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Brown v. Strickland

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

August 8, 2016

Tequan L. Brown, Plaintiff,
v.
Andy Strickland, Jodie Taylor, Matthew Walker, and Colleton County Sheriff's Office, Defendants.

          Tequan L Brown, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

          Andy Strickland, Defendant, represented by Otto Edworth Liipfert, III, Griffith Sadler and Sharp.

          Jodie Taylor, Defendant, represented by Otto Edworth Liipfert, III, Griffith Sadler and Sharp.

          Colleton County Sheriff's Office, Defendant, represented by Otto Edworth Liipfert, III, Griffith Sadler and Sharp.

          OPINION & ORDER

          TIMOTHY M. CAIN, District Judge.

         Plaintiff Tequan L. Brown ("Brown"), an inmate proceeding pro se, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 64).[1] Brown filed a response to Defendants' motion (ECF No. 34). On May 31, 2016, the magistrate judge filed a Report and Recommendation ("Report") in which she recommended that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment Motion be granted. (ECF No. 75). Brown timely filed objections. (ECF No. 77). Defendants filed a reply to Brown's objections. (ECF No. 79). Brown has also filed a motion to make the attachments he filed with his complaint in another case, C/A No.0:14-cv-1759, a part of the record in the instant action, and motions to compel and for a hearing. (ECF No. 78, 82, and 83).

         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 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 with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         The 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 court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations." Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence of a timely filed, specific objection, the magistrate judge's conclusions are reviewed only for clear error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).

         I. Facts/Background

         In his Complaint, Brown, a pretrial detainee at the Colleton County Detention Center ("CCDC"), alleges constitutional claims relating to the conditions of his confinement. Specifically, he alleges he has been confined to his cell for 23 hours a day, six days a week, and a full 24 hours one day a week without any cause. (Compl. at 3-4, 5, 6, 7). He alleges the showers are not clean and, that while in his cell, he is exposed to rust, dust, and black mold due to an inadequate ventilation system. (Compl. at 5). He also alleges that he has not had access to his attorney and his attorney has been negligent by violating his speedy trial rights and his rights to life and liberty. (Compl. at 6, 7). Finally, he alleges his personal mail has been withheld and that he has been denied access to a phone, television, radio, and newspapers. (Compl. at 7). He seeks an investigation of the CCDC by the Department of Justice, the dismissal of all indictments against him, the impeachment of Sheriff Andy Strickland, and damages. (Compl. at 8).

         II. Standard of Review and Applicable Law

         Summary judgment is appropriate only "if the movant 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 deciding whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in his favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, "[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Id. at 248. A litigant "cannot create a genuine issue of material fact through mere speculation or the building of one inference upon another." Beale v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, disposition by summary judgment is appropriate." Monahan v. County of Chesterfield, 95 F.3d 1263, 1265 (4th Cir. 1996).

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), a prisoner bringing an action with respect to prison conditions under § 1983, or any other federal law, must first exhaust all available administrative remedies. 42 U.S.C. § 1997(e)(a). Exhaustion as provided in § 1997(e)(a) is mandatory. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001). The exhaustion of administrative remedies "applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, " and is required even when the relief sought is not available. Booth, 532 U.S. at 741. Because exhaustion is a prerequisite to suit, all available administrative remedies must be exhausted prior to filing a complaint in federal court. Booth, 532 U.S. at 741.

         "Proper exhaustion demands compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural rules because no adjudicative system can function effectively without imposing some orderly structure on the course of its proceedings." Woodford v. Ngo,548 U.S. 81 (2006). "An inmate's failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense to be pleaded and proven by ...


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