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Reid v. Warden Mansukhani

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

June 1, 2017

George Wayne Reid, Petitioner,
v.
Warden Mansukhani, F.C.I. Estill, Respondent.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          RICHARD MARK GERGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         Petitioner, a federal prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("R. & R.") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 28) recommending that the Court grant Respondent's motion for summary judgment.[1] For the reasons set forth below, this Court adopts the R. & R. as the order of the Court. Respondent's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 12) is granted.

         I. Facts

         Petitioner is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution ("FCI") in Estill, South Carolina. He is projected to be released in July 2020. (Dkt. No. 12-1.) This Court adopts the facts as outlined in the R. & R. so provides only a brief summary here. (Dkt. No. 28 at 1-4.) In May 2015, during a random cell search, Petitioner was found to be in possession of several different types of pills for which he did not have active prescriptions. Following a disciplinary hearing at which he presented no witnesses, did not request staff representation, and admitted to the charges against him, Petitioner was sanctioned with, among other things, the loss of forty-one days of good time credit. Petitioner now seeks restoration of the good time credit he lost, alleging that the BOP (1) neglected to field test or laboratory test the substances found in his cell, and (2) failed to give him a copy of the disciplinary hearing report ("DHO report") listing the evidence relied on and the reasons for the sanctions imposed. Respondent has moved for summary judgment, claiming that (1) Petitioner has not exhausted the BOP's internal administrative remedies available to him, and (2) Petitioner has received due process in connection with the disciplinary hearing and loss of good time credit.

         II. Legal Standard

         a. 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." Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.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. Potomac Elec. Power Co., 312 F.3d 645, 649 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Phillips v. CSX Transp., Inc., 190 F.3d 285, 287 (4th Cir. 1999)).

         b. Pro Se Pleadings

         This Court liberally construes complaints filed by pro se litigants to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. See Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). As Petitioner is proceeding pro se, his pleadings are considered under this liberal standard. The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege facts which set forth a viable federal claim, nor can the Court assume the existence of a genuine issue of material fact where none exists. Weller v. Dep 't of Social Services, 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).

         c. Magistrate's Report and Recommendation

         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. When a proper objection is made to a particular issue, "a district court is required to consider all arguments directed to that issue, regardless of whether they were raised before the magistrate." United States v. George, 971 F.2d 1113, 1118 (4th Cir. 1992). However, "[t]he district court's decision whether to consider additional evidence is committed to its discretion, and any refusal will be reviewed for abuse." Doe v. Chao, 306 F.3d 170, 183 & n.9 (4th Cir. 2002). "[A]ttempts to introduce new evidence after the magistrate judge has acted are disfavored, " though the district court may allow it "when a party offers sufficient reasons for so doing." Caldwell v. Jackson, 831 F.Supp.2d 911, 914 (M.D. N.C. 2010) (listing cases).

         III. Discussion

         The Magistrate Judge has recommended that this Court grant Respondent's motion for summary judgment because (1) Petitioner failed to exhaust the BOP's administrative remedies, and (2) even if Petitioner exhausted his remedies, he has not shown that he was denied procedural due process. (Dkt. No. 28.) Petitioner has filed objections to both of the Magistrate's findings. (Dkt. No. 30.) Petitioner's objections generally restate his previous arguments. The ...


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