiff alleged that, on October 4, 1997, Huffner, Moss, and Santos, assaulted him, while Shaw observed the incident but failed to intervene. Plaintiff further alleged that Felker and Daugherty acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs, by failing to treat the injuries he sustained during the alleged assault. Plaintiff also contended that subsequently, Huffner and Santos issued false misbehavior reports about the incident. Additionally, plaintiff claimed that he wrote letters about the incident to McGinnis and Goord, but that they took no action, and that, subsequently, defendant Palmer conducted an unfair disciplinary hearing of the charges against him. Plaintiff's complaint also referred to a disciplinary report which Furman wrote against him on August 30, 1998, and alleged that McGinnis unfairly suspended his visiting privileges on September 6, 1998, and that, between October 4, 1997 and August 29, 1998, Goord, McGinnis, Morse, and Hazelton, unlawfully imposed deprivation/restraint orders against him. (98-CV-6554 Complaint [# 1]).

On October 12, 1999, in connection with that lawsuit, plaintiff wrote to the clerk of this Court, asking that he be provided with copies of his filings, because the "jail" had destroyed his copies of his legal papers. Plaintiff also indicated that he had filed inmate grievances against the "jail for destroying [his] law work." On December 9, 1999, during pre-trial proceedings in that case, plaintiff submitted an affidavit [# 10] to the Honorable Jonathan W. Feldman, United States Magistrate Judge, complaining that Ms. Deane Gardner, Senior Mail Clerk at Southport, was unlawfully prohibiting plaintiff from receiving certain mail. More specifically, he alleged that, on November 23, 1999, Gardner had improperly returned mail which had been sent to him by his friend, Linda Maricle, who was assisting him with the typing of his legal papers. Plaintiff asked Magistrate Judge Feldman to direct Gardner to allow him to receive his mail from Ms. Maricle, so that he could be prepared for a scheduling conference to be held before Judge Feldman on December 22, 1999. The court file does not indicate what, if any, action Judge Feldman took in response to plaintiff's application. In any event, although plaintiff notified the Court about the alleged destruction of his papers and the alleged tampering with his mail, he never amended the complaint in case number 98-CV-6554 to add those claims.

On October 19, 2000, the parties to case number 98-CV-6554 settled that action. The Stipulation and Order of Settlement [# 17], drafted by counsel for the defendants, and approved and ordered by the undersigned, recited that, in exchange for payment of $3,000, plaintiff was agreeing that, "[a]ny and all claims for damages by plaintiff which are the subject of this action or otherwise arise out of any incident alleged in the complaint are hereby settled." (Settlement Agreement, ¶ 2). The settlement agreement further stated that plaintiff agreed to release

each of the defendants and any and all current or former employees of the New York State Department of Correctional Services, in his/her/their individual and official capacities, and his/her/their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, and the State of New York and the New York State Department of Correctional Services, from any and all claims, liabilities and causes of action including but not limited to claims related to or arising out of any alleged violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights, and all other causes of action and claims of liability arising out of the circumstances set forth in the complaint in the above-captioned action.

(Id., ¶ 4).

Defendants now contend that, as part of the settlement agreement in case number 98-CV-6554, plaintiff released them from liability for many of the causes of action asserted in this action. More specifically, they contend that the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 25th, 26th, 27th, and 30th causes of action are barred, because in them, plaintiff alleges that they tampered with mail and papers pertaining to case number 98-CV-6554. In other words, they contend that because some of the claims in this action involve alleged tampering with mail and papers from the settled action, they are barred by the settlement agreement. Defendants further contend that they are entitled to summary judgment on the merits as to all of plaintiff's claims.

The Court has thoroughly reviewed the parties' submissions and the entire record in this action.

ANALYSIS

The standard for granting summary judgment is well established. Summary judgment may not be granted unless "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R.Civ.P. 56(c). A party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of establishing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. See, Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). "[T]he movant must make a prima facie showing that the standard for obtaining summary judgment has been satisfied." 11 MOORE'S FEDERAL PRACTICE, § 56.11[1][a] (Matthew Bender 3d ed.). "In moving for summary judgment against a party who will bear the ultimate burden of proof at trial, the movant may satisfy this burden by pointing to an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim." Gummo v. Village of Depew, 75 F.3d 98, 107 (2d Cir.1996)(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)), cert denied, 517 U.S....

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 cases
  • Shell v. Brzezniak
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of New York
    • 21 Abril 2005
    ...fails to allege how he suffered any actual injury as a result of the alleged tampering with his legal papers. See Moore v. Gardner, 199 F.Supp.2d 17, 27 (W.D.N.Y.2002) (plaintiff must show that a non-frivolous legal claim had been frustrated or impeded due to the actions of prison officials......
  • Ifill v. Goord
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of New York
    • 16 Enero 2012
    ...there is no question that he has successfully alleged facts sufficient to constitute an Eighth Amendment claim."); Moore v. Gardner, 199 F. Supp. 2d 17, 38 (W.D.N.Y. 2002) (denying summary judgment where plaintiff kept in cold drafty cell without bed sheets for three weeks); Maguire v. Coug......
  • Mitchell v. N.Y. State Dep't of Corr. Servs., 6:06-CV-6278(MAT)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of New York
    • 12 Diciembre 2012
    ...violation of 7 N.Y.C.R.R. § 720.4, or that he suffered any actual injury as the result of the alleged tampering. See Moore v. Gardner, 199 F. Supp.2d 17, 27 (W.D.N.Y. 2002) (dismissing inmate's claims based upon tampering with personal and legal mail where inmate failed to demonstrate that ......
  • Burke v. Menard
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Vermont
    • 1 Junio 2016
    ...actions resulted in actual injury to the plaintiff such as the dismissal of an otherwise meritorious legal claim." Moore v. Gardner, 199 F. Supp. 2d 17, 25 (W.D.N.Y. 2002) (citing Lewis, 518 U.S. at 351). "In other words the plaintiff must show that a non-frivolous legal claim had been frus......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 books & journal articles
  • Access to court.
    • United States
    • Corrections Caselaw Quarterly No. 24, November 2002
    • 1 Noviembre 2002
    ...evidence, Camp's testimony is inadmissible." (Green Haven Correctional Facility, New York) U.S. District Court Moore v. Gardner, 199 F.Supp.2d 17 (W.D.N.Y. 2002). An inmate brought a pro se action against PRIVILEGED prison officials under [section] 1983 and CORRESPONDENCE [section] 1985, al......
  • Facilities.
    • United States
    • Corrections Caselaw Quarterly No. 24, November 2002
    • 1 Noviembre 2002
    ...a cause of action for harm that befalls other prisoners. (Pelican Bay State Prison, California) U.S. District Court Moore v. Gardner, 199 F.Supp.2d 17 (W.D.N.Y. 2002). An inmate brought a pro se action against TEMPERATURE prison officials under [section] 1983 and [section] 1985, alleging ma......
  • Cruel and unusual punishment.
    • United States
    • Corrections Caselaw Quarterly No. 24, November 2002
    • 1 Noviembre 2002
    ...prisoner was ultimately moved to a new cell eleven days after reporting the problem. (Tennessee) U.S. District Court Moore v. Gardner, 199 F.Supp.2d 17 (W.D.N.Y. 2002). An inmate brought a pro se action against TEMPERATURE prison officials under [section] 1983 and [section] 1985, alleging m......
  • Conditions of confinement.
    • United States
    • Corrections Caselaw Quarterly No. 24, November 2002
    • 1 Noviembre 2002
    ...attempted to fix the toilet after the detainee slipped and fell. (Pettis County Jail, Missouri) U.S. District Court Moore v. Gardner, 199 F.Supp.2d 17 (W.D.N.Y. 2002). An inmate brought a pro se action against TEMPERATURE prison officials under [section] 1983 and [section] 1985, alleging ma......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT