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Abdullah-Malik v. Bryant

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

March 24, 2015

Akeem Alim-Nafis Abdullah-Malik, Plaintiff,
v.
Bruce M. Bryant, Sheriff; James F. Arwood, Jail Administrator; Richard L. Martin, Jr., Assistant Jail Administrator; Gary L. Davis, Security Commander; Sandie Stervul, Dietitian Trinity Food Services Oldsmar, Florida Contracted thru York County Detention Facility; Defendants.

ORDER

R. BRYAN HARWELL, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Akeem Alim-Nafis Abdullah-Malik ("Plaintiff"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this action against the above captioned Defendants[1] pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on January 14, 2014. See Compl., ECF No. 1; Am. Compl., ECF No. 47. On June 16, 2014, Defendants James F. Arwood and Bruce M. Bryant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. See Mot., ECF No. 58. After requesting and receiving multiple extensions, Plaintiff filed a response in opposition on September 26, 2014. See Pl.'s Resp., ECF No. 112. Defendants Richard L. Martin, Jr. and Gary L. Davis were served subsequent to the filing of this motion. See ECF No. 78. Accordingly, in conjunction with Defendants Arwood and Bryant's reply to Plaintiff's response, Martin and Davis requested to be joined in the motion to dismiss. See Def.'s Reply, ECF No. 132 at n.1.

The matter is now before the Court after the issuance of the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of United States Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges.[2] See R & R, ECF No. 170. In the R & R, the Magistrate Judge recommends the Court grant Defendants Arwood, Bryant, Davis, and Martin's (collectively the "YCDC Defendants") motion to dismiss. See id. at 11. The Magistrate Judge noted that, if the Court were to adopt this recommendation, only Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Sternal[3] would remain. See id. The Magistrate Judge noted that, unless Defendant Sternal requests and receives a grant of an extension of time to file a dispositive motion, this claim appears ready for trial. See id.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R to which specific objection is made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

The right to de novo review may be waived by the failure to file timely objections. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). The Court need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only "general and conclusory objections that do not direct the [C]ourt to a specific error in the [M]agistrate's proposed findings and recommendations." Id. Moreover, in the absence of objections to the R & R, the Court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation. Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). However, in the absence of objections, the Court must "satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.'" Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note).

DISCUSSION[4]

I. Magistrate Judge's Recommendations

In the R & R, the Magistrate Judge first addressed the motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Bryant and Arwood, and later joined by Martin and Davis.[5] The Magistrate Judge noted that, to the extent these Defendants are sued in their official capacity for monetary damages, they are entitled to dismissal due to Eleventh Amendment immunity. See ECF No. 170 at 4-5. Next, the Magistrate Judge explained that, since Plaintiff is no longer confined in the York County Detention Center ("YCDC"), his claims for declaratory and injunctive relief related to his confinement at that facility are moot. See id. at 6. The Magistrate Judge then reasoned that Plaintiff's claim for excessive bail should be dismissed because the complaint does not set forth any allegations that the YCDC Defendants set his bail or had any authority to reduce it. See id. at 6-7. The Magistrate Judge subsequently determined that Plaintiff failed to sufficiently state a claim based on the First Amendment. See id. at 7-8. The Magistrate Judge then turned to Plaintiff's claim for racial discrimination and found that Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to state a claim of discrimination. See id. at 8-9. The Magistrate Judge then explained that Plaintiff's cruel and unusual punishment claim fails because he did not allege sufficient facts to show that he was deprived of a basic human need or that the YCDC Defendants acted with deliberate indifference. See id. at 9. The Magistrate Judge next addressed Plaintiff's denial of due process claim based on the grievance system, explaining that Plaintiff's allegations failed to state a constitutional claim as there is no constitutional right to a grievance system. See id. at 10. Finally, the Magistrate Judge determined that, to the extent the YCDC Defendants are sued in their supervisory capacity, Plaintiff's claims fail and should be dismissed. See id. at 10-11.

The Magistrate Judge then turned to Defendant Sternal. The Magistrate Judge noted this Defendant did not filed any dispositive motions within the deadline set by the original scheduling order. See ECF No. 170 at 11; see also Scheduling Order, ECF No. 38. Accordingly, she noted that this claim would be ready for trial absent a request for, and grant by the Court of, an extension of time to file a dispositive motion. See id.

II. Plaintiff's Subsequent Filings

The Magistrate Judge entered her R & R on January 14, 2015. Accordingly, any objections were originally due on February 2, 2015. See ECF No. 170. Plaintiff filed a document on January 29, 2015, which requested various relief from the Court regarding the prison law library. See ECF No. 179. The Court also construed this letter to request an extension of time to file objections to the R & R, as Plaintiff noted that he also moved for an enlargement of time to file objections to the R & R and a stay.[6] See id. at 6. Accordingly, the Court granted an extension of time to file objections to the R & R, but denied any relief related to the law library. See Text Order, ECF No. 180. This moved the deadline to file objections to the R & R to February 16, 2015. See id.

In this filing, Plaintiff also indicated that he was transferred from the Fairfield Correctional Institution to the Allendale Correctional Institution on January 15, 2015.[7] See ECF No. 179 at 2. Despite the transfer, Plaintiff does not contest in any way whether he received the R & R. In both ECF No. 179 and ECF No. 184, Plaintiff clearly ...


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