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Robinson v. Byrne

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

March 27, 2015

Corey Jawan Robinson, Plaintiff,
v.
Dr. Thomas E. Byrne, Defendant.

ORDER AND OPINION

J. MICHELLE CHILDS, District Judge.

Plaintiff Corey Jawan Robinson ("Plaintiff") filed this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that "Defendant Dr. Thomas E. Byrne [(Defendant')] is reliable [ sic ] for my Federal and State Constitutional rights violation of (1) Deliberate Indifference (2) 8th Amendment (3) 14th Amendment (4) Conspiracy (5) Gross Negligence [and] (6) Medical Malpractice." (ECF No. 1 at 4.) This matter is before the court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 58.)

In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02, the matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Kaymani D. West for pretrial handling. On November 21, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation ("Report"), recommending the court grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 64 at 10.) This review considers Plaintiff's Objection to Report and Recommendation ("Objections"), filed December 8, 2014. (ECF No. 66.) For the reasons set forth herein, the court ACCEPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report. The court thereby GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 58) and DISMISSES Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1).

I. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The court concludes upon its own careful review of the record that the factual and procedural background found in the Magistrate Judge's Report is accurate, and the court adopts this summary as its own. ( See ECF No. 64.) However, a recitation of the relevant facts and procedural history is warranted.

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Lieber Correctional Institution, within the South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDC"). (ECF No. 1 at 3). Plaintiff filed this action after returning from a neurologist appointment on August 28, 2013, where he learned that he had been taking Prednisone for too long, and that the neurologist had asked SCDC to refer Plaintiff to a pulmonary specialist back in 2010. ( Id. at 4.) Plaintiff states that he suffers from sarcoidosis, glaucoma, and a stomach injury. ( Id. at 6.)

Plaintiff filed his complaint on October 23, 2013, alleging that Defendant has not properly assessed Plaintiff's medical condition, and that the evidence shows Defendant has conspired to deny and intentionally interfere with Plaintiff's prescribed medication and treatment. ( Id. at 6-8.) Plaintiff further alleges his grievances have not been processed or responded to, and that "Defendants [ sic ] has [ sic ] conspired to deny [Plaintiff] access to the court." ( Id. at 5, 10.) Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, including immediate outside treatment, as well as $100, 000 in compensatory damages, and $100, 000 in punitive damages. ( Id. at 10, 11, 13.) Furthermore, Plaintiff seeks for this court to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims, and a non-jury trial. ( Id. at 13.)

On May 30, 2014, Defendant filed his Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 58), and on November 21, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued the Report recommending the court grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and dismiss Plaintiff's action (ECF No. 64). In the Report, the Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff did not "offer[] any evidence that would support a finding that Defendant intentionally or recklessly disregarded Plaintiff's medical needs or access to medical care." (ECF No. 64 at 5.) Further, the Magistrate Judge found that Defendant should be granted qualified immunity and that Defendant is entitled to summary judgment under the Eleventh Amendment. ( Id. at 9.) The Magistrate Judge also recommended that, because Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's constitutional claims, the court should "decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any claim to relief asserted pursuant to state law." ( Id. at 8 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3)).)

Plaintiff timely filed an Objection to the Report ("Objection") on December 8, 2014, and objected to the Magistrate Judge's findings regarding deliberate indifference to medical needs, qualified immunity, and immunity based upon the Eleventh Amendment. (ECF No. 66.) Defendant timely filed a Response to Plaintiff's Objection on December 29, 2014. (ECF No. 68.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD AND ANALYSIS

The Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with this court. See Matthews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). This court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objections are made, and the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge's recommendation, or recommit the matter with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

Objections to a Report and Recommendation must specifically identify portions of the recommendation and the basis for those objections. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). "[I]n the absence of a timely filed objection, a district 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 & Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 316 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note). "[W]hen objections to strictly legal issues are raised and no factual issues are challenged, de novo review of the record may be dispensed with." Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982) (citing Braxton v. Estelle, 641 F.2d 392 (5th Cir. 1981)).

De novo review is unnecessary "when a party makes general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the [Magistrate Judge's] proposed findings and recommendations." Orpino, 687 F.2d at 47 (citing United States v. Mertz, 376 U.S. 192, 84 S.Ct. 639, 11 L.Ed.2d 629 (1964); Pendleton v. Rumsfeld, 628 F.2d 102 (D.C. Cir. 1980)). Merely restating arguments already heard and ruled upon by the Magistrate Judge is not a specific objection. See Dreher v. South Carolina, No. CIVA 6:06-1298 PMDWM, 2007 WL 691387, at *6 (D.S.C. Mar. 2, 2007). Furthermore, failure to timely file specific written objections to a recommendation will result in a waiver of the right to appeal from an order from the court based upon the recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 155 (1985); Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841 (4th Cir. 1985); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 (4th Cir. 1984).

As Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, the court is required to liberally construe his arguments. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). The court addresses those arguments that, under the mandated liberal construction, it has reasonably found to state a claim. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999). However, the court will "not assume the role of ...


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