United States District Court, D. New Jersey
L. WOLFSON U.S. CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
Ode Obataiye (“Obataiye”), is a state prisoner
presently incarcerated at East Jersey State Prison, in
Rahway, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with the
proceeded portions of a Fourth Amended Complaint asserting
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 47.) Presently
before the Court is an unopposed motion by defendants, Gary
Lanigan (“Lanigan”), Charles E. Warren
(“Warren”), Jimmy Barnes (“Barnes”),
Michelle Ricci (“Ricci”), and Dr. Flora DeFilippo
“Defendants”), seeking summary judgment in their
favor under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (ECF No. 77.)
For the following reasons, the motion is granted, and
judgment is summarily granted to Defendants.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
underlying allegations are well known to the parties, I
include here only the circumstances directly relevant to
Obataiye’s active claims. Obataiye is serving a
criminal sentence imposed by the Connecticut courts. (ECF No.
47 ¶ 1; see also Ans., ECF No. 56, ¶ 1.)
After being charged with assaulting a guard in a Connecticut
prison, Obataiye was administratively transferred to New
Jersey State Prison (“NJSP”) on January 17, 2008.
(ECF No. 47 ¶¶ 11–14; see also ECF
No. 56 ¶¶ 11–14.) Upon his arrival at NJSP,
Obataiye was assigned to the Management Control Unit
(“MCU”),  and he was initially placed on close
observation, which apparently involved constant observation
and the confiscation of his shoes. (ECF No. 47 ¶¶
15–23; ECF No. 56 ¶¶ 15–23.) Despite
efforts to be reassigned to the general population of the
prison via quarterly and annual reviews, Obataiye remained in
the MCU for six and a half years, finally being reassigned to
the general population in August or September 2014. (ECF No.
47 ¶¶ 79–87; ECF No. 56 ¶¶
79–87.) While in MCU, Obataiye experienced extreme
temperatures and other discomforts. (ECF No. 47 ¶¶
25–43; see also ECF No. 56 ¶¶
filed one inmate remedy form regarding cold temperatures in
his cell on January 18, 2011. (ECF No. 77-2 ¶ 16; Ex. H,
ECF No. 77-11, at ECF p. 2.) The staff response indicated
that the prison was “waiting on parts for N/C Hot Water
Heating System.” (ECF No. 77-11 at ECF p. 2.) Obataiye
did not file any administrative appeal of this grievance.
(Id.; see also ECF No. 77-2 ¶
Procedural History and Prior Motion Practice
fully recounted the tortuous procedural history of this case
in the opinion granting in part and denying in part
Defendants’ motion to dismiss Obataiye’s Fourth
Amended Complaint, (ECF No. 53), I include here only a brief
overview of the course of this litigation. Obataiye
originally commenced this action on February 1, 2013, by
filing a Verified Complaint with the Superior Court of New
Jersey, Mercer County, Law Division. (Notice of Removal, Ex.
A, Ver. Compl., ECF No. 1-1, at ECF pp. 5–36.) That
Complaint was removed to this Court as Obataiye v.
Lanigan, Civ. No. 13-4323 (FLW) (TJB), then remanded to
state court, and then the First Amended
Complaint was removed to this Court again as the
pleading in the present action, (see ECF No. 1).
filed a Second Amended Complaint in December 2015 with leave
of the Court. (ECF No. 23.) On September 26, 2016, I granted
in part and denied in part a motion by Defendants to dismiss
the Second Amended Complaint. (ECF Nos. 28 & 29.) The
Court dismissed with prejudice Obataiye’s claims
against Defendants in their official capacities and his
demands for declaratory relief. (ECF No. 28 at 10–12.)
I further dismissed without prejudice Obataiye’s
conspiracy claim. (Id. at 12–14.) Though I
found that Obataiye’s due-process claim implicated a
constitutional liberty interest, I dismissed the claim and
related claims for supervisory liability on the basis that
Obataiye had failed to plead facts supporting an argument
that he did not receive due process in being placed or
maintained in the MCU. (Id. at 14–20.) I
permitted Obataiye’s claims concerning extreme
temperatures to proceed against defendants Warren and Ricci
but dismissed those claims as against the other defendants
and insofar as they concerned other conditions of
confinement. (Id. at 22–27.)
thereafter, Obataiye filed a Third Amended Complaint alleging
only due-process violations. (ECF No. 34). He quickly
followed this with an all-inclusive Fourth Amended Complaint,
the substantive allegations of which are largely the same as
those he asserted in his Second Amended Complaint.
(See ECF No. 47.) He alleged that he was
consistently subjected to extreme cold in the winter and
extreme heat in the summer, causing various health problems,
and he also claimed that his cell was unsanitary.
(Id. ¶¶ 25–67, 171–179.)
Obataiye asserted that he was not released from MCU until
September 2014 despite previously completing programs
intended to facilitate release to the general population.
(Id. ¶¶ 68–74, 79–85.) He
challenged both his initial placement in MCU and the ongoing
decisions not to release him. (Id. ¶¶
18, 2018, I granted in part and denied in part an unopposed
motion by Defendants to dismiss the Fourth Amended Complaint.
(ECF No. 53 & 54.) Specifically, I found that Obataiye
had alleged facts sufficient to support a due-process claim,
at least against DeFilippo, Barnes, and Warren. (ECF No. 53
at 13–18.) I rejected Defendants’ argument that
Obataiye’s claims must be dismissed for failure to
exhaust administrative remedies because exhaustion is an
affirmative defense to be pleaded by the defendant.
(Id. at16.) I again found that Obataiye had
adequately alleged that Warren and Ricci were deliberately
indifferent to the problem of extreme temperatures, but
dismissed the remaining Eighth Amendment claims.
(See id. at 18–22.) Applying the relevant
two-year statute of limitations, however, I dismissed the
claims that accrued prior to February 1, 2011, as untimely.
(See Id . at 17, 22.)
that motion practice, the parties engaged in discovery. Once
discovery was complete, Defendants filed the motion for
summary judgment that is presently before the Court. (ECF No.
77.) When Obataiye had not filed any opposition to the
summary judgment motion within his time to do so, I issued a
Memorandum and Order providing him an additional 30 days to
file an opposition and warning Obataiye that, if he failed to
do so, the motion would be decided as unopposed. (ECF No.
82.) Obataiye has never responded to that Order or filed any