United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division
TIMOTHY M. CAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis,
filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil
Rule 73.02, D.S.C., this matter was referred to a magistrate
judge for pretrial handling. Before the court is the
magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation
(“Report”) (ECF No. 12), recommending that the
court dismiss the Complaint (ECF No. 1) without prejudice.
Plaintiff was advised of his right to file objections to the
Report. (ECF No. 12 at 8). Plaintiff filed objections to the
Report. (ECF No. 14).
recommendations set forth in the Report have no presumptive
weight, and this court remains responsible for making a final
determination in this matter. See Matthews v. Weber,
423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court is charged with making
a de novo determination of those portions of a
magistrate judge's report to which a specific objection
is made, and the court may accept, reject, 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). 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).
magistrate judge summarized the facts of this action in her
Report. (ECF No. 12). Briefly, Plaintiff is a state prisoner
and is currently housed at Kershaw Correctional Institution.
(ECF No. 1 at 2). Plaintiff seeks damages for two periods of
confinement in the special management unit (or SMU) during
which his Eighth Amendment rights were allegedly violated by
his being restricted to no outside-of-cell recreation.
Id. at 5. These two periods of confinement ranged
from April 6-12, 2017 (6 days) and from April 23-May 4 (11
days). Id. Plaintiff alleges that he is
“afraid of future harm the inhumane treatment is
causing.” Id. at 6. that the defendants were
deliberately indifferent to this harm because he
“infom[ed] both [D]efendants, ” and “they
did nothing.” Id. at 4. However, Plaintiff did
not indicate what information he gave the Defendants. See
Id. Plaintiff seeks $1, 500, 000 in punitive damages,
$500, 000 in damages for pain, and $500, 000 in damages for
suffering. Id. at 6. Before the court is the
magistrate judge's Report on Plaintiff's Complaint
(ECF No. 12).
than containing specific objections to the magistrate
judge's findings, Plaintiff's objections largely
restate his claims. The court is able to glean that Plaintiff
objects to the magistrate's Report on one ground:
Plaintiff alleges that the magistrate judge erred in finding
in that his deprivation of exercise has not reached the
threshold for a constitutional violation. (ECF No. 14 at 4).
Fourth Circuit has made clear that “a complete
deprivation of exercise for an extended period of time”
may be considered a violation of the Eighth Amendment's
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
Mitchell v. Rice, 954 F.2d 187, 191 (4th Cir. 1992).
Furthermore, it is well established that in order to sustain
a § 1983 claim for lack of exercise, a plaintiff must
show some “serious or significant physical or emotional
injury as a result of the conditions.” Strickler v.
Waters, 989 F.2d 1375, 1381 (4th Cir. 1993). However, in
determining whether or not prison conditions fun afoul of the
Eighth Amendment, the Fourth Circuit has consistently stated
that it uses a totality of the circumstances test. See
id.; Clay v. Miller, 826 F.2d 345, 347 (4th Cir. 1980);
Kirby v. Blackledge, 530 F.2d 583, 587 (4th Cir.
1976). In looking at this totality of the circumstances
assessment, the courts are “often intimately concerned
with the time covered by the punishment or deprivation and
the reasonable limits of prison supervision.” Sweet
v. South Carolina Dept. of Corrs., 529 F.2d 854, 865
(4th Cir. 1975). As the Fourth Circuit noted in Sweet v.
Carolina Department of Corrections, prisoners being
confined for a “relatively short period of maximum
confinement” will often be treated a lot differently
than where “restriction has extended already over a
period of years and is likely to extend indefinitely.”
case, Plaintiff has asserted that he was deprived of exercise
for a total of seventeen days in the spring months of 2017,
with periods of deprivation being from April 6, 2017 to April
12, 2017, and from April 23, 2017 to May 4, 2017. (ECF No. 1
at 5-6). While a lack of exercise for this period of time may
have been uncomfortable and inconvenient for Plaintiff, there
is no indication that he has suffered a serious physical or
emotional injury as an effect. In fact, Plaintiff asserts his
only injury to be that he is fearful of future harm that
might result from this practice. (ECF No. 1 at 6).
the case law that Plaintiff cited in his Objections to the
magistrate judge's Report purports a specific
Constitutional minimum number of hours that prisoners must be
allowed to exercise each week, despite his statement to the
contrary. See e.g. Davenport v. DeRobertis, 844 F.2d
1310, 1315 (7th Cir. 1998) (“We do not suggest that
this is always and everywhere a constitutional minimum . .
.”). Nor has the Fourth Circuit set such a standard in
Plaintiff's claim fails because he has not suffered a
serious physical or emotional injury as a result of his
seventeen-day deprivation of out-of-cell exercise, and,
therefore, the deprivation of exercise did not reach the
threshold of a constitutional violation.
thorough review of the Report and the entire record in this
case, the court adopts the magistrate judge's Report (ECF
No. 63) and incorporates it herein. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's claims are DISMISSED without