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Hadix v. Michigan Department of Corrections

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

November 15, 2016

WILLIAM HADIX, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

          DISTRICT JUDGE PAUL D. BORMAN

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MONA K. MAJZOUB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff William Hadix, [1] a prisoner at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Michigan, filed this pro se matter under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Michigan Government Tort Liability Act, Mich. Comp. Laws 691.1407 (“GTLA”), against the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) and four MDOC employees: Inspector Linda Beckwith, Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor (“ARUS”) Sarah Springer-Hill, and two Corrections Officers (“CO”), Mark House and Joel Robinson.[2] (Docket no. 1.) He sues Inspector Beckwith, ARUS Springer-Hill, CO House, and CO Robinson in their personal and official capacities, alleging that they violated his Eighth Amendment rights and were grossly negligent in failing to protect him from physical and sexual abuse by his cellmate; specifically, by refusing to allow him to change cells despite his repeated complaints. (Id. at 1, 3-6.) He alleges Defendant MDOC was grossly negligent in failing to enforce the Prison Rape Elimination Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 15601-15609. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff seeks punitive and compensatory damages against the individual defendants, and asks the Court to enjoin Defendant MDOC from “further refusal(s) to change room assignments.” (Id. at 6.)

         Before the Court is Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (docket nos. 14, 28), and Plaintiff's Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Discovery. (Docket no. 20.) Defendants filed a Response to Plaintiff's Motion to Stay. (Docket no. 21.) All pretrial matters have been referred to the undersigned for consideration. (Docket no. 6.) The undersigned has reviewed the pleadings, dispenses with a hearing pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f), and issues this Report and Recommendation.

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (docket nos. 14, 28) be GRANTED, and that Plaintiff's Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Discovery (docket no. 20) be DENIED. Therefore, the undersigned recommends that this matter be dismissed in its entirety.

         II. REPORT

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff claims he was physically and sexually abused by his cellmate while he was imprisoned at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan. (Docket no. 1 at 3-5.) According to his Complaint, his cellmate began threatening him in January 2013. At the end of February 2013, Plaintiff informed Defendant CO House that he feared for his safety, but Defendant CO House allegedly responded by telling Plaintiff, “you['re] not moving, so you work it out.” (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff believes Defendant CO Robinson then told Plaintiff's cellmate that Plaintiff wanted to change cells, which prompted Plaintiff's cellmate to begin physically assaulting him. Following the first assault, in March 2013, Plaintiff claims that he filed a grievance against Defendant CO Robinson and also requested a room change from Defendant ARUS Springer-Hill, but nothing was done. In April, Plaintiff allegedly wrote to Defendant Inspector Beckwith to request a room change, but he was still not moved. (Id. at 4.) A few days later, in mid-April, Plaintiff's cellmate allegedly forced Plaintiff to perform oral sex on him. Plaintiff alleges that he was forced to perform oral sex on his cellmate two more times, on April 28 and May 8, 2013. (Id.)

         On May 12, 2013, Plaintiff left his cell and told Defendant CO House about the alleged sexual assaults. His cellmate was then placed in segregation, and Plaintiff returned to his cell until he could be transferred to the Lakeland Correctional Facility, on May 15, 2013. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff alleges that with his assistance, the Michigan State Police pursued criminal charges against his cellmate; however, his cellmate was allowed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct, and all other charges were dropped. (Id.)

         Plaintiff filed a Step I grievance against Defendants Inspector Beckwith, ARUS Springer-Hill, CO House, and CO Robinson relating to the physical and sexual assaults on January 30, 2015. (Docket no. 14-3 at 8.) He claimed that they acted unprofessionally, failed to protect him from “abusive/sexual prisoner, ” and failed to “investigate and or prevent assault.” (Id.) The Step I grievance was denied for being untimely. (Id. at 9.) Plaintiff appealed the denial to Step II and Step III, but both appeals were rejected because the original Step I grievance was untimely. (Id. at 5-7.) Plaintiff's Step II appeal had additional procedural defects, for example he failed to attach the Step I response to the appeal. (Id. at 7.)

         Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint on January 15, 2016. He contends that Defendant MDOC is liable under the GTLA for its gross negligence in failing to enforce the Prison Rape Elimination Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 15601-15609, and asks that Defendant MDOC be enjoined from refusing to grant Plaintiff's requests for room changes in the future.[3] (Docket no. 1 at 5.) He contends that the individual defendants are liable under the GTLA for gross negligence, and under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating his Eighth Amendment rights; specifically, for their “failure to protect” and “deliberate indifference to protection needs.” (Id. at 5-6.) Against the individual defendants, he seeks “punitive, declaratory and compensatory damages in excess of . . . $50, 000.00, ” and “any other appropriate relief.” (Id. at 6.)

         Defendants MDOC, Inspector Beckwith, ARUS Springer-Hill, and CO House filed their Motion for Summary Judgment on March 8, 2016. (Docket no. 14.) Defendant CO Robinson joined in the Motion after he was served on September 28, 2016. (Docket nos. 26, 28.) Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims against the individual defendants in their personal capacities under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 should be dismissed because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). (Docket no. 14 at 10-16.) They further argue that Plaintiff's claims against MDOC and against the individual defendants in their official capacities should be dismissed under the Eleventh Amendment and principles of sovereign immunity. (Id. at 16-17.)

         Plaintiff requested and received two extensions to respond to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (See docket no. 15 & May 4, 2016 text order; docket no. 18 & June 24, 2016 text order). The second extension expressly provides that, “NO FURTHER EXTENSIONS WILL BE GRANTED.” Nevertheless, on July 20, 2016, Plaintiff requested ...


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