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Allen v. Moton

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

July 13, 2016

Simon Allen, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
Sgt. Moton, Sgt. Holtzclaw, Cpl. Grisham, Nurse Donna, Nurse Sara, Nurse Mary, and Captain Downey, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Richard Mark' Gergel United States District Court Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, recommending summary judgment for Defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, a former pre-trial detainee at the Greenwood County Detention Center ("GCDC"), seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged misconduct by GCDC officers Capt. Downing (misspelled as "Downey" in the complaint), Sgt. Moton, Sgt. Holtzclaw, and Cpl. Grisham (together, the "Officer Defendants"), and by GCDC contract nurses Sara Binkley, LPN, Mary Moss, LPN, and Donna Miller, LPN (together, the "Nurse Defendants"). Plaintiff was arrested and jailed in the GCDC following a September 3, 2013 shooting. Thereafter he filed a civil case in this Court, alleging that an Investigator Louis lied to obtain warrants against him for his role in the shooting. See Civ. No. 8:15-363-RMG. On May 29, 2014, Plaintiff was transferred to another facility; he returned to the GCDC on June 12, 2015. Upon his return, Sgt. Moton did not allow Plaintiff to take all of his legal materials to his cell, including a booking report that Plaintiff allegedly intended to present as evidence in the civil case against Investigator Louis.

         Plaintiff alleges that Sgt. Moton made him choose a limited set of papers to take to his cell and that Sgt. Moton told him that he could later request to switch those papers with others held outside his cell. Some of the materials held outside his cell were subsequently lost, including the booking report. Plaintiff claims that had he kept possession of the booking report and filed it as evidence in Civil Action 8:15-363-RMG, his case against Investigator Louis would not have been dismissed. The Officer Defendants respond that GCDC policy prevents inmates from having too much paper in their cells because of the risk of fire.

         Plaintiff also alleges that Sgt. Holtzclaw and Cpl. Grisham opened and read his legal mail "with the intent to retaliate" against him for filing his case against Investigator Louis and "to do harm" to that case. The Officer Defendants respond that "on or about July 13, 2015, Corporal Gresham received an unmarked letter addressed to Allen, and inadvertently opened die letter during the inmate mail inspection process. That upon information and belief, unmarked letter was opened, and as soon as it was discovered to be legal mail, Mr. Allen was immediately notified and the letter was given to him." (Dkt. No. 69-2 ¶¶ 4-6.) Plaintiff further argues that Capt. Downing should be held responsible as the supervisor of Sgt. Moton, Sgt. Holtzclaw, and Cpl. Grisham, and that Capt. Downing denied him effective access to the courts by limiting the amount of blank paper and envelopes for inmates' legal work, as well as their access to other legal materials.

         Plaintiff also brings claims of deliberate indifference to medical needs against the Nurse Defendants. Plaintiff alleges that he was denied medication-specifically, the antidepressant mirtazapine-for a number of days by the Nurse Defendants after his June 12, 2015 returning to the GCDC, causing him to suffer a "mental breakdown." (See Dkt. No. 46-1 (identifying the medication as Remeron, a brand name for mirtazapine).) The Nurse Defendants respond that they were not involved with the plaintiffs intake procedure at the GCDC on June 12, 2015, that they were thus initially unaware of his medication needs, and that when they learned that Plaintiff needed medication, they arranged for the doctor to prescribe it. The prescription was authorized on June 21, 2015, and the plaintiff received his medication thereafter.

         On October 26, 2015, the Nurse Defendants moved for summary judgment on October 26, 2015, the Officer Defendants moved for summary judgment on December 7, 2015, and Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on January 6, 2016. On June 11, 2016, the Magistrate Judge recommended summary judgment for all Defendants. Plaintiff filed no objections to the Report and Recommendation.[1]

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with this Court. Mathews 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 and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court may also "receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Id. Where the plaintiff fails to file any specific objections, "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, " see Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted), and this Court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, Camby V. Davis, 718 F.2d 198 (4th Cir. 1983).

         B. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate if a party "shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In other words, summary judgment should be granted "only when it is clear that there is no dispute concerning either the facts of the controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those facts." Pulliamlnv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). "In determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party." HealthSouth Rehab. Hosp. v. Am. Nat'l Red Cross, 101 F.3d 1005, 1008 (4th Cir. 1996). The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

         Once the moving party has made this threshold demonstration, the non-moving party, to survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings, Id. at 324. Rather, the non-moving party must demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that give rise to a genuine issue. Id. Under this standard, "[c]onclusory or speculative allegations do not suffice, nor does a 'mere scintilla of evidence'" in support of the non-moving party's case. Thompson v. ...


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