United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
AND ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S AUGUST 11, 2017
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION GRANTING (1) DEFENDANT SIRENA
LANDFAIR'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF NO. 10]; AND
(2) DEFENDANT LANA MCCARTHY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
[ECF NO. 21]
V. PARKER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
October 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed this pro se
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging deliberate
indifference to his serious medical condition in violation of
the Eighth Amendment. (ECF No. 1.) This matter was referred
to Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen for all pretrial
proceedings, including a hearing and determination of all
non-dispositive matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A) and/or a report and recommendation
(“R&R”) on all dispositive matters pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (ECF No. 5.) Defendants
Sirena Landfair (“Landfair”) and Lana McCarthy
(“McCarthy”) subsequently filed motions for
summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 10, 21.)
August 11, 2017, Magistrate Judge Whalen issued his R&R
recommending this Court grant Defendants Landfair's and
McCarthy's motion for summary judgment for failure to
exhaust administrative remedies, thereby dismissing both
defendants, without prejudice. (ECF No. 39.) Magistrate Judge
Whalen found Plaintiff failed to name Defendant Landfair in
his administrate grievance and identify any conduct of hers
that denied him medical treatment. (Id. at 5-6.)
Although Plaintiff did name Defendant McCarthy in his
grievance, Magistrate Judge Whalen found there were no facts
indicating Defendant McCarthy had any involvement in denying
Plaintiff medical treatment.
Judge Whalen concluded by advising the parties they may
object to and seek review of the R&R within fourteen days
of service upon them. (Id. at 8.) Specifically, he
further advised the parties that “[f]ailure to timely
file objections constitutes a waiver of any further right to
appeal.” (Id.) Plaintiff filed an objection on
August 24, 2017. (ECF No. 40.)
Standard of Review
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 report and recommendation
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
report releases the Court from its duty to independently
review those issues. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S.
140, 149 (1985). A court must construe a pro se
litigant's submissions liberally and interpret them in a
manner to raise the strongest arguments they suggest. See
Kirkland v. Cablevision Sys., 760 F.3d 223, 224 (2d Cir.
2014); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972). Nevertheless, general objections, or those merely
restating arguments previously presented, do not sufficiently
identify alleged errors on the part of a magistrate judge.
Watkins v. Tribley, No. 09-14990, 2011 WL 4445823,
at *1 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 26, 2011). An objection that
does nothing more than disagree with a magistrate judge's
conclusion, or simply summarizes what has been argued before,
is not considered a valid objection. Howard v. Sec'y
of Health and Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 508 (6th Cir.
1991). Only specific objections are entitled to de
novo review, not those objections that are
“frivolous, conclusive or general.” Mira v.
Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted).
Applicable Law & Analysis
sole objection is that the magistrate judge erred when he
found Plaintiff had not exhausted his administrative remedies
against Defendants Landfair and McCarthy. Plaintiff has
failed to provide the court with any authority to support his
contention that stating “any and all medical
staff” exhausts his administrative remedy and was
sufficient to identify Defendants Landfair and McCarthy.
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) requires the exhaustion of all
administrative procedures before filing a claim in federal
court. “A prisoner exhausts his remedies when he
complies with the grievance procedures put forward by his
correctional institution.” Mattox v. Edelman,
851 F.3d 583, 590 (6th Cir. 2017). Administrative exhaustion
is an affirmative defense prison officials must plead and
prove by a preponderance of the evidence. Lee v.
Willey, 789 F.3d 673, 677 (6th Cir. 2015).
“[P]rison officials waive any procedural irregularities
in a grievance when they nonetheless address the grievance on
the merits.” Mattox, 851 F.3d at 591; see
also Randall v. Winnicki, No. 16-cv-207, 2017 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 85807, at *6-7 (W.D. Mich. May 8, 2017).
to the Michigan Department of Corrections
(“MDOC”) Policy Directive 03.02.130 § B:
“Complaints filed by prisoners regarding grievable
issues as defined in this policy serve to exhaust a
prisoner's administrative remedies only when filed as a
grievance through all three steps of the grievance process in
compliance with this policy.” (ECF No. 10-2 at Pg ID
59.) More Specifically, MDOC Policy Directive 03.02.130
§ R requires “[i]nformation provided . . . to be
limited to the facts involving the issue being grieved (i.e.,
who, what, when, where, why, how). Dates, times, places, and
names of all those involved in the issue being grieved are to
be included.” (Id. at Pg ID 61.)
to MDOC's grievance procedure Plaintiff was required to
state specifically the conduct of each Defendant he alleges
denied him access to proper medical care. As Magistrate Judge
Whalen correctly found, Plaintiff does not identify Defendant
Landfair in any administrative grievance. MDOC Policy
Directive 03.02.130 § R specifically requires the names
of all individuals involved in the grievance to be named, as
well as the specific conduct at issue. Although Plaintiff
names Defendant McCarthy in his Step 1 Grievance No.
16-05-0807-12D2 (“Grievance 12D2”), he does not
allege what, if any, involvement she had in the grievance.
asserts that because the prison officials decided his
grievances on the merits and never cited any deficiencies,
Defendants have waived any exhaustion requirement. However,
as it relates to Defendant Landfair, Defendants had no reason
to suspect there were any issues with Plaintiff's
grievance process because Defendant Landfair was never named
in any grievance. Therefore, Defendants were not on notice
that Defendant Landfair had engaged in any unlawful conduct.
Further, although Defendant McCarthy is mentioned in Step 1
of Grievance 12D2, again, Plaintiff failed to describe what,
if any, conduct Defendant McCarthy engaged in that was
unlawful. The basis of Grievance 12D2 was that Defendant
Jamson refused to see Plaintiff following his foot surgery.
Plaintiff even notes in his grievance that his request to be
seen was “Sent to MP to review, ” and he later
refers to “MP” as Defendant Jamson. (ECF No. 10-3
at Pg ID 82.) It is insufficient for Plaintiff to simply name
Defendant McCarthy and “any and all medical staff
unable to name” without alleging specific conduct
associated with the unidentified medical ...