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Moore v. Smith

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

March 28, 2017

WILLIE O. SMITH, et al., Defendants.



         On March 3, 2017, Magistrate Ray Kent issued a Report and Recommendation (R & R) recommending that the Court (1) grant Defendants' motion for summary judgement as to all claims except Plaintiff's claim against Defendants Smith, Krick, and Kipp regarding a lack of ventilation; (2) dismiss Plaintiff's First and Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants Smith, Krick and Kipp; and (3) dismiss Defendants Treiweiler, Klatt, Showers, Miller, Christiansen, Sanchez, Clark, Hynesbach and Stott from the action. (ECF No. 94.) Defendants and Plaintiff both filed objections to the R & R. (ECF No. 100, 101.)

         Upon receiving objections to a report and recommendation, the district judge “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). After conducting a de novo review of the R & R, the parties' objections, and the pertinent portions of the record, the Court concludes that the R & R should be adopted. The Court also concludes that Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief should be denied as moot.

         Defendants' Objections

         Claims Regarding Ventilation

         The magistrate judge denied Defendants' motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff's claims regarding improper ventilation because Defendants' brief in support of their motion did not even address the issue. (ECF No. 94 at PageID.634-35.) Defendants raise two “objections” with this part of the R & R, arguing that (1) they are entitled to summary judgment based on qualified immunity; and (2) the claim fails as a matter of law because Plaintiff did not demonstrate deliberate indifference.

         The “Magistrate Judge Act, 28 U.S.C. § 631 et seq., permits de novo review by the district court if timely objections are filed, [but], absent compelling reasons, it does not allow parties to raise at the district court stage new arguments or issues that were not presented to the magistrate.” Murr v. United States, 200 F.3d 895, 902 n.1 (6th Cir. 2000) (citing United States v. Waters, 158 F.3d 933, 936 (6th Cir.1998)). Defendants note that their failure to address the issue before the magistrate judge was “an inadvertent oversight, ” and that they “genuinely regret the error, and sincerely attempted to address all of the myriad claims raised against 12 separate defendants.” (ECF No. 100 at PageID.655-56.) Nonetheless, Defendants fail to offer compelling reason. The Court will not consider this objection.


         Defendants' next “objection” is that Plaintiff lacks Article III standing to seek injunctive relief. (ECF No. 100 at PageID.12.) “Article III, § 2, of the Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to ‘Cases' and ‘Controversies, ' which restricts the authority of federal courts to resolving ‘the legal rights of litigants in actual controversies.'” Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S.Ct. 1523, 1528 (2013) (quoting Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471, 102 S.Ct. 752, 757 (1982)).

         “A corollary to this case-or-controversy requirement is that an actual controversy must be extant at all stages of review, not merely at the time the complaint is filed.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). A claim is considered as moot, and must be dismissed, “if an intervening circumstance deprives the plaintiff of a ‘personal stake in the outcome of the lawsuit.'” Id. (quoting Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477-478, 110 S.Ct. 1249, 1254 (1990) (internal quotation marks omitted). And, unlike Defendants' other arguments, the “existence of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time, by any party, or even sua sponte by the court itself.” In re Lewis, 398 F.3d 735, 739 (6th Cir.2005) (citing Cmty. Health Plan of Ohio v. Mosser, 347 F.3d 619, 622 (6th Cir.2003)).

         Defendants argue that Plaintiff lacks standing to seek injunctive relief at the Carson City facility because he has been transferred out of that facility. (ECF No. 100 at PageID.12.) Claims seeking injunctive relief are properly dismissed as moot when an inmate-plaintiff is transferred from a facility where a violation takes place to another facility where there is no violation. See Colvin v. Caruso, 605 F.3d 282, 289 (6th Cir. 2010); Kensu v. Haigh, 87 F.3d 172, 175 (6th Cir. 1996). Since Plaintiff has been transferred to another facility, his claim for injunctive relief is moot.

         Plaintiff's Objections

         Defendant Clark

         Plaintiff objects to the dismissal of Defendant Clark because (1) Clark's counsel failed to file an attorney appearance and (2) Plaintiff alleges that Clark has been in default since June of 2015. Neither objection has merit. Defense counsel made arguments on Clark's behalf in support of summary judgment (see ECF No. 83 at PageID.295) and this Court did not enter a default judgment against Clark. (ECF No. 64.) Plaintiff is not automatically entitled to a default judgment ...

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