United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
Patrick L. Booker, Plaintiff,
Scott Lewis, Jessica Edmond, Catherine Amason, Defendants.
C. Coggins, Jr. United States District Judge.
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.
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)).
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
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.
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).
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. 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
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.
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 ...