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Simpson v. Corizon Health, Inc.

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

January 3, 2017

JIMMIE L. SIMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH, INC., et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JANET T. NEFF United States District Judge

         This is a prisoner civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 involving Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment, retaliation, and state-law claims concerning medical care Plaintiff received while incarcerated. Defendants filed four separate motions for summary judgment. Defendant Kerstein argued that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies (Dkt 37). Defendant Aetna argued that it had no relationship to Plaintiff (Dkt 53). And Defendants Corizon, Neri, Papendick, Rogers, Kerstein and Stieve argued that Plaintiff failed to meet his summary judgment burden (Dkts 66, 75). The matter was referred to the Magistrate Judge, who issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R, Dkt 100), recommending that three of the four summary judgment motions be granted in favor of Defendants (Dkts 52, 66, 74), and that one be denied without prejudice (Dkt 36). The matter is presently before the Court on Plaintiff's objections to the Report and Recommendation[1] and on Defendants' Motion to Strike Sur-replies to Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (Dkt 99) and Defendants' Motion to Supplement Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt 113). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3), the Court has performed de novo consideration of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections have been made. The Court denies the objections, denies the motions, and issues this Opinion and Order.

         I. Plaintiff's Objections

         Plaintiff presents the Court with 47 numbered objections to the Report and Recommendation. However, Plaintiff's objections can be appropriately categorized according to the section of the Report and Recommendation to which they pertain. The following bolded headings correspond to portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections have been made.

         A. Background (R&R, Dkt 100 at PageID.2796-2802)

         In his objections to the Background section of the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, Plaintiff asserts that the “Magistrate erreneous[ly] [o]mitted and disregarded Plaintiff's October 19, 2011, MRI Diagnostic Test Results, November 24, 2014 and May 4, 2016 EMG Diagnostic Test Results . . . . (Objs., Dkt 104 at PageID.2824). Plaintiff also asserts that the Magistrate Judge “applied an incorrect legal analysis of Plaintiff's claims, in Granting Defendants['] Summary Judgment Motions” (id.).

         Plaintiff's objections fail to demonstrate any factual or legal error in the Magistrate Judge's analysis or conclusion. The Magistrate Judge properly included all relevant facts in the background section of the Report and Recommendation. Plaintiff's contention that the October 19, 2011 MRI was not included is unfounded because the Magistrate Judge specifically noted that “Plaintiff participated in an MRI of his spine the results of which revealed several abnormalities” (R&R, Dkt 100 at PageID.2797). The Magistrate Judge also mentions the significance of the November 24, 2014 EMG examination (id. at PageID.2802); therefore, Plaintiff's contention that the Magistrate Judge erroneously omitted it is without merit. As for any other tests or results Plaintiff claims the Magistrate Judge erroneously omitted, the fact that the Magistrate Judge did not expressly reference them does not demonstrate that the Magistrate Judge “ignored” or improperly weighed the evidence in this case. A magistrate judge need not delineate each item of evidence in a report and recommendation in order to make a proper assessment of that evidence, and Plaintiff's argument reveals no factual or legal error by the Magistrate Judge. Accordingly, Plaintiff's objection is denied.

         B. Defendant Aetna Life Insurance Company (R&R, Dkt 100 at PageID.2805-07)

         Regarding the Magistrate Judge's analysis of his claims against Defendant Aetna, Plaintiff asserts that “[t]he Magistrate omitted and failed to consider all of Plaintiff's pleadings and affidavits . . . and to draw all justifiable inferences in favor of Plaintiff, opposing the motion [for summary judgment], ” including disregarding Plaintiff's factual evidence that Aetna was still liable under the contract with the State of Michigan to provide health services to the prison where Plaintiff was located (Objs., Dkt 104 at PageID.2827; Dkt 107 at PageID.2857). Plaintiff also states that “[t]he Magistrate erroneously [g]ranted Aetna [a] Stay of Discovery . . . ” (id.).

         Plaintiff's objections concerning the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to grant summary judgment in favor of Defendant Aetna are without merit.

         First, objecting on the grounds that the Magistrate Judge “failed to consider all of Plaintiff's pleadings and affidavits” is too broad to constitute a valid objection. Overly general objections do not satisfy the objection requirement. Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 380 (6th Cir. 1995); Howard v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 508-09 (6th Cir. 1991). “The objections must be clear enough to enable the district court to discern those issues that are dispositive and contentious.” Miller, 50 F.3d at 380. “[O]bjections disput[ing] the correctness of the magistrate's recommendation but fail[ing] to specify the findings . . . believed [to be] in error” are too general. Id. The Magistrate Judge fully and properly considered all pleadings, affidavits, exhibits, and other evidence presented. Plaintiff's mere disagreement with, and overly general objections to, the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation do not warrant its rejection.

         Second, Plaintiff's contention that the Magistrate Judge disregarded evidence that the contract between Aetna and the State of Michigan was still valid when his alleged injuries occurred is without merit. “Aetna has presented evidence that . . . [o]n October 4, 2010, Prison Health Services notified Aetna in writing of its intent to terminate its contract with Aetna effective December 1, 2010” (R&R, Dkt 100 at PageID.2805). Plaintiff merely disagrees with this evidence. Plaintiff identifies no error in the Magistrate Judge's analysis or conclusion.

         Third, Plaintiff's objection to the Magistrate Judge granting Aetna a stay of discovery is not a proper objection. Pursuant to Local Rule 72.3(b), W.D. Mich. LCivR 72.3(b), Plaintiff must specifically designate the part of the Report and Recommendation to which he objects and the basis for such objection. Because Plaintiff's objection does not address the Report and Recommendation, it is without merit.

         C. Defendant Corizon Health Inc. (R&R, Dkt 100 at ...


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