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Retaliation for Litigation, Grievances States Claim

A New York federal district court held the prisoner in this civil rights action stated a claim for retaliation and failure to provide adequate medical care. This action was filed by a New York prisoner transferred from the Elmira Correctional Facility to the Sing Sing Correctional Facility to appear at a trial in connection with a claim he filed in the New York Court of Claims. Upon receipt at Sing Sing, the prisoner was placed in the Special Housing Unit and all of his personal property was seized. When his property was returned later that evening, the prisoner learned documents relating to his civil case were missing, which resulted in the trial being postponed. A few days later, the prisoner was on his way to recreation when an altercation between another prisoner and guard occurred, causing the plaintiff prisoner to request to be returned to his cell. While waiting to be admitted into his cell, a guard grabbed him in a chokehold and said, you want to file grievances and law suits and complaints, you're nothing but a coward, do you understand me?" The guard tightened his violent choke hold" and pushed the prisoner into the cell, causing neck and lower back injuries. Another guard told the prisoner, I should have fucked you up the minute you entered the unit." The guards then issued the prisoner a misbehavior report. A nurse assessed his injuries and took no further action.

In response to the prisoner's suit, the defendant's moved to dismiss. The Court found the prisoner had exhausted his administrative remedies on the excessive force claim, but not on the access to court claim, which the court dismissed. The Court then turned to the prisoner's retaliation claim.

To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff asserting First Amendment retaliation claims must advance non-conclusionary allegations establishing: (1) that the speech or conduct at issue was protected, (2) that the defendant took adverse action against the plaintiff, and (3) that there was a causal connection between the protected speech and the adverse action.

The Court held the prisoner's activity of filing grievances is a protected right, and the guards' spoken threats and assault was conduct that would deter a similarly situated individual of ordinary firmness from exercising his or her constitutional rights," and the threats, assault and misbehavior report, which was later administratively dismissed, weighed in favor of a causal connection. Accordingly, the retaliation claim defeats the dismissal motion.

The Court also found the inadequate medical care claim defeated the dismissal motion, as far as it related to the nurse's failure to treat the injuries from the assault. The Court found the circumstances could be viewed as a conscious disregard" of the prisoner's condition, for when he was returned to Elmira the medical staff there gave him an x-ray and medication, and referred him to a doctor for the injuries the nurse failed to treat. The Court, however, dismissed the prisoner's claim related to the delay in receiving a refill on his high blood pressure medication.

The motion to dismiss was granted in part and denied in part. See: Baskerville v. Blot, 224 F. Supp. 2d 723 (S.D.N.Y. 2002).

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Related legal case

Baskerville v. Blott

224 F.Supp.2d 723

United States District Court, S.D. New York.

Martin L. BASKERVILLE, Plaintiff,


M. BLOT, Correction Officer; F. Carabello, Correction Officer; C. Holder,
Correction Officer Sgt.; Z. Diaz, Nurse; E. Williams, Nurse, Defendants.

No. 01 Civ. 4378(SHS).

Sept. 18, 2002.

State prisoner filed § 1983 suit alleging that corrections officers filed frivolous misbehavior report against him in retaliation for his filing grievances and lawsuit against state, that medical personnel failed to provide him with adequate care, that corrections officer assaulted him, and that his legal materials were stolen, thereby denying him access to courts. On defendants' motion to dismiss, the District Court, Stein, J., held that: (1) prisoner exhausted his administrative remedies with regard to excessive force and inadequate care claims; (2) fact issues remained as to whether officer's assault on prisoner was in retaliation for his filing of lawsuit and grievances; and (3) prison nurse's failure to refill prisoner's blood pressure medication for several days did not show deliberate indifference.

Motion granted in part, and denied in part.


STEIN, District Judge.

Martin Baskerville, an inmate presently incarcerated at Elmira Correctional Facility, brings this action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendants violated his constitutional rights under the First and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in August 2000. Specifically, he alleges that corrections officers have filed a frivolous misbehavior report against him in retaliation for his filing grievances and a lawsuit against the State of New York. The allegedly frivolous misbehavior report resulted in his wrongful disciplinary confinement. Plaintiff further alleges that medical personnel have failed to provide him with adequate care, that a corrections officer assaulted him, and that his legal materials were stolen, thereby denying him access to the courts.

Defendants Michael Blot, Frankie Carabello, Christopher Holder, Elizabeth Williams and Zina Diaz--all corrections officers or nurses employed by the New York State Department of Corrections--now move for dismissal of the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on the grounds that: (1) plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies to certain claims as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1997(e)(a); (2) plaintiff has failed to state a claim on which relief may be granted; (3) plaintiff has failed to allege any personal involvement by defendants in certain of the alleged constitutional violations; (4) defendants are entitled to qualified immunity; and (5) this Court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

The following facts are taken from the complaint and are assumed to be true for purposes of this motion. On August 2, 2000, Baskerville was transported to Sing Sing Correctional Facility in connection with an action he had filed in the New York Court of Claims that was scheduled to go to trial on August 3, 2000. (Complaint at ¶ 2.) Shortly after his arrival at Sing Sing, he was interviewed by Nurse Zina Diaz, who provided him with prescribed medication for his high blood pressure. (Id. at ¶ 4.) In addition, Nurse Elizabeth Williams ordered a refill of that prescription, but informed plaintiff that because the facility's pharmacy had been closed for three months, she would have to order the medication from an outside pharmacy. (Id.)

Baskerville alleges that after the meeting with the nurses, his personal property *726 was searched, itemized and returned to him. (Id. at ¶ 5.) He was then escorted to the Special Housing Unit ("SHU"), where he would be housed while awaiting his trial. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Plaintiff claims that he was searched for a second time and his personal property--including legal documents--was confiscated by unnamed correctional officials. He was then taken to his assigned cell in SHU. (Id.) Baskerville further alleges that he requested that the corrections staff return his legal materials so he could review them in preparation for his trial the next day. However, his request was denied and he was informed that his legal documents would not be returned until all of his personal property was searched. (Id. at ¶ 7.)

At approximately 10:00 p.m. that night, Baskerville's personal property--including his legal materials--was allegedly returned to him in a garbage bag that was in "disarray." (Id. at ¶ 8.) He complained verbally to the area supervisor about the condition in which his property and legal materials were returned to him. (Id. at ¶ 9.) He then discovered that certain of his legal documents were missing. (Id.) The next day, when he appeared before the Honorable Stephen J. Mignano, Justice, New York Court of Claim, for his trial, he informed the court that the legal materials he needed for the trial had been stolen. (Id. at ¶ 10.) As a result, the trial was adjourned. (Id.)

Plaintiff also alleges that on August 6, 2000, he requested that he be seen by the facility's medical staff during a sick call because he needed a refill of his blood pressure medication, but Nurse Williams told him that the medication had not yet arrived from the outside pharmacy. (Id. at ¶ 11.)

The next day, August 7, while he was proceeding to the recreation area, he was stopped by Corrections Officer Carabello and directed to a flight of stairs to be pat frisked prior to entering the recreation yard. (Id. at ¶ 13.) While awaiting at the top of the stairs, plaintiff overheard an altercation taking place between Corrections Officer Blot and Patrick Graham, an inmate, during which Blot threatened to "kick Graham's ass." (Id. at ¶ ¶ 13, 14.) Baskerville then decided "not to participate in recreational activity in fear that he would be treated in the same manner as inmate Graham," and instead returned to his cell. (Id. at ¶ 15.)

While being escorted back to his cell by Carabello, he encountered Blot, who had just finished locking Graham in his cell. (Compl. at ¶ 16.) As plaintiff awaited the opening of his cell door, Blot allegedly grabbed him from behind, placed him in a choke hold, shoved him into the bars of the cell, and yelled "[y]ou want to file [g]rievances and law suit and complaint, your nothing but a coward do you understand me." (Id.) Blot then tightened his "violent choke hold" until Baskerville was on the verge of collapsing and then "violently shove[d]" him into his cell. (Id.)

Following the incident, Ms. Diaz evaluated him by allegedly simply looking through the cell door. (Id. at ¶ 18.) Later that day, while his injuries were being photographed, Christopher Holder, the area supervisor, allegedly told plaintiff that "I should have fucked you up the minute you entered the unit." (Id. at ¶ 19.)

That same day, Baskerville was issued a misbehavior report signed by Blot and Carabello and endorsed by Holder. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 20, 21.) He was charged with refusing a direct order, harassment, inmate movement, lying, and failing to comply with pat frisk procedures. (Id.) In addition, Holder issued a "Restraint Order" that required that he be placed on full restraints whenever he stepped outside his cell. As a result, plaintiff alleges that on August 9, *727 2000, he was forced to wear leg irons while taking a shower. (Id. at ¶ 22.) He claims that he was eventually allowed to speak to Deputy Superintendent of Security William Connelly, who reviewed the misbehavior report and determined that the restraint order was unwarranted since he had not violated any rules or regulations. (Id. at ¶ 23.)

Baskerville alleges that a Tier III disciplinary hearing regarding the August 7 misbehavior report was scheduled to commence on August 13 at Sing Sing, but was postponed. (Id. at ¶ 24.) On August 14, he was transferred back to Elmira, where he was placed in pre-hearing keeplock until August 22. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that Sergeant Alan Erickson at Elmira interviewed him, reviewed the misbehavior report, determined that he was not guilty of the charges and directed that he be released from keeplock. (Id.) On September 1, 2000, Deputy Superintendent of Administration William J. Hopkins administratively dismissed the misbehavior report. (Id. at ¶ 26.)

Plaintiff also alleges that on August 22, the medical staff at Elmira assessed the injuries he suffered on August 7 at Sing Sing. (Id. at ¶ 25.) He claims that after he was "properly medically evaluated," back x-rays were taken, medications were prescribed and he was referred to a doctor at the facility. (Id.)

Baskerville claims that the "frivolous" misbehavior report was filed in retaliation for his seeking redress in a prior action before the Honorable Barbara S. Jones of this Court, Baskerville v. Goord, No. 97 Civ. 6413, and for his filing of grievances against corrections officials at Sing Sing. (Compl. at ¶ 27.) The filing of the "frivolous" misbehavior report was designed "to chill a person of ordinary firmness from continuing to engage in activity protected by the First Amendment," since its result significantly affected his day-to-day life in prison: he was placed in keeplock confinement at Sing Sing for seven days, [FN1] denied showers and phone privileges during that confinement, and placed in keeplock confinement at Elmira for an additional eight days. [FN2] (Id. at ¶ 28.) Plaintiff claims that Diaz and Williams violated his Eighth Amendment rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by failing to provide him adequate medical care for his injuries after the alleged assault and by failing to obtain his prescribed medication in a timely manner. (Id. at ¶ 29.) He also claims that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as neck and lower back injuries. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages and injunctive relief.

FN1. Keeplock is a type of housing unit in New York prisons where the conditions are more restrictive than those for the general prison population. Prisoners may be placed in keeplock awaiting disciplinary or superintendent's hearings, pursuant to the disposition of such hearings, or awaiting transfer to another facility. The inmate is confined to his cell for 23 hours a day, with one hour spent outside the cell for exercise. See 7 N.Y.C.R.R. § § 301.1--301.7; Wells v. Wade, No. 96 Civ. 1627, 2000 WL 1239085, at * 1 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 31, 2000); Jamison v. Dee, No. 99 Civ. 5854, 2000 WL 502871, at * 1 n. 2 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 27, 2000).

FN2. In addition, Baskerville alleges that defendants interfered with his right of access to the courts because his legal materials were searched, re-organized and taken.

Defendants have now moved to dismiss the complaint.

I. Standard for Motion to Dismiss the Complaint

In reviewing a motion to dismiss a complaint, a court must accept as true the factual allegations in the complaint and must read the pleadings in the light most favorable to and draw all reasonable inferences *728 in favor of the non-moving party. See Weinstein v. Albright, 261 F.3d 127, 131 (2d Cir.2001); Bolt Elec., Inc. v. City of New York, 53 F.3d 465, 469 (2d Cir.1995). Dismissal of the complaint is only proper when "it appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). The review is limited, and "[t]he issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." Villager Pond, Inc. v. Town of Darien, 56 F.3d 375, 378 (2d Cir.1995) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974)). The Court's function on a motion to dismiss is "not to weigh the evidence that might be presented at trial but merely to determine whether the complaint itself is legally sufficient." Goldman v. Belden, 754 F.2d 1059, 1067 (2d Cir.1985).

"This standard is applied with even greater force where the plaintiff alleges civil rights violations or where the complaint is submitted pro se." Hernandez v. Coughlin, 18 F.3d 133, 136 (2d Cir.1994). Where a plaintiff proceeds pro se, a court must construe the complaint liberally and " 'interpret [it] to raise the strongest arguments that [it] suggest[s],' " Soto v. Walker, 44 F.3d 169, 173 (2d Cir.1995) (quoting Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir.1994)), thus holding the pro se pleading "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers...." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972) (per curiam). In addition, the court may consider factual allegations made by a pro se plaintiff in opposition papers and other additional materials. See Gill v. Mooney, 824 F.2d 192, 195 (2d Cir.1987); Benitez v. Straley, No. 01 Civ. 0181, 2002 WL 485692 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2002), at *2 (slip op.); Johnson v. Eastchester Union Free Sch. Dist., No. 01 Civ. 2835, 2002 WL 449584, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 22, 2002); Burgess v. Goord, No. 98 Civ.2077, 1999 WL 33458, at *1 n. 1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 26, 1999). However, a pro se party's bald assertions of a constitutional violation without any factual predicate cannot survive even the most liberal standard accorded a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113, 113 S.Ct. 1980, 124 L.Ed.2d 21 (1993); Leeds v. Meltz, 85 F.3d 51, 53 (2d Cir.1996); LoSacco v. City of Middletown, 71 F.3d 88, 92 (2d Cir.1995).

II. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA") provides 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 confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). In Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 122 S.Ct. 983, 992, 152 L.Ed.2d 12 (2002), the United States Supreme Court held that the "PLRA's exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong." This requirement extends to cases in which a plaintiff seeks a remedy not available though the administrative process, such as monetary damages. See Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 733-34, 121 S.Ct. 1819, 149 L.Ed.2d 958 (2001). Porter mandates that every claim asserted by a prisoner must first be grieved administratively prior to seeking judicial relief. [FN3] Thus, a *729 plaintiff may only pursue an action in federal court after exhausting "any available administrative remedies, including all appellate remedies provided within the system." Waters v. Schneider, No. 01 Civ. 5217, 2002 WL 727025, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. April 23, 2002) (citing Fletcher v. Haase, No. 99 Civ. 9549, 2002 WL 313799, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 27, 2002)); see also Webb v. Goord, 192 F.Supp.2d 208, 211 (S.D.N.Y.2002).

FN3. Prior to the Supreme Court's decision in Porter, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit had recognized certain exceptions to the PLRA's exhaustion requirement, including excessive force and individualized retaliation claims, holding that these claims did not fall within the term of prison conditions. See Lawrence v. Goord, 238 F.3d 182 (2d Cir.2001); Nussle v. Willette, 224 F.3d 95, 99-100 (2d Cir.2000). However, the Supreme Court's decision in Porter specifically overturned Nussle v. Willette. Under the PLRA, prisoners must administratively exhaust all claims, including excessive force and retaliation claims, prior to seeking judicial remedies.

New York State's Inmate Grievance Procedure ("IGP") has established a three-step inmate grievance process available to prisoner to exhaust their administrative remedies. See N.Y. Correct. Law § 139; N.Y. Comp.Codes R. & Regs. tit. 7, § 701. Generally, the regulations require that an inmate first file a complaint with the inmate grievance resolution committee ("IGRC") within fourteen days of the alleged event. N.Y. Comp.Codes R. & Regs. tit. 7, § 701.7(a)(1). The IGRC must then investigate and may resolve the issue informally within seven days. Id. at § 701.7(a)(3). If there is not an informal resolution, a hearing is held, and the inmate may appeal the result to the Superintendent of the facility within four days of receiving it. Id. at § § 701.7(a)(4), (b). Finally, the inmate may appeal the Superintendent's decision to the Central Office Review Committee ("CORC") within four days of its receipt. Id. at § 701.7(c). The CORC, in turn, must render a decision within twenty days. Id.

Defendants contend that with the exception of plaintiff's inadequate medical care claim, Baskerville has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. (Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss ("Def.Mem."), at 6.) Plaintiff argues that he has, in fact, exhausted the available administrative remedies as to all the claims he brings and that defendants' argument is moot. (Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss ("Pl.Opp.") at 5, ¶ 5.) He alleges that he filed an institutional grievance on October 30, 2000, which was forwarded to the Superintendent of Sing Sing on November 13, 2000. (Pl. Opp., Exhibit A.) Plaintiff further asserts that he received a final determination from the CORC on February 7, 2001. (Id.)

Defendants maintain, however, that it is Baskerville who is in "error". (Defendant's Reply Memorandum of Law In Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss ("Def.Reply") at 3.) They, again, contend that plaintiff never filed any grievances with respect to his claims of excessive force and denial of access to the courts, and thus did not exhaust his administrative remedies as to those claims. (Def. Reply at 2.) Defendants concede that Baskerville filed a grievance at Elmira on October 30, but argue that the subject of that grievance was not the alleged assault on August 7, but rather "dealt solely with plaintiff's complaint that, following the alleged August 7, 2000 use of force incident, the Sing Sing medical staff allegedly failed to properly examine him for possible injuries." (Id.) Defendants further state that "while plaintiff's October 30, 2000 grievance does contain a passing reference to his claim of alleged assault at Sing Sing on August 7, 2000, the gravamen of plaintiff's grievance is that he was denied medical care on that date." (Id.) They next contend that the New York State Department of Correctional *730 Services ("DOCS") has established a grievance program with specific procedures that must be followed in order for a prisoner to exhaust his administrative remedies, as required by the PLRA. (Id.)

A. Exhaustion of Excessive Force Claim

Drawing all inferences in plaintiff's favor, the Court concludes that Baskerville has alleged facts sufficient to indicate that he has exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to his claim of excessive force. The scope of the grievance that plaintiff filed on October 3 was much narrower than the issues he is raising in the instant complaint, as the gravamen of his grievance concerned the alleged denial of medical care after the alleged assault. (See Pl. Opp., Exhibit A.) Although plaintiff referred to the "use of force" and an "assault" in his grievance, he requested no action relating to this issue. (Id.) The final decision issued by the CORC, however, refers to notes made by corrections officials indicating that the alleged assault had been investigated at some point during the administrative process, but determined that no assault had taken place. (Id.) As the exhaustion requirement is designed to afford prison officials time and opportunity to address complaints prior to judicial intervention, Porter, 534 U.S. 516, 122 S.Ct. at 988, 152 L.Ed.2d 12, the apparent investigation of plaintiff's assault claim and the rendering of a decision by the CORC appears to be consistent with the purpose of the PLRA.

Although prison officials are entitled to require strict compliance with an existing grievance procedure, see Hemphill v. New York, 198 F.Supp.2d 546, 549 (S.D.N.Y.2002), the Court declines under these circumstances to hold that plaintiff has failed to satisfy the PLRA's exhaustion requirement with respect to his excessive force claim. See O'Connor v. Featherston, No. 01 Civ. 3251, 2002 WL 818085, at *2-3 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 29, 2002); Rodriguez v. Hahn, No. 99 Civ. 11663, 2000 WL 1738424, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 22, 2000); Gonzalez v. Officer in Charge of Barber Shop on Duty on May 13, 1999, No. 99 Civ. 3455, 2000 WL 274184, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 13, 2000). Defendants' motion to dismiss the excessive force claim on the ground that Baskerville has not exhausted his administrative remedies in regard to that claim is therefore denied.

B. Exhaustion of Access to Court Claim

Defendants also move to dismiss Baskerville's claim of denial of access to the courts on exhaustion grounds. Although plaintiff generally asserts exhaustion of his claims, he does not allege that he has specifically exhausted his available administrative remedies as to his claim that he was denied his right of access to the courts. Nor do his submissions indicate any effort to exhaust this claim through DOCS' grievance procedures. As plaintiff was aware of DOCS' grievance procedures and has previously availed himself of them, his failure to seek administrative remedies with respect to his claim of denial of access to court cannot be excused. Because plaintiff has failed to exhaust his available remedies as to his claim of denial of access to court, defendants' motion to dismiss this claim is granted and the claim is dismissed without prejudice.

III. First Amendment Retaliation Claims

Plaintiff alleges that in retaliation for his filing prison grievances and a prior lawsuit, (1) Blot physically assaulted him and Carabello failed to intervene, (2) Blot, Carabello and Holder issued a frivolous misbehavior report against him, and (3) Holder issued a restraint order placing various restrictions on him. (Compl. at ¶ ¶ 17, 27-28; Pl. Opp. at ¶ 7.) Plaintiff further claims that the retaliation resulted in his wrongful disciplinary confinement, his placement on *731 full restraints outside of his cell and the denial of certain privileges. Defendants contend that plaintiff's retaliation claims are without merit because he has failed to show that he received a false misbehavior report and that the misbehavior report was issued to him in retaliation for exercising a constitutionally protected right. (Def. Mem. at 22.)

It is well-established that prison officials may not retaliate against inmates for exercising their constitutional rights. See Colon v. Coughlin, 58 F.3d 865, 872 (2d Cir.1995). To survive a motion to dismiss, "a plaintiff asserting First Amendment retaliation claims must advance nonconclusory allegations establishing: (1) that the speech or conduct at issue was protected, (2) that the defendant took adverse action against the plaintiff, and (3) that there was a causal connection between the protected speech and the adverse action." Dawes v. Walker, 239 F.3d 489, 492 (2d Cir.2001); see also Morales v. Mackalm, 278 F.3d 126, 132 (2d Cir.2002); Friedl v. City of New York, 210 F.3d 79, 85 (2d Cir.2000); Graham v. Henderson, 89 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir.1996). Furthermore, a prisoner's retaliation claim must also be examined with "skepticism and particular care." Colon, 58 F.3d at 872. The Second Circuit has cautioned that retaliation claims by prisoners are "prone to abuse" as "[v]irtually every prisoner can assert such a claim as to every decision which he or she dislikes." Flaherty v. Coughlin, 713 F.2d 10, 13 (2d Cir.1983); see Dawes v. Walker, 239 F.3d 489, 491 (2d Cir.2001). Thus, a prisoner's claim of retaliation must be supported by specific and detailed factual allegations. See Colon, 58 F.3d at 872; Flaherty, 713 F.2d at 13.

A. Engagement in Protected Conduct

Here, defendants do not dispute that Baskerville has set forth facts that, if proven, would satisfy the first prong of the retaliation standard that he engaged in protected conduct when he filed grievances and a prior lawsuit against corrections officers at Sing Sing. [FN4] A prisoner's filing of a grievance against a corrections officer is protected by the First Amendment and retaliation in response to such a grievance is an actionable claim. Morales, 278 F.3d at 131; Dawes, 239 F.3d at 492-93; Graham, 89 F.3d at 80; Walker v. Pataro, No. 99 Civ. 4607, 2002 WL 664040, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2002). Similarly, the filing of a lawsuit is a constitutionally protected activity. See Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 821-32, 97 S.Ct. 1491, 52 L.Ed.2d 72 (1977); Amaker v. Goord, No. 98 Civ. 3634, 2002 WL 523371, *14 (S.D.N.Y. March 29, 2002). Nonetheless, given the specific pleading requirements for a prisoner retaliation claim, it is unclear whether Baskerville's unsubstantiated allegations set forth a sufficient connection between defendants' alleged actions and plaintiff's protected conduct to sustain a First Amendment retaliation claim.

FN4. Although Baskerville alleges in the complaint that he actually filed grievances against corrections officials at Sing Sing, (Compl. at ¶ ¶ 27-28), he claims in his opposition papers that he merely threatened to file grievances rather than the actual filing of grievances. (Pl. Opp. at ¶ 12.) For purposes of this motion, the Court accepts as true the factual allegations in the complaint.

B. Adverse Actions

Plaintiff has adequately stated facts in compliance with the second element of the retaliation test, that defendants subjected him to adverse actions. To plead adequately that an adverse action was taken against him, plaintiff must allege that he was subjected to "conduct that would deter a similarly situated individual of ordinary firmness from exercising his or her constitutional rights." *732Dawes, 239 F.3d at 493. Baskerville's claim regarding the retaliatory assault sufficiently describes adverse conduct that would deter a reasonable inmate from exercising his constitutional rights. See id; Rivera v. Goord, 119 F.Supp.2d 327, 339-40 (S.D.N.Y.2000) (retaliatory assault constitutes adverse action).

Similarly, his allegations regarding the issuance of the false misbehavior report and the restraint order resulting in his confinement in keeplock, the denial of showers and telephone privileges, and the placement of restraints when he was outside his cell, sufficiently establish adverse acts. While a "prison inmate has no constitutionally guaranteed immunity from being falsely or wrongly accused of conduct which may result in the deprivation of a protected liberty interest," Freeman v. Rideout, 808 F.2d 949, 951 (2d Cir.1986), he has "a right not to be subjected to false misconduct charges in retaliation for his exercise of a constitutional right." Harris v. Keane, 962 F.Supp. 397, 405 (S.D.N.Y.1997)(citing Jones v. Coughlin, 45 F.3d 677, 679-80 (2d Cir.1995) and Franco v. Kelly, 854 F.2d 584, 590 (2d Cir.1988)); see also Nunez v. Goord, 172 F.Supp.2d 417, 431 (S.D.N.Y.2001). His allegations regarding Blot's, Carabello's, and Holder's actions in issuing the misbehavior report and restraint order that resulted in his wrongful confinement and restrictions of his privileges, sufficiently describe adverse conduct that would "chill" a reasonable inmate from exercising his constitutional rights. See Dawes, 239 F.3d at 493; Wells v. Wade, No. 96 Civ. 1627, 2000 WL 1239085, at *3-4 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 31, 2000) (filing of misbehavior report resulting in keeplock confinement is an adverse act likely to deter inmate from engaging in activity protected by the First Amendment).

C. Causal Connection