Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Booker v. Lewis

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

May 15, 2019

Patrick L. Booker, Plaintiff,
v.
Scott Lewis, Jessica Edmond, Catherine Amason, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Donald C. Coggins, Jr. United States District Judge.

         BACKGROUND

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 34. Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition. ECF No. 42. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), (D.S.C.), this matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker for pre-trial proceedings and a Report and Recommendation (“Report”). On February 15, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report recommending that the Motion for Summary Judgment be granted. ECF No. 43. Plaintiff filed objections, Defendant Amason filed a reply, and Plaintiff filed a sur-reply and a supplement. ECF Nos. 45, 46, 49, 50.

         APPLICABLE LAW

         The 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. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). The Court will review the Report 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 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.” (citation omitted)).

         DISCUSSION

         Defendant Edmond

         The Magistrate Judge recommends dismissal of the claim against Defendant Edmond because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to this claim. Plaintiff does not mention his claim against Defendant Edmond in his objections or his sur-reply. In his supplement filed on April 24, 2019, he raises for the first time that he intends to pursue this claim. However, out of an abundance of caution for a pro se Plaintiff, the Court will consider his late arguments.

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, a prisoner bringing an action with respect to prison conditions under § 1983, or any other federal law, must first exhaust all available administrative remedies. 42 U.S.C. § 1997(e)(a). Exhaustion as provided in § 1997(e)(a) is mandatory. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001). The exhaustion of administrative remedies “applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, ” and is required even when the relief sought is not available. Booth, 532 U.S. at 741. Because exhaustion is a prerequisite to suit, all available administrative remedies must be exhausted prior to filing a complaint in federal court. Booth, 532 U.S. at 741.

         “Proper exhaustion demands compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural rules because no adjudicative system can function effectively without imposing some orderly structure on the course of its proceedings.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81 (2006). “An inmate's failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense to be pleaded and proven by the defendant.” Anderson v. XYZ Corr. Health Servs., 407 F.3d 674, 683 (4th Cir. 2005).

         In his supplement, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Edmond was the author of a denial of his internal grievance. He contends that he was not permitted to file a grievance against Defendant Edmond because he had reached his maximum number of grievances for the month and, thus, the inmate grievance system was not available to him.[1] As discussed in more detail by the Magistrate Judge, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”) properly rejected his request to file a grievance against Defendant Emond because he had reached his grievance limit for the month nor has he asserted that he was prevented from doing so. Plaintiff has not asserted at any time that he attempted to comply with the exhaustion requirement by filing a grievance with respect to Defendant Emond the following month. Accordingly, Plaintiff has not properly exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to Defendant Edmond. Thus, Plaintiff's objections are overruled and Defendant Edmond is dismissed without prejudice.[2]

         Defendant Amason

         The Magistrate Judge recommends dismissal of Defendant Amason because Plaintiff fails to establish a First Amendment retaliation claim against her. Plaintiff contends that the Magistrate Judge failed to properly apply the summary judgment standard and that he has sufficiently alleged that Defendant Amason retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights.

         As an initial matter, the Court overrules Plaintiff's objection that the Magistrate Judge failed to properly apply the relevant standard. Upon de novo review of the Report, the record in this case, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the Magistrate ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.