United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND DENYING
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND
HONORABLE PAUL L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
August 12, 2016, Defendants Quinn and Kludy filed a motion
for summary judgment. (ECF No. 17 at PageID.78.)
filed objections to the Report and Recommendation, and the
Court will address each in turn on de novo review. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).
initial matter, though, the Court must observe that
Plaintiff's objections-two of them in less than three
pages-barely suffice to warrant review. See Mira v.
Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986)
(“[T]he district court need not provide de
novo review where the objections are ‘[f]rivolous,
conclusive or general.'”).
Plaintiff's First Objection
first argues that the Magistrate Judge, rather than
Defendants, raised the argument that “Plaintiff failed
to show any personal involvement by Defendant Sgt.
Kludy.” (ECF No. 29 at PageID.169.) Even if true, it
Magistrate's Report and Recommendation essentially relies
on the fact that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. That argument is ordinarily
properly raised under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) before an answer
is filed, rather than a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 like
Defendants filed here. However, where matters outside the
pleadings are considered and not excluded, the Court must
construe the motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, see Fed.
R. Civ. P. 12(d)-and nothing in the Rules prevents the court
from dismissing a complaint for failing to state a claim even
if the underlying motion was brought under Fed.R.Civ.P.
Either way, though, the Magistrate Judge rested his final
recommendation on the insufficiency of the pleadings.
thrust of Plaintiff's argument-the Magistrate Judge
himself errantly determined the complaint failed to state a
claim against Sergeant Kludy-must be rejected.
may, indeed must, sua sponte dismiss an action for
failure to state a claim against any named defendants under
the PLRA. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
(“Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion
thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court
determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted.”
(emphasis added)); see also In re Prison Litigation
Reform Act, 105 F.3d 1131, 1134 (6th Cir. 1997)
(“District courts are required to screen all civil
cases brought by prisoners, regardless of whether the inmate
paid the full filing fee, is a pauper, is pro se, or is
represented by counsel, as the statute does not differentiate
between civil actions brought by prisoners.”).
addition, to the extent this was properly a Rule 56 motion, a
court may sua sponte grant a motion for summary judgment
“on grounds not raised by a party, ” so long as
the nonmoving party was given “notice and a reasonable
time to respond.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(f). A report and
recommendation clearly gives a party both notice and an
opportunity to respond by filing an objection. See, e.g.,
Santiago v. Anderson, 496 F.App'x 630, 637 (7th Cir.
cites no authority for the proposition that the Magistrate
Judge cannot sua sponte raise Plaintiff's own failure to
state a claim as to Sergeant Kludy. Indeed, Plaintiff
admits that his own statement of facts “failed
to allege any wrongdoing acts committed by Defendants Lt.
Quinn or Sgt. Kludy that created a claim for constitutional
violations . . . .” (ECF No. 29 at PageID.169.)
Defendants' first objection is
Plaintiff's Second Objection
next argues that the Magistrate Judge failed to consider
several exhibits he submitted in a response to the motion.
(ECF No. 29 at PageID.169-70.) But even if that's
true-exhibits attached to a complaint or response do not save
the complaint if the complaint itself does not contain
sufficient information to put Defendants on notice of the
claims. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (noting the pleading standard “demands more than
an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation”). That is particularly true in the
qualified immunity context: “It is axiomatic that the