United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND OPINION
RICHARD MARK GERGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
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. 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.
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
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).
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)).
Pro Se Pleadings
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).
Magistrate's Report and Recommendation
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)
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