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Shaw v. Rogers

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

July 29, 2016

Leroy Shaw, Plaintiff,
Tim Rogers, Commissary Manager; Leroy Cartledge, Warden; Scott Lewis, Asst. Warden; James Parker, Asst. Warden; Frank Mursier, Major; S. Terry, Lt.; O. Blair, Officer; and S.C.D.C, Defendants.

          Leroy Shaw, Plaintiff, Pro Se.


          R. BRYAN HARWELL, District Judge.

         Plaintiff Leroy Shaw, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, commenced this action by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the above-named Defendants alleging violations of his constitutional rights. See Compl., ECF No. 1. The matter is now before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation (R & R) of United States Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant, who recommends summarily dismissing Plaintiff's complaint without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.[1] See R & R, ECF No. 11. Plaintiff has filed timely objections to the R & R. See Pl.'s Objs., ECF No. 13.

         Standard of Review

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court. The Magistrate Judge's 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 must conduct a de novo review of those portions of the R & R to which specific objections are made, and it may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         The Court must engage in 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 [Judge]'s proposed findings and recommendations." Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court reviews only for clear error, Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005), and the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the Magistrate Judge's recommendation. Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).


         In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that while he was incarcerated at the McCormick Correctional Institution, state prison officials provided him rubber clogs for footwear but refused to provide him boots or other "better equipped shoes that will help fight against the elements of the weather." See Compl. at 3-4. He also makes the conclusory allegation that Defendants have retaliated against him "for prior lawsuit involvement." Id. at 4-5. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.[3] Id. at 6.

         The Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court summarily dismiss Plaintiff's complaint without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. R & R at 6. The Magistrate Judge recognizes Plaintiff has asserted two primary claims under § 1983: (1) an Eighth Amendment claim for an unconstitutional condition of confinement (relating to his footwear); and (2) a First Amendment claim for retaliation (relating to Plaintiff's access to the courts in prior litigation). Id. at 1-5. Plaintiff has filed several objections to the R & R.[4] See Pl.'s Objs., ECF No. 13.

         In his first objection, Plaintiff contends the Magistrate Judge should have sent him a pretrial order pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975). Pl.'s Objs. at 1. In Roseboro, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit set forth the standard by which district courts must provide pro se litigants an explanation of the procedures for responding to dispositive motions (such as a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment) filed by a defendant and the consequences of not responding. See 528 F.2d at 310. Of course, a Roseboro order will not issue if no dispositive motion has been filed. In this case, the Magistrate Judge did not authorize service on any of the named defendants, and therefore no defendant has appeared, much less filed a dispositive motion. Thus, the Magistrate Judge never could have issued a Roseboro order.[5] The Court overrules Plaintiff's first objection.[6]

         In his second objection, Plaintiff disputes the Magistrate Judge's finding that his request for injunctive relief is potentially moot because he has been transferred to another prison (Broad River Correctional Institution) since filing this lawsuit. Pl.'s Objs. at 2; see R & R at 3 (citing ECF No. 6, Plaintiff's notice of change of address). The Magistrate Judge, however, acknowledges in the R & R that Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief may not be moot if the South Carolina Department of Corrections applies its shoe policy systemwide to all correctional facilities. See R & R at 3; see generally Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 218-19 (1990) (holding the prisoner's claims were not moot, despite his transfer to a non-offending facility, because the "[t]he alleged injury [involuntary administration of antipsychotic drugs] likely would recur" due to a state prison policy). Regardless of the mootness issue, Plaintiff is not entitled to injunctive relief because his claim regarding footwear is without merit, as explained in the following paragraph.

         In his third objection, Plaintiff opposes the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that the Eighth Amendment claim regarding his footwear should be dismissed because he has failed to allege any serious or significant injury from this condition of confinement. Pl.'s Objs. at 3-4; see R & R at 4. Plaintiff contends "the Magistrate Judge has miscontrue[d] his cruel and unusual punishment claim." Pl.'s Objs. at 3. He asserts he "never stated that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because he was issued clogs and not boots, " but instead "stated that their [ sic ] are sixteen manufactor [ sic ] holes in the state clogs which causes the plaintiff to suffer from the elements of the weather... and future health concerns such as arthritis in the bones which is a serious risk for an injury in the future." Id.

         Having reviewed and liberally construed Plaintiff's complaint, the Court finds no error in the Magistrate Judge's interpretation of Plaintiff's claim regarding his footwear brought under the Eighth Amendment.[7] Moreover, the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's substantive recommendation that this claim warrants summary dismissal.

         The Eighth Amendment, which prohibits the infliction of "cruel and unusual punishments, " protects inmates from inhumane treatment and conditions during incarceration. Williams v. Benjamin,77 F.3d 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1996). To succeed on an Eighth Amendment claim that a prisoner was not provided humane conditions of confinement, the prisoner must prove "(1) that the deprivation of [a] basic human need was objectively sufficiently serious, and (2) that subjectively the officials act[ed] with a sufficiently culpable state of mind." De'Lonta v. Angelone,330 F.3d 630, 634 (4th Cir. 2003) (alterations in original) (internal quotation marks omitted). "Only extreme deprivations are adequate to satisfy the objective component of an Eighth Amendment claim regarding conditions of confinement." Id. "In order to demonstrate such an extreme deprivation, a prisoner must allege a serious or significant physical or emotional injury resulting from ...

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