United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND OPINION
MARGARET B. SEYMOUR SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Deontai McDuffie is an inmate in custody of the South
Carolina Department of Corrections who currently is
incarcerated at the Lee Correctional Institution in
Bishopville, South Carolina. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and
in forma pauperis, filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 on December 29, 2015, alleging that his
constitutional rights were violated in various respects.
alleges that a defective sprinkler caused his cell to flood.
Plaintiff states that Defendant Sgt. M. Williams approached
his cell “in a very hostile manner, ” retrieved a
canister of chemical munitions from her belt, and unsecured
the food service flap on his cell door. Plaintiff states that
he held his mat up to the food service flap. Defendant
Williams then pushed the mat aside and released chemical
munitions into Plaintiff's cell. According to Plaintiff,
sometime later Defendant Williams returned and placed
Plaintiff in a holding cell while the sprinkler was repaired.
Plaintiff states he was not seen by a nurse until the next
day and that his cell was not properly decontaminated.
alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth
Amendment by the excessive use of chemical munitions in his
cell. In addition, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant A/W
Willie Davis inadequately responded to his grievances
regarding the incident. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages
and punitive damages. He also requests that criminal charges
be brought against Defendant Williams.
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02,
D.S.C., this matter was referred to United States Magistrate
Judge Bristow Marchant for pretrial handling. On November 21,
2016, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. By
order filed November 30, 2016, pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975),
Plaintiff was advised of the summary judgment procedures and
the possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately.
Plaintiff did not file a response to the motion for summary
January 13, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation in accordance with Williams v.
Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 823 (4th Cir. 1991)
(providing that verified complaints by pro se prisoners are
to be considered as affidavits). The Magistrate Judge first
observed that Plaintiff has no constitutional right to, or
any judicially cognizable interest in, the criminal
prosecution of another person. The Magistrate Judge further
found that Plaintiff has no constitutional right of access to
a prison grievance procedure, and, to the extent alleged by
Plaintiff, violation of a prison policy with respect to the
force used during an incident is not a cognizable claim under
§ 1983. The Magistrate Judge further noted that
Defendants had submitted medical records indicating that
Plaintiff was brought to the medical unit for an examination
after being exposed to chemical munitions the day of the
incident, August 12, 2015, and then seen a second time on
August 13, 2015. See Medical Summary, ECF No. 37-2.
The Medical Summary recounts that on August 13, 2015,
Plaintiff reported some wheezing the previous day, and that
his lower back was sore from hitting the ground during the
incident. An examination revealed no wheezing, respirations
were even and unlabored, and that Plaintiff's back showed
no bruising, deformities, redness, or swelling. Id.
Williams v. Benjamin, 77 F.3d 756, 761
(4th Cir. 1996), Landman v. Peyton, 370
F.2d 135, 138, n.2 (4th Cir. 1966), and other
precedent, the Magistrate Judge determined that the use of
chemical munitions was appropriate under the circumstances
and did not constitute a deprivation of Plaintiff's
constitutional rights. The Magistrate Judge also found no
evidence that Plaintiff was not provided adequate medical
care or that Defendants knew of and disregarded an excessive
risk to Plaintiff's health or safety. See Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994) (providing that
prisons must provide inmates with adequate medical care; a
prison official can be held liable under the Eighth Amendment
for acting with deliberate indifference to inmate health or
safety). The Magistrate Judge therefore recommended that
Defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted.
Plaintiff filed no objections to the Report and
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270
(1976). This 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. In 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 & Acc. Ins. Co., 416
F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).
court has thoroughly reviewed the record. The court concurs
in the Report and Recommendation and incorporates it herein
by reference. Defendants' motion for summary judgment
(ECF No. 37) is granted, and Plaintiff's complaint is
dismissed, with prejudice.