United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J.T. SUTTON, Plaintiff,
BLASIE GLENNIE, L. SCHUMACHER, G. WILSON, HOPKINS, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER REJECTING PLAINTIFF'S AND
DEFENDANTS' OBJECTIONS TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT
AND RECOMMENDATION AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
V. PARKER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff alleges violations of his rights under the
First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments based on his loss of
a prison job, transfer to a different facility, and the
physical harm inflicted upon him by a fellow prisoner. On
September 9, 2016, Defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment. (ECF No. 25.) The matter has been assigned to
Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis for all pretrial
proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and
(B). (ECF No. 8.)
August 11, 2017, Magistrate Judge Davis issued a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) in which she
recommends that this Court grant in part and deny in part
Defendants' motion. (ECF. No. 31.) Magistrate Judge Davis
first concludes that Plaintiff exhausted his administrative
remedies with respect to his claims that Defendants
retaliated against him by transferring him to another prison
facility and that Defendants failed to heed his requests for
a cell change before his cellmate assaulted him.
(Id. at 12.) Magistrate Judge Davis finds, however,
that Plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative remedies
with respect to his claims related to his prison job.
(Id. at 13-14.)
to the merits of Plaintiff's retaliation claim,
Magistrate Judge Davis concludes that he does not allege an
adverse action sufficient to support the claim. (Id.
at 16-18.) With respect to Plaintiff's negligence claim,
which is set forth along with his retaliation claim in count
three of his Complaint, Magistrate Judge Davis first notes
that this state law theory of liability is not developed.
(Id. at 18-19 n.2.) For that reason and because
Magistrate Judge Davis concluded that no material issues
remain on Plaintiff's retaliation theory, she recommends
that the Court also dismiss his state law negligence claim.
(Id.) Magistrate Judge Davis concludes, however,
that Plaintiff presents sufficient facts to support his
Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Wilson and Hopkins,
but not Defendant Schumacher. (Id. at 20-23.)
conclusion of the R&R, Magistrate Judge Davis informs the
parties of their right to file objections. Defendants filed
objections to the R&R on August 25, 2017. (ECF No. 32.)
Plaintiff filed objections to the R&R on August 31, 2017,
which Plaintiff signed and dated on August 24, 2017. (ECF No.
objections are filed to a magistrate judge's R&R on a
dispositive matter, the court “make[s] 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). The court, however,
“is not required to articulate all of the reasons it
rejects a party's objections.” Thomas v.
Halter, 131 F.Supp.2d 942, 944 (E.D. Mich. 2001)
(citations omitted). A party's failure to file objections
to certain conclusions of the R&R waives any further
right to appeal on those issues. See Smith v. Detroit
Fed'n of Teachers Local 231, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373
(6th Cir. 1987). Likewise, the failure to object to certain
conclusions in the magistrate judge's R&R releases
the court from its duty to review independently those issues.
See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985).
assert one objection to the R&R. Specifically, Defendants
argue that Magistrate Judge Davis erred in concluding that
Plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies with respect
to his Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Schumacher
and Hopkins. Defendants maintain that Plaintiff did not
allege any misconduct by Defendant Schumacher in his
grievance or appeals and did not allege any misconduct by
Defendant Hopkins until his Step III appeal.
Judge Davis concluded that Plaintiff failed to state a claim
against Defendant Schumacher. Therefore, the Court finds it
unnecessary to address Defendants' objection as to him.
With respect to Defendant Hopkins, the Court disagrees with
Defendants that Plaintiff did not allege misconduct by him
until his Step III appeal. When he filed Grievance
14-01-0206-17i, Plaintiff indicated and attached a copy of
the letter he sent to Defendant Hopkins requesting a cell
change. (ECF No. 25-3 at Pg ID 123, 127.) The Step I
Grievance Response reflects that the investigator understood
Plaintiff to be grieving conduct by Defendant Hopkins, as
well as Defendant Wilson. (Id. at Pg ID 125.)
objects to Magistrate Judge Davis' recommendation to
dismiss his state law negligence claim. (ECF No. 33.)
Plaintiff contends that he did not address this claim in
response to Defendants' summary judgment motion because
Defendants themselves did not address the claim. Plaintiff
objects to Magistrate Judge Davis' characterization of
his claim as a retaliation claim. Plaintiff asserts that he
is basing his state law negligence claim only on
Defendants' failure to protect him from his
cellmate's assault. Even when liberally construed,
however, Plaintiff states his “negligence” claim
in count three of his Complaint as based only on the facts
supporting his retaliation claim. (See ECF No. 1 at
Pg ID 10.) Nowhere in the Complaint does Plaintiff assert a
negligence claim based on Defendants' alleged failure to
protect him from his cellmate's attack. The Court
therefore rejects Plaintiff's objection to Magistrate
Judge Davis' analysis of his negligence claim.
these reasons, the Court rejects the parties' objections
to Magistrate Judge Davis' August 11, 2017 R&R. The
Court, therefore, adopts the magistrate judge's
recommendations in the R&R.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' motion
for summary judgment is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN
PART in that: (a) Plaintiff's claims alleging a
First Amendment violation and retaliation/negligent tort are
dismissed with prejudice; (b) Plaintiff's Eighth
Amendment claim against Defendant Schumacher, only, is