United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
OPINION AND ORDER
CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Lyles (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis, brought this action against
Bryan Sterling, Michael McCall, NFN Lewis, Florence Mauney,
Stephen Claytor, NFN DeGeorges, NFN Bennett, NFN Swinger, NFN
Valero, NFN Tucker, NFN Mitchell, Officer Edgerton, NFN
Robinson, Warden Cartledge, NFN Miskinis, Robert Olsen, and
Tashonda Caldwell (collectively “Defendants”)
alleging violation of his constitutional rights pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as state law claims. ECF No.
1. This matter is before the court on Defendants' motion
for summary judgment. ECF No. 33. Because Plaintiff is
proceeding pro se, the Magistrate Judge entered an
order pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309
(4th Cir. 1975), advising him of the importance of the motion
and the need to file an adequate response. ECF No. 34.
Plaintiff filed a “Motion to Dismiss Defendants motion
for Summary Judgment.” ECF No. 41. Defendants filed a
reply. ECF No. 42.
February 15, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation, recommending Defendants' motion for
summary judgment be granted. ECF No. 44. The Magistrate Judge
advised the parties of the procedures and requirements for
filing objections to the Report and the serious consequences
if they failed to do so. On March 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed
objections to the Report. ECF No. 46. Defendants filed a
reply on March 21, 2018. ECF No. 47. This matter is ripe for
the court's review.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The
court is charged with making a de novo determination
of those portions of the Report to which specific objection
is made, and the court may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge,
or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with
instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The
court reviews only for clear error in the absence of an
objection. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident
Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (stating
that “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.'”) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72
advisory committee's note).
Magistrate Judge recommends granting Defendants' motion
for summary judgment as to all federal claims, other than the
claim for lost property, based on failure to exhaust
administrative remedies. ECF No. 44 at 3-9. With respect to
the lost property claim, as to which Plaintiff did exhaust
administrative remedies, the Magistrate Judge recommends
dismissal because South Carolina has an adequate
post-deprivation remedy for an alleged deprivation of
property. Id. at 12. The Report notes
Plaintiff's due process rights were not violated, even if
a correctional officer did lose or mishandle Plaintiff's
property. Further, the Report recommends declining to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any state law claim
for alleged loss of property, to allow Plaintiff to pursue
such a claim in state court. Id. at 14, 16.
asserts several objections to the Report. First, Plaintiff
appears to object to the Roseboro Order's time
granted to respond to summary judgment, because he receives
legal mail “week(s) after the institution receives it
that makes it hard to properly produce an adequate argument
to the courts.” ECF No. 46 at 2. Plaintiff notes he did
not receive a ruling on his request for extension to respond
to Defendants' summary judgment motion and “simply
did the best that I could and submitted what I had.”
Id. at 4. Plaintiff's second objection argues
“serious injury cases should be taken into special
consideration, ” apparently contending there should be
an exception to the exhaustion of administrative remedies
requirements for cases of serious injury. Id. at 4.
He also alleges he was not informed of the requirements in
time to file an informal request for resolution, and was in
lock-up or being transferred for medical procedures during
that time. Id. at 3 (“Statute of limitations
had expired before surgery.”). Third, Plaintiff argues
Defendants are not entitled to summary judgment on his
property claim because he was not present for the packing of
his property, and his legal material and other personal
property remain missing. He contends he is unable to
“present evidence that doesn't exist”
regarding his allegedly lost property.
appears to argue he had insufficient time to research and
submit a full response to Defendants' motion for summary
judgment and limited time for objections to the Report. The
court notes Plaintiff requested an extension for his response
to the summary judgment motion, which was granted, but
Plaintiff asserts he never received the order and so assumed
his response was due within the time frame specified by the
Roseboro Order. Plaintiff appears to have submitted his
response within the original time frame. He did not request
an extension for his objections. Finally, although Plaintiff
notes he had limited time to file his response to the motion
for summary judgment and objections to the Report, he does
not allege he has more information to present.
§ 1983 Claims unrelated to Property
next argues he was unable to exhaust administrative remedies
as to his § 1983 claims alleging failure to protect him
from an inmate attack and deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs because he was being moved frequently between
medical unit and lockup, and transported to outside
facilities for medical care. He contends he was unable to
research his claims or attempt to resolve them informally
within the allotted time frame.
doctrine [of exhaustion of administrative remedies] provides
that no one is entitled to judicial relief for a supposed or
threatened injury until the prescribed administrative remedy
has been exhausted.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S.
81, 88-91 (2006); see also 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(a). A court may not excuse a failure to exhaust, even
to take into account special circumstances. Ross v.
Blake, 578 U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1856 (2016).
However, the PLRA does contain one exception to mandatory
exhaustion: the administrative remedies must be
“available” to an inmate. Id. at 1858.
Administrative remedies are unavailable when they operate as
a simple dead end, are so opaque ...