United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Timothy M. Cain United States District Judge
John Thomas Reardon, a pro se federal inmate, filed this
action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics
Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), alleging that his
constitutional rights have been violated. (ECF No. 1). In his
amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants S. Lee,
Edgar Morales, Mr. Montalvo, Ms. Ramos, P. Walton-Battle,
Cynthia Coleman, Donaldo Fonte, and Mr. Sizemore have been
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. (ECF No. 31-1
at 1). On November 11, 2018, Defendants filed a motion to
dismiss or, alternatively, for summary judgment. (ECF No.
72). After being granted several extensions (ECF Nos. 76, 79,
82, 85), Reardon filed a response opposing the motion on June
3, 2019. (ECF No. 90). On July 10, 2019, the magistrate judge
filed a Report and Recommendation (“Report”)
recommending that the court grant Defendants' motion.
(ECF No. 92 at 18). Plaintiff was advised of his right to
file objections to the Report. (ECF No. 92-1 at 1). However,
Plaintiff has not filed any objections, and the time to do
has now run.
Report has no presumptive weight and the responsibility to
make a final determination in this matter remains with this
court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71
(1976). In the absence of objections, this court is not
required to provide an explanation for adopting the Report.
Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983).
Rather, "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." Diamond v. Colonial Life &
Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note).
Furthermore, failure to file specific written objections to
the Report results in a party's waiver of the right to
appeal the district court's judgment based upon that
recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Thomas v.
Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985); Wright v. Collins,
766 F.2d 841 (4th Cir. 1985); United States v.
Schronce, 727 F.2d 91 (4th Cir. 1984).
has brought this Bivens action alleging a claim of
deliberate indifference to his medical needs. (ECF No. 31-1
at 1). Defendants can be grouped into three categories: (1)
Sizemore and Walton-Battle, officials of the Public Health
Service; (2) Lee, Morales, Montalvo, and Ramos, employees at
the Federal Correctional Institution in Coleman, Florida,
(“Florida Defendants”); and (3) Coleman and
Sizemore, employees at the Federal Correctional Institution
in Edgefield, South Carolina (“South Carolina
Defendants”). In their motion, Defendants argue that
because Plaintiff is only seeking injunctive relief his
claims are moot in light of his transfer to the Federal
Correction Institution in Schuylkill in Minersville,
Pennsylvania (“FCI-Schuylkill”). (ECF No. 72 at
5-6). Further, Defendants argue that the court does not have
personal jurisdiction over the Florida Defendants,
id. at 6, Defendants Sizemore and Walton-Battle are
entitled to absolute immunity, id. at 9, and all of
the Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity,
id. at 12-22. In response, Plaintiff seeks to amend
his complaint to add claims seeking money damages and
requests that the court transfer this case to the
“proper jurisdiction.” (ECF No. 90 at 1-2).
Report, the magistrate judge agrees with Defendants'
argument that, because Plaintiff is seeking only injunctive
relief and has been transferred to FCI-Schuylkill, his claims
are now moot. (ECF No. 92 at 10-11). Even if Plaintiff were
allowed to amend, the magistrate judge found that such
amendments would be futile because Defendants Battle and
Sizemore as officers of the Public Health Service are
entitled to absolute immunity, id. at 15, the court
is without personal jurisdiction over the Florida Defendants,
id. at 12-15, and the South Carolina Defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity because Plaintiff has alleged
only negligence and failed to establish deliberate
indifference to his medical needs, id. at 16-18. The
magistrate judge recommends that Defendants' motion to
dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment (ECF No.
72) be granted. (ECF No. 92 at 18).
noted above, Plaintiff did not file any objections.
magistrate judge did not specify whether she was recommending
that the court grant the motion to dismiss, which can be with
or without prejudice, or the alternative motion for summary
judgment, which is with prejudice. The court agrees with the
magistrate judge that Defendants Walton-Battle and Sizemore
should be granted summary judgment on the basis of absolute
immunity. Further, the court finds that Plaintiff has failed
to establish deliberate indifference claims against the South
Carolina Defendants and that these Defendants should also be
granted summary judgment. Additionally, the court agrees with
the magistrate judge that Plaintiff's request to amend
his complaint to add money damages claims against these
Defendants would be futile. Finally, the court agrees with
the magistrate that this court lacks personal jurisdiction
over the Florida Defendants. However, because the magistrate
judge recommends that the court dismiss the Florida
Defendants based on a lack of personal jurisdiction, the
court finds that such dismissal should be without
prejudice. See S. Walk at Broadlands
Homeowner's Ass'n, Inc. v. OpenBand at Broadlands,
LLC, 713 F.3d 175, 185 (4th Cir. 2013)
(“[D]ismissals for lack of jurisdiction should be
without prejudice because the court, having determined that
it lacks jurisdiction over the action, is incapable of
reaching a disposition on the merits of the underlying
claims.” (alteration in original) (citation omitted)).
Moreover, Plaintiff's request to amend to add money
damages would be futile in regard to Plaintiff's claims
against the Florida Defendants as it would not affect the
court's lack of personal jurisdiction over the Florida
reviewed the Report, the court adopts the Report (ECF No.
92), as modified below. Accordingly, the court
GRANTS Defendants' motion to dismiss or
alternatively for summary judgment (ECF No. 72). Defendants
Walton-Battle, Sizemore, Coleman, and Fonte are
GRANTED summary judgment on Plaintiff's
claims against them, and Defendants Lee, Morales, Montalvo,
and Ramos' motion to dismiss is GRANTED without
IS SO ORDERED
OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
parties are hereby notified of the right to appeal this Order
within the time period set forth under Rules 3 and 4 of the
Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.