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Burley v. Michigan Department of Corrections

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

March 6, 2017

EDWARD BURLEY #502426, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., Defendants.

         ORDER ACCEPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [DOC. 76] GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND [DOC. 58] GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DOC. 65] AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION DIRECTING SERVICE ON DEFENDANT GUILKIE [DOC. 95]

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Edward Burley alleges that he suffers from hearing impairment and that defendants have failed to provide him with accommodations for his disability. Plaintiff seeks access to interpreters, videophones, amplifiers, hearing aids and other audio-audio-visual equipment which would permit him to more fully participate in academic classes, training, medical care, disciplinary hearings, religious ceremonies, and family visits. Plaintiff further asserts that the lack of such accommodations have placed him at risk in case of an emergency, whereby warnings are conveyed using audio cues. Burley alleges that defendants have denied him his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act.

         Burley seeks monetary damages in the amount of $100 per day that his rights have been violated, and $1, 000, 000 in punitive damages. He seeks an injunction requiring defendants to provide adequate services and facilities for deaf inmates. He also seeks a declaration that defendants violated various statutes and Constitutional provisions and an award of attorney's fees.

         Burley filed his complaint against the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”), Daniel Heyns, Heidi Washington, Thomas Finco, Joanne Bridgford, Blaine Lafler, Willie Smith, Cathleen Stoddard, John Prelesnik, Patrick Trieweiler, Thomas Birkett, Randall Haas, Jeffrey Woods, Michelle Pelon, Jacque Koenigskencht, George Stephenson, Joseph Knickerbocker, Russell Klatt, James Verbonconer, Stephen Moore, and Jane and John Doe (“state defendants”), and defendants Sherry, Roger Gerlack, and Scott Holmes (‘the non-state defendants”).

         The non-state defendants, along with the named but unserved defendants, Quiroga and Williamson, have not filed a dispositive motion and have not joined in the state defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         This matter is presently before the court on Magistrate Judge Morris' report and recommendation addressing plaintiff's motion to amend and the state defendants' motion for summary judgment. Objections to the report and recommendation have been filed within the established time period. The court has reviewed the file, record, and magistrate judge's report and recommendation.

         I. Motion to Amend [Doc. # 58]

         On June 30, 2016, Burley filed a proposed amended complaint seeking to add allegations against Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor (“ARUS”) Yall, Edward Hunt, Warden Thomas Birkett, Resident Unit Manager (“RUM”) Guilkie, ARUS Snyder, Special Accommodation Coordinator Foy, Dr. Czop, Rhonda Rider, ARUS Daniels, ARUS Bradley, and Holtz for violating his rights by denying him certain accommodations. The Magistrate Judge concludes that plaintiff failed to exhaust his grievances through the administrative grievance process as to all of the defendants he seeks to add in his motion to amend, except for defendant Guilkie. Therefore, the Magistrate Judge Judge recommends that Burley's motion to amend should be denied as futile as to all proposed defendants except for Guilkie.

         The exhaustion issue is also relevant to defendant's motion for summary judgment and is discussed in more detail below.

         II. Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. #65]

         On August 5, 2016, the state defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The Magistrate Judge recommends that the motion be granted as to most of the state defendants and denied as to defendants Klatt and Guilkie.

         A. Grievance Exhaustion

         Burley's complaint can state a viable claim if he properly exhausted the relevant grievance within the last three years. Grievances are defendant-specific and issue-specific. The Magistrate Magistrate Judge determined that Burley properly exhausted a total of six hearing-impairment related grievances through step III of the grievance process that are ripe for determination. Of those six grievances, only three reference any defendant discussed in Burley's complaint or amended complaint. Grievance 0059-07a references defendant Klatt; grievance 0108-12i references defendant Holmes and the MDOC; and grievance 3775-23z references defendants Stoddard ...


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