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Cleveland v. Eagleton

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

March 7, 2016

George Cleveland, III, Plaintiff,
v.
Warden Willie Eagleton, individually and in his official capacity; Associate Warden Roland McFadden, individually and in his official capacity; Officer M. Thomas; Unknown Nurse Manager; and Unknown Medical Doctor, Defendants.

ORDER

R. Bryan Harwell, United States District Judge

Plaintiff George Cleveland, III, currently incarcerated at Turbeville Correctional Institution and proceeding pro se, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement while he was incarcerated at Evans Correctional Institution (“ECI”). Defendants have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF #86], which is now before the Court. Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF #117] and a Motion for Protective Order [ECF #119], which are also before the Court. This matter is before the Court after issuance of the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III, filed on November 12, 2015. [ECF #131]. This matter was referred to the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e). In the R&R, the Magistrate Judge recommends denying both of Plaintiff’s motions and granting Defendants’ motion for summary judgment in its entirety. On December 16, 2015, after several extensions, Plaintiff filed objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation. [ECF #141].

Background

Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in June 2014 against Defendants, alleging violations of his constitutional rights, including allegations that he was denied access to an extra restroom outside his cell and allegations that he was being forced to shower in stalls contaminated with human waste. [ECF #1]. At all times relevant to the allegations contained within the Complaint, Plaintiff was incarcerated at ECI.

On April 10, 2015, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s claims related to complaints that prison officials have been deliberately indifferent to his medical needs, denied him access to a restroom outside his call, and forced him to shower in unsanitary conditions. [ECF #86, p. 2].[1] On August 10, 2015, Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. [ECF #116]. Several days later, Plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order, requesting relief from specified disciplinary procedures at MacDougall Correctional Institution (“MCI”), where he was transferred around May 2015. [ECF #117]. Defendants filed a response to the motion on September 8, 2015. [ECF #123]. Approximately a week after filing his motion for a temporary restraining order, Plaintiff also filed a motion for a protective order, requesting similar relief as requested in his earlier-filed motion. [ECF #119]. He includes an additional allegation regarding a locker search resulting in a loss of personal items. [ECF #119, p. 5]. Defendants also filed a response to this motion on September 11, 2015. [ECF #125].

On November 12, 2015, Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III issued his Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that Plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order be denied as moot, because Plaintiff had been transferred to Turbeville Correctional Institution. Alternatively, the Magistrate Judge recommends that both motions filed by Plaintiff be denied because Plaintiff has failed to show that he has been subjected to a real and immediate threat of harm pursuant to City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95 (1983) and has failed to meet the standard for preliminary injunctions established in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7 (2008). The Magistrate Judge also recommends granting the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants on the basis that Plaintiff has not presented evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact for each of the remaining claims.

Standards of Review

I. Review of the Magistrate Judge’s Report & Recommendation

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 report and recommendation 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 district court is obligated to conduct a de novo review of every portion of the Magistrate Judge’s report to which objections have been filed. Id. However, 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.

II. Summary Judgment Review

“The court shall grant summary judgment 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) (2010). “A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record . . .; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). When no genuine issue of any material fact exists, summary judgment is appropriate. See Shealy v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991). The facts and inferences to be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. However, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

Defendants move for summary judgment and seek dismissal of Plaintiff’s § 1983 action arguing Plaintiff is unable to satisfy the legal standard for the requested relief. Defendants argue they are entitled to summary judgment for the following reasons: (1) Defendants are entitled to the defense of qualified immunity; (2) Plaintiff fails to state a valid cause of action alleging deliberate indifference to his medical needs; (3) Plaintiff’s claims regarding conditions of confinement do not rise to the level of constitutional violations; (4) Plaintiff has not shown evidence of a physical injury; (5) Plaintiff’s allegations that some or all of the Defendants failed to follow correctional institution policies do not demonstrate claims of constitutional rights violations; (6) respondeat superior is inapplicable to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions; (7) Plaintiff may not seek damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State or against a state official in his or her official capacity; (8) Plaintiff’s allegations regarding his staff requests do not demonstrate claims of constitutional rights violations; (9) Plaintiff does not state a viable supervisory liability claims against Defendants Eagleton and McFadden; (10) any alleged conspiracy claim must fail; (11) any state law claims should be dismissed under the discretion of the court; (12) any request for injunctive relief is without merit; and (13) Plaintiff’s claims are frivolous under the Prison Litigation Reform Act.

Discussion

I. Objections related to the Temporary Restraining Order and ...


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