United States District Court, D. South Carolina
OPINION AND ORDER
MARGARET B. SEYMOUR, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Scott Rudolph Welch is a pretrial detainee currently housed
at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center (JRLDC) in Conway,
South Carolina. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, filed a complaint on February 10, 2017, alleging
that the nurses at JRLDC administer shots and change bandages
utilizing the same tables where detainees eat their meals.
Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on March 20, 2017,
alleging that he contracted a MRSA staph infection during his
detention. Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging unconstitutional conditions of
confinement and seeking injunctive relief and compensatory
and punitive damages. In 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 Kevin F. McDonald for
filed a motion for preliminary injunction on April 26, 2017.
Plaintiff asserts that “the prison staff have once
again started using the dining hall for the administering of
shots and physicals, after the[y] agreed to stop. I wish to
file for an preliminary inju[n]ction so that they may take
their promises a little less lightly.” ECF No. 45.
Defendants Beverly Giraldi, Melissa VanDuser,  and Karen Wright
filed a response in opposition on May 11, 2017. The
Magistrate Judge filed a Report and Recommendation on May 15,
2017. Plaintiff filed a reply to Defendants' responses on
May 22, 2017.
Magistrate Judge reviewed the affidavit of Defendant
VanDuser, who averred that tables were used directly outside
a triage room to take medical histories and complete medical
intake forms. Defendant VanDuser stated that wound dressings
were not changed at the table, although nurses might provide
a new band-aid or clean bandage if a detainee arrives at
intake with a need to cover something. Defendant VanDuser
further stated that tuberculosis skin tests are administered
during intake, but that the process is sterile and involves
no bodily fluid. According to Defendant VanDuser, the nurses
sanitize the area after completing intake. Defendant
Vanduster further avers that JRLDC provided the medical
personnel with a separate table to use, but after Plaintiff
continued to complain, the medical staff does not use tables
in the eating area at all, and works only in the triage room.
ECF No. 51-1. Defendant VanDuser also disputes
Plaintiff's allegation that he was treated for the MRSA
staph infection. Id.
Magistrate Judge also reviewed the affidavit of Defendant
Johnson. Defendant Johnson attests that inmate workers clean
the eating area after each mean, which includes wiping down
the tables and sweeping and mopping the floors. Defendant
Johnson asserts that he investigated Plaintiff's
complaints and was assured by the medical staff that the
services provided utilizing the tables were safe, sterile,
and posed no health risk to any inmates. Defendant Johnson
also states that medical personnel were provided with an
alternate table, and that currently medical staff has ceased
to use the disputed area. ECF No. 52-1.
Magistrate Judge determined that Plaintiff failed to show
entitlement to a preliminary injunction. See Winter v.
Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7 (2008) (holding
that a plaintiff must make a clear showing that (1) he is
likely to succeed on the merits; (2) he is likely to be
irreparably harmed absent injunctive relief; (3) the balance
of equities tips in his favor; and (4) injunctive relief is
in the public interest). Relying on Strickler v.
Waters, 989 F.2d 1375, 1379 (4thCir. 1998),
the Magistrate Judge noted that, for conditions of
confinement to violate constitutional requirements, a
plaintiff must show that he was deprived of a basic human
need and that prison officials were deliberately indifferent
to that deprivation. The Magistrate Judge further observed
that the first prong of the Strickler analysis
requires an objective showing that the deprivation was
sufficiently serious, while the second prong is a subjective
test requiring evidence that prison officials acted with a
sufficiently capable state of mind. The Magistrate Judge
determined that Plaintiff had met neither Strickler
prong, and thus could not prevail on the merits. The
Magistrate Judge further found that Plaintiff failed to show
a likelihood that he will suffer irreparable harm, because
the eating area is no longer used by medical staff, and that
he failed to show the balance of equities tips in his favor
or that an injunction would be in the public interest.
noted, the Magistrate Judge did not have the benefit of
Plaintiff's reply. Plaintiff disputes Defendant
VanDuser's statement that wound care did not take place
at the eating tables and that he was not diagnosed with MRSA.
Plaintiff also includes statements from various inmates
regarding bloody bandages left on the tables and a failure of
medical staff to sanitize the area. Plaintiff also has
submitted copies of the various grievances he filed with
respect to the use of the eating area by medical staff.
However, 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 Magistrate Judge's recommendation that Plaintiff
has failed to show irreparable harm if no injunction issues
because it appears Defendants have voluntarily ceased
utilizing the eating area for medical purposes. For this
reason, Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction
is denied. The case is recommitted to the Magistrate Judge
for further pretrial handling.
 It appears this Defendant's proper
name is VanDuser or Van Duser. See ECF No.
 The court's docket reveals that
the Report and Recommendation was placed in the mail to
Plaintiff on May 16, 2017. The reply from Plaintiff is also
dated May 16, 2017, and was received by the Office ...