United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable David M. Lawson, Judge
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION, OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS, AND
GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
M. LAWSON United States District Judge
case is before the Court on objections filed by the plaintiff
to a report issued by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford
recommending that the defendants' motion for summary
judgment be granted. The plaintiff, a Michigan prisoner,
filed a lawsuit against two prison guards alleging via 42
U.S.C. § 1983 that they violated his constitutional
rights by being disrespectful and degrading toward him,
firing him from his prison food service position, and filing
false misconduct reports as retaliation for constitutionally
protected conduct. The Court referred the case to Magistrate
Judge Stafford to conduct all pretrial proceedings.
Thereafter, the defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies on some of his claims, and the
remaining claims should be dismissed as a matter of law. On
May 26, 2017, Judge Stafford filed her report recommending
that the Court grant the motion and dismiss certain
unexhausted claims without prejudice and the remaining claims
with prejudice. The plaintiff filed timely objections, and
the matter is before the Court for fresh review.
facts of the case come from the complaint and the discovery
and affidavits summarized in the motion papers. In 2016,
plaintiff Curtis Harris-Bey was a prisoner incarcerated in
the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility. Defendants John
Alcodray and Paul Reasoner were corrections officers there.
Harris-Bey alleged in his complaint that beginning on January
20, 2016, Alcodray was “disrespectful” and
“degrading” toward him, fired him from his food
service job, and retaliated against him by filing false
misconduct reports. Harris-Bey asserted that Alcodray called
Harris-Bey and other inmates “idiots” for being
in prison and did not allow them to speak while working in
their food service job. Harris-Bey stated that he informed
Alcodray that he could talk and was not being disruptive. He
told Alcodray that he was “out of line.” Alcodray
responded by firing Harris-Bey from his food service job.
Reasoner then sent Harris-Bey back to his cell, where he was
confined until the end of his shift.
to Harris-Bey, he was told during a call-out assignment to
return to work the next day, but when he did, Alcodray told
him that he was “laid in” until the misconduct
ticket was adjudicated. Alcodray ordered Harris-Bey back to
his cell. After returning to his cell, Harris-Bey told
Reasoner that Alcodray was abusing his authority. Later that
evening, Harris-Bey received a misconduct ticket for
disobeying a direct order, that is, not to talk during his
work. The report indicated that Harris-Bey had told Alcodray
that he “did not have to listen to [Alcodray].”
On January 30, 2016, Harris-Bey was found not guilty of the
reported misconduct, which he contends was written out of
retaliation for returning to work and telling Reasoner that
he was abusing his authority.
January 22, 2016, Reasoner gave Harris-Bey a second
misconduct ticket; Harris-Bey contends that the defendants
“collaborated” against him on that charge. The
ticket described Harris-Bey returning to work after being
“laid in, ” which Reasoner wrote was a
“direct contradiction of my order not to report.”
Harris-Bey was found guilty and received ten days of lost
privileges. Harris-Bey asserted that the second misconduct
report also was written out of retaliation.
February 8, 2016, Harris-Bey was allowed to return to work,
but alleged that Alcodray told him two days later to
“get out of the kitchen, no matter what your pass,
classification, or any body [sic] says.” After
reporting the incident to the warden, Harris-Bey was allowed
to return to work. Harris-Bey alleges that on March 3, 2016,
Alcodray called him into work and “immediately started
threatening and attempted to cause intimidation, telling
plaintiff to stop filing grievances on him or he will be a
sorry ass.” Harris-Bey asserted that all of these
alleged actions constituted retaliation for the exercise of
his First Amendment rights.
13, 2016, Harris-Bey, proceeding pro se, filed his
complaint against Alcodray and Reasoner for deprivation of
civil rights. The Court referred this case to the magistrate
judge for general case management. The defendants then filed
a motion for summary judgment. The magistrate judge filed her
report and recommendation on May 26, 2017.
their motion, the defendants argued that the plaintiff cannot
proceed on three of his claims because he did not exhaust his
administrative remedies by following the procedures
established by the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).
They point to the claim that Reasoner improperly confined the
plaintiff to his cell on January 21, 2016, Alcodray's
alleged retaliation, and Reasoner's retaliatory
misconduct report of January 22, 2016. They conceded that the
remaining claims were exhausted properly, but they argued
that they are entitled to qualified immunity on those. The
magistrate rejected the exhaustion argument on Alcodray's
retaliation, but suggested that the other two claims were not
exhausted properly and should be dismissed without prejudice.
She also recommended that the rest of the claims failed to
establish constitutional violations, so the qualified
immunity defense should succeed. She recommended that the
properly-exhausted claims be dismissed with prejudice.
filed timely objections to the magistrate judge's report
and recommendation. Objections to a report and recommendation
are reviewed de novo. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
“A judge of the court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is
made. A judge . . . may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or in part, the findings to which objection is made.”
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Sixth Circuit has stated that
“[o]verly general objections do not satisfy the
objection requirement.” Spencer v. Bouchard,
449 F.3d 721, 725 (6th Cir. 2006). “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).
“‘[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.” Spencer, 449 F.3d at 725 (quoting
Miller, 50 F.3d at 380).
defendants did not object to the report, including the
magistrate judge's rejection of their exhaustion defense
on the retaliation claim against Alcodray. “[T]he
failure to file specific objections to a magistrate's
report constitutes a waiver of those ...