United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
C. COGGINS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss. ECF No. 49. Plaintiff filed a Response in
Opposition. ECF No. 55. 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
Jacquelyn D. Austin for pre-trial proceedings and a Report
and Recommendation (“Report”). On February 6,
2019, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report recommending that
the Motion to Dismiss be granted. ECF No. 57. The Magistrate
Judge advised Plaintiff of the procedures and requirements
for filing objections to the Report and the serious
consequences if he failed to do so. Plaintiff filed
objections to the Report.
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 provides a thorough recitation of the facts
and the relevant legal standards, which the Court
incorporates by reference. Plaintiff brings this action
pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”),
28 U.S.C. §§ 2671-2680, 1346(b); Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403
U.S. 388 (1971); and the Inmate Accident Compensation Act
(“IACA”), 18 U.S.C. § 4126. The Magistrate
Judge recommends granting Defendant's Motion with respect
to all claims.
initial matter, Plaintiff does not object to the Magistrate
Judge's recommendation that his IACA claim should be
dismissed, that his demands for equitable relief should be
dismissed as moot, that his Bivens claims should be
dismissed against all Defendants in their official capacities
on the basis of sovereign immunity, or that Defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity. The Court has reviewed the
record, applicable law, and Report of the Magistrate Judge
for clear error; finding none, the Court adopts these
recommendations of the Magistrate Judge. The Court will now
turn to Plaintiff's objections.
Magistrate Judge recommends dismissal of Plaintiff's FTCA
claim because federal prisoners cannot recover under the FTCA
for work-related injuries. She states that the IACA provides
the exclusive remedy for Plaintiff's injury and any claim
for negligence resulting from the injury. ECF No. 57.
Plaintiff asserts that his claim is allowed to proceed under
the FTCA because the allegedly inadequate medical care that
followed his work-related injury created a new injury. He
contends the Court erred in refusing to allow him to amend
his claim and that the Magistrate Judge misconstrued
the nature of his allegations. Plaintiff states that
Defendants' failure to treat his left-shoulder
conditions, and not the burns on his rights arm, was the main
focus of his Complaint.
thorough review of the record, applicable law, and the
Magistrate Judge's Report, the Court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation. The IACA is the
exclusive remedy against the United States for federal
inmates' claims of work-related injuries. 28 C.F.R.
§ 301.319 (“Inmates who are subject to the
provisions of these Inmate Accident Compensation regulations
are barred from recovery under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Recovery under the Inmate Accident Compensation procedure was
declared . . . to be the exclusive remedy in the case of
work-related injury.” (internal citations omitted)).
the IACA is the exclusive remedy for negligent treatment of
federal prisoners' work-related injuries. Wooten v.
U.S., 825 F.2d 1039, 1044 (6th Cir. 1987)
(“Section 4126 is also the exclusive remedy when a
work-related injury is subsequently aggravated by negligence
and malpractice on the part of prison officials or when the
injury stems from a negligent job assignment.”
(internal citations omitted)). Accordingly, to the extent
that Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' negligence was to
blame for his initial injuries or for the exacerbation of
those injuries due to inadequate medical treatment, such
claims are subject to the provisions of the IACA, not the
FTCA. Accordingly, Plaintiff's objections are overruled
with respect to this claim.
asserts that the Magistrate Judge erred in finding that the
medical care he received was merely negligent and contends
that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical needs. However, as previously stated, Plaintiff
failed to object to the Magistrate Judge's qualified
immunity analysis as to his constitutional claims. Thus,
although the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's
conclusion that these claims should be dismissed, it need not
analyze the merits of Plaintiff's Bivens claim
in light of his failure to object to the Magistrate
Judge's qualified immunity analysis. As stated above, the
Court has reviewed that portion of the Report for clear error
and found none. Accordingly, Plaintiff's objections are
overruled with respect to this claim.
states that he objects to the denial of his request for
appointment of counsel. There is no constitutional right to
appointed counsel in a civil case, Whisenant v.
Yaum, 739 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir. 1984) (holding that 28
U.S.C. § 1915 does not authorize compulsory appointment
of counsel), abrogated on other grounds by Mallard v.
U.S. Dist. Ct., 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989), but this Court
may exercise its discretion to appoint counsel for an
indigent in a civil action, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); see
Smith v. Blackledge, 451 F.2d 1201, 1203 (4th Cir.
1971). However, the Fourth Circuit has stated that counsel
should be appointed only in exceptional circumstances, which
“will turn on the quality of two basic factors-the type
and complexity of the case, and the abilities of the
individuals bringing it.” Brock v. City of
Richmond, 983 F.2d 1055 (4th Cir. 1993) (internal
quotation marks omitted) (quoting Whisenant, ...