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Wilson v. Davis

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

December 10, 2014

John Ervin Wilson, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
Deputy Warden Willie Davis and Catherine James, Defendants.

ORDER

RICHARD MARK GERGEL, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation (R & R) of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 29), recommending that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 24) be granted in part and denied in part. For the reasons stated below, the Court adopts the R & R as an order of this Court.

Background[1]

In his verified Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Davis, Deputy Warden of the Lee Correctional Institution, placed Plaintiff in the "Super Max" unit in retaliation for engaging in activity protected by the First Amendment. In particular, Plaintiff has produced evidence that he filed grievances and was involved in litigation regarding prison conditions and helped or advised other prisoners on litigation matters and filing grievances. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant James, the prison Grievance Coordinator, violated his First Amendment rights by failing to file and process his grievances. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and that both Defendants be terminated.

The Magistrate Judge recommended granting summary judgment as to the claims against Defendant James and as to Plaintiffs request that Defendant Davis be terminated. (Dkt. No. 29). However, the Magistrate recommended that the Court deny summary judgment as to Plaintiff s Section 1983 claim against Defendant Davis for monetary damages. Defendants filed a timely objection to the R & R. (Dkt. No. 36). Plaintiff did not file any objections to the R & R, but did reply to the Defendants' objections. (Dkt. No. 41).

Legal Standard

The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins, Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)).

However, as to portions of the R & R to which no objection is made, this Court "must 'only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.' Id. (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P 72 advisory committee note). Moreover, in the absence of specific objections, the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the Magistrate Judge's analysis and recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).

Discussion

A. Recommendations to which there were no objections.

Plaintiff does not object to the R & R's recommendation of granting summary judgment as to the claims against Defendant James. After reviewing the record, the Court finds that the Magistrate Judge applied the appropriate law to the operative facts and adopts the R & R as to these claims. Similarly, the Plaintiff does not object to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that the Plaintiff's request that the Defendants be terminated is without merit and should be dismissed. The Court agrees and dismisses this claim for relief.

B. Section 1983 Claim against Defendant Davis

To establish a retaliation claim, Plaintiff must show: "(1) his speech was protected; (2) the defendants' alleged retaliatory action adversely affected his constitutionally protected speech; and (3) a causal relationship exists between the his speech and the defendants' retaliatory action." Suarez Corp. Indus. v. McGraw, 202 F.3d 676, 685-86 (4th Cir.2000). Defendant does not object to the Magistrate Judge's finding that Plaintiff's involvement in litigation, filing grievances and/or helping other inmates file grievances is protected activity. (See Dkt. No. 36). Defendant objects that (1) Plaintiff has put forward no evidence of causality because the declarations of other inmates are ...


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