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James v. Jones

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

August 5, 2014

JEROME W. JAMES, Plaintiff,
v.
CARL JONES, FSD; MANUEL ALFAS, FSS; JENNIFER BUTLER, FSS; ANNETTE CHAPMAN, FSS; VERNON GORE, FSS; and EARNEST DELOACH, FSS, Defendants.

ORDER

DAVID C. NORTON, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett's report and recommendation ("R&R") that the court grant defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff Jerome W. James ("James"), an inmate who alleges defendants violated his constitutional rights, filed written objections to the R&R. For the reasons set forth below, the court adopts the R&R and grants the defendants' motion for summary judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

James is an inmate within the South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDC") who is currently incarcerated at the Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, South Carolina. While being housed in the Special Management Unit, James requested a "no meat" diet. Compl. 3. He alleges that since his request, he has been receiving neither the proper amount of food nor the correct food. Id . James alleges that the food provided lacks variety, is often overcooked or spoiled, and has made him sick on numerous occasions. Id. at 3-4. James says that these conditions have forced him to often go days without eating. Id. at 4.

Jones filed the present action on July 7, 2013, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that defendants violated his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. On January 17, 2014, defendants filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. The magistrate judge issued an R&R on May 12, 2014, recommending that the court grant defendants' motion. Plaintiff filed objections to the R&R on May 23, 2014. The matter is ripe for the court's review.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Objections to R&R

This court is charged with conducting a de novo review of any portion of the magistrate judge's R&R to which specific, written objections are made, and may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendations contained in that report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). A party's failure to object is accepted as agreement with the conclusions of the magistrate judge. See Thomas v. Arn , 474 U.S. 140, 149-50 (1985). In absence of a timely filed objection to a magistrate judge's R&R, this court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must "only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co. , 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note). The recommendation of the magistrate judge carries no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination rests with this court. Mathews v. Weber , 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976).

B. Pro Se Plaintiff

Plaintiff proceeds pro se in this case. Federal district courts are charged with liberally construing complaints filed by pro se litigants to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. See Hughes v. Rowe , 449 U.S. 5, 9-10 (1980). Pro se complaints are therefore held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Id . Liberal construction, however, does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a cognizable claim. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. , 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990).

C. Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a material fact is genuine, ' that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id . At the summary judgment stage, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in his favor. Id. at 255.

III. DISCUSSION

James objects to the magistrate judge's finding that he failed to exhaust his ...


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