United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
RUFUS L. SPEARMAN, Plaintiff,
GLENN FIELDING, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER APPROVING AND ADOPTING
THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. On February 23, 2017, United States
Magistrate Judge Timothy P. Greeley issued a Report &
Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that the
Court grant Defendant's motion for summary judgment (ECF
No. 139). (R&R, ECF No. 153.) The matter is before the
Court on Plaintiff's objections to the R&R. (ECF No.
Court is required to make a de novo determination of
those portions of the R&R to which specific objection has
been made, and may accept, reject, or modify any or all of
the Magistrate Judge's findings or recommendations. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). “[A]
general objection to a magistrate's report, which fails
to specify the issues of contention, does not satisfy the
requirement that an objection be filed. The objections must
be clear enough to enable the district court to discern those
issues that are dispositive and contentious.”
Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 380 (6th Cir. 1995).
raises several objections to the R&R. He specifically
objects to several facts included in the R&R. He also
disputes the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that no
genuine dispute of material fact exists. He further objects
to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that he has not
demonstrated a constitutional violation. Plaintiff argues
that Defendant purposefully attacked him with the cell door
with the intention of inflicting pain. Plaintiff
contends that there is circumstantial evidence to support the
alleged Eighth Amendment violation.
judgment is appropriate if the moving party establishes that
there is no genuine issue of material fact for trial and that
he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). If the
movant carries the burden of showing that there is an absence
of evidence to support a claim, then the party opposing the
motion must demonstrate by affidavits, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, that there is a
genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 324-25. The
non-moving party cannot rest on his pleadings; he must
present “specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Id. at 324 (citing
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). The evidence must be viewed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986).
Ultimately, the Court must determine whether there is
sufficient evidence on which the jury could reasonably find
for Plaintiff. Id. at 252.
argues that there is a genuine dispute of material fact, and
that summary judgment is not appropriate. Yet Plaintiff does
not support his Eighth Amendment claim with anything other
than the complaint and his responses in opposition to prior
motions for summary judgment. Although Plaintiff objects to
several facts in the R&R, he does not point to any
affidavits, depositions, or other evidence in support.
Plaintiff argues that there is circumstantial evidence of
Defendant's intention to inflict pain on Plaintiff by
closing the cell door. Plaintiff contends that he may have
found evidence in support if the Court had granted his
requests for additional time to complete discovery. But
Plaintiff merely imagines the potential evidence that might
exist to support his claim; he does not present actual
evidence in support. Thus, Plaintiff's objections as to
the facts in the R&R are without merit.
Plaintiff has not shown an Eighth Amendment violation.
Plaintiff has alleged that he hit his head while trying to
squeeze through an opening as the cell door slowly closed.
Making all justifiable inferences in Plaintiff's favor,
any injury sustained by Plaintiff was either accidental,
caused by Plaintiff himself, or caused by mere
negligence-none of which rise to the level of a
constitutional violation. See Ritchie v. Wickstrom,
938 F.2d 689, 692 (6th Cir. 1991) (concluding that negligence
does not ground a § 1983 action); see also Fisher v.
Britt, No. 85-3736, 1985 WL 3367, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Oct.
29, 1985) (holding that the accidental closing of a cell door
on plaintiff's fingers failed to state a cause of action
under § 1983); Orvis v. Hornbuckle, No.
08-cv-11541, 2011 WL 1256612, at *8-9 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 31,
2011) (finding that negligence falls short of deliberate
indifference); Brockman v. Besau, 2:08-cv-263, 2010
WL 584031, at *6 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 16, 2010) (concluding that,
even if plaintiff were briefly caught in a slowly-closing
cell door, such an incident does not rise to the level of an
Eighth Amendment violation). Although Plaintiff contends that
his injuries were not minor, he has not presented any
evidence in support. The fact that Plaintiff did not seek
medical care weighs against the severity of his injuries.
Further, Defendant had a penological security justification
for shutting the cell doors in accordance with meal-time
procedures. Thus, Plaintiff has not presented specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Plaintiff disagrees with the Magistrate Judge's
conclusions, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that the
conclusions were erroneous. The R&R accurately recites
the facts and correctly applies pertinent law. The Court
agrees with and adopts the Magistrate Judge's analysis.
regard to the sections of the R&R not specifically
objected to, the Court has reviewed the matters and concludes
that the R&R correctly analyzes the issues and makes a
sound recommendation. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the
February 23, 2017 R&R (ECF No. 153) is APPROVED and
ADOPTED as the opinion of the Court.
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's objections to the
R&R (ECF No. 154) are OVERRULED.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant's motion for summary
judgment (ECF No. 139) is GRANTED.
judgment will enter in accordance with this memorandum
opinion and order.