Guzman v. Albany Medical Center Hospital et al
DECISION AND ORDER: ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for reconsideration (Dkt. No. 16 ) is DENIED. Signed by Senior Judge Gary L. Sharpe on 7/12/16. (served on plaintiff by regular mail) (alh, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
ALBANY MEDICAL CENTER HOSPITAL
Plaintiff, pro se
Greene Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 975
Coxsackie, NY 12051
GARY L. SHARPE
Senior United States District Judge
DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Hiram Guzman commenced this action by submitting a pro se civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") together with an application to
proceed in forma pauperis. Dkt. No. 1 ("Compl."), Dkt. No. 10 ("IFP Application"). By
Decision and Order of this Court filed April 21, 2016, plaintiff's IFP Application was granted
but following review of the complaint in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court found that the complaint was subject to dismissal for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Dkt. No. 12 (the "April 2016 Order"). In
relevant part, the April 2016 Order found as follows:
To state an Eighth Amendment claim arising out of inadequate medical care, a
prisoner must allege "deliberate indifference to [his] serious medical needs."
Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 702 (2d Cir. 1998) (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). . . . The complaint contains no facts to
plausibly suggest that either defendant was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's
serious medical needs or showed a wanton disregard for those needs. At best,
the complaint contains allegations related to negligence and malpractice.
However, the protections afforded by the Eighth Amendment do not extend to
remedy harms which may be inflicted as a result of conduct amounting to
negligence or medical malpractice but not encompassing conscious disregard
of an inmate's health.
Id. at 5-6. In light of his pro se status, plaintiff was afforded an opportunity to submit an
amended complaint. Id. 6-8.
In response to the April 2016 Order, plaintiff submitted an amended complaint. Dkt.
No. 13 ("Am. Compl."). By Decision and Order filed on June 23, 2016, after reviewing the
amended complaint, the Court found as follows:
Construing the amended complaint liberally, plaintiff again alleges that
the defendants were guilty of negligence or medical malpractice in connection
with plaintiff's hernia surgery. However, as plaintiff was previously advised, "an
inadvertent failure to provide adequate medical care cannot be said to
constitute 'an unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain' or to be 'repugnant to
the conscience of mankind.' Thus, a complaint that a physician has been
negligent in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does not state a valid
claim of medical mistreatment under the Eighth Amendment. Medical
malpractice does not become a constitutional violation merely because the
victim is a prisoner." Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105-06.
Dkt. No. 14 (the "June 2016 Order").1 Therefore, plaintiff's Eighth Amendment medical
indifference claims were dismissed for failure to state a claim under Section 1983 for the
same reasons set forth in the April 2016 Order. Id. Plaintiff was specifically advised that
Plaintiff also attempted to allege that defendants conspired to deny him equal protection in violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1985, which claim was also dismissed. Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration does not address that
"[a]lthough plaintiff's federal constitutional and federal statutory claims are dismissed with
prejudice, plaintiff is free to pursue any available state law claims in the appropriate state
court." Id. at 5 n.1.2
Presently before the Court is plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the June 2016
Order. Dkt. No. 16.
A court may justifiably reconsider its previous ruling if: (1) there is an intervening
change in the controlling law; (2) new evidence not previously available comes to light; or (3)
it becomes necessary to remedy a clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice.
Delaney v. Selsky, 899 F. Supp. 923, 925 (N.D.N.Y. 1995) (McAvoy, C.J.) (citing Doe v.
N.Y.C. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 709 F.2d 782, 789 (2d Cir. 1983)). The standard for granting a
motion for reconsideration is strict. Shrader v. CSX Transportation, Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257
(2d Cir. 1995). A motion for reconsideration "should not be granted where the moving party
seeks solely to relitigate an issue already decided." Id.3 Thus, a motion for reconsideration
is not to be used for "presenting the case under new theories, securing a rehearing on the
merits, or otherwise taking a 'second bite at the apple.'" Sequa Corp. v. GBJ Corp., 156 F.3d
136, 144 (2d Cir. 1998).
In support of his motion for reconsideration, plaintiff asserts that he did not intend to
assert an Eighth Amendment violation in his amended complaint, but instead was asserting a
Plaintiff's amended complaint was not construed to assert any state law claims. In any event, if any
pendent state law claims had been asserted, they would have been dismissed without prejudice because all of
plaintiff's federal claims were dismissed. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3), where a district court has
dismissed all federal claims in a complaint over which it has original jurisdiction, the court may decline to
exercise jurisdiction over state law claims. See also United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966).
Generally, motions for reconsideration are denied unless "the moving party can point to controlling
decisions or data that the court overlooked - matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter
the conclusion reached by the court." Id.
claim that he was denied substantive due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment
to the United States Constitution. See generally Dkt. No. 16. Plaintiff does not suggest that
there has been an intervening change in the controlling law, nor has he presented new
evidence which was not previously available. Therefore, the only basis for reconsideration is
to remedy a clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice.
Liberally construed, in support of his substantive due process claim, plaintiff argues
that as a result of defendants' negligence or malpractice, plaintiff has been deprived of
property under the Fourteenth Amendment because his body is his property. However, the
Second Circuit has held that "[t]he simple lack of due care does not make out a violation of
either the substantive or procedural aspects of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment." Pabon v. Wright, 459 F.3d 241, 250 (2d Cir. 2006) (citing Davidson v.
Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 348 (1986); Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 332 (1986)).
Moreover, plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process claim is based on the
same allegations as the Eighth Amendment medical indifference claim set forth in his original
complaint. Compare Compl. with Am. Compl.
Where, as here, a plaintiff's Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment
due process claims "'overlap,' the due process claim will be subsumed by the
Eighth Amendment claim as the Eighth Amendment offers greater protection to
prisoners." Rodriguez v. Morton, No. 04 Civ. 3787, 2009 WL 414033, at *9
(S.D.N.Y. Feb. 13, 2009) (citing Felix-Torres v. Graham, 521 F. Supp. 2d 157,
164 (N.D.N.Y. 2007) (Homer, M.J.) (quoting Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386,
109 S. Ct. 1865, 104 L. Ed.2d 443 (1989) (" any protection that 'substantive due
process' affords convicted prisoners against excessive force is . . . at best
redundant of that provided by the Eighth Amendment")); see also Whitley v.
Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 327, 106 S. Ct. 1078, 89 L. Ed.2d 251 (1986) (" where the
deliberate use of force is challenged as excessive and unjustified, . . . the Due
Process Clause affords respondent no greater protection than does the Cruel
and Unusual Punishment Clause")).
Jean v. Barber, No. 9:09-CV-0430 (MAD/GHL), 2011 W L 2973957, at *4 (N.D.N.Y. June 28,
2011), report and recommendation adopted, 2011 WL 2975218 (N.D.N.Y. July 21, 2011)
(dismissing prisoner's Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process claim as subsumed
by the Eighth Amendment medical indifference claim).
The Court has thoroughly reviewed plaintiff's motion for reconsideration and finds that
plaintiff presents no basis for reconsideration of the June 2016 Order. Based upon a review
of the relevant law and its application to the facts of this case, the Court concludes that its
previous decision was legally correct and did not work a manifest injustice.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby
ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for reconsideration (Dkt. No. 16) is DENIED; and it is
ORDERED that the Clerk shall serve a copy of this Decision and Order on plaintiff.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
July 12, 2016
Albany, New York
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